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: White Sox 8 – Tigers 2

Game 2: White Sox 5 – Tigers 11

Game 3: White Sox 5 – Tigers 6

 

It’s not too often in a 3 game series where a team is able to pot 18 runs and yet still lose 2 of the 3 games, but the Sox pitching staff found a way this holiday weekend. Both Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito had rough outings, which were just bad enough to be too much for the offense to overcome. Even Lance Lynn, who got the lone win for the weekend, needed almost 120 pitches to get through 6 innings.

This continues a disturbing trend for the White Sox starters the last couple of weeks where they’ve labored through the 5 to 6 innings they’ve been tasked with finishing, usually throwing an excess of 100 pitches to get there. While the temperature has skyrocketed in that timeframe, I’m concerned that’s not the only reason the difficulties are rearing their heads.

To the bullets:

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-While the final score makes it look like the Sox pummeled the Tigers into submission, the reality is that the game was much closer until they dropped 5 runs on the head of Bryan Garcia in the top of the 9th inning. After jumping on prized rookie starter Casey Mize in the 1st inning, it seemed that the Sox were indeed going to nuke the Tigers from orbit, but the bats went silent after that 1st inning and Mize escaped with just the 2 earned runs.

-Gavin Sheets was part of that barrage in the top of the 9th when he smoked a 3 run dinger off Buck Farmer on a nipples high fastball. It was an impressive show of power for a kid in his 5th career MLB start. Here’s hoping his splits improve against left handed pitching, because if he can show that right field will be his standard spot on the diamond, the Sox may have found something here.

-Andrew Vaughn has officially heated up. His difficulties hitting right handed pitching have melted away in the hot summer sun, as he’s slashed .317/.348/.933 since the middle of June. In addition to the hitting, he’s actually turned into a solid defender in left field as he made a great diving stop on Friday night to get Lance Lynn out of a jam he worked himself into:

-Lance Lynn needed 120 pitches to get through 6 innings on a hot summer night, but he was able to get the job done. Were he pitching against a team other than the Tigers this start probably would’ve ended differently, but here we are and we’ll take it.

-Jake Burger had two hits in his first ever major league game, and it was simply awesome to see him out there after what he went through the past 3 years. He had a great postgame interview with Jason Benetti, and it sure did get dusty in my living room all of a sudden watching it. Good for him.

GAME 2

-Dallas Keuchel looked more like 2019 Dylan Cease in this start, throwing way too many pitches and walking waaaaay too many people. After the game he didn’t exactly help his cause by complaining about how the outfield defense is positioned too deep to take care of bloops and liners. Was he hurt by Billy Hamilton’s poorly timed dive that lead to an inside the park home run? Yep. Was his start ultimately undone by defensive positioning in the OF? Nope. It was undone by shitty pitching. Deal with it and move on.

-The strike zone by home plate umpire Tom Hallion was absolutely atrocious in this game, directly leading to 2 additional runs being walked in by Ryan Burr, who was nails in his relief appearance. This ultimately led to pitching coach Ethan Katz being ejected in the 5th by Hallion, when he murmured something derogatory in his direction. How Hallion heard him is a mystery to me, as Katz is so mild mannered it would be difficult to hear him in an empty library. Grandpa Tony shuffled out to defend the honor of his coach by saying a few words to Hallion, then creakily huffing back to the dugout to resume his nap.

-Some of this was directly related to just how bad Zack Collins is at framing pitches. On the first strikeout for Burr that was called a walk, the 4-seam fastball was in the zone but after Collins caught it his mitt carried it outside. There were a few instances where Keuchel had low strikes called balls because Zack couldn’t bring it up in a timely manner. Pitch framing is an art, and Collins can definitely get better at it. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

-Jace Fry came back up from Charlotte to get shellacked by the Tigers in his 1.1 innings of work. I’m guessing he was probably on Travelocity in the locker room booking his flight back down after the game.

-Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu combined for 4 hits total, and both look like they’re starting to get back into a groove. The Sox are going to need it, since Yasmani Grandal left the game early with a tight calf muscle.

-Game 2 for Jake Burger was much less notable, as he went 0-4 with 2 K’s. It’s a learning process, folks.

GAME 3

-The spin rate on Lucas Giolito’s fastball was down some 200 RPMs yet again, causing it to be very hittable in the main part of the strike zone. Conversely the spin rate on his changeup went up, making THAT pitch more hittable as well. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Lucas was using some combination of substance on his pitches, and is now going to have an adjustment period where he’s forced to rely more on the location of his fastball and change as opposed to the movement of it. He’s talented enough to make it work, but this might not be the last clunker before he figures it out.

-Jose Abreu did everything in his power to try and drag the Sox back into the game, absolutely crushing an 88 mph slider that Gregory Soto left over the middle of the plate. It ultimately didn’t mean much to the game with the Sox falling short, but seeing Jose read the slider and not only make solid contact, but nuke it, is a very good sign going forward.

-Andrew Vaughn came to the plate with the tying run on 1st and absolutely smoked a first pitch fastball opposite field, but unfortunately right at Robbie Grossman to end the game.

-Codi Heuer has now gone his last 7 appearances with only giving up 1 run, while striking out 8. His feel for his changeup has clearly come back, as that pitch has had the bottom dropping out of it more than it had in the first month of the season. This is a great thing, because with Bummer and Marshall out for the foreseeable future, he may be the bridge to Hendriks in the 9th.

-Danny Mendick pinch hit for Gavin Sheets in the 9th with 1 on and nobody out. I get the splits for Soto are favorable for the Sox going lefty/righty, but I really wanted to see how the kid handled the at bat in a high pressure situation.

 

Ultimately, losing 2 of 3 to the Tigers didn’t hurt the Sox at all, since Cleveland got swept by Houston over the weekend. The Sox are in “stay afloat” mode until reinforcements can be brought in the form of Eloy and Luis Robert returning from the IL, or outside the organization via trade. The way it stands now, the Sox need at least a reliever or two, and a second baseman. While the article on MLB Trade Rumors saying the Sox were interested in Trevor Story was nice to see, it’s also kind of common sense. The Sox absolutely SHOULD be interested in Story, but being interested in him and actually pulling the trigger on a deal are two totally different things all together. I wouldn’t get my hopes up, personally. The splash trade at the deadline is so far away from Rick Hahn’s MO that it’s almost out of the realm of possibility.

Let’s just concentrate on beating the shit out of Donaldson and the Twins this week. That’s obviously assuming that he can stay healthy enough for a week straight to make it on the field.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 5 – Tigers 4

Game 2: White Sox 15 – Tigers 2

Game 3: White Sox 4 – Tigers 1

 

At this point, there’s not much that can be said about this Sox team when they’re taking on a sub-.500 squad other than that they’re completely merciless. Despite losing yet ANOTHER key piece of the rebuild to an exploded hamstring with Nicky 2-Strikes going down in the previous series, the Sox didn’t miss a beat this weekend in Detroit. Even Friday night where it looked like the bullpen was going to implode after an excellent start by Lucas Giolito, the offense was there to pick up the slack in extra innings.

In the second game, the Sox scored some runs, and then some more, and even more after that, raining blows down upon a Tigers team that had clearly hung the “Not Interested” sign in the bullpen window. They became so disinterested, they trotted out two different position players to pitch, which I’m sure breaks some unwritten rule somewhere, but whatever. The most impressive bit about this Sox win was the fact that out of the 15 runs, only 1 came on a dinger.

On Sunday Hard Carl had a shot at his 2nd no hitter of the season, taking it into the 7th inning before finally giving up a double to Eric Haase with 1 out. Even this was not without shenanigans, as Rodon threw a NASTY slider in a 2-2 count to Haase that clearly caught a chunk of the zone but he didn’t get the call from home plate umpire Pat Hoberg (who otherwise had an excellent day behind the plate).

All told, the Sox now sit at a tasty 41-24 record with a hilariously high +106 run differential (!). While everything is not perfect and the schedule takes a decidedly angry turn in the next week it’s hard to be anything but excited about where this team is right now.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start: There is absolutely no fucking reason the idiotic umpiring crew should have started the bottom of the 9th inning on Friday night. It was absolutely pouring, and while Liam Hendriks probably didn’t need to flip out the way he did, I don’t blame him in the slightest. I don’t completely blame him for the blown save either, as getting re-pumped up is almost impossible after taking the mound and then having to wind down. Robot Umps ASAP.

-The top 1/3rd of the batting order had a rough night, going a combined 0-11 with 2 walks and one sac fly by Moncada. They were able to get on base a few times via the walk, but none of them came around to score. I don’t hate trying Yermin in the 2 hole, despite the net negative result, trying anything to spark him back up is all right in my book.

-Lucas Giolito had some issues with the long ball again, giving up two solo shots to bring his total over his last 3 starts to 6. When you live in the upper portion of the zone like Lucas does, any mistakes are magnified and usually end up in the cheap seats. Despite that, he’s also undefeated since May 14th, so it’s obviously not the end of the world.

-Adam Engel had another home run? I do declare!

-Garret Crochet had the leash taken off in this one, going 2 whole innings giving up a measly one walk paired with 3 Ks. It’s hard to tell what his future holds, whether it’s in the pen or as a starter, but either way he’s been dominant lately and one of the few trusty weapons out of the pen.

GAME 2

-Dylan Cease is now 8-0 against Detroit in his career, and the 8th win wasn’t ever remotely close. He was staked to a 3 run lead before he even took the mound, and despite making a 2 strike mistake to Harold Castro in the bottom of the inning he never really looked out of sorts en route to 5 strong innings.

-Brian Goodwin, welcome to the White Sox! The free agent acquisition signed by Rick Hahn shortly after all of Luis Robert’s hip muscles went TWANG made his debut in a big way, knocking in 5 of the Sox 15 runs in the first 2 innings with a 2 run double in the first, and a 3 run laser over the RF fence in the 2nd. While this is a nice start, I’m gonna need to see a bit more before I declare the OF issues solved.

-Yermin managed 2 hits and 3 RBI in the game, and while neither of them were nuked off the bat, beggars can’t be choosers at this point. Yermin went from hitting in the 2 hole in game one down to his customary 5 spot. Maybe move him down to 7 next? Whatever it takes.

-Matt Foster contributed 2 innings, and while he walked 2 in this go around he also struck out 3. Baby Steps.

-Beau Burrows puked all over the mound in the 5th inning and no, this is not a metaphor for the Tigers bullpen (though it would absolutely work that way). Feel better, kid.

Game 3

-Hard Carl made his reappearance today, with an absolutely devastating slider and a fastball that was touching 100 mph in the 4th inning. As mentioned above, he carried a No-No into the 7th inning until it was farted away by one bad call behind the plate. All told, he went 7 immensely strong innings, striking out 9 and walking 2. He’ll have his work cut out for him in his next start against the Astros next Friday, but if his slider is working this well it may not make a difference.

-Jose Abreu, after sitting out the offensive explosion on Saturday, came out swinging on Sunday. He went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, and RBI and a run scored. More importantly he looked as locked in as I’ve seen him in some time, as he was all over the off-speed stuff the Tigers tossed his way. The Sox are going to need to lean on their captain even more from here on out, and I’d be more than willing to bet he’ll be up to the challenge.

-Evan Marshall had a return to form in the 8th inning, looking very strong with his change dancing all around the zone. He’s another one the Sox will need here on out, especially with no set return in sight for Michael Kopech.

-Liam Hendriks mowed down the Tigers in the 9th without any difficulty for his 17th save of the season. Not much to say other than “FUUUUUUUUCK” really loudly.

 

Next up is a 3 game set with the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays coming to town. If the rotations hold up, the Sox will be facing the heart of the Ray’s staff starting with the marquee matchup of Tyler Glasnow against Lance Lynn on Monday night. We’ve seen the Sox have no issue beating the dregs of the AL, now they get a chance to show everyone if they truly belong in the elite tier. Two out of three would go a long way towards that, so get it done.

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

The Cubs took two out of three against a Tigers team that is really bad at fielding and similarly bad at hitting, besides yesterday’s game, which they won in extras. The Cubs also saw the return of most of their important players from the 10-day IL, including Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ and Jake Arrieta.

However, Alec Mills was placed on the 10-day IL today with a strained lower back. Mills is the go-to inning-eater in the bullpen when the starter collapses and needs to be pulled after three innings, which happens more often than any of us want. So pitching could be a bumpy ride over the next week and a half. Luckily, the Cubs are about to play four against a bad Nationals team before they face the first-place Cardinals, so hopefully we can rack up some more wins there.

May 14, 2021
Cubs 4, Tigers 2
WP: Arrieta (4-3) LP: Skubal (0-6)
Box Score

The Cubs came into this game much healthier than either series that came before this. Jake Arrieta pitched his first game in two weeks and looked pretty solid doing it. Hoerner was finally back in the lineup, despite not getting a hit or walk this game. Luckily, the Tigers are atrocious on the field, committing multiple errors that allowed some other Cubs to get on base and score runs.

First it was Kris Bryant making the Ricketts’ trade bait dreams come true to open up the game with a two-run homer in the 3rd inning. Then Rizzo doubled to score Jason Heyward, who had hit a double earlier to get on base. Finally, a Baez popup that for all intents and purposes should’ve been an out ended up getting dropped by the Tigers fielder, allowing Bryant to score that same inning after taking a walk.

Arrieta pitched pretty well up until the 6th inning; he had allowed 2 hits, 1 strikeout, and 1 walk up until then. The Cubs defense was good behind him as always, making double plays every time a Tiger made it on base. That is, until the 6th inning when Arrieta allowed back-to-back solo homers, the first one to Jake Rogers whose mustache rivals anyone’s in the league, and Robbie Grossman, who hit his third homer of the year.

That was the end of Arrieta, who all in all had a good first game back. The Cubs bullpen was able to keep the lead, as we saw Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel for one inning each. They all recorded 0 hits, 0 walks, and 4 strikeouts between them to get the W. Kimbrel had 3 of those 4 strikeouts to shut down the Tigers entirely at the bottom of the 9th.

May 15, 2021
Cubs 8, Tigers 9 (F/10)
WP: Fulmer (3-2) LP: Kimbrel (0-2)
Box Score

This game was much more of a back-and-forth affair offensively for both teams, especially since both teams’ starting pitchers got pulled in only the 3rd inning. The endless parade of bullpen pitchers immediately giving Tigers players runs, hits and walks made this game a tough one to watch.

The Cubs began the game strong, as leadoff hitter Joc Pederson was able to triple to start things off on the right foot. Kris Bryant was able to draw a walk immediately after and Anthony Rizzo was able to bat them both in with a double: 2-0 Cubs. But Trevor Williams did not have a good start to this day, giving up two doubles, a walk, a single, and a force-out that allowed the Tigers to score three runs. After allowing another hit and a walk in the 2nd inning, he was yanked for Alec Mills.

The Cubs were luckily able to make offense happen in the 3rd inning, as a single, double and RBI groundout helped the Cubs tie the game. Then Matt Duffy doubled to put the Cubs ahead, but it wouldn’t prove to be enough.

Mills wasn’t much better than Williams on the mound, as he allowed two singles, a walk and a wild pitch that ended up scoring a runner in a bases-loaded situation. The Tigers tied the game again with a ground-out RBI that put the Tigers ahead, making Rossy yank Mills. The replacement, Justin Steele, was also bad — shocker.

Matt Duffy came to save the day with a huge THREE-run homer in the 5th inning that put the Cubs back on top 7-6, and then we sat back and watched in horror as the 6th inning saw Dan Winkler unable to get 3 outs and get replaced by Rex Brothers, the fifth pitcher of the day. Then Brothers loaded the bases in the 7th and got yanked. Ryan Tepera played too, getting a strikeout and allowing a single for the Tigers to tie the game. Keegan Thompson pitched the 8th, getting three strikeouts to keep them alive to the 9th, and two more strikeouts to get them to the 10th inning.

It was Matt Duffy’s time to shine today, honestly, which I’m certainly not mad at thanks to his flat play lately. His hit in the 10th to put the Cubs up again was his 5th RBI of the game, leading all players on the field. Then, Craig Kimbrel came in to pitch, but he was unable to come in clutch for us like he has so many games before, letting the Tigers score two and walk off the game 9-8.

Throughout all of this, Ian Happ had no hits today and struck out twice on his first game back from being on the IL. He made plays he needed to make in the outfield, however, and would improve offensively in the following game.

March 16, 2021
Cubs 5, Tigers 1
WP: Hendricks (3-4) LP: Boyd (2-4)
Box Score

The Cubs’ pitching did not completely collapse like last game, despite Kyle Hendricks and his ugly track record of starts so far this year. After making it past the elusive 7th inning, he was able to pitch almost 9 innings and finish with 8 hits, 8 strikeouts and 0 walks. He was, as always, helped out by the defense behind him, who were pretty solid against the Tigers’ bats. The good defensive plays of the game included a double play and a Hendricks pick off in the 3rd, which you rarely see these days.

As for the offense, the Cubs were able to get ahead in the top of that 3rd inning, after Happ singled and Contreras walked. With some stellar baserunning, Happ was able to score from 2nd after Kris Bryant RBIed him in and grounded into a force out simultaneously. Javier Baez struck out swinging characteristically, however, to end that inning.

Happ doubled again in the next inning, scoring Duffy to make it 2-0 Cubs. In the 6th, Duffy hit yet another single, and a David Bote double scored him to increase the lead. Hoerner was able to sac fly Bote to make it 4-0, and then Happ hit a solo home run to make it 5-0 Cubs. Happ went 3-for-4 today, looking much better today since getting off the IL.

By the 9th inning, it was time to pull Hendricks, and Dan Winkler relieved him with no outs and runners on first and second. With the help of the defense and the hinderance of a replay review that said the third out was not an out at all, the Cubs were able to secure the win and hop the Reds for third in the NL Central standings.

Like I said above, the Cubs turn right around and play a four-game series against the Nationals through Thursday, as both Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber return to Wrigley for the first time in different uniforms — prepare yourselves for yet another montage video, as the Cubs marketing department is so skilled and experienced at making those.

Lester has started three games with the Nationals this season, going 5 or 6 innings each, striking out ten batters and sporting an impressive 2.25 ERA. In his last two starts, the Nationals have lost both games. Schwarber has a .213 batting average so far this year on a team that has trouble scoring runs. In Lester’s first start with the Nationals, Schwarber hit the 2-run walk-off homer to win the game for the team.

Thanks to the lack of offense on the Nationals’ part, they sit at the bottom of the NL East with a 15-20 record, four games back of the first-place Mets. Their last series, a wild one against the Diamondbacks, saw the Nationals win 17-2 and then turn around to lose 11-4.

Although emotions may be running high for players in both dugouts this week, the newly-mostly-healthy Cubs will need to continue hitting well and making zero defensive mistakes to continue their climb back to .500. And maybe I shouldn’t even mention the fact that the Cubs need to see their starters play well while the team is without Mills. See you Thursday to wrap those games, and go Cubs go.

Baseball

See the source image VS.

Records: Tigers 7-16 / White Sox 12-9

First Pitch: 7:10 Tues-Thurs

TV/Radio: NBCSN and ESPN1000

TIGER UPPERCT! – Bless You Boys

 

Probable Starters

Game 1: Jose Ureña (0-3 4.57 ERA) vs. Lucas Giolito (1-1 5.79 ERA)

Game 2: Casey Mize (1-2 5.23 ERA) vs. Carlos Rodon (3-0 0.47 ERA)

Game 3: Matthew Boyd (2-2 1.82 ERA) vs. Dylan “Sigh” Cease (0-0 4.15 ERA)

 

I don’t hate the Tigers anymore. I really used to, back in the early part of the 2010s. Much like my hatred for the Vancouver Canucks and Red Wings in hockey it’s just sort of fizzled out, leaving behind a feeling of indifference bordering on pity (probably how a lot of other teams felt about the Sox in the late 2010s and how everybody feels about the Hawks now).

A lot of this stems from how MLB teams run their franchises these days. The first time I ever went to Comerica Park in Detroit (beautiful field, BTW. If you can make it up there, you should), the Tigers were playing the Indians and both teams were hell bent on racing to 100 losses that season. The highlight of the game was my buddies and I setting the over/under for total number of errors in the game at 4, and them blowing by it with 9.

A few years later and both teams were in the postseason and the Tigers lost to the Giants in the World Series. Then everyone aged out for Detroit and it was back down the other side of the hill for them. They’re currently at the bottom right side of the dip in their bell curve, waiting to climb on up. There are a lot of solid pieces on this team that just need the major league experience to take that next step.

The biggest part of this for the Tigers is their pitching staff, which in the next few years could rival Cleveland for youth and skill. Tigers GM Al Avila (despite looking like a used car salesman who moonlights as a gameshow host) has done well for himself by compiling a trio of starters with massive upside in Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning. All three of which have the potential to dominate AL Central hitting for the next decade.

The thing the Tigers are missing at this point is position players. After Spencer Torkelson (now THAT’S a baseball name) and Daz Cameron there isn’t much in the pipeline that will be up in the next year or so unless they make a huge leap from A ball. As for who’s currently on the roster now that could be a piece of that future, Jeimer Candelario and Victor Reyes seem like they could be + players. Candelario arrived from the Cubs in 2017 along with Isaac Paredes for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. He was essentially handed the starting job at 3rd base from then on, mostly because the Tigers didn’t have any other options. He made a breakthrough last season, slashing .297/.369/.872 and a 136 wRC+ rating. He’s decent enough in the field, and will most likely have to stick at 3B because while Torkelson plays there, long term he profiles (much like our own Andrew Vaughn) as a 1B/DH type.

Another potential piece for the Tigers who mirrors the exciting story of Yermin Mercedes on the South Side is Akil Baddoo. A highly regarded high school player from Georgia, Akil Baddoo, was a 2nd round selection by the Twins in the 2016 draft. With the Twins stacked with OF prospects like Alex Kirilloff, they exposed Baddoo in the Rule 5 draft  last year and the Tigers snatched him up.

He forced his way onto the roster this year with a scorching spring training, then smoked a home run on the first ever pitch he saw in the major leagues. He then went on to hit a grand slam a day later, and walked the team off in the 9th with a pinch hit single after that. Things have gotten a little more difficult since that first week, but he’s still hitting .260 with 4 dingers and 19 batted in. Odds are he’ll end up in a platoon with his difficulty hitting left handed pitching, but he’s the kind of breakout guy the Tigers need to progress to that next level.

As for the Sox, after their sweep of the Texas Rangers this past weekend they’re looking to go on a nice dash this homestand before they have to hit the road again next week. The Tigers present the perfect opportunity to do that, as their young pitching staff has hit a bump in the road early on this season. Casey Mize has had trouble with the long ball, and Jose Ureña has had difficulty with walks in his first few starts. Both stats are the type that the White Sox hitters easily capitalize on, as walks and dingers are kind of their thing. The 3rd projected starter for the Tigers is currently their most successful one, Matthew Boyd. With a 2-2 record and a sub 2 ERA he’s been able to keep the ball in the yard and on the ground, which has eluded him in the past few seasons. The one thing working against him this series is the fact that he’s left handed, and the Sox penchant for skulling left handed pitchers is well known.

The wind is going to be blowing tonight, and the weather warm. The Sox bats are heating up, with 27 runs in their last 4 starts. In that span Jose Abreu has 3 dingers and 6 of his 17 RBIs on the season. Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert are coming around as well, with Moncada raising his average from .180 9 days ago to .258 now. He’s driving the ball to all fields, and knocked out an oppo dinger in game 1 against the Rangers. It will be interesting to see how LaRussa uses Kopech this series, as if Cease is unable yet again to get out of the 4th inning, he realistically could step in especially with Lance Lynn rumored to return on Friday night against Cleveland.

The hitting is there, the pitching is there (minus Dylan Cease on Thursday) and the time is ripe for the Sox to go on a tear and take the top of the division away from the stupid Royals, who nobody believes are going to be able to stay there anyways. The table is set perfectly, all the pieces in place…just need to take advantage of it.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Tigers 2 – White Sox 7

Game 2: Tigers 4 – White Sox 10

Game 3: Tigers 3 – White Sox 5

Game 4: Tigers 0 – White Sox 9

 

Well I’ll say this much about the current iteration of this White Sox team. Unlike ones from the past, this team seems hell bent on punching down and beating the teams they should be beating. Which is exactly what teams with playoff aspirations should do. The team is now 9-1 against the Tigers and Royals, and they sit at 15-11 on the season. Progress is great!

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Tim Anderson may not be your atypical leadoff-type hitter, but it’s pretty undeniable the effect he has on this team. In the 9 games since he’s returned from his stint on the IL, the Sox are 7-2 and averaging a little under 6.5 runs per game. Tim himself has gone 15 for 36 with 5 HR, 8 RBI and 15 runs scored. Oh, and he stole his first 3 bases of the season. He’s the engine that drives this rig, and when he’s running hot the Sox are gonna score in bunches.

-Welcome back, Lucas Giolito! After a disastrous 1st inning in his last start against the Cardinals, he was back to his old self today, punching out a career high 13 and keeping the Tigers hitters completely off balance. He even worked around a Yoan Moncada error that loaded the bases in the 4th and left them all there by striking out Niko Goodrum and Cristin Stewart with fastballs at the top of the zone. As much as I like the idea of Yasmani Grandal and his pitch framing abilities, but it’s time to anoint James McCann as Gio’s personal catcher. Thus far the results speak for themselves despite the small sample size.

Dane Dunning made his first career start, and it’s hard not to get a little excited about the results. Granted, it’s against the Tigers but if he can exhibit the kind of control he showed Wednesday night it wouldn’t make much difference who he’s facing. Ricky left him in there probably one hitter too long, and it cost him 2 runs but in the long run it didn’t make much difference. He was optioned back to the training facility today, but if Lopez or Rodon have trouble getting back to game shape he should be called right back up.

-All was not sunshine and roses, however. Yasmani Grandal came up lame on Monday after fielding a chopper in front of home plate. Renteria said he wouldn’t need a stay on the IL, so hopefully he’ll be back this weekend. Same goes for Luis Robert, who managed to ding himself up laying out for a sinking line drive on Tuesday night after the game had already been put away. Steve Stone mentioned on the broadcast that it’s hard to teach younger players the times to try and save your body, and it’ll probably be even more difficult for Robert. He should hopefully be good to go against the Cubs this weekend.

-Speaking of the Cubs, they’re the next opponent for this weekend. I’ll be back tomorrow with a special guest for the preview. Until then, I leave you with Victory Okada!

Baseball

VS

Records: Tigers- LOL  White Sox- Sigh

Game Times: Friday 3:40 and 7:10(ish)/ Sat 6:10/Sun 2:10

TV: Fri & Sun NBCSN/Saturday WGN

Crazy Cat People: Bless You Boys

SERIES PREVIEW POSTS

Depth Charts and Pitching Staff

Looking Into The Future Of The AL Central

 

This is it. The bitter end. Honestly, the only reason anyone would be watching this series is Tim Anderson’s chase for the AL batting title and as long as he doesn’t shit down his leg this weekend it’s looking more and more like it’s his for the taking. Otherwise all you’re going to be watching is Ivan Nova’s quest to be .500 for the season and The Future™ pummeling the shitty Tigers pitching senseless. Which in and of itself is pretty fun but at some point it turns a little sadistic (cue Simpsons gif)

 

Not much has changed in the week since the Sox last saw the Tigers except the number in their loss column. If the Sox can split the 4 game series this weekend (or Friday gets rained out, which is looking increasingly likely) the Tigers will not break 50 wins in a season for the 2nd time in team history dating back to when the league went to 162 games. They’ve already sewn up the first overall draft pick in June (which is pretty impressive since the Orioles were a special kind of shitty the first half of the season) and have even less than normal to play for. Other than pride I suppose, but I think most of that left Detroit with the last auto jobs in the late 80’s.

For the Sox, it would be nice to close out this year on a high note before the long dark of winter steals the breath from our lungs and the hopes of Garret Cole are swept away on the wind. Tim Anderson is the story, and as long as he can hit .275 on the weekend it would take a herculean effort from DJ LeMahieu to catch him. The other 2 in that race are too far back to be of consequence other than being a footnote. Though if the Sox had pursued Michael Brantley in the last off-season they could’ve had the distinction of having 3 of the 4 top hitters in the AL and still missing the playoffs. Expect to see more Ross Detwiler and Carson Fulmer this weekend.

This is the end, Mr. Anderson. For better or for worse. Finish it out on a high note and after some time off we will come back and pick over the bones of this season and look to the future.

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

Seeing as this is my last spotlight of the season, and it happens to be a meaningless series for both teams (with the notable exception of Tim Anderson) and most likely for both fan bases I thought I’d eschew the normal spotlight (and honestly, who am I gonna spotlight for the Tigers? The bullpen catcher?) and instead peer into the murky future of the American League central division for the year 2020.

Granted this is only a quick glance, as this season is not complete yet and there’s still free agency to go, but we can get a blurry picture of what will stand in between the last year (hopefully) of the White Sox rebuild and the promised land of MLB post season play. I’ll also leave the Sox out of this as I still want to have something to write about later on other than how amazing Jimmy Garoppolo and the undefeated 49ers are playing (I kid) (sort of).

 

DETROIT TIGERS:

How’d They Do This Season?

Not wanting to keep anyone in suspense, the Tigers decided it would be best if they locked up the first overall pick in next June’s entry draft a full week before the season ended. In addition, they’re almost a lock to win less than 50 games for the second time in team history since the league expanded the schedule to 162 games back in 1961. The team run differential is currently a hilarious -320, with the next closest team being Baltimore at a sparkling -259. Essentially if tanking a baseball season were an art the Tigers would be Picasso, Monet, Da Vinci and Van Gough rolled into one.

What’s Their Shopping List?

Much as the night is darkest just before the dawn (thanks, Harvey Dent), the Tigers just need to push through this rebuild to the other side. Seeing as though GM Al Avila has already traded away anything that wasn’t nailed down, their shopping list should just read as “parts.” They should be looking to sign the type of players the Sox have the past few seasons. Reclamation projects on 1 year deals that can be flipped at the deadline for anything of value. Aging veterans on the downside of their career looking for bounce back deals. If the Tigers could find 3 or 4 guys like Nick Markakis or Charlie Morton they’d be good to go.

What’s Their Prognosis?

DOA.

Unless the Tigers completely abandon their current rebuild and throw all the money at free agents in the off-season this team is destined to lose another 100 games next year. Some help may be on the way from AAA as the Tigers are pretty loaded with pitching prospects, but offensively they are going to continue to be offensive.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS:

How’d They Do This Season?

The Royals are about a year ahead of the Tigers in their rebuild, as they’re gonna end up in almost the exact same place they were this time last year. 2018 saw them winning 58 games total, and that’s where they sit right now as of this article being penned. So what do they get for losing 100+ games back to back years? Odds are it’s the #4 overall pick in the draft, as they just aren’t as shitty as the Tigers, Orioles or the Marlins. They just don’t have the tank game down pat like Detroit does, as they’ve actually managed to win double digit games in September. In happier news, manager Ned Yost decided he was going to hang up his clown shoes and head off into the sunset as he announced his retirement a few days ago. Good riddance, asshat. You won’t be missed.

What’s Their Shopping List?

The Royals are an interesting case here, and kind of a wild card. With the team about to be sold by penny-pinching skinflint David Glass it’s not totally clear what path the new ownership wants to chart through the muddy waters of their rebuild. The Royals have some good pieces on this team offensively, with Jorge Soler, Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi and Hunter Dozier all above 2 WAR in production. The pitching staff is a wasteland of guys like Danny Duffy, and the team overall is 24th in the league in pitching. So unless the new ownership wants to go and sign both Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler odds are the Royals should probably do what Rick Hahn did this season and look to guys like Ivan Nova to fill out the holes.

What’s Their Prognosis?

On life support.

If the new ownership goes bananas and buys up all the shiny new pitchers in sight and nobody regresses on the offense and you squint really hard then potentially this team could compete in 2020 for maybe a wild card? Odds are they take a step forward and only lose about 95 games next year. Their window is 2021 more likely.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

How’d They Do This Season?

Good, but just maybe (hopefully) not good enough. As of writing this, the Indians are a game and a half back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2nd wild card spot in the American League. As usual, the Tribe sit in the top 5 of the league in pitching thanks to lusciously locked Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber and a solid bullpen. Offensively the team is a solid +135 in run differential despite the year long struggles of Jose Ramirez.  They swung an interesting deal at the deadline, sending Twitter Edgelord Trevor Bauer to the Reds and recieving Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes in return to shore up a barren outfield. Was it enough? Doesn’t look like it.

What’s Their Shopping List?

A lot of what Cleveland does this off-season depends on what they think of Francisco Lindor and his contract. If they want to extend him this, this is the off-season where it will happen. If he’s not amenable to a new deal, then I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Tribe shopping him and Cory Kluber at the winter meetings in December. Those two could bring the type of MLB ready pieces that could keep this team at or near the top of the AL Central division for a few years to come. If they don’t shop either of those two, they’re still one bat short in the outfield, but as they’re a fairly thrifty team don’t expect them to be in on anything above the Adam Eaton level.

What’s Their Prognosis?

Stable

The Indians have been a model franchise along with the Oakland A’s for keeping payroll down and competitiveness up. They aren’t afraid to move players who are going to price themselves out of the Indian’s budget and GM Mike Chernoff has done a pretty solid job of getting a good return on those pieces. I would expect the Tribe to compete for the AL Central crown next season, especially if the horseshoe that currently resides in the ass of the Twins offense falls back to earth. Can they compete with the likes of the Astros and Yankees? No, but for a team like Cleveland that’s not the goal.

MINNESOTA TWINS

How’d They Do This Season?

God I hate this fucking team. Somehow they managed to lead the league in slugging for about 95% of the season before a late tear by the juggernaut offense of the Astros went by them. They still ended up 4th in the league for hitting, 3rd in the AL. They also won the AL central by a fair margin, and will most likely be facing the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs before being dusted like half the planet when Thanos snapped his fingers.

What’s Their Shopping List?

The same thing it is for the Twins every off-season, pitching. Not since the days of Johan Santana and Joe Nathan have the Twins been able to produce pitchers worth 4+ WAR. This season looks to be the one when Jose Berrios finally took that step forward and became the ace they were hoping him to be, even though he’s been beaten like a drum since the calendar flipped to August. Jake Odorizzi will probably end up a 4 WAR pitcher, but as he’s a free agent he’s likely gone. Brusdar Graterol might be the next one to grab the reigns but he’s only started 3 games so far and is largely untested. Michael Pineda was solid most of the year until he got busted for a banned substance. So while the Twins should probably be throwing bags of money at Garret Cole, they’ll most likely end up with someone like Brett Anderson or Tanner Roark.

What’s Their Prognosis?

Good (sadly)

Despite half their rotation most likely gone via free agency next season (Odorizzi, Gibson) or suspended (Pineda), the Twins are set to be annoyingly good for years to come. Their offense is young and powerful, and most importantly for them, under team control for the foreseeable future. Perhaps this is the off-season where the Twins spend the money to buy themselves another ace, or the perhaps swing a deal for one involving their 2 prized offensive prospects Alex Kirillof or Royce Lewis. If that were to happen this team could become a monster with legitimate world series aspirations. Either way they have enough offense to keep them involved in the playoff picture for the time being, making the Twins the most likely challenger for the White Sox if they want to own the AL Central from 2020 on out.

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Sox 10 – Tigers 1

Game 2: Sox 5 – Tigers 3

Game 3: Sox 3 – Tigers 6

 

Well it’s not a sweep (which against a team as miserable as the Tigers should always be the goal) but any series win at this point has to be viewed through a positive lens. Honestly if I’m being picky there were a few things that were this the middle of the season I might bitch more about, but at this point of the season all I can do is shrug and gaze longingly at the postseason (and Tim Anderson’s current batting average). The things that needed to be good this series were good (except for Reynaldo Lopez), and the things that didn’t matter were kind of good as well, but still didn’t matter. Playing the Tigers is good for reminding a fan base that despite all the things that have gone wrong for a team during a season, and this season there have been plenty, it can always be much much worse.

 

To The Bullets……OF THE FUTURE™

 

IT’S SUCH GOOD SHIT

 

-The Sox hammered out 47 hits this weekend. 47!!! That’s…a lot. I would’ve wanted some more runs to go with those 47 hits but…POSITIVITY!!!

-TIM ANDERSON WATCH, GAME 155: Timmy did all right this weekend, getting 4 hits and keeping his average at .334, but LeMahieu creeped in a little closer at .329. It will be interesting to see if Renteria gives Anderson an extra day off this week or keeps him out there. I’m sure if it was up to Anderson he’d be out there every day.

-Eloy is on fire right now, going 6 for 14 in the series with two home runs (one of which was of the grand slam variety) and a triple. He came a double short of the cycle Friday night, and is looking like the demigod that was promised us. Oh, his second home run of the series? It was his 30th, good for 2nd in the league for all rookies. He’s gonna lose the rookie of the year honors to Yordan Alvarez of the Astros, but whatever. Alvarez gets to hit in the middle of the MLB lineup equivalent of a fleet of Star Destroyers, so what can you do?

-Speaking of those that deliver, Yoan Moncada is on another plane of existence right now. 6 for 12 on the series with 2 more home runs and some spiffy defense in the field. In his last 15 games, Moncada is hitting .477/.493/.754. I don’t miss Chris Sale that much, do you?

-Credit where credit is due, Adam Engel is quietly having himself a quality back half to the season. In his last 15 games he’s slashing .286/.314/.571 and has 4 home runs for himself. That’s not too bad for your 4th outfielder next year, especially with the defense we all know that he can play. Good for him, good for us.

-All was not roses this weekend, however. Reynaldo Lopez is back to being extremely hittable again, and on top of that it seems like he might be getting frustrated on the mound. He and Renteria had an animated conversation in the dugout after he gave up his second dinger of the day to Gordon “I’m Still Here?” Beckham. Whatever was said didn’t work, as he went back out there and gave up the trifecta to Victor Reyes. Lopez will have one more start on the year, and here’s hoping he ends it on a positive note, as I still feel he’s a solid 5th starter for this club going forward.\

-Next up is the Cleveland Indians, and a chance to play spoiler as the Tribe attempt to sneak into the wild card as they currently sit a half game behind Tampa Bay after the weekend series. Ohhh how glorious it would be to fuck the Tribe out of a postseason appearance, let’s make that a thing.