Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Twins 3 – White Sox 2 (8 Innings)

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

Game 3: Twins 5 – White Sox 9

Game 4: Twins 7 – White Sox 2

 

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

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

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

TO THE BULLETS!

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

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

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

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

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

Game 2

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

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

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

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

Game 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Yoan Moncada is locked in. Beware.

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

Game 4

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Lets Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Astros 7 – White Sox 1

Game 2: Astros 1 – White Sox 10

Game 3: Astros 0 – White Sox 4

 

Much better.

It’s pretty amazing how good the Sox record is when they hit 2+ home runs in a game. After this weekend they’re now 21-2 with multiple long balls in a single setting, and yet the team overall is 23rd in the league in that category with a measly 99 dingers. I don’t quite know as a hitting coach how you can preach hitting the long ball more, but maybe it’s something they should…look into? Or maybe not, since the team is 3rd in the league in overall offensive WAR. Whatever, just keep winning.

By taking 2 of 3 over the weekend, the Sox salvage what could’ve been a complete disaster of a season series against the cast of Stomp. Things looked pretty bleak Friday evening, as it was more of the same against the Astros with Dylan Cease pitching pretty well, but the offense completely shut down by Lance McCullers. Throw in some seriously boneheaded defense by Leury Garcia, and it sure did feel like the Sox were gonna lose all 7 games.

BUT!

The Sox bats came alive the next night, and Lucas Giolito did his best Gandalf impersonation by tossing a complete game 1-run win.

Carlos Rodon picked up the sword and staff on Sunday and did the same, slaying the Balrog of Mordor (Texas) in 7 solid innings of 1 hit ball. Nothing but praise for the performance of the team Saturday and Sunday, and a great start to the back end of the season. Oh, and the Sox extended Our Beefy Boy Lance Lynn by 2 years with a team option on a 3rd. WOOT.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Dylan Cease deserved a better fate than what he ended up with on Friday night, but sometimes that’s how the glorious game of baseball treats you. I’ll take 5 2/3rds of 10K ball against one of the best offenses in the league 10 out of 10 times, and even the 3 runs he gave up were aided and abetted by Leury Garcia. Keep getting this kind of production from him and the rotation is looking even more dangerous than it did in the 1st half.

-Things actually started out pretty awesome in this game, as the Sox were up 1-0 after the first two pitches from McCullers. Timmy smoked a triple into the corner, and was brought home next pitch with a double from Yoan Moncada. Alas, you could’ve turned off the game at that point and not missed anything else as McCullers owned the Sox for the rest of the evening.

-Leury Garcia did not exactly smother himself in glory in this game, failing to cover 2nd base for a force out that could’ve ended the 3rd inning. Later on he cut in front of TA on a grounder, biffing the play and allowing the inning to continue. He also managed to go 0-3 with a strikeout, hammering home the point that an everyday second baseman should be a priority for Rick Hahn in the next few weeks.

-Tough night for Brain Goodwin as well, wearing the Golden Sombrero for the first time this season. He’s still the best move (other than DFA-ing Adam Eaton) that Rick Hahn has made so far this season, and it’s not like anyone else looked great in this game either.

-Not a great first night back for Aaron Bummer, as he was all over the fucking place. Then Jose Ruiz came in to “clean up” the mess, and instead threw a packed baby diaper into a lidless blender. Unless something changes in the next 3 months, there should not be a postseason roster spot for him.

GAME 2

-Lucas Giolito was fantastic in this one, fluctuating between economical and strikeout heavy depending on the situation. His fastball still didn’t have the movement it did last season, but the overall accuracy was back at a premium level. He even threw his curve a few times, which we haven’t seen in awhile. The Astros hitters were completely off balance, and Lucas never let them get a sniff of getting back into the game.

-Almost everybody showed up to hit tonight, and Jake Odorizzi paid the price for it. He didn’t help himself by losing control of the strike zone in the 3rd inning, but by then the damage had already been done with back to back dingers by Zack Collins and Tim Anderson. It only got worse from there for the ‘Stros pitching as Jose Abreu and Gavin Sheets piled on.

-Really the only person who didn’t join in on the hit parade was Andrew Vaughn, but he made great contact all night, and was just barely missing barreling up a few pitches. He’s SOOOO close to exploding all over this league (phrasing).

-Jake Burger hit his first career home run, and it was a BOMB. What an awesome story, and I couldn’t be happier for the guy.

GAME 3

-Carlos Rodon woke up Sunday morning and chose violence. The Astros hitters could not get a bead on what he was throwing, with poor Yordan Alvarez in particular regretting leaving the hotel room in the morning. All told ‘Los struck out 10, averaging 97 on his 4 seamer, topping out at 100.5 in the 6th inning. He now has 14 starts this season with 8 or more K’s, with nobody else (including Pitching Jesus Jake deGrom) having more than 11.

-Oh look, another dinger by TA. The power is showing up now, with 14 total bases on the weekend (1 1B, 1 2B 1 3B 2 HR). His BABIP is now at a hilarious .397 on the season, but if you still think the regression monster is coming for him you haven’t been paying attention. He’s just a special hitter with amazing plate coverage.

-Yoan Moncada went yard from the right side of the plate in the 4th inning, firing a laser beam into the 4th row in LF. Keep elevating that ball, and the damage will only grow.

-If it wasn’t hard enough for the Houston offense to deal with Rodon, the next 2 up for them were Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks to close out the afternoon. Hilarious.

-Awesome catch by Billy Hamilton in the 8th to allow a 1-2-3 inning for Kopech. When it’s crunch time in the playoffs and the Sox need someone to save their bacon in the OF, he’s the guy.

 

Next up is another 4 games against the goddam Twins. I hate them and I’m sick of them. Grind their bones into dust and bury them at the bottom of the AL Central. Fuck Josh Donaldson and his stupid face.

 

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