Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Royals 0 – White Sox 6

Game 2: RAINED OUT

Game 3: Royals 4 – White Sox 3 (10 Innings)

 

This shit continues to happen. The Sox bring the heat in the first half of a series against an opponent and are completely unable to close it out in the finale. The bullpen is responsible yet again, as Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks combined to cost the Sox after Adam fucking Eaton was able to bring the team ahead 3-2 with a pinch hit dinger in the bottom of the 8th.

It’s extra frustrating because the team looked so damn good in the home opener on Thursday, with Lance Lynn giving the bullpen the rest it so desperately needed by going the full 9. Yet all the good feelings from that game were washed away with a 4-seamer that caught way too much of the zone to Carlos Santana from the Sox lone big off-season acquisition. He didn’t miss, and the Sox end with a 1-1 split in the rain-shortened series.

I’m pretty sure that Bummer, Marshall and Hendriks aren’t going to be this bad the whole year. I’m pretty sure the Sox aren’t going to be dead last in the league in defense the whole year. I’m absolutely certain the team isn’t going to hit .255 for the rest of the season, and Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada are going to stay below the Mendoza line. All that said, those three things are costing the team games right now, and I’m just hoping those aren’t wins that they’ll desperately need come September.

TO THE BULLETS:

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

-Right off the bat, just gotta say that Lance Lynn is one beefy, badass motherfucker. There was not a single point in that game on Thursday night where he didn’t seem completely in control. It certainly helped that the D behind him wasn’t actively trying to sabotage his start, but he was still nails. Scattering 5 hits and no walks over 9 innings with 11 strikeouts is pretty majestic, especially against a team that was averaging over 6 runs per game coming into Thursday night. More please.

-The flip side of that coin is that Dylan Cease still throws too many fucking pitches, and watching his starts feels like waiting for continental drift to take effect. He rarely has any trouble getting ahead in the counts, but once he gets to 2 strikes the nibbling begins. Throw in a few fouled off pitches, and suddenly he’s at 82 in the 4th fucking inning. Cease better tighten it up soon, because…

-Michael Kopech seems nigh unhittable right now. Through 6.1 innings he’s struck out 11, walked 2 and allowed 1 measly hit. Out of the 21 batters he’s faced, only 8 of them have been able to put the bat on the ball. If Cease still can’t give the team quality innings by the time the calendar flips to May, LaRussa could have the decision made for him to move Kopech into the rotation. Bare minimum he may have to think outside the box and go with 6 starters.

-Sure was fun watching Brad Keller and his stupid face get rocked again. Love to see it.

-While Yoan Moncada got his first dinger of the year with a beautiful opposite field jack in the first game, that was the extent of his offensive output for the series. His slash line is now at a very ugly .161/.297/.587. I’m not personally worried about him yet, as he was smoking the ball in spring training but this bears watching.

-Yermin Mercedes has an OPS of 1.451.  Send Tweet.

-Once again, TLR’s Sunday lineup leaves a ton to be desired. There was no reason that Grandal’s bat could not have been in the lineup today. Giving playing time to Zack Collins is admirable, but not at the expense of getting one of your best weapons going offensively. On the plus side, despite the shitty outcome, his bullpen usage was much better. Let’s hope that continues into the next series with…

 

SERIES PREVIEW: Cleveland @ Sox – Divisional Damage

Bob Uecker: Mr. Baseball vs. Juan Marichal | BallNine VS

Records: Cleveland 5-3 / White Sox 4-5

First Pitch: Mon/Tues/Wed 7:10 Thurs 1:10

TV: NBCSN

We’re Not Detroit: Covering The Corner

PROBABLE STARTERS

Monday: Triston McKenzie (0-0, 2.45 ERA) vs Carlos Rodon (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Tuesday: Shane Bieber (0-1, 3.65 ERA) vs Lucas Giolito (1-0, 4.22 ERA)

Wednesday: Aaron Civale (2-0, 2.45 ERA) vs Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 7.00 ERA)

Thursday: Logan Allen (1-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. Lance Lynn (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

 

With the arrival of Cleveland into town tonight, the Sox head into their second divisional opponent of the season sitting on a 4-5 record. The Cleveland Baseball Team currently sits atop the division with a 5-3 record, fresh off a three game sweep of the Tigers at home. Things started out for the ex-tribe about as poorly as they did for the Sox, with Cleveland dropping 3 of their first 4 games, one of which happened with a Miguel Cabrera walk-off dinger in the middle of a blizzard. Since that first series, however, they’ve put it together offensively, scoring 24 runs in their last 4 games.

The Cleveland offense, while not looking like much on paper with the departure of All Universe shortstop Francisco Lindor, still has one of the best hitters in baseball in Jose Ramirez. After a weird down year in 2019 that saw his HR total cut almost in half, his slugging percentage crater to .800, Ramirez got back to his old ways in 2020. He rocked 17 dingers last season, which was only 6 less than he hit in the entirety of 2019, and his OPS came roaring back to .906 which is more the norm for him. Oddly enough, his K% rate was actually the highest of his career, just under 17% (he had averaged 11% up till that point, even in his down year), though some of that could be due to the sample size of the shortened season. He’s picked up where he left off last year, hitting .300 thus far with a pair of HR.

Replacing Lindor is one of the more unenviable tasks out there, and unfortunately for Amed Rosario that duty has fallen squarely in his lap. As part of the return the Mets sent westward for Lindor, Rosario was a former top prospect of the Mets, signed as an international free agent in 2012 out of the DR. He worked his way up through the system, finally making his debut in a September callup in 2016. He was full time with the team in 2017, but didn’t really hit his stride until 2019 where he slashed .287/.323/.755 with 15 HR and 19 SB. He’s a below average fielder, with his best DRS score of -3 coming in 2019. He’s obviously not going to be able to fill the cleats left behind by Lindor, but he’s more than serviceable at SS.

The main story for Cleveland (as it’s always been) is it’s pitching staff, and this year is really no different despite some new names in the rotation. The Sox got a taste of Monday night’s starter Triston McKenzie late last season after they had moved him into the bullpen to save his arm. His fastball is his primary weapon, and his lanky delivery is reminiscent of Garrett Crochet and Chris Sale. He also throws 3 off speed pitches (SL/CB/CH), with the slider being his preferred punch out pitch, but he likes to live upstairs with his fastball.

Night two features the Battle of the Aces, with Shane Bieber facing off against Lucas Giolito. Neither guy has gotten off to the kind of start we’d all come to expect out of them, but the underlying metrics all say that the stuff is fine. The Sox actually have fared fairly well against Bieber the past 2 seasons, going 2-1 against him in 5 starts, scoring 19 runs in that span. Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu both apparently enjoy facing off against him, as they’ve hit a combined 5 HR off him and are both hitting over .310.

As for the Sox, we get to see if Rodon’s first start really was the beginning of a turnaround or just a blip against a sub-par Mariners lineup. Dallas Keuchel also gets his 3rd chance to get out of the 5th inning, and show us all that last year was not just him feasting on a crappy central division.

More importantly, the Sox need to stop stranding runners on base. Especially facing a Cleveland bullpen that typically just doesn’t give much away. The ex-Tribe had the Sox number completely last year, including that disastrous sweep in September that almost ended the Sox playoff hopes. If there was ever a time for the team to put it all together, this is the series for it. Cleveland, while depleted on offense, is still a dangerous team, if only for their ridiculous ability to pull pitchers out of their farm system and turn them into plus plus contributors pretty much at will. There’s enough pop in that lineup to give them the lead, and that’s something their bullpen doesn’t give away. Score early, and score often.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 3 – Angels 4

White Sox 12 – Angels 8

White Sox 3 – Angels 5

White Sox 4 – Angels 7

 

Well that was not the start we all envisioned, was it?

For a team that touts bullpen strength as one of it’s weapons, the White Sox didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory in that department. The Sox very easily could have (and probably should have) walked out of Anaheim with 3 wins, but instead now have 3 losses to start the season. Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall are the two prime suspects here, both blowing leads in the 8th inning in games 1 and 3 respectively. They were aided and abetted by some atrocious defense by the Sox and an inability to capitalize on runners in scoring position. To add insult to (more) injury, Tim Anderson came up lame in the 1st inning, attempting to run out a ground ball in his first at bat Sunday night. He shouldn’t miss too much time, but for a team that’s depth is already paper thin this is asking quite a lot.

TO THE BULLETS:

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

-As mentioned above, Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall had a rough weekend. It was pretty clear from the jump that neither guy had their premium stuff. While Bummer was the victim of a boneheaded throw by Nick Madrigal in the 8th inning in game 1, he still had a chance to get out of the jam and ended up walking Justin Upton to set up the dagger by Pujols. Marshall didn’t fare any better in game 3, He managed to strike out Mike Trout, but then gave up a single to Rendon and a triple to Jared Walsh, then hung a cookie to Justin Upton who deposited it into the left field seats. *Fart Noise*

-All was not terrible with the bullpen, however. Both Michael Kopech and Garret Crochet were fucking nails in their appearances. They each went 2 innings in their respective games, striking out 3 per and keeping the Angels off the board when Keuchel and Lynn couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. Kopech and Crochet are awesome weapons to have out of the pen, but if Cease and Rodon can’t cut it they may be needed in the rotation before too long.

-Speaking of Dallas Keuchel, I realize that he didn’t have a full spring training to get into game shape, but him constantly missing upstairs with his stuff is concerning to say the least. It begs the question as to whether his numbers last year were the true him or just the benefit of feasting on shitty central division lineups. It certainly bears watching.

-The defense has been absolutely atrocious to start the season. Through the first 4 games the Sox have allowed 7 unearned runs out of the 24 that were scored against them, the ones in the outfield being the most egregious. In game two, Matt Foster came in to get Keuchel out of the jam he created. He got Ohtani and Trout to both strike out, and managed to get Rendon to hit a catchable fly ball out to right. Eaton came running over and just flat out missed the ball. Game 3 featured Luis Robert running in to call off Tim Anderson on a high pop behind 2nd. The fly ball glanced off his mitt, then off his forehead, allowing two runs to score. Eaton then proceeded to use his pool noodle arm to throw the ball off the pitchers mound. All around Benny Hill-level shit.

-For the most part, LaRussa’s first series back in a Sox uniform went pretty well until the 9th inning of game 4. With everything tied up after the Sox clawed their way back to knot the game up at 4, instead of turning to a rested Liam Hendriks in a high leverage situation he opted for Jose Ruiz who allowed the winning run to get on base. He then turned to Matt Foster who served up a 3 run bomb to Jared Walsh. Foster was great in game 2, but situations like this is why the Sox supposedly went out and paid the money they did for Hendriks.

-Dylan Cease picked up where he left off last season, throwing waaaaay too many pitches, very few of which were in the strike zone. He worked out of a few jams, but what the Sox really needed from him was innings. Throwing 52 pitches through the first two isn’t going to give the bullpen any relief, especially since Lynn and Keuchel couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. I really wanted to believe that him and Ethan Katz had fixed his control issues, but the results thus far are not encouraging.

-Congrats to Yermin Mercedes for living his dream and making history by going 8-8 to start his major league career and being the first of what is hopefully many feel good stories of this MLB season. Love to see the happiness on that guy’s face.

– 1 and 3 is not how any of us pictured the Sox to start the season, and I totally get the frustration but big picture: even with everything that went wrong in this series the Sox still had chances to win every game. They weren’t getting their doors blown off, and the issues (with the exception of Tim Anderson’s hammy) are all correctable. Which leads us to:

 

Series Preview: White Sox at Mariners – Yarrr, I Don’t Know What I’m Doin

 

VS

 

Probable Starters

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (0-2, 8.22 ERA) vs. Justus Sheffield (4-3, 3.58 ERA)

Game 2: Lucas Giolito (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. James Paxton (1-1, 6.64 ERA)

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Justin Dunn (4-1, 4.34 ERA)

 

After the shenanigans in Anaheim concluded, the Sox travel up the coast to the birthplace of Grunge and Starbucks to take on the Mariners. The M’s, fresh off a series win against the Giants, are smack in the middle of what may turn out to be a sped up rebuilding phase. Having completely turned over their roster over the past 3 years, sending everything that wasn’t nailed down to either the Mets or the Yankees, the Mariners are chock full of young talent that can only be described as “fun.”

Taking the bump in game one for the M’s is the son of Gary Sheffield, and once prized prospect of the Yankees, Justus Sheffield. The Mariners acquired Sheff from New York in a deal (much like the Sox with the Nationals and Lucas Giolito) where they sent James Paxton out East in return for him and a few other prospects that haven’t made it to the major league level yet. Sheffield toiled in the M’s system for a season before making the rotation in 2020 after a brief callup in September of 2019. He quickly made his impact, going 4-3 with a 3.5 ERA, and was 4th among all qualified rookie starters with 1.6 WAR in the shortened season.

Game two features Gio’s second start, and Paxton’s first as he was skipped in the rotation to give him extra rest. The Yankees didn’t really get the value out of Paxton that they were hoping to when they made that trade in 2018. He had a solid 2019, going 15-6 with a 3.86 ERA for the Yanks, but cratered in 2020 only starting 5 games and ending with a 6.68 ERA before he went under the knife for a flexor injury in his elbow. The M’s brought him back this season on a one year “prove it” deal for $8.5 million that could be worth up to $10 if he hits certain bonuses.

Justin Dunn, the former 1st round pick of the Mets in 2018 was acquired in the deal that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to NYC. Dunn, a former closer in college, was converted to a starter by the Mariners in 2019. He’s got a decend 4 seam fastball, and two quality breaking pitches in his curve and slider. For a kid who had only been a starter for less than a year, he performed pretty admirably in 2020. He doesn’t strike many people out, with a 7.4 K/9 average to go with a high 6.1 BB/9, so he can be gotten to if the Sox offense can wait him out.

Offensively for the M’s, last year’s ROY Kyle Lewis is still out with a knee injury, so that’s a bonus. The rest of the squad outside of the returning Mitch Haniger is still fairly unproven, though there is a lot of upside there. Dylan Moore is a Leury Garcia-type who plays all the diamond but hits for more power. Evan White is the M’s version of Andrew Vaughn, a 1B/DH type with very good power but not the eye of AV. Kyle Seager is still here, toiling away in the shadow of his more talented sibling down in LA.

Realistically if the Sox starters can keep the ball in the park and not walk anyone they should have a good chance at winning at least 2 of 3. I’m very curious about the return of Hard Carl tonight against Paxton. Hoping he has better results in his first start than his fellow Ethan Katz protégée Dylan Cease did last night.

The starters need to eat some innings this series after the bullpen threw a combined 14.2 in 4 games. They desperately need a break, and with no off day until Friday, it’s up to Gio and Keuchel to give them one. Offensively, going up against two lefties this series should theoretically work in the Sox favor. Moncada and Grandal need to pick up some of the slack that losing Tim and Eloy caused. Now would be a good time for Andrew Vaughn to break out as well.

Let’s Go Sox.

 

 

*Credit for the glorious Ghost Eloy pic goes to @RightSox. Follow him for more hilarity.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 3 – Indians 4

Game 2: White Sox 3 – Indians 5

Game 3: White Sox 4 –  Indians 0

 

With the second series for the Sox in the books, some familiar trends are starting to take shape. One good pitching start and two not so great ones, combined with a few…interesting lineup decisions resulted in the Sox dropping 2 of 3 to the Tribe. While the end result is the same, this series at least feels far more positive than the previous thwacking at the hands of the Twins. If you squint really hard, I believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We can discuss further IN THE BULLETS

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

-Let’s get this out of the way right at the top: Nicky Delmonico sucks, and Rick Renteria’s love affair with him is puzzling to the extreme. While I get the desire to mix up the handedness of Sox at bats, in no possible reality is putting him in the cleanup spot an acceptable setup. I don’t care if it’s the 3rd game of a triple header, batting him in front of Luis Robert qualifies as coaching High Crimes and Misdemeanors. If you’re worried about his knees, Yasmani Grandal can still DH in that spot instead of Zack Collins and either put Delmonico at 9 or play Adam Engel. Matchups don’t matter when the guy you’re matching with can’t hit the ball out of the infield. Shit, bat Leury Garcia 4th, at least he’s hit a few dingers.

-Phew. Anyways, Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon continued the new Sox rotation tradition of not being able to command their fastballs and getting the piss hit out of them in the first 3 innings. Walks were an issue particularly for Rodon, who loaded the bases with them in the 4th during game 2. While my initial reaction to their two starts was a calm and predictable “FUCKING COOP IS TRASH FIRE HIM AND MAKE ONEY GUILLEN PITCHING COACH,” after watching Lucas Giolito pull himself together in his start last night I retract my previous outburst. This season is weird, and a 3 week wind up for pitchers is clearly not enough to get younger starters ready. If Cease and Rodon struggle again with their command in the next starts they have we can revisit. For now I’m willing to chalk it up to rust.

-The Sox bullpen, on the other hand, was nails in this series. Evan Marshall in particular has been pretty much unhittable thus far, and his breaking pitches have “shit yourself” quality. Aaron Bummer even had a good night on Wednesday, vulturing the win after pitching a scoreless 8th. Colome made it interesting in the 9th, but eventually locked down his first save of the new season. More of this, please.

-In true Sox fashion however, we can’t continue to just have nice things in the bullpen. Jimmy Lambert went on the 10 day IL with a “forearm strain,” which for someone returning from Tommy John surgery is never a good thing to hear. Hopefully it really IS just a strain and not a herald of something much much worse.

-While looking at the box scores it would seem that the Sox bats failed against some less than quality pitching, the Indians D had something to do with it as well. Oscar Mercado absolutely robbed Zack Collins of what should have been an RBI triple in the 8th inning of game 2. The Sox also threatened in the 9th in both games of the double header, falling just short. I’m not super concerned about the offense…yet.

-Being 2-4 after the first two series is less than optimal, but looking around the league you can see that shit is super weird right now. The Giants took 2 of 4 with the Dodgers, the Tigers are 4-2 and the fucking Orioles (the team actively trying to get worse) is .500. Yes, 60 games is very short and you can’t fall too far behind but I’m not convinced what we’re seeing around the league at this moment is genuinely how it’s gonna go the entire season. If we even get to finish a whole season, which is questionable at best.

-Next up is the exactly what the doctor ordered, the Royals. With the potential debut of Nomar Mazara sending Delmonico back to the utility role where he belongs combined with Dallas Keuchel taking the bump, Friday SHOULD go a long way in putting some perspective on the first 6 games. If we’re in the same spot Sunday as we are today…the panic button may have to be smushed.

 

Baseball

Now we come to the bundle of pitchers who were asked to work far more and far harder then they probably should have due to the Black Hole of Sadness that was the #5 starter for the White Sox this season. In reality, the Sox should have sucked it up and used an opener for the 5th spot and it took them all the way until September after Carlos Rodon and Lucas Giolito had been shelved for the season. Yet they’ll tell you the front office is always at the forefront of new stats and ideas in MLB.

At any rate, the Sox bullpen over all was pretty solid all things considered. They ranked 15th out of 30 in the entirety of MLB, and were worth 2.7 WAR total. This is a drop from 2018 when they were 8th best in the league with 5.2 WAR, but some of that can be attributed to the 45 extra innings they were forced to throw this season.

There were a few breakouts in the pen this year, most notably Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall. Both took large steps forward in both their individual performance and solidifying the future of the Sox bullpen overall. Also Carson Fulmer was here.

Much like the rest of the Sox position players, I’m going to pick and choose who we discuss here mostly because nobody wants to read 15,000 words about the Sox bullpen which is what this would turn into if I did a rundown of each person who pitched out of the pen this season (AJ Reed would be here too, and that ain’t happenin).

THE BULLPEN

Alex Colome

4-5 Record/30 Saves/3 BS

2.80 ERA/1.06 WHIP/67.6% Strand Rate

55K/25BB/7 HR

0.6 WAR/4.08 FIP

Tell Me A Story: When Rick Hahn shipped Omar Narvaez to Seattle in exchange for Colome back in November, my eyebrows raised up a little bit. The Sox were definitely in need of a closer after sending Joakim Soria to the Brewers at the trade deadline in 2018 and Colome certainly fit the bill. With an additional 2 years of team control remaining, and a few catching prospects in the minors in addition to Wellington Castillo it seemed to be one of those trades that fit perfectly for both teams.

Colome rewarded the Sox for the trade by not blowing his first save until June 26th against the Red Sox, a game he eventually got a win for when the Sox came back in the 10th inning. He was nothing if not consistent, throwing his cut fastball 70% of the time regardless of hitter handedness. When it was on, it spun away from righties, and burned into the hands of lefties alike. He didn’t get a lot of strikeouts, averaging less than 1 per inning, but he induced a lot of weak contact and ground balls. With a 4.08 FIP and a 67.6% strand rate it would seem that Colome is living on the edge of falling apart completely, and while some of us were expecting it, the explosion never truly came.

Contract: Colome is in his final year of arbitration in 2020, and is projected to come in at about $10.3 million.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: It seems this will be a welcome back for Colome, as the Sox had a few chances to move him at the deadline to a contender and chose instead to stand pat. There is a possibility he’s moved during the winter meetings, but I don’t see the market for closers being anything different in December than it was in July. $10 million is a pretty high price for a closer who’s peripherals say he’s close to imploding, but with not much other than Kelvin Herrera with experience shutting down games the Sox are probably gonna ride it out with Colome.

 

Aaron Bummer

0-0 Record/1 Save

2.13 ERA/0.99 WHIP/82.3% Strand Rate

60K/20BB/4 HR

1.3 WAR/3.14 FIP

Tell Me A Story: Here we come to the first success story out of the Sox bullpen, Aaron Bummer. This was his 3rd year with the big club since being drafted by the Sox in 2014 after holding out on the Yankees by returning to college. Bummer seemed to be a known quantity in his first two seasons, posting 4.5ish ERAs with similar walk and strikeout numbers. He started the season down in Charlotte and didn’t see his first action until the end of April. He never looked back, as he posted career high numbers in innings pitched and strikeouts.

He also became the most reliable lefty out of the Sox bullpen since Matt Thornton departed for the greener pastures of Boston. Lefties only hit .178 against him, and righties didn’t fare much better at .188. He credited his success this season to an increase in velocity of about 2 mph. This extra heat has helped his fastball move a little more, and added some drop on his cutter. He also ditched throwing the slider, only tossing it 6.6% of the time in 2019 down from 37% in 2016.

The last month of the season was the least successful for him, but it’s understandable as he almost doubled the innings he threw from 2018 so some of that can be attributed to wear and tear. Despite the rough September, this season is nothing short of a success for Bummer, and the Sox may have found themselves another piece of The Future™

Contract: Bummer earned $550,000 last season and is under team control until 2025. He doesn’t hit arbitration until 2022.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: There was some scattered talk about the Sox selling high on Bummer and moving him at the trade deadline, but that seemed more like wishful thinking from opposing GMs than actual heat. Bummer’s career year in 2019 has earned him a high leverage spot out of the pen to start 2020 and I expect him to stay there for awhile.

 

Evan Marshall

4-2 Record

2.49 ERA/1.30 WHIP/84.8% Strand Rate

41K/24BB/5 HR

0.5 WAR/4.30 FIP

Tell Me A Story: Evan Marshall had a very solid year out of the bullpen for the White Sox this year, giving up 14 earned runs in 50.2 innings. While not quite the innings eater that Aaron Bummer was (or nearly as flashy), Marshall was there in a pinch, and with an almost 85% strand rate he ended up being the righty go-to guy that Kelvin Herrera was acquired to be.

Marshall’s 4.30 FIP somewhat suggests that his stats this season were somewhat due to batted ball luck, and his 2.66 BABIP lends a lot of credence to that. The 1.30 WHIP is a little up there for a high leverage reliever, but certainly not to the point where the Sox would be looking to cut bait on him.

Contract: Marshall will enter his first year of arbitration with the Sox in 2020, and he’s projected to earn $1.3 million.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: Marshall has certainly earned himself another shot at middle relief in 2020 with his performance this season. That being said, Kelvin Herrera looked pretty good down the stretch and there are a bunch of prospects in AAA with hotter arms than Marshall so he doesn’t exactly have a firm grip on the 7th or 8th inning job. What he does have going for him is a cheap, team-controlled contract so he’s going to be given every opportunity to succeed in 2002.

 

Kelvin Herrera

3-3 Record/1 Save

6.14 ERA/1.61 WHIP/65.9% Strand Rate

53K/23BB/8HR

0.4 WAR/4.58 FIP

Tell Me A Story: Kelvin Herrera was signed in the off-season to a 2 year, $17 million dollar deal by the White Sox. This was seen as the atypical “buy-low” type of move for Rick Hahn, as he was getting a former closer with 3 very good years of production on a shitty KC team who happened to have an issue with the lisfranc ligament in his left foot. This kept his activity in the off-season at the same level as MY off-season activity, namely drinking beer and reading comic books. When the season started up, Herrera was noticeably favoring his foot in his delivery though he said that the foot itself felt “fine” it very clearly was not.

During his best years with KC, Herrera was known for pinpoint control with very high velocity locking down the 9th inning. Through the month of June he was anything but that, logging a 7.63 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP with batters hitting .368 against him.With the lisfranc injury still fucking with his delivery, it was no surpirse when he hit the IL in the middle of July with an oblique strain as pitchers who overcompensate for an injury usually create another one.

The time off did him well apparently, as when he returned from the strain in August he hit the ground running. The entire month of August Herrera only gave up 5 ER and all of those came in a single blowup against the stupid ass Twins. If you take that game out of the equation he finished the season with a 1.76 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP with an 11.9 K/9. That’s more like what Rick Hahn was looking for when he signed Herrera to the deal which initially looked like a horrible overpay.

Contract: Herrera signed a 2 year deal at $8.5 million per, with a team option for $10 million in 2022 with a $1 million dollar buyout.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: Not much choice here but to welcome him back and hope that the version of Herrera that showed up after the IL stint is the one the Sox get for the duration of the contract. If so, the 8.5 million will be very worth the price even to the point of potentially picking up his $10 million option in 2022 if Colome stumbles and Herrera charges in. If he doesn’t look like that, then expect him to spend a lot of time in the bullpen playing candy crush on his phone.

 

Jimmy Cordero

1-1 Record

2.89 ERA/0.97 WHIP/79.9% Strand Rate

31 K/11 BB/3 HR

0.4 WAR/3.78 FIP

Tell Me A Story: After Carlos Rodon’s elbow vaporized like the Death Star in June the Sox found themselves with an extra spot on the 40-man roster and a need for pitching. Enter: Jimmy Cordero, fresh of his release by the Seattle Mariners. Rick Hahn scooped him up and sent him to Charlotte to get some work in with the Sox minor league pitching coaches. He responded well, pitching 16 innings and giving up one measly run. Considering the fact that balls were leaving the yard in Charlotte like Twins fans avoiding a shower that’s no mean feat.

He was called up to the big club in July after Kelvin Herrera went on the IL with an oblique strain and picked up right where he left off in Charlotte. He ended the season with a 2.89 ERA and a sub 1 WHIP. His 79.9% strand rate was 3rd best on the team, and he pitched 38 innings in 2 months showing that Ricky Renteria had no issue throwing him out there whatever the situation. Not too shabby for a guy on his 3rd major league team in less than 6 months.

Contract: Cordero is still under team control through 2024 and he’s not arbitration eligible until 2022, He’ll make $550,000 next season.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: Based on what we saw during his limited audition this season combined with the fact that he makes the league minimum makes me think Cordero is going to receive every chance to make the team outta spring training. The kid definitely pitched like he had a chip on his shoulder, and you can do a lot worse in MLB with $550,000.

Josh Osich and Jace Fry

Tell Me A Story: Osich and Fry were basically two sides of the same coin for Ricky Renteria this season. Two left handed pitchers with pretty electric stuff but not nearly enough control and too many damn walks. They ate a lot of innings this season thanks to the #5 starter being made of straw and edible paste, but their WHIP and ERA left something to be desired.

Contract: Osich is arbitration eligible this season and estimated to make $1 million. Fry is still under team control and will make the league minimum.

Welcome Back Or Boot In The Ass: Fry will be back next season if the Sox don’t sign any relief depth in the off-season (which better not fucking happen), so odds are he’s back in Charlotte. Osich will most likely be let go

 

THE REST

The rest of the Sox bullpen was filled with “some guys” that should not be back on the major league roster next season unless things go horribly wrong. The exception to this might be Ryan Burr, as his stuff is pretty impressive if he can keep it under control. He’s also very, very cheap which we all know is how Jerry Reinsdorf loves his pitchers.

 

 

Well, that’s about it for me this season. I’ve really enjoyed covering this team in what was an exciting but ultimately disappointing season. That being said, the future is very bright and I hope to see you all back here soon as we discuss the myriad (hopefully) of signings Rick Hahn has made during the winter meetings. Thanks again to Sam for giving me a shot here in the baseball universe, it was a fucking blast.

 

Cheers all,

 

AJ