Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Angels 3 – White Sox 9

Game 2: Angels 3 – White Sox 2

Game 3: Angels 9 – White Sox 3

 

 

Not great.

For what seems like the millionth time this season, the Sox came out swinging in the first game in the series and pummeled their opponent then decided that was enough and put the bats away for the next two. What makes it even worse is the fact that Dallas Keuchel actually had his first quality start since what seems like the beginning of the pandemic and the Sox wasted it away because they couldn’t figure out a pitcher named Junk. Seriously.

The lineups that LaRussa has been throwing out there each series are understandable when you have half of your starters who at some point or another have been on the IL this year for an extended period, but at some point they’re gonna have to be out there every day to build some rhythm heading into the postseaon. There are some issues here that don’t bode well for an extended playoff run, and if they don’t get addressed they may very well be playing golf far sooner than they should be.

Also Joe Maddon is a fucking putz, get the fuck outta here with your “wahhh wahhh they hit Shohei” after the Sox were plunked like 12 times in the series. Mike Wright can’t find the current zip code that he’s in, much less a strike zone. Get fucked.

 

 

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

GAME 1

-Ladies and gentlemen, The Gavin Sheets Game. 3 for 4 with a dinger, a double and 4 RBI on the night, Sheets was impervious to everything the Angels pitching staff threw at him. Where Sheets lands in the field going forward is open to interpretation, but he’s earned his place on the roster going forward.

-Lucas Giolito wasn’t exactly dominant in his first return from the IL, giving up two HR and walking two in 4 innings, but he did strike out 8 so that’s pretty excellent. The final line could’ve been a little worse, but Eloy of all people robbed David Fletcher (of all people) of a dinger in the 3rd inning. Eloy was OK after ponging off the LF wall, but sweet Jesus I wish he’d stop doing that.

-Luis Robert fucking murderized a ball in the bottom of the 2nd, and he’s now slashing .376/.409/1.033 in the last 30 games. As of right now he’s not being spoken of in the same category as other game changers like Mike Trout and Ronald Acuña Jr, but it’s only a matter of time.

-Jose Abreu didn’t have any hits on the night but he took 3 walks, which I think is even better. Abreu working counts to get into a position where pitchers have to throw him fastballs is only going to result in him adding to his RBI total.

-Mike Wright Jr pitched an inning and walked 3 people. He got out of the inning unscathed somehow, but I don’t know why they keep running him out there. No mas.

-Sox pitchers kept Shohei Ohtani off the board and actually K’ed him 3 times on the night. He’s struggled since the all star break, but the potential for damage there is always lurking.

GAME 2

-Dallas Keuchel made it through 6 innings! Granted he walked 5 dudes, but let’s just take the 6 innings and 2 earned runs at face value and hope it’s a performance that he can build off of.

-Anytime Caesar Hernandez wants to justify his continued playing time on this team that would be fine with me.

-Yoan Moncada smoked a homer off of some junk from Junk. That’s the tweet.

-Michael Kopech deserved a better fate today, but that’s what happens when you strand a jillion people on base.

-Steve Cishek striking out the side in the 8th shows you the current state of the White Sox offense.

 

GAME 3

 

Time is running out for this team to start looking like they’re going to be dangerous in the playoffs. When the Sox are on their game, there’s not a team in the AL who can run with them, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that type of urgency. If they wait until October to try and turn it on, it’s far too late. The next two series against the Rangers and Tigers should be at LEAST 4 wins out of 6 bare minimum. That’s the bar. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Twins 3 – White Sox 2 (8 Innings)

Game 2: Twins 3 – White Sox 5 (7 Innings)

Game 3: Twins 5 – White Sox 9

Game 4: Twins 7 – White Sox 2

 

Quite the weird and wonky series here, as the Sox and Twins split in every way possible, from the double header to the full 9 inning games. The Sox pitching staff (other than Lance Lynn) was pretty suspect here, with Dallas Keuchel and Dylan Cease not exactly having their best stuff. On the other end of the battery, you have two catchers who if you combined them might equal one Yasmani Grandal (but probably not), highlighting the need to perhaps add another catcher at the deadline for Rick Hahn, especially since catchers and knee injuries aren’t really compatible.

On the offensive side of things, this was a split as well with long periods of inactivity puncuated with a barrage of hits and runs. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada are both scorchingly hot right now, with both of them smashing the ball to all fields. After the 1st game, things cooled considerably for Tim Anderson, with his 16-game hit streak coming to an end Tuesday night.

All told, the Sox gained a half game on the Tribe and kept the stupid Twins right at the bottom of the division where they belong. One would assume this would make Minnesota sellers at the deadline, because they have some quality pieces they can move.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

Game 1

-What a waste of an outing for Lance Lynn here. Other than one mistake in the 6th to Nelson Cruz (which has happened to a LOT of pitchers over the last 15 years), he was pretty dominant, only allowing 6 baserunners in the 7 innings he pitched. Fresh off his new paper from the Sox, Lynn did nothing to imply that Rick Hahn didn’t make an excellent move with the extension. He deserved a better fate, but if you can only manage 1 run in 7 innings it’s gonna be tough for any starter to get the W.

-Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak in the 3rd inning with another oppo dong off the guy from Mortal Kombat with the metal arms. Timmy is hitting to all fields with power right now, and honestly looks like one of the best hitters in baseball, except when he swings 3-0 with a chance to tie the game and popped out in foul territory. Stuff like this is going to happen when you have a free swinger, but overall I wouldn’t change anything about his approach.

-Garrett Crochet didn’t get any help from his defense or the reliever that came after him, ultimately taking the loss after Jake Burger had trouble making a decision on a Josh Donaldson chopper that loaded the bases. LaRussa went to Ryan Burr who got Cruz on a sac fly but then gave up a single to Polanco that scored what ended up being the winning run.

-Jose Abreu tried to drag the Sox back for the tie in the bottom of the 8th with a double that scored Tim Anderson, but was stranded there with a K and a pop out. Fart Noise.

Game 2

-The Reynaldo Lopez Revenge Game never really materialized, but he pitched decent in his return to the big club. He gave up a single to lead off the game, then promptly advanced the runner to 3rd on a pickoff throw that was never within 10 feet of Jose Abreu. One Donaldson sac fly later and he was down 1-0. He later gave up a dinger to Mitch Garver, but other than those 2 mistakes looked serviceable.

-Poor Matt Foster got smoked by a line drive off the bat of Min Kepler, but at least managed to deflect it towards Danny Mendick for the out. He stayed in the game and had another ball hit at him. Not a great night.

-Codi Heuer came in and pitched a solid 6th inning, and Aaron Bummer continued his Jeckyll and Hyde routine by looking infinitely better than his previous outing.

-Jose Berrios only made 3 mistakes on the evening, and those 3 turned out to be all 5 Sox runs. Other than Moncada, Abreu and finally Gavin Sheets, Berrios kept the Sox hitters off balance all night with his sinker while striking out 8. It didn’t matter in the end, as Gavin Sheets did this with a 4-seamer Berrios tried to jam him with:

Game 3

-It was pretty apparent at the start of this one that Dallas Keuchel didn’t have his A game. He labored through 5 innings, only giving up 2 but he had to battle the whole way. Min Kepler took him WAY deep in the 2nd inning after an 8 pitch at bat where Dallas was up on him 0-2, which was the theme of the night. Keuchel had no issue getting ahead of hitters, but was unable to put any of them away. I have no evidence of this, but it feels like him and Seby Zavala weren’t on the same page for most of the night.

-Brian Goodwin saved Keuchel’s bacon in the 5th with a diving catch on a sinking liner hit by Nelson Cruz that would’ve scored at least one run and quite possibly two. I once again am forced to applaud Rick Hahn for one hell of a pickup in B-Good. He also singled in Jose to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning that wouldn’t last.

-Jose Abreu is a goddam beast. He finished a single short of the cycle, which in and of itself is kind of mind blowing. He also lifted this absolute moonshot in the bottom of the 8th to put the game out of reach permanently for the Twins:

https://twitter.com/whitesox/status/1417688497037643777?s=20

-Michael Kopech pitched a decent 2 innings, really only giving up one mistake to (who else) Josh Donaldson, who smoked a 3-1 fastball about 15 rows deep. While Kopech didn’t have his A+ stuff, it was still good enough to get the job done. He probably could’ve gone one more, but TLR decided he wanted some Ryan Burr. The Twins did too, apparently because Donaldson singled on the first pitch he saw, then Polanco got to him again with a 2-run dong to (temporarily) put the Twins on top. The Sox’ options for reliable relievers in the 7th and 8th innings are practically non-existent, so Rick Hahn has quite the job ahead of him in the next few weeks.

-Andrew Vaughn came up big in his pinch hit situation in the bottom of the 8th, scorching a single to left center field that was hit so hard that Adam Engel nearly got drilled at home after he held up for half a breath before dashing from 2nd to home in a thrilling play to tie the game.

-Yoan Moncada is locked in. Beware.

-Billy Hamilton, ladies and gentlemen. After pinch running for Gavin Sheets in the 7th, he came up in the 8th with the go-ahead run on 2nd and 1 out. He didn’t waste any time, lining a single down the 3rd base line past a diving Donaldson to score Zack Collins from 2nd. You just gotta love how this guy plays the game.

Game 4

-While his stat line doesn’t look too awful, Dylan Cease didn’t exactly set the world on fire in this start. He threw way too many pitches again, and when he missed his spots it was right in the middle of the zone (see: Kepler, Min).

-Codi Heuer has once again highlighted the need for Rick Hahn to acquire bullpen help at the deadline. The inconsistencies of a very young crew has been exposed over the last few weeks. The high level at which the starters have been pitching covers up a lot of those warts, but when Keuchel and Cease have less than stellar efforts, the pen has been overexposed.

-The Sox hitters didn’t help much either, stranding 14 people on base and generally making Michael Pineda look like a world beater (he’s not). Leury Garcia hasn’t been great in the last 7 games, posting a .174/.321/.304 slash line with 9 strikeouts. The catching crew of Seby Zavala and Zack Collins have sucked out loud as well. Here’s hoping Yasmani has Eloy-like healing abilities.

-Billy Hamilton was a lone bright spot in this game, going 2 for 4 and directly being responsible for the Sox first run. He fired a double down the line, then promptly stole 3rd and was brought in with an Adam Engel grounder that Assbag McGee couldn’t handle by 3rd. Love it.

 

Next up is a weekend series up in the remains of Giannis-Town with some of the most marquee pitching matchups you could possibly hope for:

If that doesn’t get you excited for baseball, you’re clinically dead and I can’t help you. Granted, whenever you get exciting pitching matchups like this, instead of duels, you end up with an offensive explosion so I fully expect 56 total runs this weekend. Either way, should be fun. Take 2 of 3 and get the hell outta there.

Lets Go Sox

Baseball

Since we’re now officially halfway through the regular season (sure does feel like it flew by), I figured it would be a good time to take a quick peek and evaluate how everyone has done so far in the season. I’m only going to include players that are currently in the lineup, and not those who have gone on to live at the IL Farm Upstate.

First up today will be the infielders, tomorrow the OF, starters on Thursday and then the bullpen on Friday. Your standard disclaimer applies here that these are only my (correct) opinions, and not any hard and fast conclusions. Discussion is welcome on twitter, which I’m sure will be completely professional and not at all mean-spirited. Unless otherwise noted, all stats courtesy of Fangraphs Dot Com.

Jose Abreu

.253/.354/.786

9.0% BB Rate / 24.2% K Rate

15 HR / 66 RBI / 45 R

.339 wOBA / 117 wRC+ / 1.2 WAR

On the surface Jose Abreu’s numbers are pretty much in line with what he’s put up in his career, with the exception of his slash line. His walk and strikeout rates are where they should be (with the BB rate actually a career high if this continues), his dinger and RBI totals are on target for career norms and his WAR and wRC+ are right on the money. His average can be explained away by his .294 BABIP as simply bad luck, but what can’t be brushed away is his OPS. Were this to continue through the 2nd half, the .786 mark would be the worst of his career.

The other thing is that for the first time I can ever remember, Jose is failing the eye test. My man is hurt, and whether it’s his knees from trying to carry the team on his back or just a collection of maladies, Jose is feeling the wear and tear maybe more than ever before. The all star break couldn’t have come at a better time for Jose, and Eloy’s pending return even moreso. At this point in his career, what Jose needs is maintenance days off. Andrew Vaughn and Eloy will be able to provide those. With rest, I feel his power numbers will be back to where they typically are for his career.

GRADE: B

Tim Anderson

.309/.345/.770

5.2% BB Rate / 23.6% K Rate

6 HR / 32 RBI / 55 R / 14 SB

.335 wOBA / 114 wRC+ / 2.1 WAR

The first half of the season is what we’ve come to expect from Tim Anderson over the past 2 years. Low walk rate, decent K rate, great contact rate and an excellent batting average. Honestly, Tim looks as good this year as he’s ever been, with the benefit of the difference between his batting average and OBP the highest we’ve ever seen. Tim is seeing the ball well, he’s dangerous on the basepaths, and he’s playing some of the best defense of his career with a UZR rating of 0.6, which would be the highest he’s had since 2016. I have no complaints.

GRADE: A

Yoan Moncada

.272/.401(!)/.390

16.5% BB Rate / 25.1% K Rate

5 HR/ 39 RBI / 38 R

.357 wOBA / 128 wRC+ / 2.8 WAR

One of the more divisive players on the team (because he’s handsome, you see), Yoan Moncada has put up some of his best statistics everywhere this year but his power numbers. With his line drive percentage the highest of his career (30.5%) and his fly ball percentage the lowest it’s ever been (27.9%) the fact that he’s not elevating the ball as much would make his low dinger total seem accurate. With his hard hit rate sitting just a skosh below his career average of 37% (36.9% to be exact), all it would take to bust out in the dinger department would be to elevate the ball a bit more. With the nagging shoulder issue being the likely culprit for his lack of elevation, the sooner that feels better the more likely the barrage is imminent. The shoulder would also explain why his throws across the infield have been much more wild than in the past. It’s something to keep an eye on, but overall not too concerning.

GRADE: B+

Yasmani Grandal

.188/.394/.824

24.4% BB Rate (LOL) / 26% K Rate

14 HR / 48 RBI / 42 R

.365 wOBA / 134 wRC+ / 1.9 WAR / .199 BABIP (Also LOL)

The other divisive player amongst the fanbase is our (currently injured) #1 catcher Yaz. He’s an easy target for people who think that batting average is the end all be all for baseball stats. Looking at everything else however, and he’s actually one of the best hitters on the team behind target #2 of the Meatball Masses, Yoan Moncada. With his hilariously low BABIP and insanely high BB rate, Grandal was due to have a massive market correction to his batting average. Sadly the Sox let him continue to play with a bum calf muscle, which when tight can tug on the tendons of the knee and most likely lead to one of them shredding. With a 4-6 week timeframe for his return, I decided to keep him on the list. Here’s hoping his robo-knee can handle the load the rest of the way for the Sox when he returns at the beginning of September, as his pitch framing numbers are sorely missed.

GRADE: A

Zack Collins

.230/.331/.712

12.3% BB Rate / 33.2% K Rate

3 HR / 21 RBI / 17 R

.317 wOBA / 102 wRC+ / -0.2 WAR

As the current replacement for Yasmani Grandal, Zack Collins has thus far left something to be desired. While he has put up decent power numbers in the limited times that he’s started behind the plate, his strikeout rate combine with his dismal defensive and framing numbers should give Rick Hahn pause before he skips this position when looking for help at the trade deadline. Collins is fine for a backup catcher spot, but so far he hasn’t proven to be able to handle the day to day duties of managing a pitching rotation from behind the dish. He’ll have the first few weeks after the All Star break to prove he belongs there, and hopefully with everyday starts things will begin to improve for him.

GRADE: C-

Danny Mendick

.204/.305/.589

11.4% BB Rate / 25% K Rate

2 HR / 17 RBI / 12 R

.272 wOBA / 72 wRC+ / .03 WAR

Danny Mendick has done an acceptable job manning 2B in the absence of Nick Madrigal after his hamstring exploded a few weeks ago. He plays plus defense around the infield with an average of a 1.2 UZR rating, and doesn’t kill you at the plate. He’s not an every day player, however, and I believe that Rick Hahn has 2B pegged as his trade deadline priority. With Trevor Story or Adam Frazier (hopefully) manning that spot going forward, Mendick can spell the rest of the infield when they need a day off.

Grade: C+

 

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Rained Out

Game 2: Twins 6 – White Sox 7

Game 3: Twins 3 – White Sox 13

Game 4: Twins 5 – White Sox 8

 

Josh Donaldson is a penis, and it warmed the darkest recesses of my heart to see the Sox respond to his borderline insane zoom interview/manifesto by pummeling the Twins pitching to the tune of 28 runs in 3 games. They drummed poor Matt Shoemaker all the way back to the unemployment line when Brain Genius Rocco Baldelli went Full TLR and left him out there to die in the 4th inning. It really was quite the spectacle, and I wish I could liquify it and then inject the solution directly into my brain.

TO THE BULLETS!

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-Let’s get this out of the way at the start. Lucas Giolito’s spin rate was waaaaay down in this game, with his 4-seamer missing about 170 RPMs off from his previous outing. It was also a very hot and humid night, with the dewpoint well above 70. Did this have an effect on his spin rate? Probably. That being said, it bears watching going forward to see if it was a one time thing or the new norm. The one K for the night also raises my eyebrows a bit. Gonna wait and see how the next few starts go before we draw any concrete conclusions.

-On the other side of the coin, something is very wrong with Kenta Maeda’s mechanics. I don’t know if he was tipping his pitches or what, but he was supremely hittable on Tuesday night. On top of that, he had trouble finding the zone, and when he was actually in it, the Sox beat the shit out of the ball. Sucks for him, good for us.

-Gavin Sheets, hello.

-Andrew Vaughn and his googly eyes are locked in right now. He’s seeing the ball very well (duh), and most importantly making contact against right handed pitchers. We all knew he can punish lefties, but seeing that same swing against RHP now is exciting.

-Ryan Burr just keeps throwing zeros up there. Gonna need him now that Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer have joined Eloy and the rest up in Sox Heaven.

-Liam Hendriks certainly made things exciting in the 9th, but managed to work around some bad luck and lock down his 21st save of the year.

GAME 2

-LOL TWINS

-The Sox had 7 dingers total in the series and 6 of them came in this game. One of which was the first career bomb from Gavin Sheets, which went an estimated 429 feet. The only one to top that distance on the night was Yasmani Grandal, who’s 447 foot blast showed up on our radar at work:

-Dylan Cease gave up a dinger to Donaldson (of course) in the 1st, but then settled down thereafter and went a solid 6. His 3 walks pretty much guaranteed that he wasn’t going any further than that, but with the bullpen in the state that it’s in you can’t complain about a quality start.

-Garret Crochet looks like he found the heat he was missing on his fastball, striking out 2 in his inning of work and touching 98 mph in the process. Good to see.

-Jose Abreu went yard with a piss missile in the 3rd inning, but still looked out of sorts. Dude needs a week off, and I’m legit hoping he avoids the All Star Game

GAME 3

-Carlos Rodon had more nasty stuff in this game, but ran into trouble in the 5th when the D behind him went into full Benny Hill Mode. Ultimately it cost him the W, but it was all worth it to have him stare Donaldson down when he K’d him with a nasty slider. Baseball is fun.

-Billy Hamilton is back and it’s beautiful. Dude smacked a double into left center field, then stole 3rd underneath a shitty swipe by Donaldson, then scored on a sac fly from Abreu in short right center.

-All was not fun and games, however, as Yoan Moncada hurt his hand on a slide into 3rd. Team is calling it a bruised thumb, and he’s expected to miss at least the series this weekend against Detroit. Realistically they should rest him until after the all star break, but we know that won’t happen. Unless…

-Jake Burger comes up and tears a hole in the universe at 3rd base this weekend. Regardless of how the kid does in his callup, it’s an awesome story for him to come back from not one but TWO torn Achilles’ ligament tears. He’s been mashing in AAA, but the Tigers pitching has looked pretty damn good recently, so I’m excited to see how he does.

-Michael Kopech came back for an inning and looked good enough to vulture the W away from Rodon after the D fell apart in the 5th. Gonna need him.

 

Next up is a weekend series against the Tigers in Detroit, where AJ Hinch has his squad playing much better as of late. They took 2 of 3 from Houston, then swept a double header against the Tribe to take 2 of 3 from them.

Their starting rotation has been pretty lights out, so the depleted Sox lineup will have their work cut out for them. Taking out the stinker in the first game against Cleveland, they’ve only given up 10 runs in 5 games. Tarik Skubal has been dominant since his 11 strikeout performance last series against the Sox, and he slots in Saturday against Dallas Keuchel. Casey Mize takes the bump Friday against Lance Lynn, and the fireworks on Sunday feature Lucas Giolito vs the undefeated TBD.

The Sox lead is now up to 5 games over the Indians, who have a series against the Astros pending this weekend. Good chance to get that up to 7 before the next 4 against the Twins. Get it done.

Let’s Go Sox.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 2 – Astros 10

Game 2: White Sox 1 – Astros 2

Game 3: White Sox 3 – Astros 7

Game 4: White Sox 2 – Astros 8

 

Not much you can say about a series where everything that could possibly go wrong did. I suppose the only bright side is the Sox made it through 4 straight games without anyone’s soft ligament tissue bursting into flame on the field. Huzzah.

I think the worst part about all of it is now I have to wear an Asstros jersey in September because I lost a bet to the guy in the above picture, who is a physical representation of every single Houston fan on the planet squished into one tiny body. Don’t ask me why he looks like a homeless Ric Flair, there’s no good answer.

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

Game 1

-Dylan Cease just did not have it in this one. 3.1 Innings with 7 runs given up, and 2 walks somehow still doesn’t convey just how little he was able to command his stuff. Everything was up in the zone, but not up enough and it was getting pounded. Hopefully this is just a hiccup, but the fact that he has yet to defeat a team with a winning record is less than confidence inspiring.

-Yoan Moncada is hurting from whatever is currently ailing him, and it shows. I know the Sox desperately need his bat in the lineup, but if he’s going to be dragging ass perhaps it might be best to just bite the bullet and rest him.

-4 hits ain’t gonna get it done against ANY major league lineup, let alone one of the top teams in the AL.

-That being said, Jose Urquidy looked to be at the top of his game with 69 of his 92 pitches going for strikes. The Sox had a barrel rate of 0.00%, which is pretty unheard of outside of Jake deGrom. Not a great night all around.

-We’re gonna need to put Yermin’s face on some milk cartons, because he’s completely disappeared.

Game 2

-As much as Dylan Cease didn’t have it in game 1, Carlos Rodon made up for it in game 2. The only difficulty he ran into was in the 5th, where he walked in the only run he gave up. Until that point he was cruising through the Astros lineup, averaging a mere 10 pitches thrown per inning. He deserved a better fate.

-While the Sox offense was able to muster a few more hits this game, they managed one less run due to their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Grandal, Lamb and Vaughn all stranded multiple runners in their at bats, and none of them looked good doing it.

-Cody Heuer finally put together a solid inning of relief, striking out 2 while keeping the game tied in the 8th. More please.

-Not much Garret Crochet could do about Alvarez’ game winner, as he poked a very good slider on the outside corner down the line past Moncada. Sucks, but it happens. Still think that Crochet’s ultimate destiny is a high-leverage reliever a la Josh Hader.

-Scoring 1 run and stranding 8 runners won’t win any awards in the majors, and that’s two stinkers in a row for the offense. Not a trend yet, but it’s getting close.

Game 3

-Lance Lynn finally had a stinker, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. He didn’t make it to the 5th inning for the first time since his opening start this year in Anaheim, but in that one it was the defense that let him down. In this start he was just caught throwing too many pitches to a too-patient Astros team that got him into situations where they could simply sit on his fastball.

-Two extra base hits ain’t gonna get it done 9 games outta 10. This game was not The One. Only Moncada and Vaughn were able to make it to 2nd base, with everyone else pretty much flailing at what Framber Valdez was offering up.

-On the positive side of things Ryan Burr had another quality outing, going 2 strong innings, only giving up one walk and a hit before giving the ball to Jose Ruiz, who promptly gave up another run.

-Another game, another 0-fer for Yermin who looks completely lost at the plate now.

Game 4

-Some piss-poor defense in this one, which saw two plays (only 1 of which was called an error by the official scorekeeper, who must have been more shitfaced than I was on Saturday night) that extended the inning for the Astros and forced Dallas Keuchel to throw far too many pitches. Yoan’s throwing from 3B has looked off since he came back from his NOT COVID stint on the bench.

-Speaking of Dallas Keuchel, he was clearly pretty amped up to return to the Juice Box in the first two innings, as he’d alternate beautifully placed cutters and sinkers with pitches that were nowhere near the zone. Unfortunately he never completely settled down and was done by the 3rd inning.

-Lance McCullers had the Sox number on Sunday, as outside of the Jake Lamb 2-run shot in the 2nd he was never in any danger at all.

-Not much else to say other than the fact that the team sucking early in this game allowed me to switch over to the US Open earlier than I thought I would. Unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot of excitement in that either, so a pretty boring Sunday afternoon sports-wise.

 

Ultimately, this series is fairly meaningless in the long run. The Sox had just taken 2 outta 3 from two of the top teams in the East, and they caught the Astros right as they were heating up. Scoring 8 runs in a 4 game series is never going to end well, and all we can really do is hope this is merely a bump in the road.

Next up we get 2 Nights In Pittsburgh as Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease draw the starts for the midweek series. As far as pallet cleansers go, the Pirates are the perfect option being 20 games below the .500 mark. It’ll be a good test for the offense to see if the Astros series was merely a fluke, or a portent of something far more sinister.

Moving on.

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: White Sox 16 – Twins 4

Game 2: White Sox 4 – Twins 5

Game 3: White Sox 2 – Twins 1

 

It is the most White Sox thing ever that the biggest headline in a series where the Sox took 2 of 3 against their ancient rival the Twins is Tony LaRussa throwing his own player under the bus for smoking a shitty 48 mph ephus pitch thrown by a catcher into dead center for a massive dong.

I could spend hours talking about how fucking stupid the “unwritten rules” of baseball are, or how terribly out of touch LaRussa is, or how close he could be to losing the entire locker room, or how the “unwritten rules” shouldn’t fucking apply when the other team puts a second string catcher in to pitch. I could talk about all those things at length, but those have been gone over ad nauseum the past 2 days and I’m honestly just fucking exhausted with the whole thing. So instead I’m going to focus on the fact that the Sox have now taken 5 of 6 against the Twins, and just how wonderfully hilarious it is just how bad they are.

Also: fuck Rocco Baldelli

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

 

-Like most of you probably were, I was concerned when I heard Jose Abreu wasn’t going to be available for the series after his heroic dash home to win the game against the Royals last weekend. I assumed that the Sox were going to struggle to score runs in the series because of this. Well, I was 2/3rds right. Game 1 was an insane aberration where everyone who picked up a bat was smoking the ball to all fields. Game 2, the Sox were able to pounce on rookie pitcher Bradley Ober for 4 runs in the first 3 innings. For the remaining 15 the Sox were only able to scratch together 2 runs on small ball by Adam Eaton on Leury Garcia. Going into the series this weekend against the Yankees, they’re gonna need much more than that. Unfortunately they draw Gerrit Cole on Sunday, and he had his one stinker of the year this last week against the Rangers.

-Yoan Moncada went 4-8 with 4 walks in the series. He currently has one of the hardest hit line drive rates in the league and is seeing the ball better than he has in probably 2 years. The dingers aren’t there yet, but when you get on base at the clip that he does and hit the ball as hard as he does you’re more than willing to take the production while you wait for the ball to clear the fence.

-Lance Lynn needed 109 pitches to get through 6 innings on Tuesday night, though he had to throw about 20 extra pitches thanks to an Andrew Vaughn error and a no-challenge by Tony LaRussa in the 2nd inning. More of note was the fact that he only had 2 strikeouts on the evening, which is something that bears watching against a better hitting team.

-Lucas Giolito, welcome back! While his first inning was causing flashbacks to the Boston start, he settled down nicely thereafter en route to 8 innings of work with 11 Ks. Really the only mistake was the 4 seam fastball that caught too much of the zone for Nelson Cruz (and lets be fair, that happens to a LOT of pitchers against Cruz), otherwise a return to form for our ace.

-At this point we can agree that Dallas Keuchel is now the 5th starter on this team, as even Dylan Cease has gone past him performance-wise. Which is absolutely a good thing, as having a guy who can pretty much guarantee you 6+ innings in most starts pitching out of the 5-spot is the kind of depth that postseason teams have. Plus when you consider you’ve got Michael Kopech waiting in the wings to pick up the slack…wow.

-I think it’s safe to say that when people look back and wonder when JA Happ’s career ended you could point to the moment Nick Madrigal’s line drive cleared the wall in left at Target Field. He may pitch for another year or two, but just look at him. That’s the face of a man who watched his career get torpedoed by a ball that never got higher than 9 feet off the ground.

-I hope Yermin hits 60 more home runs this season, all off 3-0 pitches.

-Next up is a weekend series against the Evil Empire, which will be without Mike “Giancarlo” Stanton for the duration. Though they still have Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu and the corpse of Brett Gardner to make up the difference. As mentioned above, the Sox hitters will also see Gerrit Cole, most likely on Saturday or Sunday depending on how Aaron Boone wants to set his rotation. The return of Jose Abreu would be quite the boon for the Sox offense, which has been getting by with the trio of Eaton/Hamilton/Garcia in the OF. It’s been OK thus far, but we’re all expecting the bottom to drop out at some point. Hoping Rick Hahn has been working the phones, as reinforcements will be needed before too long (AKA a month ago).

Let’s Go Sox

Baseball

VS

RECORDS: White Sox 2-4 / Royals 3-4

START TIMES: Fri 7:05, Sat 6:05, Sun 1:05

TV: NBCSCH

Are You Missouri Or Are You Kansas: Royals Review

 

Probable Starters

Friday: Dallas Keuchel vs. Kris Bubic

Saturday: Gio Gonzalez vs. TBD

Sunday: Dylan Cease vs. TBD

 

Heading into the second weekend of the season, did anyone out there pick the Royals to have a better record than the Sox? Put your hands down, you’re a goddam liar. Anyways that’s where we currently sit, with the Royals having one more win than the SouthSiders coming into Friday night’s tilt. Granted, they’re coming off a 4 game swing against the Tigers, but Ws are Ws and they have more.

This is a team that’s actively battling the Tigers and Orioles for the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft, and is throwing everything at the wall this season to see what’s going to stick for the future. Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler are basically the only pieces that are worth anything and yet the Royals don’t seem interesting in moving them for parts. They’re also the only two members of the lineup currently hitting, so the Sox starters should probably keep that in mind.

On the pitching side of things, the Royals have brought up their prized rookie pitcher Brady Singer who started the other night against the Tribe, giving up 2 in five innings and keeping the Cleveland bats off stride. Other than him, it’s a bunch of rookies and journeymen (and Danny Duffy, who’s still around so fantasy baseball writers can list him as a potential breakout each year) that they’ll toss out each night. This is evidenced by the fact that they have TBD penciled in as their starter in 2 of the 3 nights against the Sox.

The most obnoxious elements of last year’s dustup with Tim Anderson are still here, so we’ll at least have a little drama to eyeball. Fingers crossed Timmy hits a few bombs and pimps the living shit out of each one. Professional curmudgeon Ned Yost has grabbed his hobo bindle and fucked off into the sunset, but he got replaced by Mike Matheny (who’s basically the same guy) so most of the Sox players can expect to get thrown at and then lectured about how to play the game the “right way.”

For the Sox, the story is the same. If the starting pitching can keep from giving up 5 runs in the first 2 innings the odds of victory go up exponentially. Just don’t walk anyone not named Merrifield or Soler and things should go swimmingly. Cease and Gonzalez have the perfect lineup to bounce back against and build some confidence and momentum going forward. Keuchel just needs to repeat his performance against the Twins and he should be able to keep the Royals bats at bay.

For the Sox hitters, they’re facing a starter Friday night that’s never pitched above the high A ball level and I guarantee he’s never seen anything like Luis Robert or Yoan Moncada. This is a rotation and bullpen just asking to be pummeled into submission, so a little patience at the plate and they should crumble like the argument of a facebook science denier. Now that I’ve said all that, I fully expect the Sox to have 12 hits total over the course of the series because life is pain and we are in The Bad Place.

Of course, this all could be a moot point thanks to the announcement today that the Cardinals and Brewers game is postponed due to at least two Cards players testing positive for The Rona. All while the Marlins are bussing 20 players positive with the virus home to Miami. Can you imagine actually wanting to stay in Philadelphia instead of going home to Miami because the hospitals are nicer? Welcome to 2020!

 

 

Baseball

VS

RECORDS: White Sox 1-2 / Indians 2-1

START TIMES: Mon/Tues 6:10, Wed 5:10

TV: NBCSCH

Too High? What Do You Mean Too High?:   Let’s Go Tribe

 

PROBABLE STARTERS:

Monday: Dylan Cease vs. Aaron Civale

Tuesday: Carlos Rodon vs. Zach Plesac

Wednesday: Lucas Giolito vs. Shane Bieber

 

So after the orbital strike from Nelson Cruz and company this weekend, the Sox pitching staff looks to right the ship versus another sold offensive team (though not to the extent of the Twins). The Tribe come into this series after taking two of three from the moribund Royals on opening weekend. While Cleveland dropped 9 on the heads of the Royals on Sunday, the other two days saw them fight to scratch across 2 runs against the legendary KC rotation. On the pitching side of things the Cleveland Triumvirate of Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco made short work of the Royals bats, only giving up 2 runs between the 3 of them, to go along with 30 (!) strikeouts. Fortunately for the Sox they miss 2/3rds of them, only having to deal with The Biebs on Wednesday.

The offense of the Tribe is still fired by Francisco Lindor (at least until they don’t pay him and he ends up in pinstripes), who along with Jose Ramirez and the rapidly aging Carlos Santana provide most of the pop from the middle of the order. Ramirez had a rough year in 2019, with a steep drop in both his batting average and Slugging percentages from the previous season. His .806 OPS was the lowest since 2015, before his first full season in the league. On the flip side, Santana had an excellent year in 2019 posting a .911 OPS to go along with 34 dingers and 92 RBI. While he continues to slow down on the basepaths and is no longer a viable option behind the dish, Santana is still a force at the plate and his ability to hit for pop from both sides should be something Sox pitching (and Rick Renteria) should keep in mind.

For the Sox, the main storyline is still the 9.00 team ERA heading into this series. While there were a few bright spots over the weekend (Keuchel, Lambert and Marshall to name a few), the bad hovered over the heads of the rotation like a Lucas Giolito fastball exiting the stratosphere. Dylan Cease and the freshly elbow-ed Carlos Rodon get their chance to erase the bad memories of the weekend as they take the bump Monday and Tuesday. The bullpen would appreciate them lasting at least 5 innings each, as the workload thrust upon them Friday and Sunday is not conductive to long term health.

On the offensive side of the field, the Sox are in pretty good shape unless Eloy is still dizzy from running into the LF fence yesterday. If he is unable to go, get ready for an outfield that features Luis Robert (that’s good!), Nicky Delmonico (that’s bad), and Potassium Benzoate (that’s Engel). Can I go now? Yoan Moncada should be in the lineup all 3 games, as all 3 starters are righties and we saw this weekend that he hasn’t missed a step in punishing them. I would also hope Grandal would be hitting in all three as well, giving the Sox 4 lefties to counter the Tribe’s starters.

Realistically there’s no reason the Sox shouldn’t be able to take 2 of 3 here, as the Tribe struggled to find hits against the likes of Brady Singer and Danny Duffey (both of whom are less than Cease and Rodon, though Singer may have a future). If they’re able to neutralize 2 of the 3 hitters mentioned above the Sox bats should be able to provide sufficent offense to propel them to the series win and a good palate cleanse after Sunday’s debacle. The pitching matchup Wednesday could be fun, but only if Giolito finds the command of his fastball. If he’s back to what he was in 2019, the game could be over before the sun goes down.

Of course, none of this will matter if MLB shuts down because of the fucking Miami Marlins and the Rona Party they probably had with a bunch of Philly strippers over the weekend. Why is it ALWAYS Florida?

 

Let’s Go Sox

 

Baseball

BOX SCORES

Game 1: Twins 10 – Sox 5

Game 2: Twins 3 – Sox 10

Game 3: Twins 14 – Sox 2

 

 

Where to begin? The first series of an abbreviated season finds the White Sox with  1-2 record looking up at the Twins, Indians and Tigers(?!) after the pitching staff got pummeled to the tune of 27 runs in 3 games leaving the team with a cool 9.00 ERA. Reynaldo Lopez left Sunday’s game in the 1st inning with shoulder tightness, and my beautiful boy Eloy left shortly thereafter when he crashed into the LF fence attempting to track down a Nick Cave (sigh) grand slam. While this was a very inauspicious start to a season where the Sox have deigns on a playoff berth all was not totally terrible. For one thing, the Sox don’t see the Twins and their orbital battle station offense again until the end of August so there’s plenty of time for the team ERA to come back to earth. To the bullets!

 

 

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

-Let’s start with the most pressing issue: Nicky Delmonico is probably not a major league starter in even the furthest stretch of your imagination. He went 0-9 with 3 strikeouts and managed to overthrow multiple cutoff men slow pitch softball style on Sunday. More damning for him was that in limited time Adam Engel went 4-6 against mostly right handed pitching and is automatically a defensive upgrade over everyone not named Luis Robert in the outfield. Leury Garcia will be in RF full time when the team stops fucking with Nick Madrigal’s service time, but until that happens I think Engel has earned the right to start. His last  month of the 2019 season carried a .286/.314/.571 slash line with a couple of dingers. It’s time.

-Speaking of Leury Garcia, his start at 2B on Friday night didn’t endear himself to anyone when his failure to turn an easy double play turned into 5 runs for the Twins. He completely redeemed himself with 2 dingers the next day, however, proving that baseball truly is a fickle mistress. He’ll be even better when he’s in right field so Robert doesn’t have to go line to line and play the entire outfield by himself.

-Since we brought him up, Luis Robert had himself an excellent first series. The first MLB pitch he saw in his career he roped a single to LF that had an exit velocity of 115.8 mph. He finished the night 2-4 adding a double. With Saturday being a little forgettable at the plate, Sunday he bombed his first career home run to dead center field off Kenta Maeda. That one merely had an exit velo of 114.4 mph. He also can run down pretty much anything in center field. The kid can not only play, he can fucking roll. It’s gonna be fun to watch.

-As mentioned above, the Sox pitching staff didn’t exactly slather themselves in glory this weekend with the exception of Dallas Keuchel. He kept the Twins bats off the board until the 6th inning Saturday, leaving the game with 2 on base. Steve Cishek promptly tacked them onto Keuchel’s ERA, serving up a cookie to Nelson Cruz that he did not miss. Other than that little blip Keuchel looked very solid, proving himself a great addition to a rotation that suddenly needs it.

-With a shitload of runs being scored across the league this weekend it’s pretty obvious that the 3 week mini camp was not enough to get most major league pitchers not named Bieber up to speed. I’m not super worried about Lucas Giolito yet, but a good start against the Tribe on Wednesday would alleviate a lot of that tension.

-Yoan Moncada dominated Twins pitching the first two games, which makes Renteria’s decision to give him the day off Sunday particularly puzzling, especially with a precious off day after the series against the Indians. If you don’t want him playing the field after returning from COVID that’s fine, but statistically speaking you’d rather have his slash line up there against Maeda than Jose Abreu’s.

-Next up is the team the Sox will be battling with the rest of the way for the expanded playoff spot, the Indians. Giolito and Bieber on Wednesday should be a good time, and the Sox should be able to take 2 of 3 against a team that’s not on the same offensive plane of existence as the Twins. Get it done, and move on to the Royals.

Baseball

   Twins VS.

 

2019 Series Record: Twins 12 – Sox 6

Gametimes: Friday 7:10, Saturday/Sunday 1:10

TV: NBCSCH (Which I guess is the new branding for NBCSN.)

Circle This, Bert: Puckett’s Pond

Probable Starters

Friday: Jose Berrios vs. Lucas Giolito

Saturday: Rich Hill vs. Dallas Keuchel

Sunday: Kenta Maeda vs. Reynaldo Lopez

 

Four months later than it was supposed to be, opening day is finally here. We’ve gone over ad nauseam the threats that COVID still poses to the season, as evidenced by Juan Soto testing positive just before first pitch yesterday against the Yankees. Sam even talked about the insanity of it all over at his new home yesterday. Yet despite all this, baseball really is back for the time being and if there’s Sox baseball to be watched, I’m going to watch it.

Which brings us to their first opponent of the season, and the biggest obstacle standing between them and their first playoff birth in what seems like an eternity: The Fucking Minnesota Twins. As noted above, the Twins pretty much dominated the Sox last season taking 2/3rds of the games in pretty handy fashion. The Twins bats (which had the kind of pop only seen in The Show 2020 while playing the Orioles on Rookie) were way too much for anyone not named Lucas Giolito. The Sox offense, while infinitely improved from the season before, still struggled to get the clutch hits that could’ve leveled the playing field against their hated rivals.

So what’s changed since last season? For the Sox, the addition of Yasmani Grandal should go a loooong way to help the young staff against the plutonium bats of Minnesota. Dallas Keuchel should also help keep the ball on the ground instead of plonking off the side of the giant goose head in right field. Oh, and some kid named Luis Robert will be playing in his first MLB game tonight. You might have heard of him, or seen this ridiculous home run he hit while falling on his ass the other day:

 

For the Twins, their attempt to surround staff ace Jose Berrios with something other than a bunch of reclamation projects ended with adding Kenta Maeda (who is good, but has spent his last few years coming out of the Dodgers bullpen) and Rich Hill (who’s fastball routinely topped out at 72 mph before he had major elbow surgery in the offseason). The Twins also decided that they didn’t hit the ball far enough last season so they added Josh Donaldson to the mix. Donaldson had a nice bounceback season last year after signing a one year “prove it” deal with the Braves, but isn’t exactly the piece that the Twins should’ve been looking for after their rotation was pummeled by the Yankees in the postseason.

Shockingly, Byron Buxton is already hurt after tripping over the mysterious lump in center at Target Field where the Twins may or may not have buried the bodies of Kirby Puckett’s accusers. He appears to have dodged major injury, but it’s probably only a matter of time before he runs into the outfield wall and all his limbs fly off. Miguel Sano had a case of the Rona, but (much like Yoan Moncada) appears to be ready to go this weekend. His move to 1b will certainly help a Twins infield that ranked in the middle of the pack defensively last season. Max Kepler appears ready to make the leap into the upper echelon of American League outfielders, as long as Buxton doesn’t detonate too close to him.

With the season being such a compressed mess, to have any hope of the playoffs the Sox have to start off on a good note. Taking 2 out of 3 against their biggest rival in the division would go a long way to setting the tone. Berrios has ace level stuff, but tailed off drastically at the end of last season. Rich Hill can be gotten to, and if the Sox are patient they can wait out Maeda and make it to a bullpen that at times was pretty shaky last year.

We all know the kind of pop the Twins bats have, so Giolio, Keuchel and Lopez have their work cut out for them. The Sox bullpen is still a work in progress, so the longer those 3 can go the better. Grandal should be able to provide some much needed framing strikes for Reynaldo Lopez, so let’s hope we get the dominant version of him that keeps his fastball at the top of the zone where it’s nigh unhittable.

Questions abound for the Sox this season, hopefully a few of them get positive answers this weekend against the Twins. The sprint to the World Series begins now. Let’s Go Sox.