Chris Sale

Union ‘monitoring’ LaRoche case, no decision on grievance

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The head of the Major League Baseball players’ union said Saturday there’s no decision yet on whether to file a grievance on behalf of Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche.

The 36-year-old LaRoche retired on Tuesday after he said he was told by the team president to cut down on clubhouse access for his 14-year-old son.

“I think what you’ve seen is everyone trying to get a feel for what happened here and what tomorrow may look like,” union chief Tony Clark said after a meeting with San Diego Padres players at spring training. “All I can tell you is we’re monitoring what’s going on.”

Clark said he’s been in contact with LaRoche, but he deflected a question of whether the union knows if LaRoche had a verbal agreement with the White Sox to allow his son, Drake, to be around the team.

Clark did say the union is interested in separate rules and policies set by clubs, especially if they violate baseball’s labor contract.

“We are interested in those, particularly when we find out about them,” Clark said. “And we’re always concerned about any individual agreement violates the collective bargaining agreement as a whole. That’s where we end up engaging in conversations where we may not otherwise, when it has the potential to affect a much larger group.”

LaRoche posted a statement to his Twitter account on Friday saying that after he signed his two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox before the 2015 season, “we reached an agreement” that would allow his son to spend time with the team.

LaRoche said while he hit just .207 with 12 homers last season, there was never a problem with his son being around the team.

But LaRoche said White Sox executive Kenny Williams recently told him to scale back the time his son spent in the clubhouse, and later “I was told told not to bring him to the ballpark at all.”

LaRoche instead chose to retire, walking away from $13 million owed this season.

White Sox ace Chris Sale and other teammates have come to LaRoche’s defense. Sale has hung Drake’s uniform outside his locker at spring training. Sale later accused Williams of lying to the team about the reasons for the move.

Clark acknowledged “there are strong opinions” about the situation, but said the union needed to gather more information.

Video: Carlos Santana crushes a grand slam off of Chris Sale

Chris Sale
AP Photo
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White Sox starter Chris Sale has had better Fridays. The lefty, already down 2-0, saw the Indians go up 6-0 in the third inning when first baseman Carlos Santana crushed a grand slam to left field. The Indians had hit three singles, drawn a walk, and had a base runner reach on a Carlos Sanchez fielding error leading up to Santana’s smooth slam.

Thus continues Sale’s inconsistent season. It’s the fifth time this season, in 29 starts, that Sale has allowed five-plus runs in a start. He didn’t do it once last season.

Sale entered the start with a 3.55 ERA and a 250/37 K/BB ratio over 187 2/3 innings. He was one of several pre-season favorites to win the American League Cy Young Award.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Justin Verlander
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Tigers 5, Angels 0: How Justin Got His Groove Back. Verlander, that is, who took a no-hitter into the ninth inning and ended up with a complete game, one-hit shutout. Back when I profiled Verlander here at HBT he was struggling mightily. In his last four starts he has given up one earned run in 29 innings. In six of his last seven starts he has given up either zero or one earned run. It’s too late to save the Tigers’ season, but there is no real path back to respectability and competitiveness for the Tigers without Justin Verlander pitching like an ace. To see him doing it once again has got to be encouraging.

Astros 6, Yankees 2: Two homers for Gattis as the Astros take the series. They now have one more win than they had all of last year. And, indeed, more wins with a month and change to play in 2015 than they had in any season dating back to 2010.

Mariners 8, Athletics 2: Felix Hernandez has had a pretty miserable August but he won his 15th here after allowing two runs in eight innings. Then again, he always seems to dominate the A’s. Nelson Cruz drove in three. He leads the league in homers is 39 and is only a few points behind Jason Kipnis for the batting title. The RBI title is probably a stretch for him — he can blame teammates for not being on base too much for that — but it’ll be hilarious if he wins 2/3 of the Triple Crown and finishes, like, fifth or sixth in the MVP voting.

Padres 6, Nationals 5: Justin Upton homered twice. He’s on pace for a 28 homer, 90 RBI season with a less-than-amazing average and a lowish OBP for a guy who is the biggest threat in lineup. In other words: the Platonic ideal of a Justin Upton season. The Nats are now 6.5 back of the Mets. It’s getting late boys.

Mets 9, Phillies 4: Seven scoreless innings from Bartolo Colon and a nice night from Michael Cuddyer, including a moon shot homer. The Mets have won eight straight over the Phillies, 11 of their last 12 against them this year and 23 of 28 against them over the past couple of seasons. Time to change the Wikipedia page from “Owner: Phillies limited partnership (John S. Middleton, Jim & Pete Buck,David Montgomery, Pat Gillick)” to “New York Mets.”

Indians 6, Brewers 2: Just glancing at “Indians Brewers” I got a shot of nostalgia for the old American League East. Oh well. Jason Kipnis homered and drove in three. Toby Harrah, Andre Thornton, Ben Oglivie and Don Money were unavailable for comment.

Rockies 6, Braves 3: Braves: you are only four games ahead of the Phillies, who are dead last in Major League Baseball. I would never advocate tanking for a draft pick, but I’m not gonna advocate NOT tanking for a draft pick either. Now, I’m gonna leave these suggested lineups and strategies on the table. Then I’m gonna leave the room. Whatever you do with them is your business and I don’t even want to know. Just know that they’re there and that whatever it is you decide to do, I will still love and respect you. Godspeed.

Dodgers 7, Reds 4: Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig homered during a five-run fourth inning and the Dodgers’ bullpen slipped out of jams. From the game story:

Even though the Dodgers’ bullpen went into the game with the 13th-worst combined ERA in the National League, manager Don Mattingly doesn’t think it’s that bad.

“Things are never as bad as they seem or as good as they seem,” Mattingly said.

That’s pretty zen for a guy from Indiana.

Pirates 7, Marlins 2: Andrew McCutchen homered and drove in four. In April he hit .194 and his OPS was .636. OPS by month since then: .985, .933, .914, 1.088. Bryce Harper has had the better overall year and he has the age advantage, but at the moment McCutchen is the best all-around player in the National League and it ain’t even close, regardless of what he did in April.

Twins 5, Rays 3: Two homers for Eduardo Escobar as the Twins win again. If the season ended today they’d be the second wild card team, which is pretty wild. So much of this is attributable to young guys coming up and playing great right out of the gate, but you have to figure Paul Molitor wins Manager of the Year, right?

Blue Jays 12, Rangers 4: Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam. He has a 21-game hitting streak now. David Price allowed two runs over six innings for his 13th win. Price is 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA with a 41/7 K/BB ratio in 36 and a third innings since being traded to Toronto.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 0: Sox win. Rick Porcello returned and tossed seven shutout innings, outdueling Chris Sale. You’ve got serious problems to begin with if you bet on baseball, but if you did bet on baseball last night I imagine taking the White Sox over Boston given that matchup looked pretty enticing. Thoughts, prayers to my degenerate gambler friends.

Orioles 8, Royals 5: Wow, the Orioles scored some runs. I had forgotten they could do that. After scoring 15 runs in their past six games, all losses, they broke out big here with two-run homers from Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop. Schoop’s may still be flying. It was beeping like Sputnik and entered orbit just slightly lower.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 1: John Lackey allowed a run on seven hits and struck out four. His defense turned three double plays behind him, continuing what they did against Arizona on Tuesday night.

Giants 4, Cubs 2: Jake Peavy and the Giants end the Cubs’ six-game winning streak. Nori Aoki hit a homer as the Giants arrest a slide and win for the second time in seven games. The Dodgers can be had. The Giants have blown their chances to get ’em so far. But they could do it.

Chris Sale notches his 12th double-digit strikeout game of the season

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 21:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the fourth inning at Safeco Field on August 21, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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White Sox ace Chris Sale is a strikeout machine. After fanning 15 batters against the Cubs last Sunday, the southpaw struck out 14 batters over seven innings last night as part of an 11-4 win over the Mariners.

Sale held the Mariners scoreless over the first six innings before giving up a three-run homer to Mark Trumbo in the seventh. It was the lone blemish in another dominating outing. He allowed just four hits and one walk while amassing 22 swinging strikes.

Sale now has 12 double-digit strikeout games in his 24 starts this season. He leads the majors with 222 strikeouts over 164 1/3 innings. He projects to get around eight more starts this season, so he still has a chance at 300 strikeouts. No pitcher has reached 300 strikeouts in a season since Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) each got there in 2002 while pitching for the Diamondbacks.

Settling the Scores: Sunday’s results

Chris Sale
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A lot of really amazing performances yesterday. Madison Bumgarner was a one-man gang, homering and tossing a 14-strikeout shutout. Zack Greinke also homered and outdueled Anthony DeSclafani of the Reds. Chris Sale struck out 15, but didn’t homer. He may claim it was because he was playing in an American League home park and there was a DH, but maybe he just didn’t want it bad enough. Shelby Miller had a no-hitter into the eighth, but didn’t even get a win. That’s a fine how-do-you-do. At least the Braves won the game on a Cameron Maybin walkoff.

And then there the leaders in the National League East. The Mets got swept by the Pirates. But that’s OK as far as the standings go because the Nationals got swept by the Giants for their sixth straight loss and eighth loss in their last ten games. They’re under .500 now. The NL East: not-so-impressive.

Apologies for no full And That Happened today. It’s my kids’ first day of school and they’re old enough now to where I can truly embarrass them in front of their friends while I take pictures and stuff so there’s a lot on my plate this A.M. Here are the rest of yesterday’s results, with box scores and recaps here.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1
Pirates 8, Mets 1
Orioles 18, Athletics 2
Mariners 10, Red Sox 8
Braves 2, Diamondbacks 1
White Sox 3, Cubs 1
Brewers 6, Phillies 1
Twins 4, Indians 1
Astros 6, Tigers 5
Marlins 6, Cardinals 4
Ranger 5, Rays 3
Giants 5, Nationals 0
Dodgers 2, Reds 1
Rockies 5, Padres 0
Royals 4, Angels 3