White Sox

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

So often in this rebuilding season, Rick Renteria has talked of "learning moments," and as is evident from the team's win-loss numbers and many other statistics, those "learning moments" have largely ended in negative results.

It's not to say the lessons haven't been valuable ones, and growing pains now could lead to big-time success down the road, when the White Sox shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

But Tuesday night in Detroit, one young player, a significant piece of the team's long-term plans, succeeded in such a moment. And it looked like a step forward for a guy who's called himself one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball this season.

Lucas Giolito looked like he was heading for another disappointing outing early, when he relinquished a three-run lead in the first inning, allowing three runs that grew his first-inning ERA on the season to 8.63. But he settled down nicely from there, allowing just two base runners over the next four innings and allowing the White Sox to jump back ahead, which they did, leading 6-3 by the time Giolito's biggest challenge came around.

The Tigers loaded the bases to start the bottom of the sixth, putting three on with nobody out for Giolito, who has been susceptible to the big inning often this season, including in his previous start, when he gave up six runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees.

Renteria could've pulled the plug there and brought in a fresh reliever to try and limit the damage and keep his team's three-run lead alive. Instead, he allowed Giolito to stay in — another example of certain developmental things being more important than wins and losses this season — and the right-hander rewarded him. Giolito got a shallow flyball, a strikeout and a popup on the infield to end the inning with no runs scoring.

Giolito was obviously happy about that, and cameras showed him sharing a smile with Renteria in the dugout.

The White Sox won the game and now have a 6-2 record in Giolito's last eight starts. They're .500 (12-12) in his 24 starts this season, an interesting note, if not a terribly meaningful one, considering the team's overall record is 33 games below the .500 mark.

These "learning moments" have defined this developmental season on the South Side, and often they've come with the caveat of growing pains and the promise of a better tomorrow, despite a somewhat painful present.

This moment, though, came with a very visible sign of things moving in the right direction for Giolito. It doesn't mean Giolito will take off from here. But it's a good sign and something the White Sox have to be happy about as Giolito continues to develop at the major league level.

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

Did the Yankees just copy the White Sox in their quest to sign Manny Machado?

"It's a copycat league," you'll often hear. And now the White Sox are getting copied. Kind of.

The White Sox raised a few eyebrows last weekend with their surprising trade for Yonder Alonso. Alonso, acquired from the Cleveland Indians, brings a ton of positives to the 2019 and 2020 White Sox. Their lineup needed a boost, and he gives it one. Their clubhouse needed some more veteran leadership, and he brings that. He allows Jose Abreu to take better care of his body and could have long-term benefit as a positive influence on young players.

But everyone looked past all that and noticed that he also happens to be Manny Machado's brother-in-law.

Machado is one of the two free-agent superstars the White Sox are pursuing, along with Bryce Harper, and the popular opinion on social media was that the South Siders brought in Alonso to help with their pitch to Machado. Heck, they announced the trade just two days before Monday's meeting with Machado.

Rick Hahn shot down all that, saying this was a baseball move, and the benefits of Alonso's arrival, independent of his relationship with Machado, are listed above.

But now the New York Yankees, just two days before their meeting with Machado, have gone and done something similar, hiring Carlos Beltran as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. Why is it similar to the White Sox acquisition of Alonso? Machado's agent used to represent Beltran.

If it's not coming through, this all a bit joking, of course. Hahn had a laundry list of reasons the White Sox traded for Alonso, and Beltran has his own appeal to any team after his lengthy big league career and his recent role as a veteran leader with the Houston Astros during their championship season.

But the coincidences — or conspiracies, if you will — are a little fun to point out.

Alonso and Beltran are assets to their respective teams. But if they can help sway Machado, well that will go down as a nice added benefit.

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Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

Top White Sox stories of 2018: Adam Engel's week of home-run robberies

As the new year approaches, we're counting down the top White Sox stories from 2018.

Somewhat quietly, Adam Engel was a Gold Glove finalist in center field this fall.

But he had one week in August that was anything but quiet, and that week alone might have put him in the running for the annual fielding award.

In the span of seven days, Engel made a trio of jaw-dropping home-run robberies against the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians.

First, on Aug. 6, he stole one away from Yankees hitter Greg Bird.

He followed that up the very next night, with this robbery of a home run off the bat of Kyle Higashioka. This theft came right near the "The Catch" sign in center field and brought to memory Dewayne Wise, who made, under the circumstances, the best catch that Hawk Harrelson had ever seen.

White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez really appreciated that one.

"I just wanted to take off my glove," he said through a team translator that day, "and go out there and kiss him."

And if that wasn't enough, Engel stole the show (literally) in the Sunday afternoon game Aug. 12, this thievery of Indians slugger Yonder Alonso — now one of Engel's White Sox teammates — the best of the bunch.

While Engel's offensive production has been slow to come along, his defensive ability has never been questioned, and spectacular plays like this show how valuable his glove can be to the White Sox moving forward.

"That’s something I take a lot of pride in, show up every day and trying to help the team win in any way that I can," Engel said that Sunday. "Defensively, it’s something I know I can count on. Just make sure to try to work on that every day. Make sure I stay sharp, and offensively hopefully I can get it going."

A season's worth of high-quality defense got him the title of Gold Glove finalist, but this week in August surely brought his skill to the attention of the baseball world.

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