Comeback falls short as Sox drop series to Astros

789228.png

Comeback falls short as Sox drop series to Astros

Philip Humbers woes continue.

Despite a nine-strikeout performance, Humber surrendered three home runs and couldnt get out of the sixth inning as the Sox fell 11-9 to Houston on Sunday in the series finale at U.S. Cellular Field.

The Sox dropped the three-game series after allowing a season-high 11 runs, including four home runs. Houston hit eight home runs in the series.

Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Orlando Hudson each hit home runs for the Sox, who finished 4-5 on their nine-game homestand. Jose Altuve and Justin Maxwell homered and drove in three runs for the Astros.

Humber pitched 5 13 innings, allowing six hits, five earned runs and two walks. He hasnt won at home in almost a year. His last victory at U.S. Cellular Field came June 12, 2011.

Former Sox farmhand Lucas Harrell gave the Astros a solid start in his return to U.S. Cellular Field. Harrell improved to 6-4 after giving up five runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in 7 13 innings.

Humber ran into trouble right at the start of the second. J.D. Martinez led off with a 389-foot home run to left field. Humber walked the next batter, Brett Wallace, who advanced to second on a passed ball.

Wallace scored on a two-out single by Justin Maxwell to give the Astros an early 2-0 lead.

But Humber got into a groove for a bit after the rough inning. He retired the next seven batters as the Sox rallied to take their only lead of the day. Of those seven outs, six were by strikeout, including the last five consecutive.

The Sox tied it with two runs in the third after Alexei Ramirez led off with a single followed by a walk to Tyler Flowers. They both advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Orlando Hudson.

Ramirez came home on a single by Alejandro De Aza. Flowers scored when a Gordon Beckham ground ball went through the legs of Chris Johnson at third and everybody was safe.

The potential for a big inning fizzled quickly as Dunn fouled out to Johnson and Konerko lined out to right, keeping it tied 2-2.

Some small ball helped the Sox take a 3-2 lead in the fourth. Alex Rios led off with a single and then stole second base. He went to third on a wild pitch by Lucas Harrell before scoring on a Ramirez sacrifice fly.

The lead was short-lived as the Astros roughed up Humber again in the fifth. Brian Bogusevic singled to start the inning ahead of a 461-foot crushing home run by Maxwell. The ball landed in the second deck just below the terrace suite. The home run withstood a video replay.

Humbers afternoon ended in the sixth shortly after giving up his third home run -- and second to start an inning. This time it was Wallace, who connected for his second home run of the series and season.

After Johnson followed with a single, Humber left for Nate Jones as the Astros kept rolling. By the time the inning ended Houston added three more runs to take a 9-3 lead.

Dunn homered to lead off the sixth for Chicago. The 407-foot blast was his 20th of the season, but did little to rally the Sox.

A two-out walk by Zach Stewart hurt as Houston tacked on two more runs in the eighth with their fourth home run of the game. Jose Altuve hit this one as the Astros became the first team to score more than 10 runs against the Sox this season.

Konerko got the Sox closer with a two-run home run in the eighth, his 12th of the season and first since May 27. Hudson then struck for his first home run with the Sox, a three-run shot to right in the ninth.

After an off-day, the Sox begin a six-game road trip Tuesday in St. Louis.

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

Carlos Rodon slated for MRI, could start season on disabled list with bicep tightness

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Rodon was scratched from a Friday start with tightness in his upper left bicep, and it could land him on the disabled list to start the 2017 season.

General manager Rick Hahn said on Friday that the team's initial exam of their third-year starter was "positive." But the White Sox intend to be extremely cautious with Rodon, who is headed to have an MRI instead of starting against the Oakland A's in Mesa. Hahn said Rodon also is likely to have a second opinion early next week.

"We're going to err on the side of caution here, even if it winds up costing him his first couple starts because we're slowing down the schedule now by scratching him," Hahn said. "It's too early to speculate how long we're going to be without Carlos. I hate to speculate, but since we are slowing down his schedule by having him miss the start today, the odds are probably that he starts the season on the DL. But again we'll know more after he takes his further exams."

Rodon informed the White Sox he felt some tightness in his bicep on Thursday, at which point they examined him. The team's exam suggested Rodon has no structural damage, Hahn said.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Free of worry, Rodon requested to make his start against Oakland, but the team declined and opted for a second opinion. Zach Putnam will start and pitch one inning instead.

With the intent of helping him reach the 200-inning mark this season, the White Sox took a slower route with Rodon this spring, similar to the way they handled Chris Sale last year.

Rodon went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA in 28 starts last season, striking out 168 batters in 165 innings.

Rodon has done most of his work this February and March on back fields and in simulated games. He made his first Cactus League appearance against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday and struck out five in four scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and walked one.

Hahn said the injury could land Rodon on the DL to start the season as the White Sox intend to make sure the left-hander is healthy and prepared to return.