Baseball

Game 1 Box Score: Blue Jays 2, White Sox 4

Game 2 Box Score: Blue Jays 10, White Sox 2

Game 3 Box Score: Blue Jays 1, White Sox 4

Game 4 Box Score: Blue Jays 5, White Sox 2

Before this series got going on Thursday, I wrote in the preview that the Sox had a near-golden opportunity to get themselves within striking distance of .500. When I wrote those words, I severely discounted the White Sox inherent and insatiable ability to completely screw up any golden opportunity put before them, like perhaps the golden opportunity to sign a 26-year old superstar free agent in his prime to accelerate a rebuild. Good thing that one hasn’t happened, right? Haha….. NO YOU’RE STILL CRYING ABOUT IT. Whatever let’s do this.

THE BULLETS

– Much to my own personal surprise, Dylan Covey was not complete garbage in his Thursday start. Would’ve liked to see a bit more swing-and-miss generation from him, but in reality I don’t think he’s any kind of starter long term unless you’re in a bad pinch, which the Sox rotation currently is. But in the end he came just one out shy of a quality start and kept the Sox in it for them to eventually pull off some bullshit in the 8th and win. Thanks, I guess.

– Speaking of that bullshit, although it worked out, I could not hate the decision to have Ryan Cordell bunt Yolmer Sanchez home anymore. Cordell was 2-for-3 in the game and at the moment it happened was hitting .253 with a .754 OPS. There was less than two outs. And sure, he’s your 9-hole hitter, and he might not be anything important after this year, but if I told you that any hitter had those stats and you told me you’d have him try the safety squeeze in a situation like that, I’d punt you between the legs. It worked out and they won, but that doens’t mean I have to be happy about it, dammit.

– Onto Friday, for which I have very little to say other than this – I am tired of Ivan Nova starts. Similarly, I am tired during Ivan Nova starts, because the motherfucker works so slow he is literally putting me to sleep. Also, shoutout to Leury Garcia for Canseco-ing a dinger to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

– Saturday was shortened by rain, but that didn’t take anything away from another good outing by Lucas Giolito. It wasn’t quite as dominant as his outing against the Jays last Sunday had been, but it was still strong, and he went superhuman in the fifth inning, throwing 11 pitches, all of them strikes, and striking out the side to get the game official. He also got credit for a complete game since he threw all five in a five inning game, which was the first Sox complete game since Chris Sale still wore white rather than red. At first I thought that Gio getting a complete game was a Twitter Joke, but then I got fantasy baseball points for it, so thanks, Gio! I’m keeping you around

– Today was a frustrating loss to take, because Reynaldo Lopez turned in a sold start himself and got no help in the process. He allowed one run over six innings, logging yet another quality start, but was left without a decision. That was thanks to Kelvin Herrera and Jace Fry serving up a pair of 2-run shots in the 8th and 9th innings, respectively. Herrera’s surrendered dinger was to Vlad Jr., who hit the ball so far that it just landed in my backyard north of Indianapolis. I’m not even positive the stadium faces this way, I’m just assuming he hit it all the way around the earth.

– Chalk it up as a solid weekend for Yoan Moncada. He ended up with just 4 hits in 4 games, and did go 0-for-5 with 2 K’s on Thursday, but his hits on Saturday and Sunday were all for extra bases, and he has his season average at .291 with a .882 OPS. I will take it, thank you very much.

Baseball

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RECORDS: Blue Jays 17-25, White Sox 19-22

GAMETIMES: Thursday and Friday 7:10, Saturday and Sunday 1:10

TV: NBCSN+ Thursday, NBCSN Friday and Saturday, WGN Sunday

THE TORANNA BOYS: Still just follow Zubes on Twitter

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Marcus Stroman vs. Dylan Covey

Aaron Sanchez vs. Ivan Nova

TBD vs. Lucas Giolito

Trent Thornton vs. Reynaldo Lopez

PROBABLE BLUE JAYS LINEUP

Freddy Galvis – SS

Vladimir Guererro Jr. – 3B

Justin Smoak – 1B

Rowdy Tellez – DH

Fun Police Randall Grichuk – RF

Brandon Drury – 2B

Teoscar Hernandez – LF

Danny Jansen – C

Jonathan Davis – CF

PROBABLE WHITE SOX LINEUP

Leury Garcia – CF

Yoan Moncada – 3B

Jose Abreu – 1B

Yonder Alonso – DH

James McCann – C

Charlie Tilson – LF

Tim Anderson – SS

Yolmer Sanchez – 2B

Ryan Cordell – RF

 

MLB scheduling has done me no real favors by having these two teams go at it on back-to-back weekends, because Sam appropriately said all the necessary things in last week’s preview, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk rehash some stuff or get a find a few new things to touch on. Since we last left the Jays on Sunday, they had Monday off and then split a two-game interleague set with the Giants out in the Bay. The most important development in that series was pretty obviously Vlad Jr. hitting the first home runs of his career, and doing so in exciting fashion with two in one game. They were both monster bombs, as well.

Vlad uncorking dingers now and potentially getting off the early career shnide is the kind of development that would make this season much more tolerable for Jays fans, in no dissimilar way to the explosions of Moncada, Anderson, Giolito, etc. has been able to make this a much more tolerable, fun, and interesting start for Sox fans. There was never really a doubt that Vlad would hit, hit, and hit, in the bigs, and even the most hyped prospects tend to get off to slow starts. Still, I have to imagine Jays fans were hoping for a bit more from him, just like Sox fans were hoping for a bit more from Eloy, who was in a similar boat in terms of his hit and power tools projecting to MLB. Still, both Jays and Sox fans are gonna have to be patient, and I am sure that most of them have no problems with that either.

Speaking of Eloy, his return to the roster and lineup has a potential to be a positive development for the Sox in this series, as well. He went down to Charlotte for a rehab stint the past two nights, and was pulled in the 6th inning of Wednesday’s game. If he’s healthy and ready to return, there is certainly no sense in leaving him AAA just to rehab – he needs MLB at bats more than anything. So I wouldn’t exactly be surprised if he ended up in the lineup on Thursday, though I am not confident enough in that to list him the probable lineup above.

Giolito getting the Saturday home start after dominating the Jays last Sunday is certainly promising, and having seen him pitch so well in his last few times out, him having one more go at a pretty anemic lineup is more than fine by me. I can understand people having reservations about buying into Gio considering he’s turned in his recent dominance against bad lineups, but don’t forget that last year he was getting hit hard by everyone. And also, good pitchers should dominate bad lineups. I don’t necessarily think Gio is the ace of the future, but he’s the ace right now, and MLB scouts with a lot more baseball knowledge than me used to think he was a future ace, so that talent and potential might still be in him somewhere. I am not gonna complain about him pitching well at all.

If the Sox can take 3-of-4 from this weekend, they’ll be one game shy of .500, and if they can take a sweep somehow, they’ll be one game above .500 on May 19. Just like we all predicted.

Baseball

This is a little more what I expected from this White Sox team: to be competitive against the bottom rung of the AL, and to show a little fight but ultimately get mushed by the top.  This very easily could’ve been a sweep against the light hitting Jays team were it not for 2 bad pitches by Dylan Covey, but boy were those 2 pitches shitty.  The Sox still have a ways to go before I will consider this rebuild on track, but a few more performances like this out of Giolito and I might allow myself to feel hope again.

 

 

YOU GOT A BULLET(S) IN YOUR HEAD

 

-Dylan Covey’s start was…not great.  The problems that plagued him last season (high pitch count, no punchout pitch) were on full display in the first few innings.  He’s a sinkerball pitcher who’s pitches aren’t sinking right now.  They either fly out of the zone, or just sit there belt high, begging to be pummeled into orbit.  That’s exactly what Randal “No Blanket Like A Wet Blanket” Grichuk did in the 1st inning Friday night.  Covey couldn’t get past strike 2 on anyone, and Grichuk made him pay.  Teoscar Hernandez did the same thing the following inning, and that was about it.  If Covey is going to be filling in for Carlos Rodon’s shredded elbow until Sox management decides Dylan Cease has dominated AAA enough to make an appearance at the big league level, then he’s gonna have to figure out how to get that sinker down, otherwise I’m just gonna skip each of his starts.  There’s only so much beer in my fridge, and it can’t handle Covey pitching every five days.

 

-Ivan Nova’s start, however, was pleasant enough.  Basically a repeat of his start against Cleveland, Nova worked both sides of the plate effectively keeping the light hitting Toronto team off balance.  The offense, perhaps worried that he’d melt down like a popsicle in a toddler’s hand, banged out 9 runs of support for him.  Quality starts are nice, more please.

 

-Speaking of the offense, James McCann is now officially a thing.  He went 6 for 9 (nice) in the series, and gunned down Vladdy Jr’s attempted larceny on Saturday.  It actually made me swear out loud when a Danny Jansen foul nailed him right in the McCannonballs (Hat tip to @WriteSox for that one).  It’s getting to the point now where there’s really no excuses to play Wellington Castillo much anymore, not that it’ll stop Renteria from doing so.

 

-Lucas Giolito is making a very strong case to be a large part of this rebuild.  His changeup looks like a completely new pitch, and it’s been there for him even when the fastball hasn’t.  Case in point the first 2 innings today where he couldn’t spot the fastball at all, but the change was still there to get him the strike when he needed it.  His FIP and BABIP are where you’d want them to be (3.45 and .301), so there’s no reason to believe that he can’t keep this up.  That being said, I’d like to see him take another turn at the Red Sox, or the Cubs for that matter as a true test of his stuff.  I’m very optimistic, however.

 

-Yonder Alonso hit a dinger, but he still sucks.

 

-Tim Anderson ALSO smoked a dinger to center field, but it did not lead to a bolt of lightning crashing through the TavaresDome and striking down Randal “Mayonnaise” Grichuk like I had hoped.  Next time.

 

Two games against the Tribe this week, which might also feature the return of ELOY to the lineup.  That would be nice, as I like Charlie Tilson as a 4th outfielder, but his 32 MPH exit velocity is not exactly MLB material.

 

 

Everything Else

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RECORDS: White Sox 16-20   Blue Jays 15-22

GAMETIMES: Friday 6:07, Saturday 2:07, Sunday 12:07

TV: WGN Friday and Sundy, NBCSN Saturday

GET A T.O. BABY: Just follow Zubes on Twitter

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Dylan Covey vs. Daniel Hudson

Ivan Nova vs. Marcus Stroman

Lucas Giolito vs. Aaron Sanchez

PROBABLE SOX LINEUP

Leury Garcia – 2B

Yoan Moncada – 3B

Jose Abreu – DH

Yonder Alonso – 1B

Welington Castillo – C

Nicky Delmonico – LF

Tim Anderson – SS

Charlie Tilson – CF

Ryan Cordell – RF

PROBABLY JAYS LINEUP

Eric Sogard – 2B

Freddy Galvis – SS

Randal Grichuk – CF

Justin Smoak – 1B

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – 3B

Rowdy Tellez – DH

Billy McKinney – RF

Teoscar Hernandez – LF

Danny Jansen – C

 

After getting four games against a Cleveland lineup that couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a banjo, the Sox will spend the weekend seeing another banj0-less offense in the Toronto Blue Jays. Hard to believe it was only three seasons ago that the Jays were piling up back-to-back ALCS appearances, as it feels like a million. But that’s the way it goes when you’re in a division with superpowers, so the Jays have chucked all that and are waiting on the next batch of children to rise and take them back where they were.

One is already here, you may have heard about it. Vlad Guerrero Jr. was called up a couple weeks ago, but has yet to fire. He’s walking enough, but striking out over a quarter of the time, and just can’t seem to get anything going. He’s not making any loud contact at all yet, but it’s only a matter of time. It’s not his fault the Jays need him to be what was promised to score, because the rest of this lineup is a wasteland. They’re second to last in run, and last in on-base percentage and weighted on-base percentage. The only hitter in the lineup having an above-average season is Justin Smoak.

Any Cubs fan remembers that Randal Grichuk always looks like he’s being attacked by bees, whether in the field or at the plate. The rest of these jokers are merely place-holders until the likes of Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio are ready. Boy, the Jays sure do believe in legacy, huh?

The rotation isn’t much better. Marcus Stroman has returned to being plus, perhaps in fear of angering his beefcake dad. Matt Shoemaker was off to a decent enough start but then his knee went kablooey and he’s done for the year. Aaron Sanchez was a down-ballot Cy Young contender three years ago, but a combo of injuries and an inability to know where the baseball is going has neutered him. When you’re throwing Clay Buchholz and Daniel Hudson out there, you know there are issues. But again, these are placeholders. Most of the Jays top prospects are arms, with Sean Reid-Foley already making an appearance and a couple others on the cusp for either later in the year or next. This is a team meant to be replaced.

The pen has been decent enough, with not a lot to work with. Ken Giles has been a good in the closer’s role. Sam Gaviglio, whatever that is, has been close to dominant by walking no one. But again, this isn’t a pen meant to win a lot of games, just meant to take the innings because someone has to.

For the Sox, Dylan Covey/Arrieta will make his second start, and Giolito should tear through this Cottonelle lineup. But a lot of things “should” happen.