Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 12 – Orioles 1

White Sox 8 – Orioles 3

White Sox 7 – Orioles 5 (10 Innings)

 

27 runs in 3 games is a pretty impressive feat. 68 runs in 10 games in the month of July is even moreso. The fact that the Sox are doing this with only 3 of the 9 players that were pegged to be starters at the beginning of the season is downright mind boggling. It hasn’t mattered who has gone down with injuries, there’s been someone who’s come up from AAA and grabbed the baton and kept running with it. Granted, there’s really no way that this level of production from what is essentially 2/3rds of a AAA roster is sustainable. For the time being, however, it’s been more than enough to keep the Sox on top of the Death Star Trash Compactor that is the AL Central.

Heading into the All Star break, the Sox currently sit 8 games ahead of the Cleveland Baseball Team with a 54-35 record and a 3rd best in the league +117 run differential. Their pitching staff ranks 1st in ALL OF BASEBALL with an accumulated 15.1 WAR (according to Fangraphs), and the offense is not far behind at 4th with 16.4 total WAR. This has all been done with one of the highest amounts of innings lost to injury in the league, with by far and away the largest amount of high-value players who’ve succumbed to stints on the IL.

It’s pretty unbelievable what this team has accomplished thus far in this season, and I have to give some credit to Tony LaRussa. Trust me, I really don’t want to but the fact that he’s pretty much let this team and locker room be itself has not been lost on me. Outside of the shit with Yermin and some interesting bullpen and lineup choices here and there he has not been the poison that I was afraid he would be, so kudos to him for that.

Also credit to Rick Hahn for making a few shrewd moves so far by signing Billy Hamilton and Brian Goodwin for a song. The cheapness of the organization as a whole and Jerry Reinsdorf in particular are never going to change, but Hahn deserves credit for the moves that work (Hamilton, Goodwin, Rodon) as much as the shitty moves that don’t (Eaton, Eaton and more Eaton). His biggest test will be over the next 3 weeks as he attempts to make some night moves to fill the holes in RF, 2B and at C until Yasmani Grandal can return from his knee surgery. The Sox also need at least 2 more bullpen arms, as Jose Ruiz and Matt Foster should not have a place on the playoff roster unless something changes in the next 2 months.

Finally, our Sweet Baby Boy Eloy has begun his rehab stint almost a month early and he’s already gone yard. Odds are we wont see him until the beginning of August at the earliest, but just having him on the horizon will be a boon to an already potent offense.

I’ll be back later in the week with some midseason grades for those lucky folk who are still on the roster and not the IL. Until then, enjoy the spectacle of the Dinger Derby and the ASG itself. Hopefully our 4 All Stars make it through unscathed, making the Sox look even better in the process. See you all soon.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Orioles 1 – White Sox 5

Game 2: Orioles 4 – White Sox 7

Game 3: Orioles 1 – White Sox 3

Game 4: Orioles 1 – White Sox 3

 

Punching down on the teams you’re supposed to beat in MLB is what gets you in the playoffs, and that’s exactly what the Sox did this past weekend. Lucas Giolito returned to his old unhittable self, Lance Lynn looked excellent and Dylan Cease brushed off his stinker in NY to get back to form. The only real issue was Dallas Keuchel and his sinker not sinking nearly well enough that resulted in quite a few balls clearing the OF fences at The Down Arrow. Yet the Sox hit enough dingers of their own to make it a moot point, and when you’re winning games with your 5th starter life is pretty good.

Not much else to say about this one, and it’s a holiday so I’m gonna go play a round of golf and enjoy being with my family. You all should do the same, and we can reconvene after the series with Cleveland with hopefully an even bigger lead in the AL Central. Have a good rest of your holiday everyone.

Let’s Go Sox!

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: Orioles 10-19   White Sox 11-14

GAMETIMES: Monday-Wednesday 7:10

TV: NBCSN Monday and Wednesday, WGN Tuesday

GIARDELLO’S ARMY: Camden Chat

PROBABLE PITCHERS

John Means vs. Manny Banuelos

Andrew Cashner vs. Ivan Nova

TBD (maybe David Hess) vs. TBD (possibly Carlos Rodon, possibly Dylan Covey)

PROBABLY ORIOLES LINEUP

Jonathan Villar – 2B

Trey Mancini – RF

Dwight Smith Jr. – LF

Renato Nunez – DH

Rio Ruiz – 3B

Jesus Sucre – C

Joey Rickard – CF

Chris Davis – 1B

Richie Martin – SS

PROBABLE SOX LINEUP

Leury Garcia – LF

Tim Anderson – SS

Jose Abreu – 1B

James McCann – C

Yoan Moncada – 3B

Jose Rodon – 2B

Yonder Alonso – DH

Ryan Cordell – RF

Adam Engel – CF

 

If taking two games on offer against the Tigers is any kind of signal for a turnaround, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep that going against the Baltimore Orioles. That is if they get any of these games (Tuesday looking particularly dicey), and also that didn’t work out so well the last time they faced the Charm City Orange.

We’ll start with the Sox, who will begin life without Eloy Jimenez for a couple weeks at least. Eloy won’t even be reevaluated until then, so it could be longer. Tonight that sees Leury Garcia shift over to left with Adam Engel and his pool-noodle bat move into center. He can rob a home run for you, he just might not get any ball out of the infield when at the plate. Nicky Delmonico and his handsomeness could see more PAs in Eloy’s absence, which is something that should make you shrug at best, and roll your eyes hard enough to hurt in the worst.

Also in the news is that the Sox have called up Dylan Covey, or Dylan Arrieta as Fifth Feather calls him. He will most likely help out the pen in Nate Jones‘s absence, but they have stretched him out in Charlotte and could take a spot start somewhere along the line. That will depend on Lucas Giolito‘s recovery from a hamstring twang, which he can’t come back from until next week anyway.

So to the O’s, who spent the weekend picking up various pieces of their skull that the Twins bashed out of them. They lost the three games by a combined 19-4, and it’s the kind of stretch whatever Os fans that haven’t bleached their eyes will have to get used to. As we said last week, there just isn’t anything here resembling a major league team, and the Os are going to get their bones ground up pretty good all season.

Trey Mancini has been something of a bright spot offensively, though his .413 BABIP might have something to do with that. Renato Nunez hasn’t been terrible, but is something of a lottery ticket in the hopes that he could be a fifth infielder one day. This is the best the Orioles can do, as they might not even be at Year 1 of their rebuild yet.

Their rotation has been the expected tire fire, with tonight’s starter Means the only one to not turn into something you’d find on a Nickelodeon game show, and he’s mostly a reliever and spot-starter. Still, he held down the Sox last week with six Ks over five innings, and he’ll look to repeat the feat. Other than that, god help you.

The Os and Sox in the cold and rain on the Southside. Catch the fever. Literally.

Baseball

Sorry for the delay in this, it’s not AJ’s fault. I was drinking. – ED

There’s really not much to say about this.  The Sox came out and absolutely pasted the O’s Monday night to the point where they were pulling fans from the crowd to pitch.  I made the mistake of thinking that all three games would be like that, but forgot that Ivan Nova and Ervin Santana are paid to pitch for this club and (much like the rest of life), you get what you pay for.

Anyways…

-James McCann had four RBIs Monday night, thanks to a mammoth home run to left field on a hanging curve from David Hess.  The Jose Abreu of old made an appearance as well, with four RBIs of his own, and a nice opposite field dinger onto the porch in right field.  If the Sox are going to give Abreu a contract extension past this season, we’re gonna have to see a lot more of stuff like that.

-Monday night also featured the starting debut of Manny Banuelos.  He went a solid five innings and kept the meager O’s lineup in check, and really with this rotation that’s all you can ask for, especially after watching Ivan Nova night 2.  Everything that Banuelos did well, Nova did the exact opposite.  Nearly every pitch was hit hard, and it seemed like even pop flies had triple digit exit velocity.  Add the fact that the Brewers signed Gio Gonzales for pennies on the dollar, making this performance for $2 million more than he’s getting even more insulting.

-Not that Nova got any help from the offense.  One meager run against triple reclamation project Andrew Cashner and his arsenal of two pitches.  Moncada, Tim Anderson and Abreu went 4-11 and stranded 1 runner.  Everyone else went 2-20 and left 15 people on base and god dammit just looking at this box score makes me furious.

-Ervin Santana was just kind of there.  The O’s jumped on him early for 4 quick runs, and by the time he settled in the damage was already done.  The Sox treated rookie John Means’ changeup like it was a gyroball from another dimension, staring at it apparently blinked in and out of this reality. Although to be fair, expecting any different results from a lineup that has James McCann hitting cleanup is probably an exercise in futility.

-It’s not even May yet, and I’m starting to lose faith in the rebuild.  This is the season where we’re supposed to see marginal improvement.  Granted Anderson and Moncada have been pretty otherworldly, and Eloy will eventually turn into a Sun Crusher but everyone else could be replaced by a folding chair with a hat on it and I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.  Every time I watch Nicky Delmonico bat, I want to turn off my TV because I know the outcome.  Spoiler Alert: it’s a weak grounder to second base.  Yonder Alonso is a giant bag of meh, and Ryan Cordell and Adam Engel are…Ryan Cordell and Adam Engel.  Whatever excitement I had watching Timmy and Yoan is fading rapidly, helped along by another 42-pitch inning from Ivan Nova.

Anyways, that’s two terrible teams in a row that the Sox managed to lose a series to, and guess what?  They get to play them again starting Friday!  Three game series against the Tigers starts Friday, plenty of good seats available!  Let me know how it goes, I’ll be at the movie theater seeing Endgame.

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: White Sox 8-12   Orioles 8-15

GAMETIMES: Monday-Wednesday at 6:05

TV: WGN Monday, NBCSN Tuesday and Wednesday

CHARM CITY COLLECTIVE: Camden Chat

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Manny Benuelos vs. David Hess

Ivan Nova vs. Andrew Cashner

Ervin Santana vs. TBA

PROBABLE SOX LINEUP

Leury Garcia – CF

Yoan Moncada – 3B

Jose Abreu – 1B

Yonder Alonso – DH

Tim Anderson – SS

Nicky Delmonico – LF

James McCann – C

Yolmer Sanchez – 2B

Ryan Cordell – RF

(Note: This is tonight’s lineup, Eloy is just on the bereavement list. Calm down so you don’t end up being the one bereaved)

PROBABLE ORIOLES LINEUP

Joey Rickard – CF

Jonathan Villar – 2B

Trey Mancini – RF

Renato Nunez – DH

Hanser Alberto – 3B

Stevie Wilkerson – LF

Rio Ruiz – 1B

Pedro Severino – C

Richie Martin – SS

 

If you need to feel better about the Sox position in the baseball world, boy are the next three days for you. They’ll head into the pit of humidity and hoplessness that is Baltimore in the summer for three games, where the Orioles are buys diving headfirst into one of the worst teams in recent memory.

The lead story for the Sox is tonight, where Manny Banuelos will take Lucas Giolito‘s start while he’s on the shelf. There was a time when Banuelos was an untouchable in the Yankees organization, even though he was repeatedly asked for in whatever deadline deal they were making that year. Sadly for Manny, that was like eight years ago. Manuelos had the same problem a lot of pitching prospects have, in that his elbow went kablooey in 2013, and since then he has struggled to carve out a role and health in New York, Atlanta, and now the Southside. He was able to win a relief role out of Arizona, but walks have been a problem which is not something the Sox need more of now. Still, it’s been a long road and at 28 and making his first start in the majors you can’t help but root for a guy like that.

Elsewhere, Eloy Jimenez is on the bereavement list and will be missing for a few days. In his stead the Sox have called up the very handsome and very useless Nicky Delmonico. Your complaints about Eloy’s early-season will evaporate quickly.

Then again, the Sox shouldn’t need much other than to keep intaking oxygen to win this series, as the Orioles are indeed an unfortunate organization. This was a team bent to the incomprehensible and incalculable will of Peter Angelos for too long, taking a couple of goofed playoff appearances for too much and never building a foundation. They never got on base, they never pitched particularly well, and yet thanks to their home ballpark being able to disengage gravity most nights were able to homer their way to over 90 wins a few times. That and Zach Britton one year.

We could go through their lineup and rotation, but you’ve never heard of most of these guys and it’ll probably stay that way. You’ve definitely heard about Chris Davis struggling to breathe at the plate, and he was bad four years ago. The only player in the lineup who might, might matter is Rio Ruiz at third, and he looked like he stalled out at AAA for the Braves last year.

Whatever grouping of otters running a human suit designed as Andrew Cashner is in the rotation, and that should tell you everything. Seven players have attempted to start a game for the Os this year, including Dan Straily and Alex Cobb, two players I was sure had moved on to being gym teachers in the south. The only starter who hasn’t been pop rocks in soda has been John Means, and he’s an opener. Let’s not even get to the pen. It’s just that bad.

But hey, it isn’t May yet. So the humidity won’t be suicide-inducing. The baseball might be.