White Sox

Garza vows Cubs will keep fighting

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Garza vows Cubs will keep fighting

Matt Garza tries to vent his frustrations behind closed doors and away from the cameras. He directs the anger toward himself and never shows up teammates.

If this is getting old, Garza wont say it out loud. He wants the responsibility on his shoulders, and believes he should finish whatever he starts. That fire is one reason why the Cubs think he could be a building block.

This one definitely appeared headed toward It is what it is, man territory, with Garza shrugging off another hard-luck decision in the interview room. The story changed late Monday night in the bottom of the ninth at Wrigley Field.

Pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair worked a 12-pitch walk against Cardinals closer Jason Motte. Geovany Soto didnt swing and walked on four pitches.

An ex-Cardinal, Joe Mather, came through with the clutch hit, a two-out, two-run single up the middle that lifted the Cubs to a 3-2 walk-off victory they hope will be a jumpstart.

Just like that, Mather was getting the Gatorade bucket poured over his head and a shaving-cream pie pushed into his face. And Garza, who loves stuff like that, had to smile: That was one hell of a game.

Even with Albert Pujols out of the picture, the gap between the Cubs (5-12) and Cardinals (11-6) seems to be growing. No one else in the National League Central is above .500, and the last-place Cubs are six games out already.

If the Cubs are going to hang around this summer, it will be with their starting pitching. Garza went seven innings and allowed two runs, keeping them within striking distance.

My job is to go out there and take my team as deep (as) I can, Garza said. But enough about me. These guys played hard for nine. We didnt quit. And down to the last out, we just kept fighting and fighting.

Thats just a little more growth right there for our young club. Thats a huge step forward for us.

When Theo Epstein was asked earlier this month if the teams performance would impact what the Cubs might do with Garza, the team president simply said: No.

You can see someone who likes the big stage and clearly feels at home. In Garzas last 14 starts at Wrigley Field dating back to June 27 of last season he has a 1.84 ERA and has allowed three runs or less in each of those outings.

Garza only got into trouble in the fourth, which began with Skip Schumakers infield single and Matt Holliday lining a double to left. The Cardinals manufactured their two runs with a groundout and a sacrifice fly and Garza got a little wild (hit batter, wild pitch, two walks). But it didnt become the big inning.

Hes a big-time, big-game pitcher, manager Dale Sveum said. He put himself in that situation, but it was more pitching to the lineup. He didnt let some guys hurt him. He knew the pitcher (Jaime Garcia) was coming up and thats just having a good head on your shoulders.

Seven times last season Garza left with the lead and didnt factor in the decision. This one looked like a loss until the final at-bat. The Cubs hope its a sign of things to come.

You sure hope so, Sveum said. Obviously, things havent gone that well at home. To do that off one of the best closers and the world champions is always a big springboard.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

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USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.