KANSAS CITY -- Dylan Axelrod found himself in a familiar place when he entered Friday nightSaturday mornings marathon White Sox game.A little more than five years ago, Axelrod, then a pitcher at UC Irvine, was the only pitcher available for the Anteaters, who played Cal State-Fullerton.Just like the June 18, 2007 contest, Axelrod emerged victorious early Saturday after he delivered two scoreless innings in a 9-8 White Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals. Alexrod pitched 4 13 scoreless innings for Irvine in 2007,who prevailed in 5 hours, 40 minutes. The White Sox beat the Royals in a tidy 5:23.It was the same situation, Axelrod said. I pitched four innings and finished the game and I was like the last guy with no one else left.Axelrod threw 31 pitches in the White Sox second-half opener, which leaves his status for Tuesday in Boston up in the air. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Saturday hes not certain whether the team will start Axelrod of flip-flop him with Philip Humber, who is set to come off the disabled list and start on Wednesday.Its subject to change, but its pretty much the same right now, Ventura said. Especially with Axe going last night, seeing how hes feeling. (Swapping the pitchers is)possible right now. Again, were just going by how theyre feeling and setting them up.Axelrod said he had a strange feel in the seventh inning of Fridays game that he might be needed. After Hector Santiago recorded the final out of the 11th inning, Axelrod received approval from pitching coach Don Cooper to prepare, just in case.We had used quite a few guys already, Axelrod said. Just like weird thoughts started entering my mind, like it might happen. And then once Hector went in, I asked Coop, Should I go down there? You think you guys are going to need me? There were several times Ventura was certain the White Sox wouldnt be around long enough to need Axelrod. The White Sox had the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth inning but only forged a tie against Royals closer Jonathan Broxton.And White Sox relievers got out of several tricky situations, including Santiago retiring Mike Moustakas on a slow grounder in the 11 th inning with the bases loaded.I know we found ourselves defensively in situations where we didnt like the situation we were in, and somehow we got out of it, Ventura said. Thats part of the game I think is fun. Even though it doesnt look good. You can get out of it. Theres no clock for them to run it out.
That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.
Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.
“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.
“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.
“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”
Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.
Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.
“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”
In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.
As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.
Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.
After taking batting practice for the first time with the White Sox, number-one pick Jake Burger sat down with Chuck Garfien to talk about getting drafted by his favorite team, what it was like getting a phone call from Paul Konerko, why he wants to be a leader like Jonathan Toews, playing on Team USA with Seth Beer and more.
Then CSN's Dan Hayes joins Garfien to discuss the return of Carlos Rodon, when the White Sox might start making trades, and Rick Renteria's short temper with umpires.
Listen here to ketchup with top prospect Jake Burger: