Baseball

BOX SCORES

Guardians 4 – White Sox 6

Guardians 12 – White Sox 11

Guardians 1 – White Sox 2

 

I don’t even quite know how to describe this series, except to say that it had everything and yet somehow not enough. The Sox finally decided to score a boatload of runs, but it almost fell short as they could’ve easily lost the series to Cleveland due to a colossal lack of timely hitting in game 3. We also had Seby Zavala making history, and Reynaldo Lopez doing some quality work out of the pen. Also Jose Abreu got plunked a shitload of times, and we saw Tony LaRussa “dash” out of the dugout and attempt to fight Roberto Perez, which I’m sure would’ve ended well for him.

Ultimately the end result is the Sox are back to a 9 game lead in the AL Central and pointed in the right direction again after Rick Hahn surprised everyone on Friday afternoon swinging another deal with the Cubs. The 8th and 9th innings are looking pretty dangerous for the Sox pen again.

To the bullets!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-What a weird ass game this was. The biggest story came in the 8th inning when James Karinchak had a 2-seam fastball get completely away from him to drill Jose Abreu right behind his left earhole. Jose went down in a heap, and Karinchak looked positively terrified that he had just killed someone. With Jose prone on the ground and Roberto Perez checking on him, TLR came shambling out of the dugout to push Perez away from Abreu for some reason that I think only he understands. Jose was ultimately all right, and as he trotted down to 1st, Karinchak came over to apologize. Being the amazing human being that he is, Jose gave the poor kid a hug and all was well.

-With the bases loaded there was no way Cleveland was intentionally throwing at Abreu, Karinchak’s reaction alone being all the proof you need. I get Tony’s inclination to be pissed off, as that was MY first reaction as well, but I’d rather he made sure Jose was OK first before picking a fight with the only guy on the field wearing armor.

-Yoan Moncada hit his 9th home run of the season in a way that wasn’t a complete Jose Canseco, but it was pretty damn close:

-Lance Lynn didn’t have his best stuff, but as you’d expect he bulldog’ed his way through the Cleveland lineup to 5 innings, 7 K’s and one walk. That’s our ace, folks.

GAME 2

-The Seby Zavala game is in the books, and his line in it ended with a 4-4, 3 HR 6 RBI night making him the first player EVER in MLB history to have 3 dingers in a game where he hit his first career home run. Hopefully this is enough to end the Zack Collins Experience as the backup catcher, but we shall see.

-Cleveland (the team) hit as many dingers as Zavala (the player), and they all came off pitches from Dallas Keuchel. He’s been bad lately, and time is running out for him to fix his shit.

-For a team that scored 11 runs, you’d think the Sox would have more than 11 hits but you’d be wrong. 5 home runs and some shitty D by Cleveland was how it went down.

-Michael Kopech had a shitty night, not much else to say about it. Not worried about him in the slightest, however. Moving on.

-The Jose Ruiz Experience needs to end, and soon. If Reynaldo Lopez is going to look like he did in relief on Sunday, then it should be his spot going forward.

-Yoan Moncada’s BABIP on the night should be about .900, as he’s had some of the worst luck (other than the weird ass home run in game 1) at the plate that I can remember.

GAME 3

-Solid bullpen work from ReyLo and and Jimmy Lambert here, keeping Cleveland to a single home run by Myles Straw of all people. While Lambert was sent back down after the game, ReyLo is still here and as mentioned above should be getting a better look out of the pen to see if he’s going to be an option going forward.

-The Sox had the bases loaded twice and only managed 1 run and it happened with Jose Abreu getting plunked again. All told, the Sox stranded 13 runners on the afternoon but still managed to pull out the win thanks to…

-One of the most excellent batflips of the season with Brian Goodwin walking off the Guardians in the bottom of the 9th. You just love to see it.

-In a preview of things to come, the 7th-9th innings were on total fucking lockdown with Aaron Bummer, Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks combining for 3 innings of 1 hit ball with 4 Ks. This is the bullpen I was promised, and having Bummer looking good in the 7th is gonna be awesome for the 1-3 starters.

Next up is a 3 game set at home again vs Kansas City with a chance to redeem themselves from that shit performance in Missouri last week. Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn currently line up to face the Royals, so as long as the offense can score some runs the team should have every opportunity for a series win. With the lead in the division the Sox have right now, the challenge is going to be staying sharp for games that on the surface look like they don’t matter much.

With the team’s splits favoring playing at home by about a 65% margin, getting home field advantage for the postseason is definitely something to strive for. With the looming return of Luis Robert, and a hopefully fully-groined Eloy Jimenez the Sox offense should have enough punch for the rest of the regular season. Don’t stop now boys.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 8 – Cleveland 6

Game 2: White Sox 1 – Cleveland 3

Game 3: White Sox 5 – Cleveland 6

Game 4: Rained Out

 

I guess the best thing that can be said about this series is that the Sox only lost one game in the standings to Cleveland. Ultimately there were some disturbing trends in this series that bear watching, such as the offense continuing to strand runners on base combined with Carlos Rodon and Dylan Cease turning back the clock in a less than stellar way. Throw in Yermin Mercedes being colder than Winnipeg in January and you have a formula for a losing streak in there.

The fact that the Sox have thus far been able to avoid extended periods of losing gives me a hollow feeling in my gut that has nothing to do with the Taco Bell currently residing there. The reality is that the Sox are currently .500 (9-9) against teams with a winning record. With a much stiffer schedule in June that includes Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay the urpy feeling isn’t quite ready to go away just yet. I totally get that you have to punch down against the lesser teams on your schedule, but outside of the series against the Cardinals (who they themselves are not exactly running and gunning as of late) the Sox offense just hasn’t looked up to snuff. I suppose we’ll know more at the end of the month, and hopefully all this indigestion was more chalupa-based than anything else.

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-Another moment of concern came in the first few innings of this game when Carlos Rodon’s fastball velocity seemed to be 4-5 mph off his usual heat of 96-97. He was able to bring it up to 95ish by the 4th and 5th innings, but this (combined with the dingers he was giving up) was pretty concerning and definitely bears watching in his next start.

-The Sox offense put up 8 runs in this one, but most of that was thanks to some serious shenanigans in the field by Cleveland. Zack Collins shot a double down the LF line in the 2nd that plated 3, but only after some hilariously bad throwing by Cesar Hernandez and Josh Naylor. I’ve seen better relay throws at my D league softball games, and most of those hit the backstop (GLARES AT JOEY GUTH).

-Cody Heuer ended up with the W after coming in and tossing a clean 7th where he gave up a sharp single, but immediately wiped that out with a nice sinker into a double play to Jose Ramirez (which may be the only out he made all series).

-The Sox were able to plate 3 in the 8th when Billy Hamilton stole 3rd and was knocked in with a sac fly from Jose. After that, Yermin drew a walk and Eaton plopped on into the visitor’s bullpen for a 3 run lead. All this off Sticky Hands James Karinchak, who was seen all series wiping some substance off his mitt into his pitching hand, which Stone and Bennetti called out in game 3 on Monday:

-As detailed in this Athletic article (paywall warning) by Ken Rosenthal and Britt Ghiroli, the use of foreign substances by MLB pitchers seems to be approaching epidemic-level proportions, with some players comparing it to the steroid abuse of the late 90’s and early 00’s. Considering the spin rates on some of these pitches it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was the case, and I wonder just how much the league will be looking into it.

Game 2

-A spot start here for Jimmy Lambert, who was called up earlier in the week to eat a few innings. He looked pretty serviceable in his 4 innings of work, just really making one mistake to (who the fuck else) Jose Ramirez in the 3rd. Giving the kid a few innings at the ML level while getting some needed rest for the pen was a solid move and I’d like to see him again when rosters expand in September.

-Cal Quantrill held the Sox at bay, scattering 4 hits and striking out 5 in 4 innings of work in true Opener fashion. Other than Nick Madrigal’s RBI single in the 3rd there wasn’t much to write home about here offensively.

-In other call up news, Ryan Burr made an appearance and went 1 and 1/3d innings. He struck out half the batters he faced, and overall looked pretty solid (mostly because he didn’t face Jose Ramirez). Bullpen depth is good, especially the type that has the movement on his fastball like he does.

-This game sucked.

Game 3

-Dylan Cease looked all out of sorts in this one, throwing almost 50 pitches in the first two innings. His fastball command deserted him, and he was catching too much of the zone with all of his stuff. He only walked 1, which was good, but he also only struck out 2. Add those to the 8 hits and 6 ER he gave up and that was too much of a lead to overcome.

-Shane Bieber looked as hittable as he ever has yesterday, yet the Sox kept letting him off the hook with 2 outs. The Sox very easily could’ve knocked him out of the game early, yet bad approaches at the plate by Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu (who struck out twice with RISP, once to end the game) let him escape with only 2 earned runs in his 7 innings of work.

-Billy Hamilton has turned himself into an excellent signing by Rick Hahn, as he turned a gapper into an inside the park home run (no matter how the official scorer at the Jake listed it). He also scraped the living shit out of his face with a hands-first slide into home that looked fantastic, and also painful as hell.

-Maybe Jake Lamb doesn’t suck so much after all.

-Yermin Mercedes needs a few days off, but the lineup is so paper-thin right now that I don’t know how many Tony can actually give him.

 

Next up is 4 with the Detroit Tigers, which normally is good for what ails ya, but they swept the fucking Yankees last weekend. They even held them to 5 runs in 3 games. They also dropped 10 runs against the Brew Crew on Memorial Day, so I don’t know what the hell to think, other than that the Sox should take nothing for granted and keep punching down.

LFG