Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Reds 1 – White Sox 7

Game 2: Reds 1 – White Sox 6

 

In a 2 game stint against a team clinging to playoff contention with a single fingernail, the Sox walked to the edge of that cliff and stomped squarely on that finger, sending the Reds to the bottom of the sea. Both Reynaldo Lopez and a diminished Carlos Rodon were able to hold a disinterested Cincinnati offense at bay, while Luis Robert continued to put the rest of the league on notice that he’s coming for his seat at the Table Of The Upper Echelon.

In other news, word broke yesterday that Tim Anderson somehow landed himself a 3-game suspension for supposedly “making contact” with umpire Tim Timmons (clearly a fake name) during the benches-clearing fracas stemming from Jose Abreu getting plunked for approximately the 6,548th time this season. In video posted to the internet, you can see Timmons and Timmy (new jazz-fusion group name) face to face but really nothing comes of it. The suspension is being appealed, and won’t affect Timmy’s availability for the postseason. I guess we’ll just wait and see what actually happened down there.

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Reynaldo Lopez continues to make a solid case for him to be on the postseason roster with another excellent outing. His 6 innings of 2 hit ball were only slightly marred by an Eugenio Suarez bombshot in the 5th inning. Even better, he only needed 80 pitches to get through 6, showing his newfound efficiency. Nice work.

-Luis Robert had two dingers on the night, the second of which was absolutely murdered and briefly showed up on our radar here at work. He’s been a force of nature recently, and has matured into the world destroyer Rick Hahn was hoping for when he coughed up that international signing money.

-In addition to Robert’s two blasts, Yoan Moncada and Gavin Sheets each added solo shots of their own. Sheets is another one who I would say has absolutely earned himself a playoff roster spot, as that kind of insane power from the left side will be very useful going forward.

-Jose Ruiz, Aaron Bummer and Matt Foster all added scoreless innings of relief, and while only 2 of those 3 will be pitching in the postseason it’s good to see.

GAME 2

-Carlos Rodon looked solid in his final tune-up before postseason play, though his velocity was still considerably down. Instead of dominating the Reds lineup with 98-mph fastballs, he kept them off kilter with 85 mph changeups and sliders then occasionally peppering them with a fastball that topped out at 93. Whether or not he was holding back due to the impending playoff pitching he’ll be asked to do (I don’t think this is the case), he was definitely good enough to hold down a depressed Reds offense. Will it be enough next week? We’ll see, but either way his arm strength will be one of the biggest storylines heading into the Astros series.

-Oh look, more dingers from Gavin Sheets.

-Michael Kopech finally got to go more than 2 innings, and made the most of the 3 he was given. The 2 walks weren’t great, but the overall performance is exactly what you’d want to see out of him.

-Leury Legend continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-4 with an RBI and run scored. Once Adam Engel is fully stretched out and ready for the playoffs, it’ll be interesting to see how much Caesar Hernandez actually plays.

 

 

Next up is the final series of the regular season. Naturally it’s against the team involved in the bench-clearing incident from the other day. I would fully expect things to be less chippy this time around, and wouldn’t be shocked if both teams start with umpire warnings in effect.

With the Astros 1.5 games ahead of the Sox in the standings, the odds of home field advantage are pretty long. The ultimate goal this weekend is to get out of the series unscathed, so expect to see pretty short outings from Giolito and Lance Lynn. In addition to that, it should be the last appearances for guys like Mike Wright Jr and Matt Foster so just one more time to deal with that. Stay healthy and get through the weekend, then it’s time to fuck up the Asstros.

Let’s Go Sox!

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Angels 3 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Angels 3 – White Sox 2

Game 3: Angels 9 – White Sox 3

 

 

Not great.

For what seems like the millionth time this season, the Sox came out swinging in the first game in the series and pummeled their opponent then decided that was enough and put the bats away for the next two. What makes it even worse is the fact that Dallas Keuchel actually had his first quality start since what seems like the beginning of the pandemic and the Sox wasted it away because they couldn’t figure out a pitcher named Junk. Seriously.

The lineups that LaRussa has been throwing out there each series are understandable when you have half of your starters who at some point or another have been on the IL this year for an extended period, but at some point they’re gonna have to be out there every day to build some rhythm heading into the postseaon. There are some issues here that don’t bode well for an extended playoff run, and if they don’t get addressed they may very well be playing golf far sooner than they should be.

Also Joe Maddon is a fucking putz, get the fuck outta here with your “wahhh wahhh they hit Shohei” after the Sox were plunked like 12 times in the series. Mike Wright can’t find the current zip code that he’s in, much less a strike zone. Get fucked.

 

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Ladies and gentlemen, The Gavin Sheets Game. 3 for 4 with a dinger, a double and 4 RBI on the night, Sheets was impervious to everything the Angels pitching staff threw at him. Where Sheets lands in the field going forward is open to interpretation, but he’s earned his place on the roster going forward.

-Lucas Giolito wasn’t exactly dominant in his first return from the IL, giving up two HR and walking two in 4 innings, but he did strike out 8 so that’s pretty excellent. The final line could’ve been a little worse, but Eloy of all people robbed David Fletcher (of all people) of a dinger in the 3rd inning. Eloy was OK after ponging off the LF wall, but sweet Jesus I wish he’d stop doing that.

-Luis Robert fucking murderized a ball in the bottom of the 2nd, and he’s now slashing .376/.409/1.033 in the last 30 games. As of right now he’s not being spoken of in the same category as other game changers like Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr, but it’s only a matter of time.

-Jose Abreu didn’t have any hits on the night but he took 3 walks, which I think is even better. Abreu working counts to get into a position where pitchers have to throw him fastballs is only going to result in him adding to his RBI total.

-Mike Wright Jr pitched an inning and walked 3 people. He got out of the inning unscathed somehow, but I don’t know why they keep running him out there. No mas.

-Sox pitchers kept Shohei Ohtani off the board and actually K’ed him 3 times on the night. He’s struggled since the all star break, but the potential for damage there is always lurking.

GAME 2

-Dallas Keuchel made it through 6 innings! Granted he walked 5 dudes, but let’s just take the 6 innings and 2 earned runs at face value and hope it’s a performance that he can build off of.

-Anytime Caesar Hernandez wants to justify his continued playing time on this team that would be fine with me.

-Yoan Moncada smoked a homer off of some junk from Junk. That’s the tweet.

-Michael Kopech deserved a better fate today, but that’s what happens when you strand a jillion people on base.

-Steve Cishek striking out the side in the 8th shows you the current state of the White Sox offense.

 

GAME 3

 

Time is running out for this team to start looking like they’re going to be dangerous in the playoffs. When the Sox are on their game, there’s not a team in the AL who can run with them, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that type of urgency. If they wait until October to try and turn it on, it’s far too late. The next two series against the Rangers and Tigers should be at LEAST 4 wins out of 6 bare minimum. That’s the bar. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 3 – Royals 4

White Sox 5 – Royals 3

White Sox 2 – Royals 3 (10 innings)

White Sox 0 – Royals 5

 

Whatever.

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

Plus Eloy is hurt again.

Bullets? If we have to…

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

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

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

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

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

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

Game 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME 3

-Fuck this shit.

GAME 4

-Fuck this shit too.

 

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

Fuck Jerry Reinsdorf, Eat At Arby’s

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: Rained Out

Game 2: Twins 6 – White Sox 7

Game 3: Twins 3 – White Sox 13

Game 4: Twins 5 – White Sox 8

 

Josh Donaldson is a penis, and it warmed the darkest recesses of my heart to see the Sox respond to his borderline insane zoom interview/manifesto by pummeling the Twins pitching to the tune of 28 runs in 3 games. They drummed poor Matt Shoemaker all the way back to the unemployment line when Brain Genius Rocco Baldelli went Full TLR and left him out there to die in the 4th inning. It really was quite the spectacle, and I wish I could liquify it and then inject the solution directly into my brain.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start. Lucas Giolito’s spin rate was waaaaay down in this game, with his 4-seamer missing about 170 RPMs off from his previous outing. It was also a very hot and humid night, with the dewpoint well above 70. Did this have an effect on his spin rate? Probably. That being said, it bears watching going forward to see if it was a one time thing or the new norm. The one K for the night also raises my eyebrows a bit. Gonna wait and see how the next few starts go before we draw any concrete conclusions.

-On the other side of the coin, something is very wrong with Kenta Maeda’s mechanics. I don’t know if he was tipping his pitches or what, but he was supremely hittable on Tuesday night. On top of that, he had trouble finding the zone, and when he was actually in it, the Sox beat the shit out of the ball. Sucks for him, good for us.

-Gavin Sheets, hello.

-Andrew Vaughn and his googly eyes are locked in right now. He’s seeing the ball very well (duh), and most importantly making contact against right handed pitchers. We all knew he can punish lefties, but seeing that same swing against RHP now is exciting.

-Ryan Burr just keeps throwing zeros up there. Gonna need him now that Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer have joined Eloy and the rest up in Sox Heaven.

-Liam Hendriks certainly made things exciting in the 9th, but managed to work around some bad luck and lock down his 21st save of the year.

GAME 2

-LOL TWINS

-The Sox had 7 dingers total in the series and 6 of them came in this game. One of which was the first career bomb from Gavin Sheets, which went an estimated 429 feet. The only one to top that distance on the night was Yasmani Grandal, who’s 447 foot blast showed up on our radar at work:

-Dylan Cease gave up a dinger to Donaldson (of course) in the 1st, but then settled down thereafter and went a solid 6. His 3 walks pretty much guaranteed that he wasn’t going any further than that, but with the bullpen in the state that it’s in you can’t complain about a quality start.

-Garret Crochet looks like he found the heat he was missing on his fastball, striking out 2 in his inning of work and touching 98 mph in the process. Good to see.

-Jose Abreu went yard with a piss missile in the 3rd inning, but still looked out of sorts. Dude needs a week off, and I’m legit hoping he avoids the All Star Game

GAME 3

-Carlos Rodon had more nasty stuff in this game, but ran into trouble in the 5th when the D behind him went into full Benny Hill Mode. Ultimately it cost him the W, but it was all worth it to have him stare Donaldson down when he K’d him with a nasty slider. Baseball is fun.

-Billy Hamilton is back and it’s beautiful. Dude smacked a double into left center field, then stole 3rd underneath a shitty swipe by Donaldson, then scored on a sac fly from Abreu in short right center.

-All was not fun and games, however, as Yoan Moncada hurt his hand on a slide into 3rd. Team is calling it a bruised thumb, and he’s expected to miss at least the series this weekend against Detroit. Realistically they should rest him until after the all star break, but we know that won’t happen. Unless…

-Jake Burger comes up and tears a hole in the universe at 3rd base this weekend. Regardless of how the kid does in his callup, it’s an awesome story for him to come back from not one but TWO torn Achilles’ ligament tears. He’s been mashing in AAA, but the Tigers pitching has looked pretty damn good recently, so I’m excited to see how he does.

-Michael Kopech came back for an inning and looked good enough to vulture the W away from Rodon after the D fell apart in the 5th. Gonna need him.

 

Next up is a weekend series against the Tigers in Detroit, where AJ Hinch has his squad playing much better as of late. They took 2 of 3 from Houston, then swept a double header against the Tribe to take 2 of 3 from them.

Their starting rotation has been pretty lights out, so the depleted Sox lineup will have their work cut out for them. Taking out the stinker in the first game against Cleveland, they’ve only given up 10 runs in 5 games. Tarik Skubal has been dominant since his 11 strikeout performance last series against the Sox, and he slots in Saturday against Dallas Keuchel. Casey Mize takes the bump Friday against Lance Lynn, and the fireworks on Sunday feature Lucas Giolito vs the undefeated TBD.

The Sox lead is now up to 5 games over the Indians, who have a series against the Astros pending this weekend. Good chance to get that up to 7 before the next 4 against the Twins. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox.