Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 1 – Astros 6

Game 2: White Sox 4 – Astros 9

Game 3: White Sox 12 – Astros 6

Game 4: White Sox 1 – Astros 10

 

So after all that, the Sox season ends the exact same way it did almost 12 months ago with the team winning one measly postseason game mostly due to the fact that their starting pitching couldn’t get it done. Lance McCullers almost singlehandedly pitched more innings than the White Sox starters combined (granted it may have cost him his UCL joint, but I digress), and the Sox managed a whopping 2 runs off him.

We were told at the beginning of the season that the whole reason Tony LaRussa was brought in was so he could provide the type of playoff experience the previous manager couldn’t. If he was making some amazing tactical decisions from the dugout, I don’t think the message made it to the field. He actually set the tone pretty early by pinch hitting for Adam Engel in game 1 with Leury Garcia, a move which bore fruit for the Astros not a half inning later when Leury took the kind of path to a Carlos Correa line drive that’s normally associated with roadside sobriety tests.

We got to watch the Sox offense pound the ball into the dirt thanks to the brilliant philosophy of one Frank Menechino, who “doesn’t give a fuck” about home runs but apparently loves his team having the 3rd highest ground ball ratio in the entire league, behind such luminaries as the Texas Rangers (84 wRC+) and the Washington Nationals (So good they traded Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers).

The only deadline acquisition that worked for Rick Hahn was Ryan Tepera, and he’s the only one who should be brought back in the off-season. Craig Kimbrel will have his option picked up and traded to a different contender so he can resume being lights out, and the less said about Caesar Hernandez the better.

So the same issues the team had last December will be the same fucking issues they’ll have this December, mostly because of their skinflint owner (who in true Chicago Tradition will either have to sell the team or die for anything to change) refuses to spend the money to fill the necessary holes.

Instead we’re left with another fall watching teams that know how to operate play in the postseason, wondering what professional baseball would be like on the South Side if the GM had full autonomy to make the moves necessary to create a true monster of a baseball team. Instead we’ll get Rick Hahn in December talking about how Aristides Aquino is going to finally put it all together for the Sox next year.

I tried taking a few days off before writing this to see if I’d get “less angry” as time went on, and the opposite happened. So I’m gonna maybe take a month off or so and see what the winter meetings bring before I come back and write anything else.

Thanks to all of you who hung with us this season, it was (mostly) fun for me and I hope you enjoyed some of the content. Thanks to the FFUD brain trust for letting me write pretty much whatever I wanted and whenever I was able to do so this year. At least now I get to look forward to writing about the Blackhawks, which I’m sure will definitely not be frustrating at all.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Reds 1 – White Sox 7

Game 2: Reds 1 – White Sox 6

 

In a 2 game stint against a team clinging to playoff contention with a single fingernail, the Sox walked to the edge of that cliff and stomped squarely on that finger, sending the Reds to the bottom of the sea. Both Reynaldo Lopez and a diminished Carlos Rodon were able to hold a disinterested Cincinnati offense at bay, while Luis Robert continued to put the rest of the league on notice that he’s coming for his seat at the Table Of The Upper Echelon.

In other news, word broke yesterday that Tim Anderson somehow landed himself a 3-game suspension for supposedly “making contact” with umpire Tim Timmons (clearly a fake name) during the benches-clearing fracas stemming from Jose Abreu getting plunked for approximately the 6,548th time this season. In video posted to the internet, you can see Timmons and Timmy (new jazz-fusion group name) face to face but really nothing comes of it. The suspension is being appealed, and won’t affect Timmy’s availability for the postseason. I guess we’ll just wait and see what actually happened down there.

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Reynaldo Lopez continues to make a solid case for him to be on the postseason roster with another excellent outing. His 6 innings of 2 hit ball were only slightly marred by an Eugenio Suarez bombshot in the 5th inning. Even better, he only needed 80 pitches to get through 6, showing his newfound efficiency. Nice work.

-Luis Robert had two dingers on the night, the second of which was absolutely murdered and briefly showed up on our radar here at work. He’s been a force of nature recently, and has matured into the world destroyer Rick Hahn was hoping for when he coughed up that international signing money.

-In addition to Robert’s two blasts, Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets each added solo shots of their own. Sheets is another one who I would say has absolutely earned himself a playoff roster spot, as that kind of insane power from the left side will be very useful going forward.

-Jose Ruiz, Aaron Bummer and Matt Foster all added scoreless innings of relief, and while only 2 of those 3 will be pitching in the postseason it’s good to see.

GAME 2

-Carlos Rodon looked solid in his final tune-up before postseason play, though his velocity was still considerably down. Instead of dominating the Reds lineup with 98-mph fastballs, he kept them off kilter with 85 mph changeups and sliders then occasionally peppering them with a fastball that topped out at 93. Whether or not he was holding back due to the impending playoff pitching he’ll be asked to do (I don’t think this is the case), he was definitely good enough to hold down a depressed Reds offense. Will it be enough next week? We’ll see, but either way his arm strength will be one of the biggest storylines heading into the Astros series.

-Oh look, more dingers from Gavin Sheets.

-Michael Kopech finally got to go more than 2 innings, and made the most of the 3 he was given. The 2 walks weren’t great, but the overall performance is exactly what you’d want to see out of him.

-Leury Legend continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-4 with an RBI and run scored. Once Adam Engel is fully stretched out and ready for the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how much Caesar Hernandez actually plays.

 

 

Next up is the final series of the regular season. Naturally it’s against the team involved in the bench-clearing incident from the other day. I would fully expect things to be less chippy this time around, and wouldn’t be shocked if both teams start with umpire warnings in effect.

With the Astros 1.5 games ahead of the Sox in the standings, the odds of home field advantage are pretty long. The ultimate goal this weekend is to get out of the series unscathed, so expect to see pretty short outings from Giolito and Lance Lynn. In addition to that, it should be the last appearances for guys like Mike Wright Jr and Matt Foster so just one more time to deal with that. Stay healthy and get through the weekend, then it’s time to fuck up the Asstros.

Let’s Go Sox!

Baseball

Not only did this Cubs team get crushed in a four-game series against the Cardinals, a hated rival, but the Cardinals won their franchise-record 16th game in a row while doing it and all but officially ending the NL wild card race, as now the closest teams behind them for the second spot are 5.5-6 games back.

There’s not a lot of good to report, especially considering Nico Hoerner continues to be injured, sitting out the last two games of this series due to “general soreness.” Wisdom was out for the final game, as well, with wrist soreness. Not that any of it matters, of course.

September 24, 2021 Game 1
Cubs 5, Cardinals 8 (F/7)
WP: Reyes (10-8) LP: Steele (3-4)
Box Score

Another Justin Steele start for this one, and another Justin Steele loss. He pitched five of the seven innings for the Cubs, dueling for much of the game with the Cardinals’ starter, J.A. Happ. J.A. won out on this one, with Steele allowing a two-run dinger in the 3rd inning and two more dingers in the 5th inning to make it 6-0 Cardinals. Seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts in five innings—it could be better.

The Cubs were snakebitten for the first half of this one offensively, even loading the bases in the 4th when they were only down two runs, but were never able to make anything happen, with strikeouts and double-plays making things hard. By the 6th inning, after two more Cardinals runs given up by Tommy Nance, the Cubs went on a bit of a rally, but rallies lack in meaning if you’re down eight runs. Nevertheless, two walks, a homer, a single and two doubles and suddenly the loss looked a lot less brutal on the scoreboard. But trust me, it was pretty brutal if you watched the whole way through.

September 24, 2021 Game 2
Cubs 4, Cardinals 12 (F/7)
WP: LP:
Box Score

It’s a waste of my time to write about this game and it would be a waste of your time to read about it.

September 25, 2021
Cubs 5, Cardinals 8
WP: Kim (7-7) LP: Heuer (7-3)
Box Score

At least runs were scored in three separate innings in this 8-5 loss as opposed to the previous 8-5 loss. Once again, the Cards scored first with a solo dinger to right field. Then two singles, a double and a walk in the 3rd gave the Cubs their first lead in the entire series, which they returned quickly to the Cardinals in the next half-inning, as starter Adrian Sampson gave up his second homer of the game, this time to Tyler O’Neill.

The 4th inning featured a bit of déjà vu from the 3rd inning, as Willson Contreras and Ian Happ scored two more runners on their own. This time the Cubs bombarded St. Louis with three singles, a sac bunt and a walk in the 4th to go up 4-2, where the score stayed for two innings.

Sampson was taken out at the start of the 7th inning for Codi Heuer, who ended up being the losing pitcher for the Cubs when he gave up four hits in a row, tying the game. Scott F-Ross replaced him and gave up a sac fly on his third pitch of the game, giving the Cards a lead they would not give back. Tommy Nance gave up three more runs on the mound in the 9th inning, and though Happ hit a solo dinger to center field at the bottom of the 9th, it wasn’t enough for a Cubs comeback. Shocking, I know.

September 26, 2021
Cubs 2, Cardinals 4
WP: Cabrera (4-5) LP: Heuer (7-4)
Box Score

Another game where the Cubs were out ahead with a lead and blew it. Granted this was a 2-1 lead against a team on a 15-game winning streak, but you did hope the Cubs would hold on.

In the 3rd inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer to put the Cardinals in front, but an inning later in the 4th showed the Cubs’ only meaningful burst of offense this game after a walk, a single, a double by Sergio Alcantara and a sac fly by David Bote put the Cubs ahead 2-1.

The Cardinals hit another solo homer in the 8th inning off Rowan Wick, meaning it all came down to the 9th inning, where Codi Heuer became the losing pitcher for the second game in a row. He couldn’t find a strike, walking the first batter on four pitches, allowing a single in his next pitch, allowing a sacrifice bunt, intentionally walking Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases, and then a wild pitch was thrown in order to score the Cardinals’ go-ahead run. Then a single was hit to Heuer, which he dropped on the ground in an embarrassing error where the Cards scored another runner.

The Cubs were able to get two men on in the bottom of the 9th inning for Frank Schwindel to come up to bat, but an infield fly rule ruled him out and ended up not allowing the Cardinals to throw out Austin Romine at 3rd base. The Cardinals were so pissed about this that their manager was ejected yelling about it, but it ended up not mattering as Ian Happ struck out on three pitches to end the game. That’s Cub.

The Cubs’ final midweek series is against the Pirates starting tonight. The Pirates suck. The Cubs suck. It will be some low-quality baseball. But maybe both teams can make it an interesting series instead of a one-sided shellacking. See you then. Go Cubs go!

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 3 – Tigers 4

Game 2: White Sox 3 – Tigers 5

Game 3: PPD (RAIN)

 

As the Sox continue their inevitable slide towards the postseason, the consternation and fears of a fanbase that has watched a lifeless team slog it’s way through the 2nd half of the season has reached a crescendo. Game one of this series saw the Sox jump out to a 3-0 lead, then promptly ball their hands up into a fist and punch themselves collectively in the dick with some terrible-ass fielding and less than stellar relieving from Kimbrel. Game 2 had the Sox strand 17 runners on the diamond, and Jace Fry doing Jace Fry things.

In reality, this series is basically the Sox 2nd half in a nutshell. Ample opportunities to break the game open but runners stranded on base due to a lack of timely hitting. Starting pitching that was unable to make it past the 5th inning, putting undue strain on a pretty taxed bullpen. Defense that is eye-bleedingly bad, putting more on the shoulders of said pitching staff. TLR playing get away lineups every day. It just hasn’t been great.

Despite the above, the Sox are all but guaranteed to be in the postseason thanks to the complete disinterest of the Cleveland Guardians during the same time frame. This lack of urgency to be competitive in these games is understandable, simply due to the avalanche of injuries that have come the Sox way that were the result of hustling down the line or in the outfield. Maintenence has become the most important thing for Tony LaRussa, and understandably so. With only 12 games remaining however, it might be time for him to roll with the big guns the rest of the way to remind everyone how things were done on the South Side in the first half of the year.

 

To The Bullets!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

GAME 1

-The biggest concern out of this game is the health of Carlos Rodon. From the 2nd inning onward, it was pretty apparent that there was something going on with his arm, as he was topping out at 92-93 MPH on his 4-seamer, and by the 3rd inning he couldn’t break 90. TLR said after the game that there was concern about his shoulder and it was unlikely he would pitch again before the last series of the season. Yikes.

-This was not a great night for trade deadline acquisitions. Caesar Hernandez forgot how tagging runners with the ball works in the bottom of the 3rd inning, allowing the Tigers to tie the game. Then Craig Kimbrel (who was cruising up to this point) plunked Robbie Grossman on the shoe top in the 8th with the game tied. Grossman promptly stole 2nd, then scored as Kimbrel semi-hung a 2-2 knuckle curve to Harold Castro (who last took a walk during the Obama Administration) where he laced it into right field. Game over.

-The Sox had a chance to blow this open in the top of the 3rd, loading the bases with nobody out. They ended up getting 3 out of the inning, but only 1 of those was knocked in by an actual hit. The other two were an RBI ground out by Yoan (who deserves credit for blazing down the line and breaking up the DP), and a sac fly by Grandal. The woes of the offense leaving people stranded continue.

– The trio of Jose Ruiz, Garrett Crochet, and Ryan Burr deserve a lot of credit for keeping the Sox in the game after Rodon left after the 3rd inning. Only Ruiz allowed a baserunner, and the trio had 5 Ks between them. Good shit.

GAME 2

-Dallas Keuchel had his 2nd straight decent start, going 5 innings and allowing 2 runs. The 11 hits and 1 walk in those 5 innings is where potentially having to start him in the postseason becomes very itchy. Anyone with a 2+ WHIP shouldn’t be pitching in a playoff game, let alone starting one. If Rodon can’t answer the bell, the Sox should be going Lynn/Gio/Cease/and a Kopech and Lopez combo if the need arises.

-Eloy is scuffling right now in the worst way. He singlehandedly left 6 runners on base, and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd, killing all the momentum dead. There’s still time for the Big Baby to turn it around, but it just doesn’t look like he’s having much fun right now.

-Timmy got his average back above .300 in the game with a pair of hits (one of which was of the extra base variety), and is starting to look like himself again (especially with sweet off balance throw home in the 6th to nab Victor Reyes after air mailing a throw earlier in the inning).

-Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal might be the only Sox hitters approaching the peak of their powers right now, as they’re both clearly dialed in.

-Yeah, Jace Fry sucked. He’s not gonna be on the postseason roster, however. So I’m not too burned up about it.

-Liam Hendriks is a delight.

 

With the Magic Number currently sitting at 2 for the Sox, it’s only natural that their opponents this weekend will be the Cleveland Guardians. A chance for the Sox to clinch the division on the field at The Jake should be motivation enough for them to sweep the double header on Thursday and beer it up in front of the Cleveland faithful. LaRussa has yet to announce the pitching lineup for the weekend, but Lance Lynn would be going on normal rest Thursday with most likely an opener for game 2. Maybe Kopech? I’d love to see it.

The Sox need to get the clinching out of the way, so perhaps they can unclench and get back to playing fun (watchable) baseball. This team hasn’t been at “Full Strength” all season, and I really wanna see the offense turn into the Death Star we all know it can be. Take Cleveland out behind the barn, end their misery, then celebrate and forget about how shitty they’ve been playing. Relax and just have fun the rest of the way, and bring us all along for the ride.

Let’s Go Sox.

 

Baseball

This series started on a surprisingly positive note and then ended with a disgraceful excuse of a baseball game for the Cubs. The Phillies continue grasping blindly at a final wild card spot despite being 2.5 games back thanks to the shellacking they brought upon us, whereas Cubs fans are now wondering if Kyle Hendricks being the #1 starter next year will even be enough to propel them to the playoffs since this is Totally Not a Rebuild. I love Hendricks, but I’m not sure if he’s the answer.

There’s a lot of crap to muddle through here, so let’s get on with it.

September 14, 2021
Cubs 6, Phillies 3
WP: Sampson (1-2) LP: Gibson (10-7)
Box Score

The Phillies needed this win much more than we did as they continue to attempt (in vain) to catch any of the four teams ahead of them for a wild card spot. And yet, they were still able to lose this one against this meaningless Cubs team, despite going up early on a solo homer against Adrian Sampson in his third start of the year and Kyle Gibson, the Phillies’ starter, at one point striking out five batters in a row.

Gibson dominated against the Cubs for four straight innings, allowing no hits until the 5th when the game was cracked wide open for the Cubs. A hit by Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom’s Kris-Bryant-rookie-record-tying home run gave the Cubs a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Immediately after, Alfonso Rivas hit his first major league dinger, which excited the entire bench. Ortega was able to hit a barely-fair ball to left field to score Sergio Alcantara in that inning, making it four runs in the 5th for the Cubs and ending Gibson’s day.

The Phillies didn’t give up, and in the 6th inning ended up scoring two runs thanks to a Bryce Harper hit that was difficult to field and some aggressive yet successful baserunning on their part. Another hit that poked its way through both Cubs outfielders and an unsuccessful play at the plate put the Phillies at only a one-run deficit. The Cubs answered back immediately with pretty sweet outfield hits by Frank Schwindel and Ian Happ to score two runners and wrap up this ballgame.

Sampson pitched pretty well all things considered, going five innings and only allowing two runs. (The bar is low in this neighborhood.) Manuel Rodriguez allowed the third Phillies run, walked a batter, and allowed two hits in his one inning, which isn’t good. After him, however, the Cubs bullpen allowed no Phillies hits, with Tommy Nance and Scott F-Ross pitching an inning each and F-Ross getting two strikeouts. Rowan Wick even struck out three batters in an impeccable save appearance.

September 15, 2021
Cubs 5, Phillies 6
WP: Kennedy (2-1) LP: Megill (1-2)
Box Score

I guess the Cubs should get credit for not giving up on this one, as they came from behind to tie the game multiple times. However, it never ended up being enough, as the Phillies were able to walk it off with a run scored in the bottom of the 9th.

Alec Mills pitched three scoreless innings before things started unraveling in the 4th. The teams traded bases-loaded, no runs scored situations in the 3rd inning. By the 4th, a few well-hit balls to the outfield that were hard to field gave the Phillies a one-run lead, but a double play fielded by the Cubs later on in the inning meant that the incoming two-run homer made the game 3-0 instead of 5-0. Good job, everyone.

The most amusing part of the game was when Frank Schwindel hit a two-run homer in the next inning and Schwindel’s extended family of like fifty people went nuts in the stands. At least someone’s happy about this current Cubs team, am I right?

The 5th inning was not good, with a hit and an intentional walk for Mills before getting pulled for F-Ross. Then F-Ross allowed a single to score a runner that made it 4-2. It wasn’t until the 8th inning when the Cubs were able to tie it with another two-run dinger, this time by Robinson Chirinos.

The next three half-innings had the Cubs and Phillies each trading runs with each other. JT Realmuto hit a solo dinger in the 8th, and then Matt Duffy hit a homer in the 9th, but the Phillies walked it off again after Trevor Megill gave up a hit, a sac bunt, a sac groundout, and a passed ball by Chirinos that ended up scoring the winning run.

September 16, 2021
Cubs 8, Phillies 17
WP: Neris (3-6) WP: Rodriguez (3-3)
Box Score

Usually when you go up 7 runs on a team in a game it’s enough to net you a win. Not for this garbage-pile Cubs team, however, who almost instantly gave up 7 runs of their own to tie the game and then gave up 10 more runs to lose in the most embarrassing possible way there is to lose a baseball game.

It was the bottom of the 4th inning when Hendricks collapsed and gave up four hits, four walks and five runs before he got yanked for Michael Rucker, who on his third pitch of the game gave up the extra two runs to tie it on a line drive single to center field. Rodriguez proceeded to give up three more runs in the 6th inning and another two runs in the 7th inning to become the losing pitcher. Rex Brothers, Rodriguez’s mid-inning replacement with no outs, immediately gave up a three-run homer on his first pitch to make the game 15-8 Phillies for good measure. Dillon Maples gave up a few more runs in the 8th, too, just because everyone else was doing it.

Despite a deluge of Cubs offense in the 3rd inning that gave them a 7-0 lead on three hits, a home run, and four walks, the Cubs then went completely flat with only four hits in the rest of the game, because of course they did. The Phillies wanted and needed this game more to stay in the fateful playoff race, and they went out and trounced us here. It was awful baseball.

Speaking of awful baseball, it will likely continue this weekend when the Cubs get inevitably pummeled by the first-place Milwaukee Brewers this weekend in what will surely be an embarrassment of a series. I’d turn on the football if I were you. Go Cubs go?

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Angels 3 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Angels 3 – White Sox 2

Game 3: Angels 9 – White Sox 3

 

 

Not great.

For what seems like the millionth time this season, the Sox came out swinging in the first game in the series and pummeled their opponent then decided that was enough and put the bats away for the next two. What makes it even worse is the fact that Dallas Keuchel actually had his first quality start since what seems like the beginning of the pandemic and the Sox wasted it away because they couldn’t figure out a pitcher named Junk. Seriously.

The lineups that LaRussa has been throwing out there each series are understandable when you have half of your starters who at some point or another have been on the IL this year for an extended period, but at some point they’re gonna have to be out there every day to build some rhythm heading into the postseaon. There are some issues here that don’t bode well for an extended playoff run, and if they don’t get addressed they may very well be playing golf far sooner than they should be.

Also Joe Maddon is a fucking putz, get the fuck outta here with your “wahhh wahhh they hit Shohei” after the Sox were plunked like 12 times in the series. Mike Wright can’t find the current zip code that he’s in, much less a strike zone. Get fucked.

 

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Ladies and gentlemen, The Gavin Sheets Game. 3 for 4 with a dinger, a double and 4 RBI on the night, Sheets was impervious to everything the Angels pitching staff threw at him. Where Sheets lands in the field going forward is open to interpretation, but he’s earned his place on the roster going forward.

-Lucas Giolito wasn’t exactly dominant in his first return from the IL, giving up two HR and walking two in 4 innings, but he did strike out 8 so that’s pretty excellent. The final line could’ve been a little worse, but Eloy of all people robbed David Fletcher (of all people) of a dinger in the 3rd inning. Eloy was OK after ponging off the LF wall, but sweet Jesus I wish he’d stop doing that.

-Luis Robert fucking murderized a ball in the bottom of the 2nd, and he’s now slashing .376/.409/1.033 in the last 30 games. As of right now he’s not being spoken of in the same category as other game changers like Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr, but it’s only a matter of time.

-Jose Abreu didn’t have any hits on the night but he took 3 walks, which I think is even better. Abreu working counts to get into a position where pitchers have to throw him fastballs is only going to result in him adding to his RBI total.

-Mike Wright Jr pitched an inning and walked 3 people. He got out of the inning unscathed somehow, but I don’t know why they keep running him out there. No mas.

-Sox pitchers kept Shohei Ohtani off the board and actually K’ed him 3 times on the night. He’s struggled since the all star break, but the potential for damage there is always lurking.

GAME 2

-Dallas Keuchel made it through 6 innings! Granted he walked 5 dudes, but let’s just take the 6 innings and 2 earned runs at face value and hope it’s a performance that he can build off of.

-Anytime Caesar Hernandez wants to justify his continued playing time on this team that would be fine with me.

-Yoan Moncada smoked a homer off of some junk from Junk. That’s the tweet.

-Michael Kopech deserved a better fate today, but that’s what happens when you strand a jillion people on base.

-Steve Cishek striking out the side in the 8th shows you the current state of the White Sox offense.

 

GAME 3

 

Time is running out for this team to start looking like they’re going to be dangerous in the playoffs. When the Sox are on their game, there’s not a team in the AL who can run with them, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that type of urgency. If they wait until October to try and turn it on, it’s far too late. The next two series against the Rangers and Tigers should be at LEAST 4 wins out of 6 bare minimum. That’s the bar. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

If you thought the Cubs were just gonna step onto Wrigley Field against the first-place team in the entire MLB, featuring Kris Bryant, and look like a competent team, you would be sorely mistaken. The Cubs’ recent good fortune came at the hands of other disgraceful teams in the MLB, and now that they faced off against a World Series contender we all saw that just about everyone at every position won’t be good enough to make up a playoff team next year, no matter what anyone else may try to tell you.

To turn into a playoff team next year means just about everything has to go right, AND the Rickettses need to open their checkbooks to sign some stellar pitching. Who knows to what extent—if any—the Rickettses will feel like paying players next year. And I would well and assume KB, Baez or Rizzo will NOT be signing with this team next year; Bryant’s tribute video and ceremony all but cemented that with all the absurdity that happened there.

And so this might be the caliber of team we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future and it’s not gonna a fun experience, as this series showed. Sorry you had to watch it; at least we won that one ring that one year, huh?

September 10, 2021
Cubs 1, Giants 6
WP: Doval (2-1) LP: Megill (1-1)
Box Score

There were farcical shenanigans going on before the game even began, with the Ricketts family doing everything to honor Kris Bryant for the fans, except for, y’know, signing him to a contract, which would just be too expensive. It also seemed to be too expensive to have someone iron out the creases of the World Series flag they gave him after his tribute video, which is similarly absurd. Congrats to Kris Bryant for successfully extricating himself from this dreck.

As for the game, Kyle Hendricks was the starter who did all he could and then some to keep the Cubs in this game, pitching six total innings and allowing only one run, four hits, and four strikeouts. A solo homer from Frank Schwindel in the 4th inning put the Cubs on top for exactly 1.5 innings before a couple of hits against Hendricks in the 6th allowed the Giants to tie it.

In the 7th inning, it was Trevor Megill out of the bullpen who then allowed three straight hits, one of them a home run, to bring the Giants back on top. They of course would never give the Cubs the game back. Despite Trevor Megill getting yanked, his replacement, Michael Rucker, also gave up a home run to make it 5-1, and then a single and sac fly in the 8th made the game its final score of 6-1.

September 11, 2021
Cubs 4, Giants 15
WP: Gausman (14-5) LP: Davies (6-11)
Box Score

This game was such an utter disaster that I don’t even want to talk about it. Zach Davies still sucks, by the way.

September 12, 2021
Cubs 5, Giants 6
WP: Webb (10-3) LP: Steele (3-3)
Box Score

At least we saw some fight in this one. It was young, still relatively-inexperienced Justin Steele vs. Logan Webb, one of the best pitchers in the NL. Though they pitched almost the same amount of innings (Webb’s six against Steele’s five), Steele gave up almost twice as many hits. However, the rest of their pitching stats were strikingly similar with the same amount of walks, runs and Steele just having one less strikeout. Not that it means anything.

In the 4th inning, Ortega was able to get a triple after the Giants’ Austin Slater completely missed catching the pop fly at center field. Schwindel RBI’d him in, and then Ian Happ later in the inning hit yet another solo homer to breathe a little bit of life into the Cubs. Unfortunately, it would only be one half-inning later when Steele gave up a two-run homer to make it 5-2 Giants.

In the 5th inning, yet another goof by Slater gave David Bote a triple, after he and Kris Bryant collided while both trying to catch the fly ball, which meant neither of them caught the ball. Nick Martini drove in Bote to make it 5-3, but still the Cubs continued to be a step behind the Giants offensively.

Things got heated up in the 7th inning when the Cubs hit themselves into a bases loaded situation down only one run and with only one out, thanks to hits from Bote, Robinson Chirinos, Schwindel and Happ. But Tyler Rogers, the Giants’ pitcher out of the pen, was able to pitch his way out of it with two straight strikeouts to keep the Giants’ lead. His pitches were beyond nasty and difficult to predict where they’d land, especially when it was Contreras, 0-3 on the night, and Alfonso Rivas that were tasked with getting a hit off of him. Plus, Codi Heuer’s wild pitch the half-inning before had allowed Bryant to score and give the Giants 6 runs and the win over the Cubs.

The Cubs are off today, but will be back to take on the Phillies this week, a team currently mired in mediocrity. The Phillies most recently lost a series to the Rockies, and you have to be actively trying to be bad to do that successfully. Perhaps the Cubs can win some meaningless games here; perhaps not. See you then and go Cubs go.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Red Sox 3 – White Sox 4

Game 2: Red Sox 9 – White Sox 8 (10 Innings)

Game 3: Red Sox 1 – White Sox 2

 

In a series where the Sox very easily could’ve taken all 3 games despite some glaring deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, 2 wins should be considered a  healthy victory, especially since it takes the season series against Boston (which is always nice, because fuck Boston).

In addition, the 2 wins this weekend drops the White Sox’ magic number down to 9 with Cleveland getting No-Hit on Saturday and 4 Hit on Sunday. More importantly than that, everyone stayed healthy over the weekend with Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon making their returns. Mostly good stuff all around.

 

TO THE BULLETS

 

 

GAME 1

-Jose Abreu didn’t do much in this series except for his second plate appearance on Friday night, where Tanner Houck hung a slider low and away to him and yet he still managed to pull it just to the right of the Sox bullpen for a 3 run shot. It wasn’t a tape measure dinger by any stretch of the imagination, but it was enough to give the Sox a lead they would refuse to relinquish. It also put Jose back on top of the AL lead in RBIs with 107, with Sal Perez and Vladdy Jr right behind him.

-Carlos Rodon returned and fired 5 strong innings, surrendering only a solo shot to Bobby Dalbec in the 5th inning. He struck out 7 and only allowed 5 hits. More importantly his velocity was back up, topping out at just under 98 MPH, where it was only around 95 in his previous start before his 2nd trip to the IL. He also threw 82 pitches in the 5 innings, and said he could’ve gone another but LaRussa smartly called it an early night.

-The bullpen had a solid night except for Ryan Tepera, who struggled with the command of his fastball for the first time in quite awhile. Thankfully Garret Crochet was up to the task, bailing out Tepera by getting Schwarber to fly out, ending the inning. Tepera has been one of the best releivers for the Sox since the trade deadline, so I’m willing to chalk this one up as a fluke.

-The 1-2 punch of Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks shut the door on the Red Sox in the 8th and 9th, though it wasn’t a clean sweep. Kimbrel gave up a leadoff walk in the 8th, and Hendriks a single in the 9th, which was originally an out but overturned by the nerds in NY after a brief review.

-The Sox could’ve made this less of a game, but the trend of stranding a conga line of runners on base continued with 21 left out there to die on the vine. Jose Abreu was the primary culprit, stranding 7 by himself, yet he also accounted for 75% of the Sox offense with his 3rd inning dinger so I guess that evens out. The lack of timely hitting IS a concern however, and needs to be addressed before the calendar flips to October.

GAME 2

-Dylan Cease just very flatly did not have his stuff Saturday night. The issues were different than the ones we’ve seen in the past, where he’s able to get ahead of hitters 0-2 or 1-2 and is unable to put them away. This time he was just missing the zone on the first two pitches of the at-bats and then battled back to a full count, only to lose the hitter on the 7th or 8th pitches of the at bats. I have nothing to back this up other than what I’ve seen, but it appears that Cease has difficulty pitching consistently out of the stretch. Whether this is a release point issue or something else remains to be seen, but I’m sure him and Katz are working on the issue. Either way, he just plain sucked tonight.

-The flip side of that coin is that Michael Kopech looked every bit the world destroyer that he was billed as when the Sox sent Chris Sale to Boston for him and Moncada (also awesome). He faced 7 batters on Saturday night, and struck out 5 of them. His command of his fastball AND his slider was downright filthy, and he was able to mix them to the point of utter confusion for the BoSox hitters. In the 5th inning he got Dalbec to swing at a filthy wipeout slider down and away, then blew away Travis Shaw with a fastball that broke 100 on the gun, then went back to the slider and made Kike Hernandez soil himself. Here’s the 3 pitch strikeout of Shaw, just look at the movement on that 4-seamer:

-Oh look, Grandal and Robert combine for 7 hits on the night while Moncada was on base 4 times. Once Eloy gets his timing back and TA returns to the lineup there should be no excuses for them not to put up at least 5 per game.

-Craig Kimbrel was unable to hold the lead in the 8th, and the White Sox were unable to get Luis Robert in from 2nd after his ground rule double in the 9th. The writing was on the wall for a tough loss, but TLR sealed the deal when he threw Mike Wright to pitch in the 10th where he promptly gave up an RBI single to put Boston ahead.

-The Sox didn’t help their case in the bottom half of the inning, however. With runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out, Leury Garcia struck out on 3 straight pitches. Tony then brought in Danny Mendick to pinch hit for Gavin Sheets (which was fine, though I would’ve preferred Vaughn but whatever) who promptly struck out. Then Goodwin had his shot but was unable to get Eloy in from 3rd, grounding out softly to end the game. Fart Noise.

GAME 3

-This game had each team with 4 hits apiece, and was about as exciting as that implies. It wasn’t even like either team was stranding a bunch on the bases, they just kinda sucked offensively.

-Lance Lynn looked good in his return, however. Another 5 inning stint, only needing 70 pitches to get through them. I realize TLR wants to protect these guys in their first starts back, but it definitely put a strain on the bullpen this weekend.

-Speaking of the pen, Garrett Crochet and Jose Ruiz looked good for their parts. They managed 3 innings between the two of them whilst striking out 2. Crochet looked a bit off, but gutted out his innings and got the ball to Ruiz. Well done, both of them.

-Pitching in his 3rd consecutive game, Craig Kimbrel looked bad. He couldn’t spot his knuckle curve to save his life, walking Rafael Devers on 4 of them to load the bases. Zavala finally called for a fastball against Verdugo, but he got enough of it to get the sac fly in from 3rd to bring the BoSox even. Since coming over from the Cubs at the deadline, Kimbrel has been a pretty mixed bag. Some games he looks unhittable, and others he looks like he couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS. He’s spoken openly about having difficulties with his mechanics right now, and realistically it’s the perfect time (if there ever was one) for that, since he’s got just under a month to get right. Nobody doubts his stuff, but results matter and as of now they haven’t been there nearly enough.

-Anyways, all Kimbrel’s blown save did was create an opportunity for Leury Legend to make up for his 3 pitch K in the 10th the night before. Ballgame.

 

Next up is a team the Sox haven’t seen since Opening Day, the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim And Also Portions Of Disneyland But Not Star Wars Land Because That’s Extra. Their roster looks a bit different since Mike Trout exploded his calf back in June and hasn’t been seen since. The most exciting man in baseball, Shohei Ohtani is still here, as is Jared Walsh. Also the corpse of Justin Upton, and Blonde Nick Madrigal (David Fletcher). Besides those 4, offense is pretty hard to come by for the L-AAA, though they have some interesting pieces in Jo Addell and Brandon Marsh.

The Angels have very little starting pitching outside of Ohtani, since Dylan Bundy turned back into a more-orange pumpkin and Griffin Canning turned out to be Dylan Cease with shittier stuff and somehow worse control. Jose Suarez is probably the best of the bunch right now, having gone 2-0 with one complete game shutout over the last month.

Tim Anderson is likely to return tomorrow, which makes it the first time all season the White Sox will be fully armed and operational on the offensive side of the ball. The opportunities to pour on the runs against this Angels team will be there, as well as the chance to close the gap for home field in the AL as the Sox try and run down the Astros for it. The brass ring is right there, time to reach up and grab it.

Let’s Go Sox