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

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

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

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

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 7 – Rays 5 (11 Innings)

Game 2: White Sox 4 – Rays 8

Game 3: White Sox 0 – Rays 9

 

 

At least Friday night was exciting, right?

 

In a series that statistically meant much more to the Rays than the Sox, you got the expected effort level from each team. The Sox looked up for this series right until the point that Wander Franco’s ground ball trampolined off the 3rd base bag and turned into a run scoring double Saturday morning. At that exact moment the “Not Interested” neon sign flared on and the weekend was kaput.

It was also not a glorious weekend for the bullpen, as Craig Kimbrel gave up yet another run and then left Aaron Bummer with a bag of shit that he promptly exploded all over the mound. The Sox also trotted out Mike Wright Jr, who is so good at baseball that MLB.COM doesn’t even have a player bio for him.

All told, the Sox gave up 22 runs in 3 games and only scored 11. Not really a recipe for success, but they did manage to scrape out an exciting win Friday and split the season series with the Rays 3-3 so all is not terrible.

 

To The Pipe Bombs!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Lucas Giolito, welcome back! A very quality start from our guy here, going 7 strong and striking out 8 while only making a single mistake to Ji-man Choi in the 2nd inning (which barely cleared the OF wall). Gio looked in control all game, and probably could’ve at least started the 8th inning but Tony wanted to (rightfully so) get the ball to his lockdown bullpen in the 8th. Unfortunately we know how that went, but it shouldn’t diminish what Lucas was able to do on the mound against a very pesky Rays lineup.

-Tim Anderson, ladies and gentleman. There’s not much else that can be said, so just bask in his glory.

-Yoan Moncada went yard as well, so that should potentially silence his haters for a second or two. But probably not.

-Luis Robert looks like he never left. Having Brian Goodwin around to spell him every few games is a great bonus for the team, and it should hopefully keep Robert at 100% heading into the postseason.

-Ryan Tepera has been as advertised and might end up being a sneakily great addition for Rick Hahn.

GAME 2

-Seby Zavala went yard and Dallas Keuchel had some bad luck but also kinda sucked. That’s it, that’s the game.

 

GAME 3

-Nope.

 

Next up the Sox head North of the border and meet up with the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that can pound the shit out of the ball but outside of Robby Ray can’t pitch for shit. George Springer was back for a hot minute then collapsed right back on the IL, so that’s one less issue for the Sox pitchers to worry about, but Vladdy Jr is still there hitting balls to the moon and back. Should be a fun series. A split of the 4 game series should be the bare minimum here, especially with the impending return of Yasmani Grandal. Get it done.

 

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: A’s 2 – White Sox 5

Game 2: A’s 0 – White Sox 9

Game 3: A’s 2 – White Sox 3

Game 4: A’s 5 – White Sox 4

 

For a four game series against a team that has historically kicked the shit out of the White Sox, this was a very nice change of pace. While the starting pitching didn’t exactly blind us with their brilliance, they did enough to turn it over to a bullpen that suddenly seems to be about as dominant as advertised at the beginning of the season. Combine that with Cleveland pooping all over themselves against the Twins, and you get the Sox with an 11.5 game lead after going 4-3 against the Yankees and A’s. With the Rays and Blue Jays on the horizon before they get a break against the Cubs, another 4-3 stint would be more than welcome, and probably enough to put the last 12 nails in Cleveland’s coffin.

Also: Yasmani Grandal is almost back!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Dallas Keuchel started off the game looking like he wanted to be anywhere but on the mound on the South Side, as he gave up a leadoff dinger to Matt Olsen (eh, it happens), plunked Josh Harrison (not great), walked Stephen Piscotty (definitely not great), and then walked someone called “Vimael Machin” to load the bases before giving up a single to Mark Canha and a run scoring fielder’s choice to Starling Marte to spot the A’s to a 2 run lead. After this, however, he shut that shit down and went 5 solid innings before giving the ball to Michael Kopech. Gutsy performance for DK (I can use this now since Duncan Keith told the Hawks to get fucked), and really nothing to complain about out of your 5th starter after it looked like it was going to be an early exit.

-Speaking of Michael Kopech…wow. He looked unhittable in his 2 innings, striking out 3 and walking 1 (only because of the shit strike zone of Ron Kulpa) and generally making the A’s hitters look like they were being attacked by bees. I don’t know if the Sox are going to give him anymore spot starts, but I sure would like to see them.

-If Luis Robert can stay healthy, we could have a perennial MVP on our hands. He’s that good.

-Eloy just keeps plugging along, doing his thing. Knocking in runs and keeping his OPS over 1.0, making pitchers look scared of him. He also didn’t spontaneously combust in the outfield, so aces all around.

-Kimbrel and Hendriks righted the ship in a big way, striking out everyone they faced in their 2 total innings. Sickness.

GAME 2

-First and foremost I can’t say how glad I am that Chris Bassitt escaped any permanent damage after Brain Goodwin absolutely smoked a line drive off his cheekbone in the 2nd inning. Bassitt went down in a heap, with blood pouring out from between his fingers into the dust of the mound. It was horrible to see live, and even worse to hear. I don’t blame the A’s for pretty much packing it in after this.

-Credit to Jake Lamb for cleaning what Andrew Vaughn left for him on the table with a 3-run shot to center field. I don’t know how much longer the Sox are going to have room for him, but he’s certainly been a nice surprise.

-Jose Abreu just keeps doing the thing. Another 3 RBI night for Pito, and though his batting average is lower than one might like he’s still raking when it matters.

-If this is the Reynaldo Lopez we’re getting from here on out, I may be ready to get hurt again. He had some great stuff, and was more efficient than I’ve seen him in a long time. He was still under 70 pitches when he got lifted after the 5th, but I get TLR wanting to protect him from going through the order a 3rd time. Good shit.

-Ryan Burr picked right up where ReyLo left off and looked solid the pair of innings he worked. I like his stuff, and if given a chance think he could be “A Thing”

GAME 3

-Gonna be honest here, I missed most of the game because of Stupid Work™ but I did see the clip of Lance Lynn throwing all his accessories to the umpire after the 4th inning and getting tossed. Boss Level shit right there.

-More quality work out of the bullpen again with Ryan Tepera, Garrett Crochet and Aaron Bummer taking care of business before turning things over to a resurgent Liam Hendriks with 1 out in the 8th inning and a 1 run lead. Hendriks never looked under duress in the 1.2 innings he threw, and his slider had more break on it than in weeks past. I declare him healed.

-Ho Hum, another 3 hit game for Luis Robert. How droll. He did manage to make things interesting in the top of the 7th when the grass disintegrated beneath his feet and he fell to his ass and still almost made the catch.

GAME 4

-Dylan Cease came out a house of fire and mowed some chumps down in the first few innings, then…stopped. He gave up a solo shot to Sean Murphy in the 3rd, which…whatever, then completely lost the zone in the 4th inning where he walked in a run. It’s like he completely forgot everything he was doing in the first 3 innings and went back to getting ahead in the count and then filling the count trying to nibble the edges of the zone. His final line wasn’t bad (quality start), he’s just infuriating to watch sometimes.

-Andrew Vaughn smoked himself another dinger today off an 80 MPH curveball, bringing his career total up to 15 with a real shot at 25 for the year. Plus he’s played almost everywhere on the diamond, and I’m thinking the Sox have their own version of Max Muncy now.

-Michael Kopech made one mistake today, but that was all it took to end the Sox’ hopes of a 4 game sweep. He hung an 0-1 slider in the middle of the plate, and Matt Olsen (who else?) didn’t miss it. Live and learn.

-The Sox tried to make it interesting off Lou Trevino in the bottom of the 9th, but Eloy left Jose on 2nd base when he smoked a line drive right at Starling Marte. Can’t get too mad about it based on how well the first 3 games went. Moving on.

 

Next up the Sox have a 3 game set this weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays, who they took 2 of 3 from earlier in June. Looks like the Sox miss the meaty part of the Rays rotation, instead getting the corpse of Michael Wacha and Luis Patiño. Giolito, DK and ReyLo will get the nods against the Rays, who have the ability to single you to death, or bludgeon you with dingers. Let’s hope Gio can keep his stuff up in the zone, and DK down. Take another 2 from them, call it a series and send em packing back to America’s Taint.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

 

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Yankees 8 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Yankees 7 – White Sox 5 (10 Innings)

Game 3: Yankees 5 – White Sox 3

 

Baseball can go from deliriously entertaining to soul-crushingly depressing and then back again in the span of a few minutes. It’s the dumbest sport in the world, and I love it with all my heart and despise it with every fiber of my being. There are few teams out there that can encapsulate all of those emotions into one unit but the White Sox do it perfectly, from the highs of Timmy’s walk-off on Thursday night to the grinding lows of Cesar Hernandez’ 3 error fartfest on Sunday there is very little in-between for this squad.

It’ll probably be the death of me, and I’ll be thanking and cursing them all the way to the coroner.

 

TO THE BULLETS (IN MY BRAIN):

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1:

-Scientific Fact: corn fields greatly add to the ambient moisture in the air, increasing the humidity in the air by up to 20%. Humid air makes baseballs fly farther, and the Sox proved this true Thursday night by pounding out 4 dingers Thursday night off an Andrew Heaney who’s neon “Not Interested” sign was flashing from the jump in the 1st. Eloy’s 3 run jack was particularly picturesque, disappearing into the corn in right center field. The Big Baby now has 6 dingers and 19 RBI in his 15 games this season. He’s easily the best hitter in the lineup right now, and it shows.

-Lance Lynn’s 5+ innings were the definition of “gutting it out” against a meaty Yankees lineup. While he didn’t have his plus plus stuff on Thursday night, he was able to limit the damage to 2 home runs. He still struck out 7, and other than Judge was largely able to keep the rest of the danger off the board.

-Michael Kopech’s first inning of relief was nasty has hell, prompting a deluge of positive tweets from baseball royalty across the nation. Then the 2nd inning began and he had some trouble with his control, prompting a move to Bummer (who has looked MUCH better since his return from the IL) who took care of business. This is more what we were looking for out of the pen at the beginning of the season.

-Seby Zavala has cemented himself as the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal when he returns from his minor league  Zavala is average at the plate, can’t really block anything in the dirt, and calls and frames a good game. All of those things he does better than Zack Collins, which should probably make him fairly expendable at this point.

-Liam Hendriks did not have a good night either Thursday OR Saturday. His HR rate is concerning, and if it doesn’t come down in the next few weeks TLR might have to seriously look at swapping him and Kimbrel.

-Ladies and Gentlemen, Tim F’n Anderson:

 

GAME 2

-Sometimes baseball truly is a game of inches, as this one showed. Eloy and Zack Collins were a combined 4 feet away from turning this one from a nail biter to an absolute blowout. Instead, the Sox came up short and only had a sac fly by Eloy to show for it. Remember when I said baseball was stupid sometimes? Here ya go.

-The Sox stranded runners like it was going out of style on Saturday night, leaving a grand total of 25 standing on the pillows. Not great.

-Dylan Cease is some kind of wizard, because there’s not another person on the planet who can magically turn a 1-2 count into 3-2 as quickly as he can. More of the same tonight, with lots of teases of him being a dominant starter mixed in with an inability to put anyone away. That said, I’d probably take his 5 innings and 6 Ks with 3 ER most nights of the week.

-Kimbrel gave up an absolute lazer beam to Judge tonight on a fastball that caught way too much of the plate. Not nearly as bad as the dinger Liam gave up to Joey Gallo, but this should not be a competition to see who can give up the most bombs anyway. Hendriks is clearly leaving his fastballs up in the zone, but not nearly UP enough. It’s a very fixable issue, just a question of how long it’ll take.

-Jose Abreu tried his damnedest to make up for his rally killing GIDP earlier with his bottom of the 9th heroics. While it was not to be, I’m still stoked that he seems to be busting out of his slump.

GAME 3

-This game sucked, and it’s really hard to put a coat of paint on the ginormous turd the team laid on Sunday. Lucas Giolito struggled mightily the first 2 innings, throwing a combined 60 pitches between them, limiting him to 4 innings. He did strike out 8, so I guess that’s nice.

-Ryan Tepera, Jose Ruiz and Aaron Bummer picked up the slack however, giving the Sox a chance to claw back into the game before LaRussa turned once again to Matt Foster and suddenly the game was even MORE out of reach. I don’t quite get his use there, but whatever.

-Another day of leaving runners on base, with 18 more to add to the total. Andrew Vaughn was particularly guilty on Sunday with 5 total players left hung out to dry. Fart.

-The less said about Cesar Hernandez’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day the better. 3 errors and 2 GIDP (one of which ended the game). WHOOF. Be a goldfish, buddy. Be a goldfish.

 

Next up is a 4 game set against the once again red hot Oakland Athletics who have won 8 of their last 10 games and are attempting to run down the Houston Astros for the top spot in the west. The A’s actually made a splash at the deadline, trading for the guy we all wanted here in Starling Marte. He’s rewarded them for their efforts thus far with a 13 game hitting streak that began just after he got shipped over. The A’s pitching is nails as usual, with former Sox prospect Chris Bassitt leading the charge with a 12-3 record and a 3.06 ERA.

The A’s (shockingly) hit way better on the road than they do in their cavernous ballpark in the East Bay, so the Sox have their work cut out to regain some ground and momentum this week. The schedule doesn’t get any easier after that with Tampa and Toronto on the horizon. With the return of Grandal hopefully imminent, the Sox starters should not be lacking in run support, but hopefully they won’t need much.

LFG.

 

 

Baseball

Well, that went just about as expected, with the newly-rebuilding Cubs being unable to get a win against the contending Sox. The first game was at least a close call, outside of dragging on far too long. The other two games, however, were pretty horrific to watch, as the Sox pretty much decided both games in the first couple of innings of each. The Cubs also gave up four homers that scored six runners in last night’s game, and two more solo homers in Saturday’s game. If anything, it shows that the Cubs have quite a long way to go to become the contending team they once were.

August 6, 2021
Cubs 6, Sox 8
WP: Hendriks (6-2) LP: Rodriguez (0-2)
Box Score

Kyle Hendricks started this game because any other Cubs pitcher would have made an absolute fool out of themselves (see below). With Hendricks, the Cubs at least stood a chance in the season opener.

Greg Deichmann made his major league debut with the club in right field, the first prospect the Cubs received for developed players this deadline to debut. I guess he was a home run guy in the minors; he replaces Jason Heyward in right field, who is now on the IL with an index finger issue. He had one hit in the 4th inning and that was about it, but we’ll see how he develops over the coming weeks.

It was a pitchers’ duel up until the 4th inning, where Hendricks gave up two hits with no outs, as Adam Engel stole third base. He ended up scoring and the Cubs soon put themselves in a bases-loaded situation as the Sox easily started finding holes in our defense to hit balls through.

Lance Lynn gave up a pair of walks in the 5th, getting frustrated on some admittedly sketchy ump calls. With Matt Duffy up to bat and two outs, he ended up striking out to keep the Cubs off the board.

Eloy Jiminez then led off the 6th with a double. Deichmann was able to catch a fly ball in right, but the sacrifice put Jiminez on third base. Despite giving up another walk after that, it was a pretty impressive tag out by Robinson Chirinos to keep the game 2-2. Cesar Hernandez was intentionally walked to keep the bases load, but Hendricks came in clutch when it mattered, getting a strikeout to end the inning.

Once Hendricks came out of the game, things once again started out shaky with Jake Jewell on the mound in the 7th, as a hard-hit ball to left field gave Engel a double. He made it out of the inning unscathed, however, with a groundout and a strikeout.

The Cubs then put two more runners on board in the 7th when Michael Kopech gave up a walk and a sac fly. David Bote sac flied again for Andrew Romine to make it 2-1 Sox. Trevor Megill in the 8th gave up a tough single that Frank Schwindel on first base couldn’t make the diving play on, and soon Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer, which seemingly all but closed out this game for the Sox.

Until Craig Kimbrel, of course. He wasn’t even the closer because the Sox have arguably the two best closers in the game, and we all know what his stuff looks like — maybe too much, to Kimbrel’s detriment, as Duffy and Schwindel got base hits off of him, and then Romine hit a two-run homer to tie it! Very unfortunate to see statistically the worst outing Kimbrel has had in like ten years, but hey, our allegiances are elsewhere now. To add more salt in the wound, Chirinos singled right after this to get him pulled after getting only two outs.

The thing about the Sox is that their replacement, Liam Hendriks, is the other best closer in the league, and got the third out quickly. So the Cubs retaliated with ex-Sox reliever Codi Heuer to pitch the 9th inning, and he had some pretty good stuff – the Cubs completed a double play to keep it tied at the bottom of the 9th thanks in part to Willson Contreras, who had an off-day today but eventually suited up as catcher near the end of the game.

Matt Duffy put the winning run on first, then second with a steal, in the 9th inning with two outs, in which Ian Happ promptly and predictably struck out as he is wont to do, forcing the Cubs into extra innings.

Manny Rodriguez allowed a two-run homer in the 10th for the Sox, and by that time it had all unraveled for the Cubs and the fun was over. One more runner scored to end Manny’s day. In his place came Michael Rucker, with a sparkling 12 ERA in 2 games played, which he was able to knock back down to 9.64 despite allowing another run scored. And despite another two-run homer by Schwindel in the bottom of the 10th, the game finally ended after 3.5 hours.

August 7, 2021
White Sox 4, Cubs 0
WP: Rodon (9-5) LP: Alzolay (4-12)
Box Score

August 8, 2021
White Sox 9, Cubs 3
WP: Cease (9-6) LP: Davies (6-9)
Box Score

The other two games were nothing short of a disaster for the Cubs, to the point where they don’t even deserve individual game wraps because who wants to relive that dreck? They got outscored 13-3, including 9-2 in the first two innings of those games. Most notably, Zach Davies, who sucks in case you didn’t know, gave up seven runs in the first two innings of last night’s game to give the Cubs no chance in the game at all. Had he not given up seven runs it wouldn’t have been a blowout, especially considering our bullpen wasn’t horrific even though they had to start eating innings starting in the 3rd.

Adbert Alzolay, at least, was okay; despite giving up six hits and two runs in his 6.2 innings pitched on Saturday, he also struck out seven batters. The Sox are 16th in the league when it comes to strikeouts, so being able to strike out seven guys against a really good team is a step in the right direction on his part. Had the Cubs made any attempt at trying on offense, it would’ve been a quality start for Alzolay, people — he is likely the future of our pitching rotation.

David Bote had two hits in Saturday’s 4-0 loss, accounting for exactly 40% of the offense for the Cubs that day. Rafael Ortega was the only multi-hit Cub for last night’s game, despite scoring no runs. Instead, it was pinch-hitter Frank Schwindel last night who batted in two of the three Cubs runs to score Patrick Wisdom and Sergio Alcantara. Schwindel, at least, is growing on me. He will likely be the regular starting first baseman going forward. More please, why not?

Jake Jewell continues to develop as well. After getting out of the jam in Friday’s game, he pitched two innings yesterday and was the only pitcher who didn’t allow a hit; he gave up only one walk and had two strikeouts. He is definitely a reliever to watch over the coming weeks as the season begins its downhill stretch.

I’ll be out of state for the next week or so, while the Cubs likely get decimated during a four-game series against the first-place Brewers this week. They then have a three-game weekend series against another bottomfeeding team, the Miami Marlins, after that to recuperate. Enjoy the baseball, and I’ll be back at it with more wraps again soon. Go Cubs go.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Guardians 4 – White Sox 6

Guardians 12 – White Sox 11

Guardians 1 – White Sox 2

 

I don’t even quite know how to describe this series, except to say that it had everything and yet somehow not enough. The Sox finally decided to score a boatload of runs, but it almost fell short as they could’ve easily lost the series to Cleveland due to a colossal lack of timely hitting in game 3. We also had Seby Zavala making history, and Reynaldo Lopez doing some quality work out of the pen. Also Jose Abreu got plunked a shitload of times, and we saw Tony LaRussa “dash” out of the dugout and attempt to fight Roberto Perez, which I’m sure would’ve ended well for him.

Ultimately the end result is the Sox are back to a 9 game lead in the AL Central and pointed in the right direction again after Rick Hahn surprised everyone on Friday afternoon swinging another deal with the Cubs. The 8th and 9th innings are looking pretty dangerous for the Sox pen again.

To the bullets!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-What a weird ass game this was. The biggest story came in the 8th inning when James Karinchak had a 2-seam fastball get completely away from him to drill Jose Abreu right behind his left earhole. Jose went down in a heap, and Karinchak looked positively terrified that he had just killed someone. With Jose prone on the ground and Roberto Perez checking on him, TLR came shambling out of the dugout to push Perez away from Abreu for some reason that I think only he understands. Jose was ultimately all right, and as he trotted down to 1st, Karinchak came over to apologize. Being the amazing human being that he is, Jose gave the poor kid a hug and all was well.

-With the bases loaded there was no way Cleveland was intentionally throwing at Abreu, Karinchak’s reaction alone being all the proof you need. I get Tony’s inclination to be pissed off, as that was MY first reaction as well, but I’d rather he made sure Jose was OK first before picking a fight with the only guy on the field wearing armor.

-Yoan Moncada hit his 9th home run of the season in a way that wasn’t a complete Jose Canseco, but it was pretty damn close:

-Lance Lynn didn’t have his best stuff, but as you’d expect he bulldog’ed his way through the Cleveland lineup to 5 innings, 7 K’s and one walk. That’s our ace, folks.

GAME 2

-The Seby Zavala game is in the books, and his line in it ended with a 4-4, 3 HR 6 RBI night making him the first player EVER in MLB history to have 3 dingers in a game where he hit his first career home run. Hopefully this is enough to end the Zack Collins Experience as the backup catcher, but we shall see.

-Cleveland (the team) hit as many dingers as Zavala (the player), and they all came off pitches from Dallas Keuchel. He’s been bad lately, and time is running out for him to fix his shit.

-For a team that scored 11 runs, you’d think the Sox would have more than 11 hits but you’d be wrong. 5 home runs and some shitty D by Cleveland was how it went down.

-Michael Kopech had a shitty night, not much else to say about it. Not worried about him in the slightest, however. Moving on.

-The Jose Ruiz Experience needs to end, and soon. If Reynaldo Lopez is going to look like he did in relief on Sunday, then it should be his spot going forward.

-Yoan Moncada’s BABIP on the night should be about .900, as he’s had some of the worst luck (other than the weird ass home run in game 1) at the plate that I can remember.

GAME 3

-Solid bullpen work from ReyLo and and Jimmy Lambert here, keeping Cleveland to a single home run by Myles Straw of all people. While Lambert was sent back down after the game, ReyLo is still here and as mentioned above should be getting a better look out of the pen to see if he’s going to be an option going forward.

-The Sox had the bases loaded twice and only managed 1 run and it happened with Jose Abreu getting plunked again. All told, the Sox stranded 13 runners on the afternoon but still managed to pull out the win thanks to…

-One of the most excellent batflips of the season with Brian Goodwin walking off the Guardians in the bottom of the 9th. You just love to see it.

https://twitter.com/TonyClementsTC/status/1421939365983436801?s=20

-In a preview of things to come, the 7th-9th innings were on total fucking lockdown with Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks combining for 3 innings of 1 hit ball with 4 Ks. This is the bullpen I was promised, and having Bummer looking good in the 7th is gonna be awesome for the 1-3 starters.

Next up is a 3 game set at home again vs Kansas City with a chance to redeem themselves from that shit performance in Missouri last week. Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn currently line up to face the Royals, so as long as the offense can score some runs the team should have every opportunity for a series win. With the lead in the division the Sox have right now, the challenge is going to be staying sharp for games that on the surface look like they don’t matter much.

With the team’s splits favoring playing at home by about a 65% margin, getting home field advantage for the postseason is definitely something to strive for. With the looming return of Luis Robert, and a hopefully fully-groined Eloy Jimenez the Sox offense should have enough punch for the rest of the regular season. Don’t stop now boys.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 3 – Royals 4

White Sox 5 – Royals 3

White Sox 2 – Royals 3 (10 innings)

White Sox 0 – Royals 5

 

Whatever.

In what should’ve been a series where the Sox celebrated the triumphant return of The Big Baby, they instead looked like a pack of single A hitters facing Jake deGrom. The offense has scored 15 runs in its last 7 games, and the pitching outside of Giolito and Lynn has looked exceedingly pedestrian. While Rick Hahn has thus far done “fine” on the trading for reinforcements front, watching the Dodgers act like a team that legit wants to win every game they play by trading for Scherzer and Trea Turner leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Plus Eloy is hurt again.

Bullets? If we have to…

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-For a pitcher billed as a sinkerball specialist with a penchant for a lot of groundouts, Dallas Keuchel sure has been giving up a lot of home runs lately. The 3 in this game brings his total for the year up to 17 dingers in 19 starts as opposed to the 2 he gave up in the entire abbreviated season last year. A lot of it is the competition he was playing against in 2020 vs 2021, but the teams he’s giving up long balls to this year are the likes of Baltimore, Minnesota and KC. Something’s up with his delivery, but other than the fact that he’s leaving a lot of shit up in the zone I can’t put my finger on it. If he doesn’t right the ship, he figures to be the odd man out come playoff time.

-On the other side of the coin, the offense that started out the first half of the year as one of the most patient in the league (4th in the entire league with a 10.4% BB rate) has suddenly decided to swing at every offering from some of the shittiest pitchers in the land (down to 14th in the league with an 8.6% BB rate since July 1). A ginormous chunk of this is the loss of Yasmani Grandal and his .388 OPB, but players who were working counts earlier like Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have suddenly become swing happy. This may just be an outlier in a long season, but it bears watching.

-Andrew “Doubles” Vaughn did his best to drag this team back into the game with a 2 run single in the 6th inning, smoking an 0-2 change outside the zone right down the 1st base line.  This extended his hit streak to 6 games (which he would stretch to 7 the next night). Love to see it.

-Eloy was back, and despite the loss it was awesome to see him out there again. Luis Robert and Grandal aren’t far behind, as Robert began his AAA rehab stint and Grandal is a few days away from his.

-Another 2 hit night for Adam Engel, who with Vaughn’s emergence as a legit OF option and the impending return of Luis Robert has basically taken the RF need off Rick Hahn’s “to do” list.

Game 2

-THE BIG BABY HAS RETURNED. What a fucking blast:

-Everyone should thank Mike Matheny for intentionally walking Jose Abreu to get to the 2020 Silver Slugger award winner. That’s some Galaxy-Brained shit right there.

-In addition to vaporizing that ball, Eloy had a single and actually threw someone out at home from LF. Granted it was a hilariously bad send by the Royals 3rd base coach, but an assist is an assist. He also made a very nice catch on a sinking liner off the bat of Carlos Santana.

-Not to be lost in the Eloy Excitement, but Gavin Sheets also smoked a dinger of his own in the top of the 4th off a shitty changeup from shitty pitcher Brad Keller. That’s Sheets’ 6th dinger since he’s been called up, and it’ll be tough for the team to send him down once Luis comes back.

-Dylan Cease was pretty scattershot in his start tonight, but was somewhat let down by the D behind him. Andrew Vaughn, making his first ever start in RF, dropped a fly ball that would’ve ended the inning for Cease. Credit to him for battling, however, and making it a quality start by going 6 and giving up 2 ER.

-Michael Kopech looked absolutely unhittable in his inning of relief, striking out the side in the 8th to set the table for Liam Hendrik’s 25th save. That could be a scary back end of the bullpen if he can get that consistency up (he will). The only question is will he end up in the rotation or not.

GAME 3

-Fuck this shit.

GAME 4

-Fuck this shit too.

 

With a few hours left until the deadline, there’s still time for Rick Hahn to add more pieces, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that none of them are going to be of the jaw-dropping variety. Thus we are left with a team that will (hopefully) coast through the rest of the AL central and into the waiting arms of the Astros, who have made significant upgrades to their bullpen in addition to waiting for their all star 3rd baseman to come back from injury.

Fuck Jerry Reinsdorf, Eat At Arby’s