Baseball can go from deliriously entertaining to soul-crushingly depressing and then back again in the span of a few minutes. It’s the dumbest sport in the world, and I love it with all my heart and despise it with every fiber of my being. There are few teams out there that can encapsulate all of those emotions into one unit but the White Sox do it perfectly, from the highs of Timmy’s walk-off on Thursday night to the grinding lows of Cesar Hernandez’ 3 error fartfest on Sunday there is very little in-between for this squad.
It’ll probably be the death of me, and I’ll be thanking and cursing them all the way to the coroner.
TO THE BULLETS (IN MY BRAIN):
NUMBERS DON’T LIE
-Scientific Fact: corn fields greatly add to the ambient moisture in the air, increasing the humidity in the air by up to 20%. Humid air makes baseballs fly farther, and the Sox proved this true Thursday night by pounding out 4 dingers Thursday night off an Andrew Heaney who’s neon “Not Interested” sign was flashing from the jump in the 1st. Eloy’s 3 run jack was particularly picturesque, disappearing into the corn in right center field. The Big Baby now has 6 dingers and 19 RBI in his 15 games this season. He’s easily the best hitter in the lineup right now, and it shows.
-Lance Lynn’s 5+ innings were the definition of “gutting it out” against a meaty Yankees lineup. While he didn’t have his plus plus stuff on Thursday night, he was able to limit the damage to 2 home runs. He still struck out 7, and other than Judge was largely able to keep the rest of the danger off the board.
-Michael Kopech’s first inning of relief was nasty has hell, prompting a deluge of positive tweets from baseball royalty across the nation. Then the 2nd inning began and he had some trouble with his control, prompting a move to Bummer (who has looked MUCH better since his return from the IL) who took care of business. This is more what we were looking for out of the pen at the beginning of the season.
-Seby Zavala has cemented himself as the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal when he returns from his minor league Zavala is average at the plate, can’t really block anything in the dirt, and calls and frames a good game. All of those things he does better than Zack Collins, which should probably make him fairly expendable at this point.
-Liam Hendriks did not have a good night either Thursday OR Saturday. His HR rate is concerning, and if it doesn’t come down in the next few weeks TLR might have to seriously look at swapping him and Kimbrel.
-Ladies and Gentlemen, Tim F’n Anderson:
WHAT A DREAM. Tim Anderson walks it off! pic.twitter.com/0GDXW91uKg
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 13, 2021
-Sometimes baseball truly is a game of inches, as this one showed. Eloy and Zack Collins were a combined 4 feet away from turning this one from a nail biter to an absolute blowout. Instead, the Sox came up short and only had a sac fly by Eloy to show for it. Remember when I said baseball was stupid sometimes? Here ya go.
-The Sox stranded runners like it was going out of style on Saturday night, leaving a grand total of 25 standing on the pillows. Not great.
-Dylan Cease is some kind of wizard, because there’s not another person on the planet who can magically turn a 1-2 count into 3-2 as quickly as he can. More of the same tonight, with lots of teases of him being a dominant starter mixed in with an inability to put anyone away. That said, I’d probably take his 5 innings and 6 Ks with 3 ER most nights of the week.
-Kimbrel gave up an absolute lazer beam to Judge tonight on a fastball that caught way too much of the plate. Not nearly as bad as the dinger Liam gave up to Joey Gallo, but this should not be a competition to see who can give up the most bombs anyway. Hendriks is clearly leaving his fastballs up in the zone, but not nearly UP enough. It’s a very fixable issue, just a question of how long it’ll take.
-Jose Abreu tried his damnedest to make up for his rally killing GIDP earlier with his bottom of the 9th heroics. While it was not to be, I’m still stoked that he seems to be busting out of his slump.
-This game sucked, and it’s really hard to put a coat of paint on the ginormous turd the team laid on Sunday. Lucas Giolito struggled mightily the first 2 innings, throwing a combined 60 pitches between them, limiting him to 4 innings. He did strike out 8, so I guess that’s nice.
-Ryan Tepera, Jose Ruiz and Aaron Bummer picked up the slack however, giving the Sox a chance to claw back into the game before LaRussa turned once again to Matt Foster and suddenly the game was even MORE out of reach. I don’t quite get his use there, but whatever.
-Another day of leaving runners on base, with 18 more to add to the total. Andrew Vaughn was particularly guilty on Sunday with 5 total players left hung out to dry. Fart.
-The less said about Cesar Hernandez’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day the better. 3 errors and 2 GIDP (one of which ended the game). WHOOF. Be a goldfish, buddy. Be a goldfish.
Next up is a 4 game set against the once again red hot Oakland Athletics who have won 8 of their last 10 games and are attempting to run down the Houston Astros for the top spot in the west. The A’s actually made a splash at the deadline, trading for the guy we all wanted here in Starling Marte. He’s rewarded them for their efforts thus far with a 13 game hitting streak that began just after he got shipped over. The A’s pitching is nails as usual, with former Sox prospect Chris Bassitt leading the charge with a 12-3 record and a 3.06 ERA.
The A’s (shockingly) hit way better on the road than they do in their cavernous ballpark in the East Bay, so the Sox have their work cut out to regain some ground and momentum this week. The schedule doesn’t get any easier after that with Tampa and Toronto on the horizon. With the return of Grandal hopefully imminent, the Sox starters should not be lacking in run support, but hopefully they won’t need much.