Gordon Beckham hasnt felt terrible or lost at the platethis season. He just feels frustrated.The White Sox second baseman will carry a .231 battingaverage into Fridays series opener against the Los Angeles Angels. But Beckham-- who hit .188 with four RBIs in July -- thinks his average should besignificantly better.Ive felt like Im up there battling, doing the rightthing, putting the ball in play and putting the ball in play hard sometimes,Beckham said. I dont feel like Ive gotten what I deserved, but thatsbaseball. Tough luck.The numbers suggest Beckham has in fact suffered some badluck this season. Beckham is hitting .254 on balls in play this season -- afigure that counts only at-bats that dont result in strikeouts and home runs.His career average has dropped to .280 on balls in play. But Beckham's BABIP has been .297, .290 and .276 in three previousseasons. One area where Beckham has improved significantly -- andpart of the reason for his frustration -- is his strikeout rate. Last season,Beckham struck out once every 4.49 at-bats. This season, hes only striking outonce every 6.40 at-bats.This year more than any year Ive felt like Ive hit theball well and not had (results), Beckham said. Last year was a bad year. Ididnt feel comfortable at the plate. It was almost like whatever hit I got Iwas thankful to get. This year I do feel comfortable and Im doing a lot ofthings right and thats the part where you want to pull your hair out becauseyou expect to have better results.His offensive numbers havent affected his defensive ones. Beckham has combined with shortstop Alexei Ramirez to givethe White Sox one of the best double play combinations in the American League. He could have easily shut down, but he hasnt, hittingcoach Jeff Manto said. Some guys if theyre not hitting, theyre not playingdefense. But he separates the game extremely well. Every day hes working. Imnot going to tell you hes not frustrated, but he doesnt wear it on the field.Beckham insists the way he deals with frustration hasnt improvedwith experience. The fourth-year starter said it might actually make it harderfor him to try and fight through the difficulty. But he also said he hasnt yetgiven up on the season and attaining his goals.It has not become easier, Beckham said. Ive kind ofleaned pretty heavy on my faith this year, that Im continuing to be humbled.For whatever reason it hasnt really gone my way when it could have. You keepon battling. We have two months left and thats a lot of time, 50, 55 gameswhere I know Im capable of putting up every number I thought I was going toput up this year. I believe I can get there.
Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.
In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.
Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.
“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."
Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.
“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."
Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.
“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”
Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.
Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.
In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:
Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent
That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings.
"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."
On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field.
"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."
Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.
Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.
The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.
Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.