Baseball

BOX SCORES

White Sox 4 – Indians 7

White Sox 3 – Indians 5

White Sox 2 – Indians 3

White Sox 4 – Indians 5

 

That…was not good. In a series that bare minimum needed to result in a split for the Sox to maintain their hold on top of the AL Central standings, instead saw Cleveland return the favor from the end of the season last year when the Sox swept them and crushed the Tribe’s playoff hopes. The Sox could very easily have won every game this series, and yet somehow managed to find ways to lose each one in increasingly frustrating ways. All of this culminating in Rick Renteria’s mystifying decision to throw Carlos Rodon to the wolves in the bottom of the 7th last night. Let’s put a bow on this box full of shit before we move on to the last series of the regular season, shall we?

 

To the bullets:

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

-Let’s get this out of the way to start: Renteria fucked up something pretty huge last night. Taking a returning Carlos Rodon (who hadn’t faced live hitting against legit major leaguers in over 2 months) and having him come it to try and get one out with the bases loaded in a game the Sox absolutely needed to have when he had Marshall, Bummer, Heuer and Foster available to him is inexcusable. The results were completely predictable, and I’m sincerely hoping this hasn’t broken Rodon’s brain. Ricky Renteria takes way too much shit normally from this fanbase and I think he actually does a pretty good job all things considered, but this dump truck full of criticism completely deserves to run him over. Even Frank Thomas in the post-game show was flabbergasted, and was more than happy to let his feelings be known. Not something you see every day.

-On the plus side, Rodon’s velocity was back, hitting the upper 90s with his fastball. Granted he was clearly overthrowing it, and 97 without movement isn’t gonna help anyone but the guy in the batter’s box but it’s the one small positive out of last night’s mess.

-Eloy came up lame after his double in the 7th, which was later revealed to be “foot soreness” (whatever that is). Fingers crossed it’s nothing that keeps him out too long as the Sox are about out of time.

-The Sox offense actually showed signs of life the last two games, which is a welcome sight after the previous 5. A lineup like this that doesn’t take or see many pitches is always going to be prone to slumps, so hopefully this is them coming out the other side of it.

-Luis Robert finally got a day off yesterday, and with 2 starts against left handed pitchers on tap this weekend I fully expect him to shake off his slump. Or not.

-Watching Yoan Moncada breathing heavily on the Sox bench for 10 minutes after his triple and needed to be fanned by Ricky Renteria is terrifying to see. COVID continues to be not something to fuck around with 8 months later and yet people are still fucking stupid about it.

-The Sox are now a game behind the Twins for the lead in the AL Central. 3 for us against the Cubs and 3 for them against the Reds. It’s not over yet, which brings us to:

 

Series Preview: Cubs at White Sox – Yes, It Actually Matters

VS

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

Game 1: Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.22 ERA) vs. Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52 ERA)

Game 2: Jon Lester (3-2, 4.40 ERA) vs. Dane Dunning (2-0, 3.19 ERA)

Game 3: TBD vs. Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 4.68 ERA)

Q&A With The Legendary Sam Fels

 

I really, really, REALLY was hoping this series wasn’t going to matter for either team and they could just play out the series with an eye on resting their players for the post season. The Baseball Gods have had other plans, however, so here we are. A series that actually matters for BOTH teams, despite them having clinched a postseason birth.

We all know the situation the Sox find themselves in, but the Cubs have somehow not managed to secure the NL Central title with the Cardinals 2.5 games behind them. The North Siders come into the series in similar straits as the Sox, losers of their last 3 and unable to find their offense without the aid of a GPS, having only scored 13 runs in their last 7 games.

The hottest hitter the Cubs have right now (and I say this with no measure of irony) is Jason Heyward, he of the .283 average and 6 home runs. The offense really just hasn’t gotten going on the North Side, and they currently rank 13th out of 15 teams in the NL for standard batting stats ahead of only the Reds and Pirates (who just took 3 of 4 from them).

On the pitching side, the Sox will face the rejuvenated Cy Young candidate Yu Darvish on Friday night. Darvish, despite having a few less than stellar (merely pretty good) outings in his last 3 still has to at least be in the conversation for the award that we all know is going to Trevor Bauer. The last time the Sox faced Darvish he held them in check, only allowing one dinger to Jose Abreu (he does that to people) and striking out 10.

Saturday is a different story, with Jon Lester making what is most likely to be his final regular season start in a Cubs uniform. Last time out the Sox torched him for 8 runs, 4 of which came from the long ball. More of this would be welcome this weekend.

The Cubs don’t have a starter listed for the finale this weekend, but if they lose the first two to the Sox and the Cards win both of theirs I would expect to see Kyle Hendricks on short rest. If that’s not the case I would think it would be Adbert Alzolay and Jose Quintana eating innings for game 3.

We know what this means for the Sox. A good weekend could be the difference between facing the Yankees in the first round and the Indians. Despite the fact that the Tribe just managed to steal 4 games in a row against them, I know I’d rather see them than Garrett Cole and that Death Star of an offense the Yankees field every game. Just get it done.

 

Let’s Go Sox

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES:

Game 1: White Sox 9 – Marlins 1

Game 2: White Sox 1 – Marlins 5

Game 3: White Sox 0 – Marlins 2

 

This series loss, possibly more than any other series loss this entire season really fucking grinds my gears.  It’s a prime example why this front office, and to a lesser extent Rick Renteria, are taking what could be a very fun Sox team and grinding it into the dust.  On top of that, you’ve got Steve Stone on Twitter telling us we should all just be happy and enjoy the fact that semi-professional baseball is being played on the South Side.  We should just be happy that instead of bringing up prospects that could potentially benefit from major league experience we get castoffs like AJ Reed.  Instead of signing players in the offseason that could potentially make this product emminently more watchable, we should be happy we get to watch Jon Jay and Yonder Alonso.  I understand that Eloy and Tim are hurt, but REAL MLB teams are able to replace guys like that with players that can at least keep the team afloat.  Instead we get more of the Reed/Engel/Castillo Triangle Of Death.  To quote Lou Brown from Major League, “I’m sick of this nickel and dime shit!”

 

FUCKING BULLETS

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

-On the plus side, both Ivan Nova and Reynaldo Lopez continue their quest to redefine their seasons.  Lopez in particular has gone from “Nickleback Greatest Hits Album” down to about “Mumford And Sons Unreleased Tracks” in terms of quality (Hey, it’s MY sliding scale).  Granted, their 2 performances were against one of the more pathetic starting lineups in the league, but that’s what big league pitching is supposed to do.  Lopez didn’t benefit as much as Zac Gallen did from HP Umpire Ryan Additon’s expanded strike zone, and did most of his work up in the zone where his fastball can do the most damage.  Nova mildly impressed me in going the distance Monday night, but still only threw about 63% of his 112 pitches for strikes.

-Dylan Covey is not a starting pitcher, and trying a fucking 6 man rotation to keep hammering this square-assed peg into the round hole is only going to make his ERA worse.  He very clearly could be the beneficiary of an opener, but Renteria and Hahn are being insanely stubborn about this, and I just don’t fucking get it.

-Jose Abreu looks like he’s pressing right now, and if I were him and saw the collection of stiffs my coach packed around me in the lineup I’d be pressing too.  Every time I see AJ Reed step in the batters box I just think he’s one bad haircut away from becoming Guy Fieri Redux.  Except the real Fieri would have a better chance of taking a slider to Flavortown, if you know what I mean.

-Renteria’s lineup construction is approaching 4D chess levels of confusion.  Tuesday night the Marlins started Caleb Smith, who is far and away their best starter and also left handed.  I know that McCann needs a break now and again, but instead of giving it to him tonight, against Gallen the righty, he did it against Smith.  Who did he start instead of McCann at DH?  Guy Fieri Jr, who’s a fucking lefty.  Who’s splits against lefties are trash.  Who he himself is pretty much trash, since that’s where the Astros put him.

-Yoan Moncada is still batting .300 with an .882 OPS at the end of July.  Hell Yeah.  (He still shouldn’t be batting cleanup, but whatever)

-I’m not totally sold on Ryan Goins right now, but I’d rather watch him than Jose Rondon.  He’s not gonna make me forget that Tim Anderson left on his rehab stint today and should be back in a week.  Yay!

-That’s about all I wanna say about this shitty series.  It’s 2:30 in the morning and I still wanna punch my computer screen.  The Twins are next, and if the lineup looks anything like it did Tuesday and Wednesday, get ready for a long fucking weekend.