Game 1: White Sox 3 – Tigers 4

Game 2: White Sox 3 – Tigers 5

Game 3: PPD (RAIN)


As the Sox continue their inevitable slide towards the postseason, the consternation and fears of a fanbase that has watched a lifeless team slog it’s way through the 2nd half of the season has reached a crescendo. Game one of this series saw the Sox jump out to a 3-0 lead, then promptly ball their hands up into a fist and punch themselves collectively in the dick with some terrible-ass fielding and less than stellar relieving from Kimbrel. Game 2 had the Sox strand 17 runners on the diamond, and Jace Fry doing Jace Fry things.

In reality, this series is basically the Sox 2nd half in a nutshell. Ample opportunities to break the game open but runners stranded on base due to a lack of timely hitting. Starting pitching that was unable to make it past the 5th inning, putting undue strain on a pretty taxed bullpen. Defense that is eye-bleedingly bad, putting more on the shoulders of said pitching staff. TLR playing get away lineups every day. It just hasn’t been great.

Despite the above, the Sox are all but guaranteed to be in the postseason thanks to the complete disinterest of the Cleveland Guardians during the same time frame. This lack of urgency to be competitive in these games is understandable, simply due to the avalanche of injuries that have come the Sox way that were the result of hustling down the line or in the outfield. Maintenence has become the most important thing for Tony LaRussa, and understandably so. With only 12 games remaining however, it might be time for him to roll with the big guns the rest of the way to remind everyone how things were done on the South Side in the first half of the year.


To The Bullets!





-The biggest concern out of this game is the health of Carlos Rodon. From the 2nd inning onward, it was pretty apparent that there was something going on with his arm, as he was topping out at 92-93 MPH on his 4-seamer, and by the 3rd inning he couldn’t break 90. TLR said after the game that there was concern about his shoulder and it was unlikely he would pitch again before the last series of the season. Yikes.

-This was not a great night for trade deadline acquisitions. Caesar Hernandez forgot how tagging runners with the ball works in the bottom of the 3rd inning, allowing the Tigers to tie the game. Then Craig Kimbrel (who was cruising up to this point) plunked Robbie Grossman on the shoe top in the 8th with the game tied. Grossman promptly stole 2nd, then scored as Kimbrel semi-hung a 2-2 knuckle curve to Harold Castro (who last took a walk during the Obama Administration) where he laced it into right field. Game over.

-The Sox had a chance to blow this open in the top of the 3rd, loading the bases with nobody out. They ended up getting 3 out of the inning, but only 1 of those was knocked in by an actual hit. The other two were an RBI ground out by Yoan (who deserves credit for blazing down the line and breaking up the DP), and a sac fly by Grandal. The woes of the offense leaving people stranded continue.

– The trio of Jose Ruiz, Garrett Crochet, and Ryan Burr deserve a lot of credit for keeping the Sox in the game after Rodon left after the 3rd inning. Only Ruiz allowed a baserunner, and the trio had 5 Ks between them. Good shit.


-Dallas Keuchel had his 2nd straight decent start, going 5 innings and allowing 2 runs. The 11 hits and 1 walk in those 5 innings is where potentially having to start him in the postseason becomes very itchy. Anyone with a 2+ WHIP shouldn’t be pitching in a playoff game, let alone starting one. If Rodon can’t answer the bell, the Sox should be going Lynn/Gio/Cease/and a Kopech and Lopez combo if the need arises.

-Eloy is scuffling right now in the worst way. He singlehandedly left 6 runners on base, and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd, killing all the momentum dead. There’s still time for the Big Baby to turn it around, but it just doesn’t look like he’s having much fun right now.

-Timmy got his average back above .300 in the game with a pair of hits (one of which was of the extra base variety), and is starting to look like himself again (especially with sweet off balance throw home in the 6th to nab Victor Reyes after air mailing a throw earlier in the inning).

-Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal might be the only Sox hitters approaching the peak of their powers right now, as they’re both clearly dialed in.

-Yeah, Jace Fry sucked. He’s not gonna be on the postseason roster, however. So I’m not too burned up about it.

-Liam Hendriks is a delight.


With the Magic Number currently sitting at 2 for the Sox, it’s only natural that their opponents this weekend will be the Cleveland Guardians. A chance for the Sox to clinch the division on the field at The Jake should be motivation enough for them to sweep the double header on Thursday and beer it up in front of the Cleveland faithful. LaRussa has yet to announce the pitching lineup for the weekend, but Lance Lynn would be going on normal rest Thursday with most likely an opener for game 2. Maybe Kopech? I’d love to see it.

The Sox need to get the clinching out of the way, so perhaps they can unclench and get back to playing fun (watchable) baseball. This team hasn’t been at “Full Strength” all season, and I really wanna see the offense turn into the Death Star we all know it can be. Take Cleveland out behind the barn, end their misery, then celebrate and forget about how shitty they’ve been playing. Relax and just have fun the rest of the way, and bring us all along for the ride.

Let’s Go Sox.




Game 1: White Sox 6 – A’s 3

Game 2: White Sox 1 – A’s 5

Game 3: White Sox 1 – A’s 3


Heading into this week it felt like a trap series for the Sox. With the rotation down to a skeleton crew and the A’s having lost 6 of their previous 10 games all while watching their playoff hopes waft away like smoke over Lake Tahoe seemed like a bad omen for the Pale Hose. Lo and behold, we were right. With the loss on Thursday, the Sox now have an 8-15 record on the road since the All Star break, which is…not great. Granted the Sox pitching staff has been pretty decimated, but with the offense almost at full strength, having a series against Oakland where they only score 2 runs in 2 games is not ideal.

The Sox are all but guaranteed to make the playoffs at this point, so the goal going forward these last few weeks needs to be twofold: health and home field. The first seems to be taking care of itself as Giolito and Lynn look poised to return over the weekend. The 2nd part might be the issue, as the Sox are 2 games behind the Astros and 8 behind Tampa in the AL for home field. Time is running out for them to make a run, and momentum isn’t their ally right now.

To the bullets:



Game 1

-Jimmy Lambert, come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Pitch Is Right! Making his second spot start of the season, Lambert looked pretty solid filling in for the currently injured Lucas Giolito (or was it Carlos Rodon? Or Lance Lynn? I’ve lost track at this point), going 5 strong with 3 hits and two walks. With the starting rotation likely to be in flux over the rest of September, Lambert could be a key piece for the Sox’s hopes for home field advantage in October.

-The Oakland Coliseum should be fired into the sun. Every other stadium in MLB has protective netting and the like around dugouts, yet for some reason the Coliseum dugouts are more open than Kansas. Predictably, this lead to Andrew Vaughn firing a foul ball off poor Eloy’s knee while he sat unawares in the dugout. While he returned to the game, it was short lived as he was replaced by Brian Goodwin in the 6th. JFC.

-Other than Ryan Burr, the bullpen was pretty nails in this game. Garrett Crochet seems to have re-found his velocity and movement on his slider, and Ryan Tepera has quietly become the most reliable reliever out there. The Dazzling Duo of Kimbrel and Hendriks did the thing in the 8th and 9th after Burr stumbled, so mission accomplished.

-The Sox scored all 6 of their runs without the benefit of the long ball, which is nice to see. Yasmani Grandal continues on his tear after returning with his Robo-Knee, and Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada contributed 5 hits between the two of them.

-The only Sox players not to join in the hit parade was Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn, who went 0-8 combined with a walk and a run. Vaughn in particular has looked exposed the past few weeks, and might benefit from an extended break.

-Gavin Sheets, yes.


-While some might try to frame this start as an improvement for Dallas Keuchel over his past few, the bottom line is that it’s another game not making it through 6 innings and giving up 5 runs. He hasn’t had a quality start in over a month and only 2 (!) since the 4th of July. I’m sure Ethan Katz is doing what he can, but each week that goes by things look more and more grim for him.

-The offense certainly didn’t do him any favors, stranding 20 people on base throughout the night. Andrew Vaughn was the worst culprit, stranding 4 and striking out half the time. Give the kid a break.

-Jose Abreu continues to pound the ball into the dirt, with his line drive rate the lowest it’s been in his career, and his ground ball rate up all the way to 46.4%. Jose is at his best when he’s taking what’s given to him and lining it to right center field. Right now it seems like he’s trying to pull everything, which is resulting in more weak contact (reflected in his barrel rate dip over the last 2 weeks).

-Another 2 hit night for Yasmani Grandal, who has his average up over .230 now, with an OBPS over .950…not much else you can say except that he may be the best free agent signing in Sox history.

-Mike Wright Jr is still here, and MLB.COM still has no idea who he is. At least this time he didn’t give up any runs, so…progress?

-This game sucked, was very boring and the Sox were very clearly Not Interested. It’s game 139 in September, it happens. Moving on.


-Reynaldo Lopez had his worst start thus far in the back end of this season and still only gave up 1 earned run. Granted the 2 unearned ones were his fault due to him firing a pickoff throw into center field but still. Can’t really complain about what ReyLo has brought to the table so far, and once everyone in the rotation is back it may be time for Keuchel to take a seat.

-Everything else in this game was a colossal waste of time.


Next up is a weekend series against the Red Sox, who have been backsliding since their hot first half of the season. If the rotation timing holds up, Chris Sale will be making an appearance on Sunday against most likely Lance Lynn unless he has some type of setback. Looking past the Red Sox, only Cincinnati is left on the schedule with any type of playoff hopes, so the opportunity to pass the Asstros will be there. Get it done.


Let’s Go Sox


Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score
Game 3 Box Score


In case it wasn’t made clear by the 7000 times Jason Benetti waxed poetically about how fun it would be for these two teams to meet in the post-season, the Sox and Jays put on quite a series at 35th & Shields over the past few days with the Sox winning two of three, though not without further injury cost. Both of these teams boast some outstanding young hitters, and also a healthy collection of beefy boys on each roster, and all of it was on full display. Though where the Sox were able to separate themselves over the course of three games was most notably the pitching from both the bullpen and the starters was able to outlast the Jays hitters and give the Sox bats enough time in games 1 and 3 to get to the soft underbelly of the Jays’ pen.

Game 1

An early game of the year candidate against Robbie Ray’s pronounced ass crack and Monica-Seles-level grunts, counterpart Carlos Rodon didn’t have the stuff that has become the standard for him through the first part of this season, and seemingly started every inning with a runner on 2nd base. But HARD CARL was able to sweatily wriggle out of almost all of it through the course if his five twitchy innings, and the Notorious TLR had his best game of the season pulling all of the right levers building a bridge to Hendriks in the 9th through Ruiz, Marshall, and Crochet, the pitcher of record. The pen only allowed two hits in their 12 outs of work, and kept the powerful bats of the Jays at bay, and Evan Marshall in particular had a key strikeout of the absolutely terrifying Vlad Guerrero Jr to end the 7th.

At the plate Andrew Vaughn was the star of the evening, finally denting Ray with a solo shot, and then nearly put the game out of reach on his own with a deep bases loaded sacrifice fly. A two run triple from Leury Garcia added some insurance, and it would be more than the back end of the bullpen would need.

Game 2

On Wednesday night Lance Lynn, or as Ozzie calls him “LASS LEEN”, gave his customary efficient 7 innings of his wide variety of different fastballs that kept all but Randal Grichuk off balance, whose solo homer tied the game after the Sox grabbed one in the first on a Yoan RBI single. As a mirror image of the night previous, everything went to hell in soft fashion against Aaron Bummer in the 8th who managed to only get one official out, with a key dropped third strike where rookie Riley Adams was able take first base to keep their rally going. A walk to Vladito and his extremely rude cheeks brought in tying run, and the Jays kept the line moving after that.

More discouraging however, is the fact that Nick Madrigal tore his hamstring while sprinting down to first base on a grounder. Nicky Versteeg has been infuriating at times with his asinine baserunning decisions and occasional stonehandedness in the field, but no one can deny that his bat-to-ball skill has been a definitely plus for this team in keeping innings alive, especially in the era of gunked up balls flying in at a zillion miles an hour specifically designed to miss bats. It appears Dancin’ Danny Mendick will get first crack at the job in Madrigal’s protracted absence, but this might just be one injury too many and Rick Hahn might finally have to find a solution for this season outside the organ-I-zation. But at least Jose Abreu survived having a bat thrown at him by the home plate umpire.

Game 3

In the rubber match last night, the Sox figured out very early on to take lefty Hyun Jin Ryu oppo from the right batter’s box, as he primarly works away and with off speed stuff. Abreu sliced a double into the right field corner to bring home Yermin who had doubled himself just before, and then the extremely fucking moist Yasmani Grandal reached out and sent one over the right field wall. That three run lead would be more than enough for Dallas Keuchel to work with, as he looked vintage in his quick work and accuracy at the edge of the zone, no doubt helped by some Grandal framework. The Jays would get to within one with RBI singles in the 5th and 6th, but Adam Engel connected for his first hit of the season with an insurance dong to left center, and Abreu would double home TA in the 9th for good measure ahead of another Hendriks save.

Up next for the Southside Nine will be a trip to Detroit where they’ll need to sock away some wins over the weekend before a week straight against some sterner stuff in the Tampa Bay Rays (who sadly will not be wearing their neon ass throwbacks here), and then on to Houston after that. That should be a pretty good indication of just how much help they’re going to need.



Game 1: Rangers 7 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Rangers 1 – White Sox 2

Game 3: Rangers 4 – White Sox 8



Now that’s more like it.

Every year around this time we as Sox fans start worrying that the offense isn’t going to live up to expectations, and almost every year when the calendar is about to flip from April to May the bats wake up in a barrage of offense and we all collectively slap our foreheads for being so silly. This year is no different, as the Sox offense exploded for 36 hits and 19 runs across this 3 game set against the Rangers. More interestingly out of character is the way the team knocked in those runs.

Game one was the kind of hitting display that makes older fans turgid, with the Sox banging out 16 hits with only a single dinger from Moncada accounting for any of the 9 runs. Game 2 was the classic “Pitcher’s Duel,” with Keuchel and Kyle Gibson locked into a death stare, and the first one to blink was actually Jose Trevino, as he let a passed ball give the Sox the lead 1-0 in the 6th. Madrigal would later walk the Sox off in the 9th with a double over Joey Gallo’s head. The 3rd game was a mix of the previous two, with Jose hitting a two run bomb to kick things off, and Michael Kopech mowing Rangers hitters down with seemingly little effort. It was quite the sight to behold, and with the warmest weather of the season forecast for this week, combined with the 3rd worst team ERA coming to town shit could get wild.






-I’ve watched a lot of Sox pitching prospects come up and succeed in my time following the team, and there’s never been one who’s raw pitching talent has been on the level of where Michael Kopech currently sits. His stuff is just beyond filthy. Just look at the movement his 97 mph fastball has on this punchout pitch to Joey Gallo:

I understand the need to manage his innings this year and completely support it, but seeing shit like this makes watching Dylan Cease starts that much more difficult.

-Speaking of Cease, nothing has changed since his last go around. He only made it through 3.1 innings, and threw an unholy amount of pitches in the 1st inning, ultimately totaling 86 in that span. His underlying spin rate metrics are ranked quite highly according to Statcast, but he just doesn’t get the outs and is always less than economical about the way he throws his pitches. It’s kind of a mystery, and I’m running out of patience for him to solve it. I’d suggest him being moved to an opener type scenario, but you have to be able to make it once through the rotation to be effective in that scenario.

-Yermin Mercedes continues to be hilariously good at hitting the baseball, going 6-12 in the series with two walks. There’s not much else to say about him, other than the fact that he’s taken the sting out of losing Eloy for 5 months. The Sox are going to have to have him work in the field somewhere, because once they head to Cincinnati next month, they’re gonna need his bat in the lineup. Also, I’d like to try his burger.

-Nick Madrigal is going to annoy the fuck out of opposing teams and their fanbases for the next millennia or so. He came up with two huge hits this series, walking the team off with a double over Gallo’s head in game 2 and a bases clearing triple in the gap in game 3. He’s a pretty divisive figure even amongst Sox fans, but once he gets to the point where he plays more consistent defense I feel he’s going to be a fixture in this lineup for a long time.

-Liam Hendriks screaming “FUCK ME” after giving up a game tying dinger in the top of the 9th in game two was hilariously audible on the broadcast, and Stone had to cover with a “he’s not very happy” comment. I get being pissed at yourself, but Willie Calhoun had no business tomahawking that nipples-high fastball out of the park. 99 times out of 100 that’s a swinging strike. That being said, Hendriks still has given up too many long balls thus far in the season and that bears watching as we go forward.

-Lucas Giolito apparently cut his middle finger trying to open a bottle of water which wasn’t a twist-off. I don’t know what brand of water seals their product in with razor blades, but I’m sure I can’t afford it. At any rate, seems like no cause for alarm with Lucas and he should be back on the mound for the series opener Tuesday night against Detroilet.

-You can SEE Moncada, Abreu and Luis Robert heating up at the plate. All 3 had hits that would’ve been dingers a month from now in warmer weather, and it’s only a matter of time before the middle of that Sox order is giving opposing pitchers night sweats. Love to see it.

-Codi Heuer is turning out to be what everyone assumed Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer were going to be: the shut down reliever TLR turns to with the game on the line in the 7th and 8th. Awesome stuff.

-The Sox now sit a game and a half behind the Royals (yes, THOSE Royals) for 1st in the Central Division, while the Twins just lost a series to the Pittsburgh Pirates (LOL). Nobody out there believes that this is how it’s gonna go for the rest of the season, but I’m still gonna enjoy the Twins eating shit in the basement for a few more weeks.

-Next up is the Detroit Tigers, who managed to get totally cock punched by the aforementioned Royals this past weekend. They have the 3rd worst team ERA in the league so far, and the weather is supposed to be windy and warm. Strap in, because it looks like the Sox are going streaking.





Game 1: Royals 0 – White Sox 6


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.




-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


We’re Not Detroit: Covering The Corner


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


After taking a night to stew on the sad showing of this past weekend’s series against the Cubs, it’s time to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and remind ourselves that despite the suckitude of the last week that the White Sox will be playing Playoff Baseball this week, which should be a cause for celebration.

So despite that big ole hunk of fail this last week, the Sox falling to the 7th seed in the playoffs may have inadvertently landed them in a pretty decent spot against the Oakland Athletics. The A’s won one more game than the Sox this season, and while that was good enough to score them the AL West crown, those wins came against 3 playoff teams, (Dodgers/Padres/Astros) whilst the Sox wins came against 6 (Cubs/Reds/Brewers/Cards/Indians/Twins).

So let’s take a quick dive into who’ll be opposing the Sox hitters this upcoming week, and what they can expect to see.

A’s Starting Pitching

While Bob Melvin has yet to release his rotation for the upcoming games, one can make at least an educated guess as to who will be starting the first 2 against the Sox. Odds are, Melvin is going to turn to his hottest pitcher of late for Game 1:

Chris Bassitt

2020 Stats: 5-2, 2.29 ERA, 7.86 K/9, 1.16 WHIP, 3.59 FIP

Pitches: 4 Seam (54.3%)/Slider (2.9%)/Cutter (23.2%)/Curve (9.4%)/Changeup (10.3%)

Oh, look. A member of the A’s that was drafted by the White Sox. How weird that so many A’s players started with the Sox organization! (facepalm emoji)

You can see right off the bat that Bassitt is the type of pitcher that would be right at home in the Cleveland rotation. He’s a very patient pitcher that doesn’t have overpowering velocity (his 4 seamer tops out right at about 93 mph), but is very efficient in the zone. His breakout this season has been propelled by almost completely ditching the slider for a cut fastball, which he throws in almost any count.

Once he’s got 2 strikes on you, however, he usually turns to his curveball which is almost excruciatingly slow:

As you might imagine, Bassitt is the type of pitcher that could frustrate a younger, more aggressive lineup like the White Sox. The one bright side to him is that his FIP is considerably higher than his ERA. While the A’s have pretty stellar defense, it’s not to the point that there should be 2.00 of difference in his ERA vs FIP. So Bassitt can be gotten to, and with the slow offense of the A’s, he doesn’t have to be pummeled.

Which brings us to our likely game 2 starter and A’s Superprospect:

Jesús Luzardo

2020 Stats: 3-2, 4.12 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 1.27 WHIP, 4.19 FIP

Pitches: 4 Seam (53.5%) Slider (22.4%), Change (23.9%)

After a few setbacks due to injury, the much heralded arrival (at least if you’re in a fantasy baseball dynasty league) of super pitching prospect Jesús Luzardo finally happened. While his first two starts were nothing to write home about, you could absolutely see the stuff was there.

His velocity is the type of stuff that hasn’t been seen in Oakland since the days of Dave Stewart, and his slider has almost the same average velo as his fastball, with the kind of “shit-your-pants” movement usually reserved for knuckleballs. He’s not afraid to throw it at the back foot of a righty hitter either:

The only thing fairly average about him right now is his change, but when it’s still coming in at 88 mph it can be a devastating weapon. Control can be an issue, though not so much in the walk department (2.76 BB/9), moreso leaving his fastball out over the plate. He has issues with the long ball (1.37 HR/9) which can play right into the hands of the Sox hitters, who I’ve been told can hit the ball a long way when given the chance.

Game 3 would most likely be Frankie Montas, who is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball right now (and also another former member of the White Sox organization) but here’s hoping we don’t have to get to that point.

If the Sox are able to get to Bassitt and Luzardo, they still face one of the best bullpens in the AL and perhaps the best closer in the league in:

Liam Hendriks

2020 Stats: 3-1, 1.76 ERA, 12.33 K/9(!), 0.67 WHIP (!!), 1.14 FIP(!!!) 15/16 Save Opp

Pitches: 4 Seam (70.3%), Slider (22.2%), Curve (7.0%)

Goofy Face: 100%

Despite looking like a total goober, Hendriks has been nothing but nails this entire season. His fastball has some high heat, as he can reach 99mph, and his slider is wipeout-type stuff. He only blew one save the entire season, and he’s given up a total of 5 runs the whole year. He really just doesn’t break at all, and the Sox would do well to never give him the chance to shut the door, because if he’s in the game it’s pretty much already over.

The rest of the bullpen is all the type you’d expect from a Billy Beane-constructed team. Solid but unspectacular. They were 4th in the AL overall in RP stats, but take out Hendriks and they fall to 8th. The Sox pen currently sits 6th, and that’s with Rodon’s numbers thrown in there. If the Sox can get a lead on Bassitt and Luzardo, I like their chances to take the series in 2 games.

If they head into the later innings tied (or god forbid, behind), the hill becomes much steeper to climb. The Sox strategy against the starters should be the same as it’s been: hit the ball a long way. Home runs are going to be their easiest path to victory this series, as if this turns into small ball, the advantage flips to the A’s pitching and D. Thankfully with the series being played at a neutral site (looks to be LA) which is WAY more hitter friendly then the cavernous OF of Oakland, the edge moves a bit in the Sox favor. Oakland’s team ERA is 4.47 on the road vs. 2.89 at home, so they can be had.

The Sox need to take care of this series in two, as we’d prefer to avoid having to discuss who the Sox 3rd starter will be, things becoming much more urpy at that point.