Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 6 – A’s 3

Game 2: White Sox 1 – A’s 5

Game 3: White Sox 1 – A’s 3

 

Heading into this week it felt like a trap series for the Sox. With the rotation down to a skeleton crew and the A’s having lost 6 of their previous 10 games all while watching their playoff hopes waft away like smoke over Lake Tahoe seemed like a bad omen for the Pale Hose. Lo and behold, we were right. With the loss on Thursday, the Sox now have an 8-15 record on the road since the All Star break, which is…not great. Granted the Sox pitching staff has been pretty decimated, but with the offense almost at full strength, having a series against Oakland where they only score 2 runs in 2 games is not ideal.

The Sox are all but guaranteed to make the playoffs at this point, so the goal going forward these last few weeks needs to be twofold: health and home field. The first seems to be taking care of itself as Giolito and Lynn look poised to return over the weekend. The 2nd part might be the issue, as the Sox are 2 games behind the Astros and 8 behind Tampa in the AL for home field. Time is running out for them to make a run, and momentum isn’t their ally right now.

To the bullets:

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-Jimmy Lambert, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Pitch Is Right! Making his second spot start of the season, Lambert looked pretty solid filling in for the currently injured Lucas Giolito (or was it Carlos Rodon? Or Lance Lynn? I’ve lost track at this point), going 5 strong with 3 hits and two walks. With the starting rotation likely to be in flux over the rest of September, Lambert could be a key piece for the Sox’s hopes for home field advantage in October.

-The Oakland Coliseum should be fired into the sun. Every other stadium in MLB has protective netting and the like around dugouts, yet for some reason the Coliseum dugouts are more open than Kansas. Predictably, this lead to Andrew Vaughn firing a foul ball off poor Eloy’s knee while he sat unawares in the dugout. While he returned to the game, it was short lived as he was replaced by Brian Goodwin in the 6th. JFC.

-Other than Ryan Burr, the bullpen was pretty nails in this game. Garrett Crochet seems to have re-found his velocity and movement on his slider, and Ryan Tepera has quietly become the most reliable reliever out there. The Dazzling Duo of Kimbrel and Hendriks did the thing in the 8th and 9th after Burr stumbled, so mission accomplished.

-The Sox scored all 6 of their runs without the benefit of the long ball, which is nice to see. Yasmani Grandal continues on his tear after returning with his Robo-Knee, and Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada contributed 5 hits between the two of them.

-The only Sox players not to join in the hit parade was Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn, who went 0-8 combined with a walk and a run. Vaughn in particular has looked exposed the past few weeks, and might benefit from an extended break.

-Gavin Sheets, yes.

GAME 2

-While some might try to frame this start as an improvement for Dallas Keuchel over his past few, the bottom line is that it’s another game not making it through 6 innings and giving up 5 runs. He hasn’t had a quality start in over a month and only 2 (!) since the 4th of July. I’m sure Ethan Katz is doing what he can, but each week that goes by things look more and more grim for him.

-The offense certainly didn’t do him any favors, stranding 20 people on base throughout the night. Andrew Vaughn was the worst culprit, stranding 4 and striking out half the time. Give the kid a break.

-Jose Abreu continues to pound the ball into the dirt, with his line drive rate the lowest it’s been in his career, and his ground ball rate up all the way to 46.4%. Jose is at his best when he’s taking what’s given to him and lining it to right center field. Right now it seems like he’s trying to pull everything, which is resulting in more weak contact (reflected in his barrel rate dip over the last 2 weeks).

-Another 2 hit night for Yasmani Grandal, who has his average up over .230 now, with an OBPS over .950…not much else you can say except that he may be the best free agent signing in Sox history.

-Mike Wright Jr is still here, and MLB.COM still has no idea who he is. At least this time he didn’t give up any runs, so…progress?

-This game sucked, was very boring and the Sox were very clearly Not Interested. It’s game 139 in September, it happens. Moving on.

GAME 3

-Reynaldo Lopez had his worst start thus far in the back end of this season and still only gave up 1 earned run. Granted the 2 unearned ones were his fault due to him firing a pickoff throw into center field but still. Can’t really complain about what ReyLo has brought to the table so far, and once everyone in the rotation is back it may be time for Keuchel to take a seat.

-Everything else in this game was a colossal waste of time.

 

Next up is a weekend series against the Red Sox, who have been backsliding since their hot first half of the season. If the rotation timing holds up, Chris Sale will be making an appearance on Sunday against most likely Lance Lynn unless he has some type of setback. Looking past the Red Sox, only Cincinnati is left on the schedule with any type of playoff hopes, so the opportunity to pass the Asstros will be there. 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: Twins 3 – White Sox 2 (8 Innings)

Game 2: Twins 3 – White Sox 5 (7 Innings)

Game 3: Twins 5 – White Sox 9

Game 4: Twins 7 – White Sox 2

 

Quite the weird and wonky series here, as the Sox and Twins split in every way possible, from the double header to the full 9 inning games. The Sox pitching staff (other than Lance Lynn) was pretty suspect here, with Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease not exactly having their best stuff. On the other end of the battery, you have two catchers who if you combined them might equal one Yasmani Grandal (but probably not), highlighting the need to perhaps add another catcher at the deadline for Rick Hahn, especially since catchers and knee injuries aren’t really compatible.

On the offensive side of things, this was a split as well with long periods of inactivity puncuated with a barrage of hits and runs. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada are both scorchingly hot right now, with both of them smashing the ball to all fields. After the 1st game, things cooled considerably for Tim Anderson, with his 16-game hit streak coming to an end Tuesday night.

All told, the Sox gained a half game on the Tribe and kept the stupid Twins right at the bottom of the division where they belong. One would assume this would make Minnesota sellers at the deadline, because they have some quality pieces they can move.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-What a waste of an outing for Lance Lynn here. Other than one mistake in the 6th to Nelson Cruz (which has happened to a LOT of pitchers over the last 15 years), he was pretty dominant, only allowing 6 baserunners in the 7 innings he pitched. Fresh off his new paper from the Sox, Lynn did nothing to imply that Rick Hahn didn’t make an excellent move with the extension. He deserved a better fate, but if you can only manage 1 run in 7 innings it’s gonna be tough for any starter to get the W.

-Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak in the 3rd inning with another oppo dong off the guy from Mortal Kombat with the metal arms. Timmy is hitting to all fields with power right now, and honestly looks like one of the best hitters in baseball, except when he swings 3-0 with a chance to tie the game and popped out in foul territory. Stuff like this is going to happen when you have a free swinger, but overall I wouldn’t change anything about his approach.

-Garrett Crochet didn’t get any help from his defense or the reliever that came after him, ultimately taking the loss after Jake Burger had trouble making a decision on a Josh Donaldson chopper that loaded the bases. LaRussa went to Ryan Burr who got Cruz on a sac fly but then gave up a single to Polanco that scored what ended up being the winning run.

-Jose Abreu tried to drag the Sox back for the tie in the bottom of the 8th with a double that scored Tim Anderson, but was stranded there with a K and a pop out. Fart Noise.

Game 2

-The Reynaldo Lopez Revenge Game never really materialized, but he pitched decent in his return to the big club. He gave up a single to lead off the game, then promptly advanced the runner to 3rd on a pickoff throw that was never within 10 feet of Jose Abreu. One Donaldson sac fly later and he was down 1-0. He later gave up a dinger to Mitch Garver, but other than those 2 mistakes looked serviceable.

-Poor Matt Foster got smoked by a line drive off the bat of Min Kepler, but at least managed to deflect it towards Danny Mendick for the out. He stayed in the game and had another ball hit at him. Not a great night.

-Codi Heuer came in and pitched a solid 6th inning, and Aaron Bummer continued his Jeckyll and Hyde routine by looking infinitely better than his previous outing.

-Jose Berrios only made 3 mistakes on the evening, and those 3 turned out to be all 5 Sox runs. Other than Moncada, Abreu and finally Gavin Sheets, Berrios kept the Sox hitters off balance all night with his sinker while striking out 8. It didn’t matter in the end, as Gavin Sheets did this with a 4-seamer Berrios tried to jam him with:

Game 3

-It was pretty apparent at the start of this one that Dallas Keuchel didn’t have his A game. He labored through 5 innings, only giving up 2 but he had to battle the whole way. Min Kepler took him WAY deep in the 2nd inning after an 8 pitch at bat where Dallas was up on him 0-2, which was the theme of the night. Keuchel had no issue getting ahead of hitters, but was unable to put any of them away. I have no evidence of this, but it feels like him and Seby Zavala weren’t on the same page for most of the night.

-Brian Goodwin saved Keuchel’s bacon in the 5th with a diving catch on a sinking liner hit by Nelson Cruz that would’ve scored at least one run and quite possibly two. I once again am forced to applaud Rick Hahn for one hell of a pickup in B-Good. He also singled in Jose to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning that wouldn’t last.

-Jose Abreu is a goddam beast. He finished a single short of the cycle, which in and of itself is kind of mind blowing. He also lifted this absolute moonshot in the bottom of the 8th to put the game out of reach permanently for the Twins:

https://twitter.com/whitesox/status/1417688497037643777?s=20

-Michael Kopech pitched a decent 2 innings, really only giving up one mistake to (who else) Josh Donaldson, who smoked a 3-1 fastball about 15 rows deep. While Kopech didn’t have his A+ stuff, it was still good enough to get the job done. He probably could’ve gone one more, but TLR decided he wanted some Ryan Burr. The Twins did too, apparently because Donaldson singled on the first pitch he saw, then Polanco got to him again with a 2-run dong to (temporarily) put the Twins on top. The Sox’ options for reliable relievers in the 7th and 8th innings are practically non-existent, so Rick Hahn has quite the job ahead of him in the next few weeks.

-Andrew Vaughn came up big in his pinch hit situation in the bottom of the 8th, scorching a single to left center field that was hit so hard that Adam Engel nearly got drilled at home after he held up for half a breath before dashing from 2nd to home in a thrilling play to tie the game.

-Yoan Moncada is locked in. Beware.

-Billy Hamilton, ladies and gentlemen. After pinch running for Gavin Sheets in the 7th, he came up in the 8th with the go-ahead run on 2nd and 1 out. He didn’t waste any time, lining a single down the 3rd base line past a diving Donaldson to score Zack Collins from 2nd. You just gotta love how this guy plays the game.

Game 4

-While his stat line doesn’t look too awful, Dylan Cease didn’t exactly set the world on fire in this start. He threw way too many pitches again, and when he missed his spots it was right in the middle of the zone (see: Kepler, Min).

-Codi Heuer has once again highlighted the need for Rick Hahn to acquire bullpen help at the deadline. The inconsistencies of a very young crew has been exposed over the last few weeks. The high level at which the starters have been pitching covers up a lot of those warts, but when Keuchel and Cease have less than stellar efforts, the pen has been overexposed.

-The Sox hitters didn’t help much either, stranding 14 people on base and generally making Michael Pineda look like a world beater (he’s not). Leury Garcia hasn’t been great in the last 7 games, posting a .174/.321/.304 slash line with 9 strikeouts. The catching crew of Seby Zavala and Zack Collins have sucked out loud as well. Here’s hoping Yasmani has Eloy-like healing abilities.

-Billy Hamilton was a lone bright spot in this game, going 2 for 4 and directly being responsible for the Sox first run. He fired a double down the line, then promptly stole 3rd and was brought in with an Adam Engel grounder that Assbag McGee couldn’t handle by 3rd. Love it.

 

Next up is a weekend series up in the remains of Giannis-Town with some of the most marquee pitching matchups you could possibly hope for:

If that doesn’t get you excited for baseball, you’re clinically dead and I can’t help you. Granted, whenever you get exciting pitching matchups like this, instead of duels, you end up with an offensive explosion so I fully expect 56 total runs this weekend. Either way, should be fun. Take 2 of 3 and get the hell outta there.

Lets Go Sox

Baseball

While I know most of these have been pretty positive grades so far (other than Adam Eaton obviously), can you really blame me? This Sox team has been a pleasant surprise from the jump, and when you lead the division by 8 games at the break there’s not too much room for complaining.

So believe me when I say this next group isn’t going to get much in the way of complaints either. The starting pitching staff for the Sox has been far and away the most consistent and effective group of the entire bunch, and are largely responsible for the position the team finds itself in right now.

Really the only thing that could be an issue for the Sox going forward is the same one that everybody is facing: the league cracking down on the use of sticky substances by pitchers. Will it affect the rotation? Has it already? We shall see…

 

LANCE LYNN

Games Started: 16 / 9-3 record

1.99 ERA / 1.04 WHIP / 3.20 FIP

105 K / 31 BB / 3.39 K to BB Ratio

2.5 WAR

When Rick Hahn sent Dane Dunning to the Rangers this past off-season for our Big Beefy Boy, it was the type of move one makes when they have expectations of winning at least the division. The early returns on that deal have been quite promising, as the above number indicate.

Despite missing a few weeks with a strained trapezius muscle, Lynn has been the most consistent pitcher in the Sox rotation. He’s made it to the 5th inning or beyond in 13 of his 16 starts, and only given up more than 3 runs once. He’s also added “slapdick motherfucker” into the lexicon of Sox fans everywhere, and for that we all must be eternally grateful. He’s a bulldog on the mound, which occasionally leads to him throwing too many pitches, but otherwise there’s not really much to complain about here. Lance Lynn has come in and done the job exactly as advertised, and should be extended by the club at their earliest convenience (read: probably never).

GRADE: A

LUCAS GIOLITO

Games Started: 18 / 7-6 record

4.15 ERA / 1.17 WHIP / 3.99 FIP

125 K / 33 BB / 3.79 K to BB Ratio

2.0 WAR

Lucas Giolito has had an up and down year control-wise, as is evidenced by his unusually high ERA. While he has not reverted to the complete pumpkin he was in 2018 (he has the exact same amount of strikeouts right now in half as many games), the long ball has resurfaced as an issue for him. A lot of that comes from Lucas preferring to work up in the strike zone, with him being one of the few pitchers who’s willing to throw the changeup higher in the zone. The issue when you work up in the zone is if you miss your spots, the ball tends to go a LONG way. The way you avoid that when you work up in the zone is your pitches have to have good movement on them, and that’s attained by having a good spin rate (you see where I’m going with this).

The chart above shows the average spin rate for all of his pitches over the 2021 season. While this doesn’t guarantee that he was using some type of substance, it does lead one in that direction. Despite the loss in spin rate, his K% rate has remained pretty steady. Really the only thing to glean from this is pitches that would’ve moved more out of the zone and been more difficult to barrel up for hitters are being hit harder at a higher rate. Giolito’s mechanics are still solid, he’s just going to have to adjust the way he approaches batters now, and he’s already mentioned he wants to use the curveball and slider more than he was. He’ll be fine, there’s just going to be an adjustment period.

Also, fuck Josh Donaldson

GRADE: B

CARLOS RODÓN

Games Started: 15 / 7-3 Record (1 No-Hitter)

2.31 ERA / 0.96 WHIP / 2.35 FIP

130 K / 26 BB / 5.00 K to BB Ratio

3.6 WAR

What started as a depth signing on the cheap turned into what I would call the co-ace of the White Sox starting staff, and it’s impressive as all hell to see. Rick Hahn was panned by many (myself included) when it seemed he was punting again on the 5th starter position this past December by bringing back Rodón and having him battle it out with Reynaldo Lopez for the final spot. What ended up happening is that ‘Los seems to have finally put it all together, mashing that up with being healthy for the first time in years and turned it into an All Star nomination and ultimately some Cy Young votes.

What changed? Obviously being healthy played a huge role, as it allows him to throw the slider much harder than he’s been able to in the past 4 years. The added velocity has caused the pitch to become almost unhittable, as batters have gone from a .250 average against it to a mere .106, and only slugging .133 off it. No solid contact = results. He’s also throwing his fastball more, up from 50% to almost 60%, another instance of the added velocity. All told, it’s turned Carlos into a monster and it’s gonna make him a lot of money in the off-season, hopefully with the White Sox (stares in Jerry Reinsdorf).

GRADE: A+

Dallas Keuchel

Games Started: 17 / 7-3 Record

4.25 ERA / 1.38 WHIP / 4.73 FIP

58 K / 31 BB / 1.87 K to BB Ratio

0.7 WAR

Dallas Keuchel has not had a terrible year, but neither has it been a very effective one. In the past, he was known for keeping the ball down in the zone and creating weak contact with his sinker. This usually allowed him to eat quite a few innings and save the bullpen for other, strike-heavier pitchers. That’s not the case this year. His lack of precision has led to him not making it past the 5th inning in over half of his starts. His splits as he progresses multiple times through the order get worse and worse as the season goes along, with him facing people for the 3rd time particularly brutal as hitters have a .328 average against him as opposed to a .218 one the first time through.

I can’t quite put my finger on what the issue is here either. His underlying metrics are pretty similar to what he’s had in the past, though his HR/9 has taken quite the jump from last year’s half season. His BABIP doesn’t imply bad luck, and his FIP implies that he’s actually getting decent D behind him. Whatever the reason, he needs to figure it out because every inning that Michael Kopech mows down the competition Keuchel becomes more and more unnecessary. Best case scenario for him would be a 6-man rotation to allow Kopech to ease back into the role and Rodon to preserve his arm. As a 5th starter, Keuchel is fine. With better options on the horizon, however, his time may be limited.

GRADE: C

Dylan Cease

Games Started: 18 / 7-4 Record

4.11 ERA / 1.27 WHIP / 3.68 FIP

117K / 39 BB / 3.00 K to BB Ratio

2.0 WAR

Ahhh Dylan Cease, the pitcher that drives me crazier than any other on the roster. You can see the tools, and when his stuff is on, he’s nigh unhittable. He has little issue getting ahead in the count, with 0-2 and 1-2 counts the norm. Instead of putting away the hitter, the nibbling begins and before too long it’s either a full count or a walk. He throws way too many pitches, and puts himself in situations where there’s little margin for error.

He’s also one of the pitchers who’s spin rate has dropped fairly precipitously in the past months, though it hasn’t made as much of a difference in the way he approaches batters. His FIP implies he’s had some bad luck behind him defensively, but some of that can be attributed to the fact that he’s also the slowest pitcher on the roster, and that can lull a defense to sleep.

Ultimately I’m splitting hairs, as Cease is fine as a 4th starter. His stuff has potential to improve, and most of his issues are more approach related as opposed to mechanical. Carlos Rodon is proof that sometimes it takes starters longer to bake in the oven, and we should keep that in mind when it comes to Dylan.

GRADE: B

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Rays 5 – White Sox 2

Game 2: Rays 0 – White Sox 3

Game 3: Rays 7 – White Sox 8

 

Despite the comments in the press from the players that this was just another series in June, this felt a little more…edgy for the Sox than the Rays. With players dropping like flies over the first few months of the season and their merely average win percentage against teams with winning records this felt like a chance for the Sox to make a statement. Doing so without the services of Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Michael Kopech was an extremely tall order, and the fact that the team took 2 of 3 from the Rays is pretty goddamn impressive.

It’s hard to not get excited about this team right now, and if Rick Hahn makes a few solid moves leading up to the deadline they could (GULP) become a legitimate contender for the AL Pennant. It’s weird to have this kind of hope and excitement about a franchise that’s done nothing but grind our hopes into dust the last decade, and I still am kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop…but STILL. Excitement!

 

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

Game 1:

-The biggest story coming out of this game doesn’t involve any Sox players (yet), as Tyler Glasnow was pulled in the 5th inning after feeling a twang in his elbow. After further evaluation, it turns out he has a partial tear of the UCL ligament, which is pretty much death for any pitcher. The more interesting part was his assertion that the tear was partially caused by the fact that MLB has issued a league-wide ban on any sticky substance for pitchers. This is a pretty complex issue, despite some of the blanket statements by people on twitter dot com that he’s a cheater and that’s what he deserves the reality is that with MLB using a hammer when they should be using a scalpel they’re creating a cascade of issues that may cost some pitchers time on the IL.

-Lance Lynn had the same issues that Lucas Giolito had his last start, where his stuff was there but a few pitches were left up in the zone and punished over the wall. Other than the 2 mistakes he made, Lynn looked like the ace he is. Nothing to see here, other than his amazing quote at the end of the game:

-The batting average of Yermin Mercedes continues to plummet earthward as he went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts in the game. He hasn’t looked himself in a few weeks, and with the positive Eloy news coming out Monday he may be K-ing his way out of a roster spot.

-You’re not gonna win many games when your 3-7 hitters go 0-infinity, but credit to the Rays bullpen for picking up the slack once Glasnow died. They’re the type of unit that can simply dominate a series in the postseason, and it’s scary to think the Sox could see them in the 1st round.

-Garret Crochet gave up a dinger, bringing his ERA up to 0.81. Total bust.

Game 2

-Adam Engel nuked a 98 mph fastball over the bullpen in left. Can you imagine what a platoon of him and Joc Pedersen would’ve looked like for the Sox outfield? Instead we’re left with the corpse of Adam Eaton. GOOD CALL.

-Dallas Keuchel had his good stuff tonight, spotting his sinker at the bottom of the zone and forcing the Rays to pound the ball into the dirt. His final line of 7 IP, 4 hits, 1BB, 5K’s is the atypical start from him and it was great to see him back in form. Not bad for a 5th starter, eh?

-Jose Abreu and Yermin looked all out of sorts against McClanahan tonight, as neither of them could pick up the spin on his breaking ball. Jose is now 0-8 in the 1st 2 games of the series, and Yermin is…still not good.

-Aaron Bummer came in and gave up a leadoff double, then slammed the door shut after that for his 10th hold of the season. Getting him and Evan Marshall back up to snuff will be key in the 2nd half of the season, and this was a good start.

-Liam Hendriks rebounded nicely from his rain soaked blown save. Still would’ve rather had a $30 million dollar right fielder, but that’s not gonna stop me from enjoying him on the team. Fun shit.

Game 3

-Jose Abreu got shit started right against Ryan Yarborough (who had come into the game pitching very solidly having only given up 10 runs in his previous 35 innings pitched) by lacing a line drive HR over the head of Manuel Margot. It was his only hit of the series, but way to make it count.

-Lucas Giolito once again was bitten by the long ball. He certainly didn’t pitch poorly by any stretch of the imagination (quality start and should’ve had the win) but that’s now 6 dingers given up in half of June, when he only gave up 5 in the entire month of May. Definitely bears watching.

-The bullpen implosion shows the issues they have with consistency right now. Bummer and Marshall will look unhittable for a stretch of two or three games, and then get their fucking doors blown off. Looking at the other dugout you see a bullpen of guys who are consistent as hell, and in the playoffs that’s what you need. Once Kopech comes back, him and Crochet need to be the 8th inning guys going forward until Bummer and Marshall get back to form.

-Danny Mendick tried to make up for his error in the 8th with a leadoff double in the 9th, but the strike zone of home plate ump Fieldin Culbreth became 3 feet wide. It was an inexplicable change to the strike zone in a critical portion of the game, and he’d actually done pretty well up until that point. Robot umps, plz.

-Yasmani Grandal walks, and then he REALLY walks (it off) with a game winning screamer down the RF line. Is he the best .152 hitter of all time? Yes. Is he not of this world? Quite Possibly.

 

Next up is another stout test for the Sox with 4 against the Houston Astros. While their pitching isn’t quite what it once was, they have enough weapons at the plate to be in the top tier in all offensive categories. By taking 4 of 6 against the Rays and Blue Jays the Sox have already done enough to consider this portion of the schedule a success. Splitting with Houston or better would just be the cherry on top. With Moncada supposedly coming back tonight, I certainly wouldn’t bet against them.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Tigers 1 – White Sox 4

Game 2: Tigers 8 – White Sox 9

Game 3: Tigers 4 – White Sox 3

Game 4: Tigers 0  – White Sox 3 

 

Three out of four has to be considered a complete success for the Sox, especially when you include the fact that Baltimore just took 2 of 3 from Cleveland. The Orioles pummeled the Indians pitching, dropping 25 runs on them in 3 games as the Tribe has now lost 5 of their last 10, stretching the Sox lead over them to a season high 4 games.

The door is open for the Sox to run away with the division, and this series was a solid intro to that. The starters had an excellent weekend, where even the lone loser in Giolito still went 7 innings and struck out 9. The Sox hitters took advantage of every mistake the Tigers D made, and the new unis even gave TLR some sick drip. Solid work all around.

In an added bonus, the Twins tailspin continues to be one of the best storylines of the season, as even Ozzie Guillen started in on them during the pregame show on Sunday. It’s glorious, and you can hook every Minnesota loss directly into my veins. Anyway, back to talking about a good team that’s well above .500

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

Game 1

-Lance Lynn has been as advertised so far this season. How good has he been? Well the one run he allowed in this game actually raised his ERA. He went a strong 6 innings in a mere 89 pitches while striking out 6 Tigers en route to his team-leading 7th win of the season. There isn’t much more you can say about his performance so far, other than it’s been exactly what we all hoped for.

-The Sox hitters smoked 4 solo home runs in this game (Moncada, Grandal, Anderson and Jake the Snake Lamb), providing all the offense that Lynn would need. Seeing Grandal and Moncada go yard in particular warms my cold, dark heart. Grandal seems to finally be rounding into form after dealing with a bum knee all throughout spring training. His dinger went almost 460 feet with an exit velo of 110 mph. Very nice.

-Home plate umpire Will Little had himself a shitty game Thursday night, which ultimately led to Lucas Giolito being tossed after jawing at his terrible strike zone from the dugout. Apparently Little told Gio to go look at the zone himself, which he did, and returned to tell Little that upon further review it still fucking sucked.

-After Gio got tossed, LaRussa managed to piss everyone off AGAIN with his terrible postgame comments. I sorta get where he was going with this, but I would’ve much rather him said something along the lines of “I appreciate his passion in sticking up for his teammates” instead of what he actually said:

-Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks combined for 3 innings of 1 hit ball in a preview of what we all thought the bullpen was going to be like at the beginning of the year. Sadly, it didn’t last too long.

Game 2

-This game started out pretty ooky for the Sox, as Spencer Turnbull came out firing bullets for the first 5 innings, only making one mistake to Yasmani Grandal that he smoked into the seats for a dinger. Otherwise he was fairly unhittable until the 5th, where something in his elbow went TWANG and he was forced out of the game. It was then that the wheels fell off for the Tigers D, allowing 5 runs in the 5th, only 2 of which were earned. The Sox took advantage, however, and jumped out to a 7-2 lead.

-That lead didn’t last, as mentioned above Codi Heuer and Evan Marshall absolutely did not have their A, B, C or D stuff that night. Heuer walked 2 and gave up a hit, all of which came around to score when Marshall relieved him and promptly gave up 2 home runs that gave the Tigers the lead. Both guys had been pitching fairly stellar of late, so I’m inclined to call this more of a hiccup than a trend.

-Grandal was able to tie the game in the 8th with his 2nd home run of the night and 3rd of the series with an opposite field pop off of Rony Garcia. The eyeballs on this guy were never in doubt, but the power behind the swing now is something else.

-A struggling Yermin Mercedes was able to walk the game off in the 9th after Jose Cisneros walked Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu smoked a single, sending Yoan to 3rd. Yermin immediately went into 2 strike mode and fought off an inside slider into short left field for the winner. Fingers crossed this is just what he needs to get going here on out.

Game 3 

-On a hot, windy day at the Down Arrow, Lucas Giolito only made 3 bad pitches. Unfortunately for him, all 3 of them ended up in the OF seats, giving the Tigers all the offense that they’d need to win the game. He still went 7 innings, striking out 9 and probably deserved a better fate than the L, but such is baseball.

-Tarik Skubal looked the best he had the entire season, as you could see why the Tigers took him in the 2018 draft. He kept the Sox hitters completely off balance, striking out 11 in 5 innings. His slider had nasty cut to it, and the movement on his 4 seam fastball was pretty damn impressive. Thankfully, with him striking out so many Sox he was pulled after 5 innings and 103 pitches.

-The Sox jumped all over his replacement Derek Holland, with 3 hits (including a 2-run double by Jake the Snake) and a walk. Sadly, this is where things got stupid. LaRussa decided he wanted to fire up the Old Timey Managin’ Machine, and had Danny Mendick try and bunt the tying and winning runs over to 2nd and 3rd. In a galaxy brain move, Mendick decided he would bunt the ball down the 1st base line, where Jonathan Schoop was able to field it and fire the ball over to 3rd for the force out. Giving away outs to a guy who has never been able to get them against the Sox on his own is just fucking dumb, and I doubt this is the last time we will talk about it. Sadly.

-After the fucked up 6th inning, the Sox were only able to muster 1 more hit the rest of the game so they didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory. Jose Abreu had multiple chances to smoke fastballs sitting middle middle and was late on them. His day off Sunday was not really a shock.

Game 4

-Facing the team he’s dominated more than any other, Dylan Cease returned to form by pitching a VERY strong 7 innings and striking out 10 and only walking 1. His curveball looked simply unhittable, dropping right off the table and making Tigers hitters flail around at the ball. I get that it’s just the Tigers, but there was a lot to like about this start. His next one should bring a much stiffer test in the Tampa Bay Rays, and I’m very excited to see how he handles their very patient hitters.

-All the Sox offense happened in the top of the 2nd, with Adam Eaton tripling into the corner to start things off. Andrew Vaughn smoked a single into left to drive him in, then moving to 3rd on a Nick Madrigal double in the gap. Timmy brought both them in with a bloop single to center, and with that the offense was done for the day. Good enough, indeed.

-Aaron Bummer looked sharp taking over for Dylan Cease in the 8th, striking out 2 and generating a weak ground for the other out. More please.

-Liam Hendriks faced little opposition in the 9th, going 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts. He’s locked in right now, with the only downside being with more people in the stands I can’t hear him scream FUCK anymore.

-The win today moved Tony LaRussa into 2nd place all time for wins in the league. I give TLR a lot of shit because he’s an out of touch crank who doesn’t support his players in the media, but this is a cool milestone for him and the league and in this moment, I have to give him his due. Congrats to him.

 

Next up is a series against the offensive Death Star known as the Toronto Blue Jays. They lead the league in OPS, and their bullpen is what we thought the Sox one would be, and that’s with them losing their closer (Kirby Yates) to TJ surgery before spring training ended. With the Sox merely .500 against winning teams, this coming week will be a solid yardage marker to see where they truly stand among the AL Elite. Get it done.

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. Evil Empire (album) - Wikipedia

 

Records: White Sox 26-16 / Yankees 25-19

First Pitch: Friday 6:05, Sat/Sun 12:05

TV/Radio: NBCSN/ESPN1000

Pizza Wars: Pinstripe Alley

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (5-1 1.47 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (2-1 4.75 ERA)

Game 2: Dylan Cease (2-0 2.41 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (5-2 2.03 ERA)

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (3-1 4.44 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (1-3 5.73 ERA)

 

3 weeks ago I don’t think anyone would’ve considered this series to be a potential 1st round playoff preview, as the Yankees were mired in their worst start to a season in over 20 years. Coming out of the gate with ice cold hitting and having everyone not named Gerrit Cole getting pummeled on the mound will do that to you. Much like the White Sox, however, as soon as the mercury began to climb the Yankees bats came alive. Just since the calendar flipped to May, the Bombers have gone from averaging 3.45 runs per game to 4.06. In April, they scored 2 or fewer runs in 8 of their 26 games and went 2-6 in them as compared to May where they’re 4-2 in games where they score 2 or less.

Leading the charge offensively are the usual suspects of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela. Combined, the 4 of them are worth approximately 4.4 WAR so far with Judge taking up a whopping 1.6 of that number. Missing from those stats is the recently returned Luke Voit, who missed the first 6 weeks of the season after having a procedure done on his knee to repair a partially torn meniscus. Given that he missed most of spring training and the season thus far, it’s pretty forgivable that he’s only slashing .207/.303/.610 with one lonely dinger to his name. Really, this lineup doesn’t have any holes in it right now with the exception of missing Stanton right now (who’s out with a strained hamstring, but is expected back after this series). The biggest disappointment would have to be Gary Sanchez, who has yet to break the Mendoza line, but even he’s run headfirst into 5 home runs so far.

On the starting pitching side of the ball, things are much less rosy for the Yanks. Outside of Gerrit Cole (and I suppose Corey Kluber and his no-no on Wednesday night) the starting rotation has been eminently hittable. After Cole and Kluber, the ERA of the 3rd through 5th starters sits at 4.51 with a 1.20 WHIP. The biggest offender is the game 3 starter, Jameson Tallion who’s return from double Tommy John surgery has not yet paid the dividends that Brain Cashman was hoping for when he sent 4 prospects to the Pirates in exchange for his services this past off-season. Tallion hasn’t had issues with striking people out, as his K/9 sits at a very pretty 10.99. His problem has been (much like Dylan Cease at the start of the year) pitch efficiency and walks. He’s started one less game than Gerrit Cole, but he’s pitched 20 less innings than him, with a walk rate just under 2.4. He’s only gotten past the 6th inning once (two weeks ago against the Nats), and he needed 100 pitches to do it. Having him going game 3 against the Sox in what is hopefully the rubber match of the series tips the scales towards the Sox in that instance.

As for the White Sox, after the series win against the Twins this past week (coaching shenanigans and all) without the services of Jose Abreu they look to increase their lead in the AL central. The Indians still sit 2.5 games behind the Sox with a series against the Twins on tap this weekend.

After the offensive outburst night one vs Minnesota, the bats predictably went quiet over the next two games. After pounding out 4 runs against the rookie Bailey Ober in game 2, they were only able to manage 2 runs over the next 14 innings while stranding 19 runners on base. A majority of this is to be expected, what with 3 of the top 4 hitters on the team on the shelf with injuries and all, but hopefully this turns around with the (supposed) return of Jose Abreu for this series. At publishing time there still has been no word as to Jose’s status but the previous update from the team expected him to be available for this weekend’s series.

As for the pitching, they’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend playing in a park built for the long ball. The porches in left and right field are some of the shortest in the league and the Yanks (much like the Sox) are build to pummel left handed pitching so Rodon and Keuchel are going to need to keep the ball down to survive. Saturday’s matchup of Dylan Cease and Gerrit Cole should be a K-Fest, as the two of them combined average 9+ strikeouts per 9 innings with a sub 2.40 ERA. It should be fun, as well as the stiffest test of Cease’s newfound control thus far.

All told, this series is going to be a good measuring stick for the White Sox going forward. The Yankees are probably the best offense they’ve seen this far, and that’s without Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. Keep the walks to a minimum, keep the ball down, and hopefully keep the bullpen use to a minimum. The starters for the Yankees in games 1 and 3 can be gotten to, especially with Jordan Montgomery being a lefty and Jameson Tallion unable to find the plate. Take 2 of 3 here and then come home to face the Cardinals on Monday.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Twins 3 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Twins 8 – White Sox 13

Game 3: Twins 2 – White Sox 4

 

What a wonderful start to the season series against the evil that is the Minnesota Twins. On top of that, the Sox have now swept back to back division opponents and won 8 of their last 10 games in all. Despite that run, Cleveland has gone 9-1 in that same span and is still hanging around one game behind the Sox at the top of the AL Central list. On the flip side is the Twins now sit at the bottom of Shit Mountain, 10 games behind the Sox tied with the lowly Tigers.

The Sox starting pitching has been carrying the load the last few weeks as the offense begins to heat up, so it was nice to see the bats pick up the pitching when Cease and Keuchel had a bit of a stumble in the first two games of the series. The 25 runs the Sox put up boosted their run differential up to +66, good for 1st in the entire American League, with the next closest team being Houston at +45. The numbers look even more impressive when you realize that the Sox are second to last in home runs. So all these runs they’re banging out are being done against the league trend of the Three True Outcomes™ style of offense. Whether this is an adjustment to the deadened balls being trotted out, or a move to a different style of hitting with Luis Robert and Eloy on the shelf I don’t know, but it kicks all kinds of ass.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

-Pitchers of the central beware, Jose Abreu is heating up. He had a killer series, going 5-11 with 5 RBI and his first triple in 2 years. He also added a dinger on Wednesday night, making that 3 in his last 6 games. You love to see it.

-We finally had the Billy Hamilton Game on Wednesday, as he went 4-4 with his first extra base hit when he legged out a triple and nearly caught Andrew Vaughn who went 1st to home and looked like I do after playing 30 minutes of tennis. While I don’t expect to see this again, any offense Hamilton generates is a complete bonus and should be treated as such. Good for him, as he’s a pretty easy guy to like.

-Lance Lynn only went 5 innings Thursday and had to go get his hand x-rayed after a comebacker smacked into it. The x-rays were negative and he shouldn’t miss a turn in the rotation.

-Yermin is only batting .386 now, so I think we can all agree he’s a bust.

-Grandal had a very Grandal series, walking 3 times and going 2-7 with a mammoth 3 run shot in game 1. His OPS now stands at .717 with a batting average of .130 which is fucking wild.

-Ole Googly Eyed Andrew Vaughn smoked his career first home run in game 2. He’s now slashing .263/.380/.775 which is MORE than acceptable for a rookie in his first go round in the league. Especially one who thought he was probably going to be DH’ing most of the time, not filling in for Eloy in LF.

-Dylan Cease and Dallas Keuchel labored through their respective starts, though I will say that the Twins are one of the more patient teams in the league, and they forced the two of them in the zone more often than not. Keuchel in particular (outside of his start against the Reds) has looked very hittable at times. Something to keep an eye on.

-Next up is another 4 games against the tailspinning Royals, who have now lost 11 in a row after getting broomed by the Tigers this week. Kopech will be taking another turn tonight in the second game of the double header. 7 is better than 6 boys, keep it up!

Baseball

VS

 

Records: Cardinals 2-3 / White Sox 10-9

Start Times: Saturday game 1 1:10/Game 2 4:00/ Sunday 1:10

TV: NBCSN

Dude, That’s Not Pizza: Viva El Birdos

 

Probable Starters

Game 1: Adam Wainwright (1-0 1.50 ERA) vs. Lucas Giolito (1-1 4.37 ERA)

Game 2: TBD vs. TBD

Game 3: TBD vs. Dallas Keuchel (2-2 3.04 ERA)

 

It’s been a bit since I’ve gotten the chance to talk with you all about the Sox. Unfortunately work occasionally cuts into my ability to churn these things out. Suffice to say in the time since I posted the Brewers preview some stuff has happened. The Sox started out gangbusters against the Brew Crew, then faded down the stretch. Then they lost 2 of 3 to the Tribe, and the first game to the Tigers before Dallas Keuchel decided enough was enough. He gave the young offense a verbal lashing, then repeated what he said (with less cursing, I’m assuming) to the local media.

What he said apparently worked, as the Sox dropped 15 runs on the heads of the Tigers after only scoring 10 the previous 6 games combined. Having Tim Anderson back certainly helped, as he kicked off the party by drawing an 8 pitch walk his first at bat back and was later knocked in by Eloy Jimenez with the 3 run shot. He also fell a double short of the cycle on Wednesday, going 4-5 and welcoming Matthew Boyd to the game by smoking a no-doubter into the left field seats.

Taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers should be the bare minimum for this team going forward if they have any interest in making the postseason this fall. Standing in the way of that this weekend are the Rona-laden St. Louis Cardinals, who have thus far only played 5 games this season.

We could go over how ridiculous it is ad nauseum to have the Cards try and pack 55 games in 42 days like they’re going to have to do to play out the string, but that’s best left to angrier people like our old boss Sam.

What this does mean is the White Sox are getting to play a team that hasn’t taken the field in over 2 weeks. One would have to assume both their hitters and pitching staff will be pretty rusty, and with the appropriate aggressiveness, be taken advantage of.

The Red Birds have only announced one starter thus far, and that’s the aging prince Adam Wainwright for game one of the doubleheader tomorrow. After only pitching 160 innings total from 2016-18 due to various maladies, Wainwright was able to reinvent himself last season which for a 39 year old is no mean feat. He started 31 games in 2019, going 14-10 with a 4.19 ERA. While that’s nowhere near the numbers when he was at the height of his powers, for a 5th starter on a team with playoff aspirations you could do a whole lot worse.

For the Cards actual ace, they turn the ball over to Jack Flaherty. Last year Flaherty went 11-8 with a 2.73 ERA and 231 strikeouts. His WHIP was outstanding at .093 which is pretty nuts for an entire season. Flaherty doesn’t throw smoke, usually topping out around 93-95 mph. What he does have is pinpoint control, which his 2.52 BB/9 rate proves. He mixes 4 pitches with regularity (4 seam, curve, changeup, and slider), and the slider has the kind of movement usually reserved for frisbee golf. Luis Robert is gonna see a lot of those, as will Eloy.

Were I a betting man, I’d put my money on him facing off against Keuchel on Sunday. The kid is the real deal, and as long as he’s healthy should anchor the Cards rotation for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of the future of the Cardinals, this weekend should feature the debut of uber-prospect Dylan Carlson (#1 in the Cards pipeline and #18 overall in MLB according to MLB.COM). Carlson was the Cards #1 overall pick in 2016, and slashed his way through their minor league system without getting much competition. Through AA and AAA ball last year, Carlson slashed  .292/.372/.542 with a .914 OPS in 126 games, which looks kind of like the Sox own CF prospect. Carlson is a switch hitter with a plus hit tool, and is an above average defender in the outfield. Hopefully he takes a few games to get his feet under him and is more a problem for the Cubs and not the Sox.

For the pale hose this weekend, the question is whether or not they can sustain the hot hitting they got in the final two games of the series against the Tigers. Pitching wise having both Giolito and Keuchel going in the series is a good thing, and game 2 Saturday would be the perfect time to use Ross Detwiler in an opener role. Detwiler has been pretty nails thus far in the season being used in a relief role, but hasn’t thrown hardly at all lately. Ricky Renteria decided he’d rather have Drew Anderson get rocked by the Indians on Saturday rather than use Boss Ross. Anderson has since been punted to the land of wind and ghosts (Schaumburg), so this seems the perfect opportunity for Detwiler and pleasant surprise Matt Foster to eat some innings tomorrow.

With the Cards hardly playing since the calendar flipped to August, the timing is perfect to steal at least 2 of 3 from STL. Having Tim Anderson lighting the fuse at the top of the lineup seems to be working, so more of that please. Luis Robert smoking that bases clearing double Wednesday is hopefully a sign he’s adjusting to the steady diet of breaking balls he’s been seeing over the past few weeks. Keep Eloy out of the netting, and the series should be theirs.

Let’s Go Sox