White Sox

Was this the craziest game of the MLB season?

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Was this the craziest game of the MLB season?

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Elvis Andrus and the Texas Rangers were not going to let the Angels beat them again -- even if they needed two improbable comebacks to win. Andrus had a game-ending two-run single in the 10th inning, and the Rangers rallied from six runs down to beat Los Angeles 11-10 on Wednesday night. "Our mentality was to win no matter what," said Andrus, who went 4 for 6 with three RBIs. "It was a great game for us." The Rangers came into this four-game series leading the Angels by five games in the American League West. Los Angeles won the first two games of the series by a combined 21-10 and were on its way to three in a row. Texas was down 7-1 in the fifth before rallying to force extra innings. The Angels scored three in the 10th inning to take a 10-7 lead before the wild finish to a game that lasted 4 hours, 1 minute. The Rangers extended their lead in the American League West to four games over the Angels and 4 12 over third-place Oakland. "We kept battling, we kept grinding and we got blessed," Texas manager Ron Washington said. Nelson Cruz homered, and Mitch Moreland singled off Jason Isringhausen (3-1) to bring the Rangers to 10-9. With the bases loaded, Andrus drove a single past third baseman Alberto Callaspo to set off a wild celebration near second base. "It was a crazy game in Texas," Isringhausen said. "I've seen a lot of them. A six-run lead is not safe." The comebacks seemed unlikely because the Texas offense struggled mightily during a 9-14 July. The Rangers scored 81 runs in the month, last in the American League. It was only the second time in Texas history the club has rallied to win after trailing by at least three in extra innings. The Rangers also did it May 18, 1975, against Detroit. "It was great to break out like this," said Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler, who homered in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 7. "Hopefully we can take that into (Thursday)." Albert Pujols connected twice for his second straight multihomer game. His second home run, a two-run shot in the 10th, was one of four long balls hit between the two teams in the final two innings. Chris Iannetta also homered in the 10th for the Angels. Joe Nathan (2-3) gave up Iannetta's homer on a full-count pitch and Pujols' two-run drive but still earned the win. It was Pujols' 44th multihomer run of his career, third-most among active players. He had never had consecutive multihomer games in the regular season. Kinsler's solo shot off Ernesto Frieri with one out in the ninth forced extra innings. It was Frieri's first blown save in 13 chances. "It was a great, great game on both sides," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "We got their closer, and they got our closer. It was a lot of fun. But at the same time, it broke my heart." Cruz kept the Rangers within a run in the top of the ninth when he threw out Kendrys Morales trying to score on a single to right. New acquisition Ryan Dempster will take the mound for the Rangers on Thursday night as they look to split the series against their rivals. He will face left-hander C.J. Wilson, who left Texas as a free agent in the offseason. "It was a great team effort from top to bottom," Texas' Michael Young said. "It was definitely a great win for us." Pujols had four RBIs to give him 1,400 for his career. Hunter and Callaspo each added two RBIs for Los Angeles. Yu Darvish started for the Rangers and equaled his season-high by allowing seven runs and walking six over five innings. Garrett Richards, who was starting in place of an ailing Dan Haren, gave up five runs and nine hits before he was chased with two outs in the sixth. The Angels led 7-1 before the Rangers rallied with four in the fifth and one in the eighth. David Murphy, who was 3 for 3 and reached base five times, had an RBI single in the eighth that closed the gap to 7-6. This was Texas' largest comeback since a six-run rally Aug. 13, 2010, against the Red Sox. The Angels scored six runs on only two hits in their third-inning outburst. They benefited from four walks, an error and Darvish's poor throw on a fielder's choice as 10 men came to the plate. Pujols lined a 1-1 pitch from Darvish into the Angels bullpen -- the first hit for Los Angeles in the game -- to make it 4-0. After two more walks in the third, Callaspo doubled in a pair to make it 6-0. NOTES: Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Wednesday. Team physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the operation. .... With temperatures over 100 degrees, the Angels limited their pregame work outside. Manager Mike Scioscia said his players only spent about 25 minutes outside taking fielding and batting practice, which is about 20 minutes less than average. ... After three games batting fifth, Rangers CF Josh Hamilton was moved in the third slot Wednesday and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts.

Futures Game pitcher Dylan Cease on loaded White Sox farm system: 'There's so much talent that you almost take it for granted'

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USA TODAY

Futures Game pitcher Dylan Cease on loaded White Sox farm system: 'There's so much talent that you almost take it for granted'

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A couple weeks ago, Dylan Cease was sitting in the stands charting pitches during a Birmingham Barons game when White Sox director of player development Chris Getz came over and said, “I just want to let you know …”

Inside his head, Cease immediately had a flashback to last July and the time the Cubs informed him he’d been dealt to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade.

“Did I just get traded again?” Cease thought to himself.

Fortunately, that’s not what this conversation was about.

“And then (Getz) said, ‘You’re going to the Futures Game,’ and I was kind of speechless and I just said thank you,” Cease recalled.

Playing in this All-Star showcase with some of the best prospects in baseball had been a goal for Cease ever since he started watching the game as a kid.

Now one of the best young pitchers in the minor leagues, Cease has even bigger plans for his baseball career, like reaching the big leagues and dominating there like he has since coming over from the Cubs.

At Class A Winston-Salem, Cease went 9-2 with a 2.89 ERA. Since getting called up to Double-A Birmingham, he’s 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts, but he’s given up only one earned run in his last two games.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn says that Cease has developed at such a rate that he’s exceeded their expectations this year. Cease might feel the same way.

“In terms of growth, which is really what the minor leagues is for, I came into the year not that confident with some of my off-speed (pitches),” Cease said. “And now I feel like I can throw anything at any time, so I’m really happy with the progress.”

Ask coaches, teammates and scouts about Cease, and they always point to two things: his velocity (which frequently hits 98 and 99) and his composure.

The velocity is a God-given gift. The composure is something he’s picked up along the way.

“I’ve been watching the best pitchers in baseball since I was a little kid. You see how most of them act, guys like Corey Kluber and Justin Verlander, who whether they’re up five or down five you’d never know,” Cease explained. “To me, that’s the most intimidating thing when a guy looks like he’s just going to take care of business and give everything he’s got. I try to be the same way.”

The trades of Quintana, Chris Sale and Adam Eaton kickstarted the White Sox rebuild. Add in some strong drafts, and the minor league system is currently stacked.

Cease knows first-hand.

“There’s so much talent that you almost take it for granted when you play with them everyday, there’s that much talent,” Cease said.

Who stands out?

“Joel Booker is the most underrated guy we have. Micker Adolfo, when that dude connects with a baseball it sounds like a shotgun is going off the bat.”

White Sox prospect Luis Basabe said before the game that he wanted to hit a homer in the Futures Game off Cease, his Barons teammate.

When I told this to Cease, he first responded like a good teammate, but by the end of his answer the competitor in him took over.

“That would be sick. I’m rooting for (Basabe). I want him to do well, if he gets it off me, I’m going to tip my cap. But I guarantee it’s not going to happen,” Cease said.

Instead, Basabe crushed a two-run homer off Reds prospect Hunter Greene deep into the right-field seats. The speed of the pitch was 102 mph.

This game might have been about the future, and at some point White Sox fans will be cheering for Cease and Basabe in Chicago. But until then, two of the White Sox best prospects are on a big stage here in the present. They know that eventually their time will come.

If the Futures Game tells us anything, it's that the White Sox outfield of the future is ridiculously deep

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USA TODAY

If the Futures Game tells us anything, it's that the White Sox outfield of the future is ridiculously deep

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just how deep is the White Sox outfield of the future?

The answer was embodied by the leadoff hitter in the Futures Game on Sunday afternoon in the nation’s capital.

Luis Alexander Basabe was one of two White Sox representatives in the prospect showcase held two days prior to baseball’s Midsummer Classic, along with pitcher Dylan Cease. And while Basabe was very deserving of the honor in the middle of a strong 2018 campaign — he blasted a two-run homer on a 102 mph pitch in the third inning — he’s not exactly the first name that comes to mind when running down the organization’s top prospects in the outfield.

MLB Pipeline ranks four outfielders — Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford and Micker Adolfo — ahead of Basabe on its list of White Sox prospects. And after Basabe come Ryan Cordell and Luis Gonzalez. And that’s before mentioning players outside the top 30 in the system, guys having big years like Joel Booker and Alex Call.

It makes for a lengthy list of possibilities to populate the outfield on the next contending White Sox squad.

“There’s a lot of players who have good ability, and that’s cool,” Basabe said Sunday. “I look at them, and I say, ‘They are good!’ And that makes me work more to be in the big leagues.”

That, of course, has been Rick Hahn’s goal all along during this rebuilding effort, to build as much depth throughout the farm system as possible.

That depth has been seemingly achieved among the organization’s starting-pitching corps, where Cease, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning have joined current big leaguers Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez as potential members of the rotation of the future.

The outfield, though, is equally loaded.

That depth is obvious with Basabe’s selection to the Futures Game. The White Sox are showing they deserve the title of one of baseball’s best farm systems when their No. 13 prospect is capable of reaching the game’s premier prospect event.

Of course, the other benefit of depth is tied to Basabe’s selection: It’s a heck of a safety net for the inevitable injuries that come with being a professional baseball player. Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo are all currently dealing with injuries of varying significance, with Adolfo out for the next eight to 10 months after having Tommy John surgery and Robert out for the second long stretch this season with a thumb injury.

No one is suggesting that these specific injuries will derail the careers of any of those three big talents. But being able to point to other young outfielders as backup plans is a key for any organization, especially one so focused on the future like the White Sox. Prospects succumbing to injuries or simply not reaching expectations is a reality of the game. But if such things should occur, the White Sox, at least, have quite the Plan Bs in the likes of Basabe, Rutherford, Gonzalez and more.

Take a look at the numbers the White Sox outfield prospects have put up this season.

— Jimenez: .313/.371/.541 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 65 with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte

— Robert: .293/.372/.373 with five extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 21 games with Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem

— Adolfo: .283/.368/.466 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 78 games with Class A Winston-Salem

— Rutherford: .305/.348/.468 with 30 extra-base hits and 60 RBIs in 75 games for Class A Winston-Salem

— Basabe: .256/.356/.447 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs in 80 games with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham

— Gonzalez: .300/.352/.478 with nine homers, 26 doubles and 38 RBIsin 75 games with Class A Kannapolis and Class A Winston-Salem

— Booker: .285/.364/.440 with seven homers, 55 runs scored and 27 RBIs in 74 games with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham

— Call: .251/.359/.407 with seven homers and 36 RBIs in 77 games with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham

That’s all very, very good news for the White Sox.

Back in spring training, Jimenez, Robert and Adolfo talked about their desire to arrive on the South Side at about the same time and make up the team’s outfield one day. Well, there’s a good chance that the three outfielders on the next contending White Sox team will come from the above list of names.

“There’s a lot of competition,” Basabe said. “We’re here, this is what it’s about. We’ve got to compete.”