White Sox, minus Quintana, open second half vs. Mariners
CHICAGO — A familiar face no longer will be in the Chicago White Sox’s clubhouse when the team opens the second half of the season with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners starting Friday night in Chicago.
On Thursday, the White Sox sent shockwaves through the Windy City by trading left-hander Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for four minor league prospects, including prized outfielder Eloy Jimenez. The deal marked the first trade between the crosstown rivals since 2006.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has made no secret of his willingness to trade veterans for prospects as part of a long-term rebuilding project. In the meantime, Chicago (38-49) will continue to rely on a patchwork of young players and proven veterans during the season’s second half.
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The weekend offers an opportunity for Seattle (43-47) to move on from a disappointing end to the first half. The Mariners lost 10 of their final 14 games before the All-Star break and slipped into fourth place in the American League West.
Left-hander James Paxton (7-3, 3.21 ERA) will take the mound for Seattle in the series opener. The 28-year-old has won back-to-back decisions with strong performances against the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics. He has 91 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings on the season.
In two career starts against the White Sox, Paxton is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA. He has walked one and struck out nine in 11 1/3 innings. This will be his first start against Chicago this year.
Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto wants to see more from all of his players in the second half.
“We have underperformed, truly,” Dipoto told the Seattle Times. “Particularly over the course of the last couple of weeks. We just haven’t played well, and we are at probably our most, the longest stretch of positive health that we’ve had since Opening Day, and we’ve played perhaps as poorly as we’ve played all year long over the course of the last two weeks.”
For Chicago, right-hander James Shields (2-1, 4.95 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season. The 35-year-old has allowed 17 earned runs in his last 19 1/3 innings since coming off the disabled list in June.
This contest will mark Shields’ 18th career start against the Mariners. In his previous 17 outings, he possesses a career record of 5-6 with a 4.51 ERA. He has not faced Seattle this season.
The White Sox enter Friday’s series opener in last place in the AL Central. Only the Oakland Athletics (50 losses) have a worse record than Chicago in the AL.
Hahn said it was difficult to part ways with Quintana, who emerged as a quiet leader in recent seasons and inherited the role of team ace after left-hander Chris Sale was shipped to the Boston Red Sox.
“It is always extremely difficult to trade a person and player like Jose Quintana,” Hahn said in a statement provided by the White Sox after the trade. “But difficult as it was, this deal moves us closer to our goal of building a team capable of contending for multiple championships over an extended period of time. Jose, our scouts and coaches throughout the organization deserve a tremendous amount of credit for his development from a minor league free agent signee to one of the most sought-after talents in the game.”