Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Yankees 8 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Yankees 7 – White Sox 5 (10 Innings)

Game 3: Yankees 5 – White Sox 3

 

Baseball can go from deliriously entertaining to soul-crushingly depressing and then back again in the span of a few minutes. It’s the dumbest sport in the world, and I love it with all my heart and despise it with every fiber of my being. There are few teams out there that can encapsulate all of those emotions into one unit but the White Sox do it perfectly, from the highs of Timmy’s walk-off on Thursday night to the grinding lows of Cesar Hernandez’ 3 error fartfest on Sunday there is very little in-between for this squad.

It’ll probably be the death of me, and I’ll be thanking and cursing them all the way to the coroner.

 

TO THE BULLETS (IN MY BRAIN):

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1:

-Scientific Fact: corn fields greatly add to the ambient moisture in the air, increasing the humidity in the air by up to 20%. Humid air makes baseballs fly farther, and the Sox proved this true Thursday night by pounding out 4 dingers Thursday night off an Andrew Heaney who’s neon “Not Interested” sign was flashing from the jump in the 1st. Eloy’s 3 run jack was particularly picturesque, disappearing into the corn in right center field. The Big Baby now has 6 dingers and 19 RBI in his 15 games this season. He’s easily the best hitter in the lineup right now, and it shows.

-Lance Lynn’s 5+ innings were the definition of “gutting it out” against a meaty Yankees lineup. While he didn’t have his plus plus stuff on Thursday night, he was able to limit the damage to 2 home runs. He still struck out 7, and other than Judge was largely able to keep the rest of the danger off the board.

-Michael Kopech’s first inning of relief was nasty has hell, prompting a deluge of positive tweets from baseball royalty across the nation. Then the 2nd inning began and he had some trouble with his control, prompting a move to Bummer (who has looked MUCH better since his return from the IL) who took care of business. This is more what we were looking for out of the pen at the beginning of the season.

-Seby Zavala has cemented himself as the backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal when he returns from his minor league  Zavala is average at the plate, can’t really block anything in the dirt, and calls and frames a good game. All of those things he does better than Zack Collins, which should probably make him fairly expendable at this point.

-Liam Hendriks did not have a good night either Thursday OR Saturday. His HR rate is concerning, and if it doesn’t come down in the next few weeks TLR might have to seriously look at swapping him and Kimbrel.

-Ladies and Gentlemen, Tim F’n Anderson:

 

GAME 2

-Sometimes baseball truly is a game of inches, as this one showed. Eloy and Zack Collins were a combined 4 feet away from turning this one from a nail biter to an absolute blowout. Instead, the Sox came up short and only had a sac fly by Eloy to show for it. Remember when I said baseball was stupid sometimes? Here ya go.

-The Sox stranded runners like it was going out of style on Saturday night, leaving a grand total of 25 standing on the pillows. Not great.

-Dylan Cease is some kind of wizard, because there’s not another person on the planet who can magically turn a 1-2 count into 3-2 as quickly as he can. More of the same tonight, with lots of teases of him being a dominant starter mixed in with an inability to put anyone away. That said, I’d probably take his 5 innings and 6 Ks with 3 ER most nights of the week.

-Kimbrel gave up an absolute lazer beam to Judge tonight on a fastball that caught way too much of the plate. Not nearly as bad as the dinger Liam gave up to Joey Gallo, but this should not be a competition to see who can give up the most bombs anyway. Hendriks is clearly leaving his fastballs up in the zone, but not nearly UP enough. It’s a very fixable issue, just a question of how long it’ll take.

-Jose Abreu tried his damnedest to make up for his rally killing GIDP earlier with his bottom of the 9th heroics. While it was not to be, I’m still stoked that he seems to be busting out of his slump.

GAME 3

-This game sucked, and it’s really hard to put a coat of paint on the ginormous turd the team laid on Sunday. Lucas Giolito struggled mightily the first 2 innings, throwing a combined 60 pitches between them, limiting him to 4 innings. He did strike out 8, so I guess that’s nice.

-Ryan Tepera, Jose Ruiz and Aaron Bummer picked up the slack however, giving the Sox a chance to claw back into the game before LaRussa turned once again to Matt Foster and suddenly the game was even MORE out of reach. I don’t quite get his use there, but whatever.

-Another day of leaving runners on base, with 18 more to add to the total. Andrew Vaughn was particularly guilty on Sunday with 5 total players left hung out to dry. Fart.

-The less said about Cesar Hernandez’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day the better. 3 errors and 2 GIDP (one of which ended the game). WHOOF. Be a goldfish, buddy. Be a goldfish.

 

Next up is a 4 game set against the once again red hot Oakland Athletics who have won 8 of their last 10 games and are attempting to run down the Houston Astros for the top spot in the west. The A’s actually made a splash at the deadline, trading for the guy we all wanted here in Starling Marte. He’s rewarded them for their efforts thus far with a 13 game hitting streak that began just after he got shipped over. The A’s pitching is nails as usual, with former Sox prospect Chris Bassitt leading the charge with a 12-3 record and a 3.06 ERA.

The A’s (shockingly) hit way better on the road than they do in their cavernous ballpark in the East Bay, so the Sox have their work cut out to regain some ground and momentum this week. The schedule doesn’t get any easier after that with Tampa and Toronto on the horizon. With the return of Grandal hopefully imminent, the Sox starters should not be lacking in run support, but hopefully they won’t need much.

LFG.

 

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 1 – Yankees 2

Game 2: White Sox 0 – Yankees 7

Game 3: White Sox 4 – Yankees 5

 

That was quite the Buzzkill.

The Sox came into the series with the Evil Empire with the best run differential in the entire league, and left it with merely the 3rd best behind the Dodgers and Padres. Since the 16 run skulling of the Twins last Monday, the Sox have only managed a measly 11 runs in that span. In those 5 games they’ve hit into 6 double plays, one triple play, and stranded 36 runners on base. Not the kind of baseball you’d expect from a team with deigns on the postseason, and the schedule doesn’t get any easier with the NL Central leading Cardinals coming to town tomorrow.

If Rick Hahn takes anything away from this series against the Yankees (That very well could be a 1st round playoff preview come the beginning of October), it’s that an OF containing Adam Eaton, Leury Garcia, Andrew Vaughn and Jake Lamb is just not going to get it done from here on out. Lamb, Garcia and Eaton have all been sub-replacement level since the beginning of May and Vaughn (while making a nice diving catch again Saturday) has made some mistakes out there as part of his learning process.

It would behoove Hahn to make a move sooner rather than later, as there are a few right fielders out there just waiting to be poached from the Mariners and Rangers. I personally don’t want to dip into what is a pretty shallow talent pool in the farm system to spackle together a functional outfield, but when you go cheap in the off-season this is the price you pay when the shit hits the fan.

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

-As mentioned above, what was the best run differential in the league by a fairly large margin has now slid down to 3rd behind the Dodgers and Padres. What’s notable about that is both those teams also have a plethora of injuries to their OF right now, with names like Cody Bellinger, Trent Grisham, Mookie Betts, AJ Pollack all dealing with various maladies right now. Oh, and some guy named Fernando Tatis Jr tested positive for COVID. None of those teams had 1st basemen playing in left and right field on Sunday, however.

-Tony LaRussa had himself another rough weekend using the bullpen. He left both Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall in way too long, used too much of Jose Ruiz and not nearly enough Michael Kopech and Garret Crochet, and he set Liam Hendriks up to fail on Sunday afternoon.

-Oh, and he started Jake Lamb in RF for the first time in his career on Sunday. Feel the excitement!

-Not helping the bullpen this weekend were Dylan Cease and Dallas Keuchel. Cease was cruising along fairly well on Saturday until a botched play by Andrew Vaughn in LF sent him into a tailspin and Keuchel was super inefficient Sunday, needing 100 pitches to get through 4+ innings.

-On the plus side, the long ball showed up on Sunday with Abreu, Grandal and Andrew Vaughn all going yard. Both Abreu and Vaughn’s dingers were well over 410 feet each, with Vaughn’s coming off noted abuser and all around shitbag Aroldis Chapman. You love to see it.

-Also, Carlos Rodon was fucking unhittable on Friday night. He went 6 innings, striking out 13 Yankees including this series in the 4th where he struck out the side (the side being DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit and Aaron Judge). Simply nasty stuff, take a look:

-Next up is a series against the St. Louis Cardinals, fresh off their series loss against the North Side Baseball Club. The highlight of this series should be the pitching matchup on Tuesday night, featuring two former high school teammates in Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty.

The Cardinals are as banged up as the Sox are, and having as much trouble scoring runs as of late. With Lance Lynn, Giolito and Rodon going in the series, this should give the Sox the best chance to get back on track with hopefully 2 or 3 wins. With capacity now up to 60% in the stadium, here’s hoping to some quality crowds and some successful home cookin.

 

Let’s Go Sox!

 

 

Baseball

VS. Evil Empire (album) - Wikipedia

 

Records: White Sox 26-16 / Yankees 25-19

First Pitch: Friday 6:05, Sat/Sun 12:05

TV/Radio: NBCSN/ESPN1000

Pizza Wars: Pinstripe Alley

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Game 1: Carlos Rodon (5-1 1.47 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (2-1 4.75 ERA)

Game 2: Dylan Cease (2-0 2.41 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (5-2 2.03 ERA)

Game 3: Dallas Keuchel (3-1 4.44 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (1-3 5.73 ERA)

 

3 weeks ago I don’t think anyone would’ve considered this series to be a potential 1st round playoff preview, as the Yankees were mired in their worst start to a season in over 20 years. Coming out of the gate with ice cold hitting and having everyone not named Gerrit Cole getting pummeled on the mound will do that to you. Much like the White Sox, however, as soon as the mercury began to climb the Yankees bats came alive. Just since the calendar flipped to May, the Bombers have gone from averaging 3.45 runs per game to 4.06. In April, they scored 2 or fewer runs in 8 of their 26 games and went 2-6 in them as compared to May where they’re 4-2 in games where they score 2 or less.

Leading the charge offensively are the usual suspects of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela. Combined, the 4 of them are worth approximately 4.4 WAR so far with Judge taking up a whopping 1.6 of that number. Missing from those stats is the recently returned Luke Voit, who missed the first 6 weeks of the season after having a procedure done on his knee to repair a partially torn meniscus. Given that he missed most of spring training and the season thus far, it’s pretty forgivable that he’s only slashing .207/.303/.610 with one lonely dinger to his name. Really, this lineup doesn’t have any holes in it right now with the exception of missing Stanton right now (who’s out with a strained hamstring, but is expected back after this series). The biggest disappointment would have to be Gary Sanchez, who has yet to break the Mendoza line, but even he’s run headfirst into 5 home runs so far.

On the starting pitching side of the ball, things are much less rosy for the Yanks. Outside of Gerrit Cole (and I suppose Corey Kluber and his no-no on Wednesday night) the starting rotation has been eminently hittable. After Cole and Kluber, the ERA of the 3rd through 5th starters sits at 4.51 with a 1.20 WHIP. The biggest offender is the game 3 starter, Jameson Tallion who’s return from double Tommy John surgery has not yet paid the dividends that Brain Cashman was hoping for when he sent 4 prospects to the Pirates in exchange for his services this past off-season. Tallion hasn’t had issues with striking people out, as his K/9 sits at a very pretty 10.99. His problem has been (much like Dylan Cease at the start of the year) pitch efficiency and walks. He’s started one less game than Gerrit Cole, but he’s pitched 20 less innings than him, with a walk rate just under 2.4. He’s only gotten past the 6th inning once (two weeks ago against the Nats), and he needed 100 pitches to do it. Having him going game 3 against the Sox in what is hopefully the rubber match of the series tips the scales towards the Sox in that instance.

As for the White Sox, after the series win against the Twins this past week (coaching shenanigans and all) without the services of Jose Abreu they look to increase their lead in the AL central. The Indians still sit 2.5 games behind the Sox with a series against the Twins on tap this weekend.

After the offensive outburst night one vs Minnesota, the bats predictably went quiet over the next two games. After pounding out 4 runs against the rookie Bailey Ober in game 2, they were only able to manage 2 runs over the next 14 innings while stranding 19 runners on base. A majority of this is to be expected, what with 3 of the top 4 hitters on the team on the shelf with injuries and all, but hopefully this turns around with the (supposed) return of Jose Abreu for this series. At publishing time there still has been no word as to Jose’s status but the previous update from the team expected him to be available for this weekend’s series.

As for the pitching, they’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend playing in a park built for the long ball. The porches in left and right field are some of the shortest in the league and the Yanks (much like the Sox) are build to pummel left handed pitching so Rodon and Keuchel are going to need to keep the ball down to survive. Saturday’s matchup of Dylan Cease and Gerrit Cole should be a K-Fest, as the two of them combined average 9+ strikeouts per 9 innings with a sub 2.40 ERA. It should be fun, as well as the stiffest test of Cease’s newfound control thus far.

All told, this series is going to be a good measuring stick for the White Sox going forward. The Yankees are probably the best offense they’ve seen this far, and that’s without Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup. Keep the walks to a minimum, keep the ball down, and hopefully keep the bullpen use to a minimum. The starters for the Yankees in games 1 and 3 can be gotten to, especially with Jordan Montgomery being a lefty and Jameson Tallion unable to find the plate. Take 2 of 3 here and then come home to face the Cardinals on Monday.

 

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

Game 1: White Sox 5 – Yankees 4

Game 2: White Sox 10 – Yankees 2

Game 3: White Sox 4 – Yankees 8

Game 4: White Sox 3 – Yankees 10

 

 

This series against the Yankees this Father’s Day weekend was the entire season in a microcosm.  You had the dizzying highs of watching Giolito twirl another gem, Eloy bombing 2 HR in a game, or Leury Garcia win an 11 pitch battle against Adam Ottavino to send the game winning home run over the right field fence.  Then you had the terrifying lows of the back 3/5ths of the worst starting rotation in the major leagues being unable to find the strike zone, to Ricky Renteria’s mystifying lineup decisions to getting a taste of .500 and having it snatched right back from you.  There have been plenty of times in the past I’ve been frustrated with the White Sox front office, but their insistence on filling the rotation with trash heap rejects might be the worst it’s ever been.

To the bullets

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

 

– Watching Leury Garcia and Tim Anderson take game one by the nuts and drag it over to the White Sox side of the win column was a thing of beauty.  Timmy went down and popped a pitch that he had no business getting to and put it over the center field fence to tie the game when Nova tried his best to gift wrap it to NY.  Then watching Leury go down 0-2 to Adam Ottavino (who is no joke in the reliever department) and fight off 8 more pitches before he finally got one he could do something with was just awesome to behold.  I see Leury as a Ben Zobrist type of player where he will be in the field every game, just not in the same position.  Fangraphs has him at a 2.6 defensive WAR which is highest on the whole damn team by more  than a full point (McCann is next at 1.2).  For that price, he’s well worth the roster spot.

– Eloy is blazing hot right now, as he now sits with 11 home runs.  That doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider the fact that he’s hit 8 of those 11 since May 20th that picture becomes a little clearer.  On top of that, he’s seeing the ball better in the box and laying off more and more breaking pitches out of the zone.  His K rate is still kinda high, but if he’s averaging one tater every three games I’ll take it.  Plus the kid is hilariously awkward on TV:

– Lucas Giolito wasn’t at his sharpest in this game, but he certainly did enough to keep the Yankee bats at bay until the Sox could respond to the Luke Voit solo shot he gave up in the first.  He walked 4 on the night, which is the most he’s had since the last time he faced the Yankees back in April.  The fact that you’d pitch a little more carefully to this team speaks more to the heavy bats of the Yankees (Now even heavier with the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion from the Mariners) than to a lack of control from Gio.

-Kelvin Herrera came in game one and struck out the side in the 8th to set the table for Aaron Bummer’s first save of the year. Apparently Colome was not available after throwing almost 40 pitches in his 5 out save the previous game.  Bummer looked competent in the role, which may be where he ends up if Hahn decides to move Colome for another Tommy John surgery in the making at the trade deadline.

-Reynaldo Lopez really only had one bad inning in his start, but it was enough to do him in.  He’s still not attacking the zone enough, but his underlying talent and promise continue to merit him a start every 5 days.  It’s not like there’s anyone else to take the job from him anyways.

-Yonder Alonso has played 5 games in the month of June and gone 1-15 in that span.  Jon Jay is dead in a ditch somewhere, and Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are not here.  What a bang up free agency season for Rick Hahn (OK fine James McCann has been awesome, but there is not a single person out there who thought he was going to be anything other than 1 game a week).

– O-Driss went from being a very small, novelty pumpkin to a gigantic first prize in a county fair one with his start on Sunday.  Happy Fathers Day to all those Sox Dads out there who had to watch that steaming pile of shit that he shoveled out there.  I know the Yankees fans appreciated it.

– Next up are the 2 games up in Wrigley against the Cubs.  Who’s pumped to try and take back the Crosstown Cup Sponsored By BP Oil and Probably Papa John’s Pizza or Maybe Ankin’s Law Office With Ozzie Guillen?

-Sisyphus White Sox meme idea courtesy of @TheBennettK

 

 

Baseball

  VS  

Records:  Yankees 41-25  White Sox:  32-34

Gametimes: Thurs/Fri/Sat 7:10pm.  Sunday: 1:10

TV: NBCSN

The Evil Empire: PinstripeAlley

Probable Starters:

Thursday:  JA Happ vs Ivan Nova

Friday:  CC Sabathia vs Lucas Giolito

Saturday: TBD vs Reynaldo Lopez

Sunday: Masahiro Tanaka vs Odrisamer Despaigne

PROBABLE LINEUPS

YANKEES

1. DJ LeMahieu (2B)

2. Aaron Hicks (CF)

3. Luke Voit (DH)

4. Gary Sanchez (C)

5. Didi Gregorius (SS)

6. Clint Frazier (RF)

7. Kendrys Morales (1B)

8. Gio Urshela (3B)

9. Brett Gardner (LF)

 

SOX

1.  Leury Garcia (CF)

2. Tim Anderson (SS)

3. Jose Abreu (1B)

4. James McCann (C)

5. Eloy Jimenez (LF)

6. Yonder Alonso (DH) (SIGH)

7. Jose Rondon (3B)

8. Yolmer Sanchez (2B)

9. Ryan Cordell (RF)

 

The Evil Empire comes to town for a 4 game set this weekend, with the Yankees splitting a double header against their crosstown counterparts the Mets this past Tuesday, with them banging out 16 runs between the two games.  The Yankees haven’t had as much luck with the win column in June, constantly flip flopping with the Rays for first place in the division.  That hasn’t stopped them from hitting the shit out of the ball during that span, however.

This is a different Yankees team than the one that visited back in April.  While Giancarlo “Mike” Stanton and Aaron Judge are still on the IL along with Luis Severino the rest of the team has mostly gotten healthier.  The replacements for the ones that haven’t continue to hit at a prodigious pace, with DJ Lethal LeMahieu leading the way with his .316 average and 47 RBIs.  Doughboy Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez are pummeling the ball right now, with a combined 37 home runs between the two of them.  With the return of Didi Gregorious to the lineup after Tommy John surgery there aren’t too many weak spots in the lineup as it stands right now other than Brett Gardner, and he’ll get punted to the bench when Stanton comes back in the next week or two.

As far as their pitching staff goes, this unit is currently anchored down by Masa Tanaka who currently has an ERA that sits in the mid 3’s.  James Paxton had strung together a few solid starts in a row before the wheels came off against the Mets on Tuesday.  He didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning while giving up 6 runs.  He got booed off the mound by the New York “faithful”, and may have his turn in the rotation skipped as a result.  Personal favorite CC Sabathia is also still here, the retirement train still chugging along with a 3.66 ERA.  JA Happ is still struggling to string together decent starts, and he stands as the Sox best chance to pull out an easy win this weekend.

As for the Pale Hose, after their split with the Nationals earlier this week they still sit 2 games under .500, with their odds of getting past that not looking great.  With both Lopez and Nova on tap this weekend, they’re going to need to have better control than they’ve shown of late if they want to see the 5th inning, Nova in particular.  Giolito gets his sternest test to date against this lineup of mashers and it will be interesting to see how he responds.  O-driss gets his second start in a Sox jersey, and if he can replicate what he did against the Nats on Monday night, I’ll be shocked.

 

This could be ugly…

Baseball

Just gonna get this out of the way right at the front.  I like CC Sabathia, always have.  When he came up with the Indians back in 2001, I loved the way he pitched.  He just didn’t give a shit.  Walked out to the mound with his jersey 12% tucked in, hat askew, and just threw smoke.  This was back when the Sox teams were nothing to sneeze at, too.  Frank Thomas, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome.  It didn’t matter who was up there, he just toed the rubber and THREW.  Much like Johan Santana with the Twins back then, you couldn’t help be impressed.  Those opening years his ERA was always hovering right around 4ish, but you never seemed to notice because the Indians rosters back then were hilariously loaded.  Shit, Cliff Lee had a 5.53 ERA in 2004 and STILL won 14 games.  CC was different, however.  You could always just see that this dude was destined for something greater than the Mistake By The Lake.

As his career moved on, this became clear.  The last 3 years in Cleveland you could see the switch flip.  He became a pure workhorse, winning 48 games between 2006-08, and going the distance in 20(!!!) of them.  His ERA went down almost a full point by the time he was traded to the Brewers at the deadline in 2008, and he tried his damnedest to drag Milwaukee to the promised land (nope).  After that, it was time for him to get paid, and that’s exactly what happened.  The Evil Empire signed him to a 7 year deal worth $161 million, the largest ever given to a pitcher at the time.  He responded by winning 19 games that season with a 3.30 ERA and helped the Yank to their first World Series trophy in almost a decade.

Usually when a player, especially a pitcher, signs a wacky deal like the one CC signed, the odds of him finishing that contract with the same team are pretty damn low.  Not only did Sabathia finish that contract, but signed two extensions after it.  During the 2013-15 seasons, injuries began to plague the big man.  This really isn’t a surprise when you look at the innings he pitched up until this point.  He battled through them and came back healthy in 2017, in which he had something of a renaissance.  He started 26 games that year, racked up 14 wins and 150 innings.  The Yankees believed (rightly so) that proper management of his innings, combined with the introduction of a cutter to his repertoire after years of a mostly fastball/slider 1-2 punch would extend his shelf life. It worked, as the now 39 year old CC is one of only 7 other pitchers to ever win 100 games with two different teams.  He missed some time at the beginning of this season, mostly because doctors were putting a stent into his heart, but he still made it back in time to beat the Sox in April.

As his career winds down to a close, all you have to do is  look at his career statistics and you’ll see a six time all star, and a first ballot hall of famer.  He’s won 248 games and counting, struck out over 3,000 batters in 3450 innings, and won the AL Cy Young in 2007.  He won a world series in 2009, and been nothing but classy his entire career.  There’s really nothing else for him to do, except retire on his own terms, which I have the utmost respect for him doing.  Despite him playing exclusively for teams that I despise, I’ll truly miss seeing him pitch.  Just not when he was pitching against the Sox.

Baseball

When I volunteered to write my first ever Sox recap for FFUD, I assumed the title would be something along the lines of: “Sox Get Nuked From Orbit By Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez,” and not what I actually wrote above.  Granted, the Yankees were almost hilariously undermanned for this series but by crackey I’m taking it.  The series itself ran the gamut of major Sox storylines this season, from Moncada’s continued elevation of the ball to Eloy finally smoking two out of the park, to Rodon finding the placement of his slider.  It wasn’t a perfect series win by any means, but at this point we can’t be too picky.

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

-Firstly, we get to talk about ELOY!  Not only did he finally mash his first tater of the season to dead center off a 92 mph rising fastball from JA Happ, but then he followed it up with a towering blast to left center field that was estimated at 445 feet.  Total for the series he went 3-9, bringing his average up to .288 for the season.  Also important were the two professional-ass walks he took in the rubber match which helped Tim Anderson rack up a bunch of RBIs when he hit his series clinching granny today.

-Yoan Moncada continues to just do work at the plate, going 4-11 with a couple of runs and RBIs.  More importantly, he only struck out once the entire series bringing his K-rate down to 24%. He’s seeing more pitches so far, and the eye test continues to be very positive.  Tim Anderson didn’t have many hits this series, but he made one of them count, taking an 0-1 cutter off Masa Tanaka opposite field for his first career grand slam.  He’s now batting a cool .429 this season with an obscene 1.093 OPS.  This is clearly sustainable throughout an entire season, and Tim should begin clearing space on his mantle for his first ever hitting title.

-While I expected this team to run more, I did not expect to be typing the words “James McCann stole a base,” which he did.  Also, professional speed demon Jose Abreu managed to swipe two bags this Sunday on Kyle Higashioka, who now must be treated for PTSD after allowing five Sox stolen bases today.

-Carlos Rodon started shaky today, but pulled a full Verlander by getting better and better each inning he was out there.  By the 5th and 6th innings he had complete feel for his slider, and was placing it on the outside 1/8th of the plate at will.  The fact that it took him until the 5th and 6th inning to get that feel is concerning, but I’ll take it for the time being.

-Ivan Nova deserved a better fate than what he got Saturday after Yolmer continued his shaky play at the cornerstone.  He booted a tailor made double play in the 7th inning that would’ve allowed Nova to escape the inning with no earned runs and a no-decision.  Instead he got the loss and the Sox were flummoxed by a returning CC Sabathia.  Such is baseball.

-Lucas Giolito was back to his old tricks again in the first game, walking 4 in 5 innings while somehow managing to throw 100+ pitches, only 62 of which were for strikes.  Granted the weather looked miserable from my seat at the bar in Vegas, drinking some cocktail made out of gin and smoke, but if he’s going to have a place in the rebuild going forward then its time for him to prove it by looking more like the version we saw in his start against the Royals.

-Next up brings our old friends the Royals back into town, where Ervin Santana will look to bring his ERA below 10. Onwards!

 

-On a side note, I’d like to thank Sam for letting me dip my toe into the Sports Blogging pool.  I’ve been following his stuff since he sold programs outside the UC ages ago and I’m stoked to be adding whatever I can to this awesome site here.  Cheers!

Baseball

 vs.

RECORDS:  White Sox 3-8, Yankees 5-7

GAMETIMES: Friday, 6:05, Saturday 12:05, Sunday, 12:05

TV: WGN Friday, NBCSN Chicago Saturday and Sunday

EVEN THE BLOGGERS ARE INJURED: Pinstripe Alley

PROBABLE STARTERS

Lucas Giolito vs. J.A. Happ

Ivan Nova vs. CC Sabathia

Carlos Rodon vs. Domingo German

Probable White Sox Lineup

1. Leury Garcia (S) RF

2. Tim Anderson (R) SS

3. Jose Abreu (R) 1B/DH

4. Welington Castillo (R) C

5. Yoan Moncada (S) 3B

6. Eloy Jimenez (R) LF

7. Yonder Alonso (L) DH/1B

8. Jose Rondon (R) 2B

9. Adam Engel (R) CF

Probable Yankees Lineup

1. Brett Gardner (L) CF

2. Aaron Judge (R) RF

3. Luke Voit (R) 1B

4. Gary Sanchez (R) DH

5. Gleyber Torres (R) SS

6. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B

7. Clint Frazier (R) LF

8. Gio Urshela (L) 3B

9. Austin Romine (R) C

If ever there was such an indictment on what a nightmare of an offseason the White Sox had, even outside of the most obvious of fuck ups that I’d rather just not think about anymore but am constantly forced to, it’s the fact that even with half of their ideal starting lineup on the mend, the  Yankees lineup looks better overall than their own. Just since the season started, the Yankees have placed Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, and Troy Tulowitzki on the IL, and that was in addition to Didi Gregorious and Aaron Hicks who both started the year there. Even if you don’t count the remnants of Tulo as an ideal starter for the Yankees, that’s still four guys who would be everyday players for them when healthy who are, instead, not healthy.

And yet I look up and down that Yankees lineup and find plenty of room for jealousy, primarily for the fact that they don’t have to watch Adam Engel take at-bats and instead have a real hitter playing in CF, even if Brett Gardner hasn’t been a major threat since I was in college. I’ll also take what Gary Sanchez brings to the table at DH over the Daniel Palka Experience everyday of the week. And of course a superstar in Aaron Judge would be fine as well, strikeouts and all.

On top of the Yankees injuries in the lineup, their arms have been bitten by the injury bug as well. Luis Severino looked like he was on the ascent to become one of the best in the game back in 2017, but 2018 wasn’t quite as kind (he was still good, but didn’t have ace level stuff again) and after he started 2019 on the IL, he suffered a setback earlier this week that shut him down for another six weeks. Along with him, bullpen mercenary Dellin Betances found his way to the IL before the season officially started and he isn’t expected back until the end of the month at the earliest. Then there is CC Sabathia, who has been forced to sit out thus far but will make his season debut on Saturday.

So if you’re keeping count, that’s eight players who figured to play either a major role or a priority backup role for this team that have been hurt, and yet the Yankees find themselves in a decent position, still just two games below .500 and in second place in the AL East, thanks in large part to the righteous embarrassment that the Red Sox have started the season with. If they can take care of business against the Sox this weekend, they could be in a really good spot early on despite all the misfortune.

For the Sox, the key to this weekend is going to be two-fold. Primarily, they need Lucas Giolito to be the version of himself that pitched in their third game against the Royals (and early on against the Mariners) and not the 2018 version that started to creep out just a bit in his last start. While I still wouldn’t call what he did against Seattle “bad,” the lack of fastball command has to be considered concerning at the very least. His curveball has been nasty, so if he can just locate the damn fastball and keep it around 93 MPH, that one-two combo is probably enough for him to start on his path toward being a true major league starter.

Secondarily, they’re going to need the talent to overcome this asinine experiment that is Rick Renteria‘s left-handed pitcher lineup. I understand the desire to play the matchups, and that inclination is the correct one, but any time that goal sees you bat Yoan Monada fifth in your lineup and Welington Castillo CLEANUP (not a typo, that has really been happening in 2019), you need to re-evaluate how you’re going about this. Moncada did struggle a bit against lefties last year, but hitting right handed is his natural spot, and the lack of pop he had from that side of the plate in 2018 was basically an anomaly that even he couldn’t figure out.

Also, since this season doesn’t matter for anyone but him and like three other guys, he needs to get the maximum number of AB’s possible. Especially given the tear he’s on to start the year, he needs to be second or third in the order every day. And move Eloy up too, because he’s one of the guys for whom this season matters, and the maximum AB’s sentiment applies to him as well. If you slid Castillo down to 6 and went Monada-Abreu-Eloy in your 3-4-5 holes, is this lineup really missing a beat? Probably not.

Instead, we will watch this lineup get dominated by J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia because there are only two real hitters in the top four batting spots, and I can already picture one of these games ending with the Sox down by one, Anderson on second base and Moncada in the on deck circle. Because that’s the White Sox’ luck in 2019.