Adam Engel

Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball

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USA TODAY

Who knew? Baseball oddities from Javier Báez, Yolmer Sánchez and more in Chicago baseball

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

While you’re gathered with your families for the holiday, what better to entertain a crowd than a long list of baseball statistics! These outstanding feats in Chicago baseball are perfect to rattle off in between trips to the grill (or refrigerator)! So without further ado…

Catch Him if you Can

There have been 14 triples hit by catchers this season (through Sunday). 28.6 percent of them (four) have come off the bat of Willson Contreras.

Contreras is the first Cubs catcher with four triples before the All-Star break since Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett in 1936.

Triple Threat

When Yolmer Sánchez isn’t dousing the field with Gatorade, he’s running wild on the bases. 

Sánchez hit his fifth triple (which is tied for the Major League lead with Javier Báez) on Sunday, and over the last year’s worth of games, he’s at the top of the list.

Most triples, last 365 days (May 28, 2017 – May 27, 2018):

Yolmer Sánchez    11
Nicholas Castellanos 10
Billy Hamilton  10

Double Up

José Abreu enters Monday tied for the MLB lead with 19 doubles this season.  He hit numbers 18 and 19 on Saturday, the team's 49th game this season. 19 doubles through 49 team games in a season is the best by a White Sox player since the legendary Zeke “Banana Nose” Bonura in 1937 (also 19). 

Triple-Double

Sánchez (five triples) and Abreu (19 doubles) give the White Sox players tied for the MLB lead in each category.

The last time a team had the Major League leader in doubles and triples (or at least a share for the MLB lead) was 2007, when Curtis Granderson (23 triples) and Magglio Ordoñez (54 doubles) led the Majors in those categories for the Detroit Tigers.

A Contrast in Style

The Cubs mixed it up last Friday against the Giants at Wrigley Field. Consider this:

First batter of game: Gorkys Hernández facing Kyle Hendricks: 86.1 MPH 4-seam Fastball, 86.4 MPH Sinker, 87.1 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

Last batter of game: Mac Williamson facing Brandon Morrow: 100.1 MPH Sinker, 99.8 MPH Sinker, 99.7 MPH Sinker (three-pitch strikeout)

The 10/10 club

Entering Monday, there are three players with double-digit totals in both home runs and stolen bases.

Mookie Betts, Mike Trout… and Tim Anderson!

Anderson reached the 10 home run/10 stolen base plateau in team game number 49 this season, the quickest Sox player to do so since Alex Ríos in 2010 (team game 48).

Anderson’s ninth and 10th home runs of the season came Saturday at Detroit. He now has three multi-home run games this season – at three AL Central ballparks (Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City opening day March 29, Guaranteed Rate Field May 5, and Comerica Park in Detroit May 26).

Anderson is one of only two shortstops in White Sox history with multiple multi-home run games in a season. 

Most multi-home run games in a season by a White Sox shortstop:

Tim Anderson 3 2018
José Valentín 3 2003
José Valentín 3 2002
José Valentín 3 2000
12 tied with    1

The 1/1 club

Last Wednesday, José Rondón and Adam Engel both hit a home run and stole a base. It was only the 13th time since 1908 that a pair of White Sox players homered and stole a base in the same game. It was the first time since exactly two years earlier (May 23, 2016) when Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie did it.

The Will to Not Walk

Javier Báez is the first Cubs player to hit five triples and 10 home runs before the All-Star break since Corey Patterson in 2004. 

And through Monday’s game, there are still 43 games to go before we reach the All-Star break.

The last time Báez drew a walk was April 11. 

From April 12 through May 27, 468 players (including Cubs reliever Randy Rosario, who walked in his first Major League plate appearance on Sunday) have drawn at least one walk. But not Báez. 

Mike Trout has drawn 39 walks over that same span.

Báez from April 12 to May 27: .275/.277/.542, no walks, 33 strikeouts

Oh yeah… that walk Báez took on April 11? It was intentional. His last unintentional walk was April 7.

Why walk when you can run, I guess...

Three days off did not help, as White Sox not named Reynaldo Lopez had a hideous night in Oakland

Three days off did not help, as White Sox not named Reynaldo Lopez had a hideous night in Oakland

Despite three straight days without baseball, the White Sox did not come back from their long weekend looking their freshest.

It was a real ugly night in Oakland as the White Sox dropped the series opener with the A's by an 8-1 score. With a non-existent offense and a mistake-prone defense, anyone not named Reynaldo Lopez had a bad all-around evening at the Coliseum.

Lopez was good with 10 strikeouts and just two runs allowed in his six innings of work. He's got a 1.42 ERA and has been hands down the team's best starting pitcher in the early going this season. He did give up a home run and walk four batters, and he wasn't exactly efficient, throwing 106 pitches in six innings. But he limited the damage and did his job, giving his team a chance to win.

But the White Sox offense, struggling as it is, had no chance against Daniel Mengden. He came in with a 6.19 ERA and hadn't made it out of the sixth inning through his first three starts, but the White Sox made him look like a Cy Young candidate Monday, mustering just one run (a solo homer from Jose Abreu in the ninth inning of an eight-run game) on six hits over eight-plus innings.

Things fell off the rails in the bottom of the seventh, when the White Sox committed a trio of errors — including two on the same play — helping the A's to a few more runs. A soft ground ball bounced off the heel of Abreu's glove, and two batters later, Luis Avilan got the bases-loaded double-play ball he needed, only for the grounder to go right through Tim Anderson's legs at shortstop. To make matters worse, Leury Garcia whiffed while attempting to scoop up the ball in left field. Those two errors on the same play brought home two runs, and another scored when Anderson converted a much more difficult double play on the next hitter. A fourth error came in the eighth, when Adam Engel overthrew second base.

The bullpen also added to Monday night's woes, allowing four earned runs in two innings. That won't help the White Sox place in the relief-ERA standings. They entered Monday's game with a 5.35 bullpen ERA, which ranked 27th in baseball. That ERA jumped to 5.98 Monday.

Back to the bats, though. The numbers are getting pretty hard to look at. The White Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Monday, adding to woes that stretch back more than a week. In their last eight games, the White Sox are 7-for-65 with runners in scoring position and have stranded a total of 63 base runners.

They also continued an upsetting trend of not scoring runs for Lopez, who seems to have become the new Jose Quintana when it comes to pitching well and receiving little to no run support. The White Sox offense has scored a total of three runs in the three games Lopez has started this season.

The White Sox came home from their first road trip at 3-2. They've gone 1-7 since and have been outscored 40-20 in those eight games.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018

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USA TODAY

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Here's a complete list of the 18 White Sox questions for 2018:

— What's Yolmer Sanchez's long-term role?

— Why is Welington Castillo the right man for the job?

— Where does Nicky Delmonico fit in the long-term picture?

— When will Carlos Rodon be back, and where does he stand as rotation of the future gets more crowded?

— Can Matt Davidson keep himself in the long-term picture?

— How many members of the bullpen are long-term pieces?

— How can James Shields help the rebuild?

— Can Carson Fulmer carve out a spot in the rotation of the future?

— Who will be the White Sox closer?

— Will Tim Anderson prove himself the shortstop of the future?

— Will Jose Abreu get a contract extension this year?

— Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

— Luis Robert is the center fielder of the future, but how will center field play out in 2018?

— What's next for Yoan Moncada?

How will Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez fare in their first full season in the big leagues?

— When will Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez make it to the South Side?

— Which prospects will be here in 2018?

— Where will the White Sox finish in the AL Central standings?