White Sox

Manny Banuelos' IL stay sounds like it might be brief, though that only slightly eases White Sox starting-pitching concerns

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USA TODAY

Manny Banuelos' IL stay sounds like it might be brief, though that only slightly eases White Sox starting-pitching concerns

Over the course of the last 24 hours, the possibility of Manny Banuelos making his next scheduled start against the Houston Astros on Monday night became an impossibility.

The White Sox placed the starting pitcher on the injured list ahead of Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. It's Banuelos' 13th career trip to the injured list, a bummer of a note in its own right. But the more pressing issue for the White Sox is who will make that start Monday night.

The team's problem with starting-pitching depth has been well chronicled to this point, hence the mystery. The good news for the White Sox is that both Banuelos and manager Rick Renteria seemed confident that Banuelos' stay on the IL wouldn't be lengthy, Banuelos saying he might miss just one start. And so maybe it's just a bullpen day Monday night, when the White Sox play the first of four games against the best team in the American League.

"Hopefully I can come back soon," Banuelos said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "Obviously, I'll lose my next outing. But probably that's the only one. Right after the game, they performed an MRI on my shoulder, and everything came clean. That gave me the confidence that it's nothing really serious or bad. Right now, I think it's just inflammation. We're working on it."

Renteria refused to elaborate on any options Friday, sticking with his typical approach when a starting-pitching vacancy pops up: The White Sox haven't made a decision yet, but they'll have one by Monday.

The options, though, aren't many, which is why this is of more interest than finding a spot starter normally would be.

It's not going to be Dylan Cease, much to the chagrin of White Sox fans who want the organization's top-ranked healthy pitching prospect up yesterday. Despite a nice start to his season at Triple-A Charlotte, Cease's major league readiness will be determined independently of any needs at the big league level. That's the way things go in the thick of a rebuild and in a season where the major league squad isn't expected to contend for a playoff spot. Why jeopardize Cease's development and production over the course of the next five years for a few more wins this year?

Perhaps the White Sox turn to Ross Detwiler, the 33-year-old they plucked out of independent ball who struck out 10 guys in six one-run innings in his first start for Charlotte on Tuesday night. He's made just one major league appearance since 2016, but at this very second he's looking like a far more preferable choice than the rest of Charlotte's banged-up and roughed-up rotation.

But Banuelos' potentially brief stay on the IL might make a simple bullpen day the most realistic course of action. Only in the event of an elongated stint on the injured list would a more permanent replacement be necessary.

Though they might have dodged a bullet, the White Sox are hardly off the hook, as the idiom train steams down the track. Banuelos' performance has made him an easy target for complaining fans, who quickly tired of him after he put up a 9.15 ERA and allowed nine homers in his five starts. And while the White Sox are hardly ready to pull the plug on a guy they liked enough to trade for him over the offseason, under-performance could blow a hole in the starting staff just as easily, if not as quickly, as an injury could.

Should Banuelos' struggles continue, or should he or another one of the current five-man rotation require a lengthy stay on the IL, where would the White Sox turn? Detwiler seems a possibility after just one start in Triple-A, though his attractiveness could change with one outing that shoots his numbers as high as those of his new rotation-mates in Charlotte.

Carlos Rodon will be sidelined for more than a year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Cease will be here eventually, but not immediately. And so the starting staff's job is to hold on and bridge the gap between Rodon's injury-induced departure and Cease's arrival, because there are few to no options in the minor leagues.

Banuelos' injury came just one day into that timeframe. So, pardon the unintentional pun, but things are not off to a good start.

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MLB The Show: White Sox work around early trouble, comeback to beat Royals

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MLB THE SHOW

MLB The Show: White Sox work around early trouble, comeback to beat Royals

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Royals 10-6
Record: 30-31, 3rd in AL Central (2.5 GB of Twins)

W: Dane Dunning (1-0)
L: Eric Skoglund (3-6)

Game summary: The White Sox' start to a week facing the two bottom-feeders in the AL Central got off to a promising start, though it didn’t appear to be the case early in the opener vs the Royals.

Lucas Giolito was in a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the first and was on the verge of escaping it unharmed. But with two outs, Nick Madrigal made an errant throw to first base that allowed two runs to score. Then, Maikel Franco slapped a two-run single to center and just like that, the Sox were down 4-0.

The South Siders delivered a steady supply of offense the entire night, however. Nomar Mazara immediately halved the deficit with a two-run double in the top of the second. Tim Anderson and Yasmani Grandal each recorded two-run singles in the fifth to put the Sox ahead 7-4. Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion provided insurance by each hitting their 18th home run of the season.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 2-3, HR (18), 2 RBI, R (.328 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 0-6 (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 0-3, 2 BB, R (.257 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4, 2B, BB, 2 R (.256 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-4, HR (18), 2 RBI, 3 R (.313 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, 2 RBI, R (.294 BA)
Luis Robert: 2-5 (.239 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-5, 2 RBI, R (.325 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI, R (.251 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Bottom first

Ryan O’Hearn reached on error by second baseman, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier scored. 2-0 KC.
Maikel Franco singled to center, Jorge Soler and O’Hearn scored. 4-0 KC.

Top second

Nomar Mazara doubled to right field, Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal scored. 4-2 KC.

Top fourth

Edwin Encarnacion singled to center field, Mazara scored. 4-3 KC.

Top fifth

Tim Anderson singled to center field, Yoan Moncada and Madrigal scored. 5-4 CHW.
Grandal singled to right field, Abreu and Tim Anderson scored. 7-4 CHW.

Bottom fifth

O’Hearn homered to center field, Salvador Perez scored. 7-6 CHW.

Top sixth

Abreu homered to left field, Madrigal scored. 9-6 CHW.

Top seventh

Encarnacion homered to center field. 10-6 CHW.

Notable performance: Don’t even bother trying to get Grandal out right now, because it just isn’t happening. After Tuesday’s three-hit performance, Grandal is 9-for-12 in his last three games with two home runs and seven RBIs. He’s batting .325 (9th in AL), has 54 RBIs (second) and a 4.9 WAR (first.).

Next game: Wednesday, June 3 - Game 62: White Sox at Royals (Dallas Keuchel, 2-5, 7.18 ERA vs Jakob Junis, 0-5, 5.93 ERA) 

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Hope in a bad time with Laurence Holmes, Tim Anderson

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hope in a bad time with Laurence Holmes, Tim Anderson

As the country faces tough times not only with the pandemic but the many demonstrations of protest against police brutality, it's time we had a real discussion on the issues.

Chuck Garfien is joined by Laurence Holmes to discuss the murder of George Floyd, and the reactions. Later on, Tim Anderson joins to discuss what he's doing to get involved to help create change.

(5:44) - Getting justice for George Floyd

(14:06) - How to get police reform

(22:00) - How to be a good ally

(29:25) - Laurence getting emotional on the radio

(41:10) - Tim Anderson on the protest in Chicago

(49:10) - Trying to remain positive during this time

Listen here or below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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