I missed the first six innings of this game because a storm knocked out my power. When I could turn the TV on, Jose Abreu was at the plate with Yolmer Sanchez on base, and he rifled a spinning inner-half Jaime Schultz slider into the left-field seats for a 112-mph homer and a 2-0 White Sox lead.
I can’t tell you what happened before that, but I can tell you what happened after with bullet points.
*A day after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts looking, Yoan Moncada was the hero. Batting righty, his line drive to left field short-hopped the wall and drove home Adam Engel for the winning run.
*The winning rally started with two outs, as Nicky Delmonico legged out a double from a lefty-lefty matchup with Jose Alvarado (Engel then entered as a pinch runner). Tim Anderson then drew his first free pass since June 26 in the form of an intentional walk, and Moncada made the Rays pay. (Anderson, the trailing runner, was thrown out at home and didn’t appear to be full-throttle, and I suppose we’ll find out why.)
*Hector Santiago picked up his first save since 2012 by handling the entirety of the 10th. He issued a leadoff walk to Mallex Smith, but Kevin Kiermaier tried bunting him over and popped out to Yolmer Sanchez at third, and Matt Duffy grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end it. The speedy Smith couldn’t find a good running situation against the lefty Santiago, thankfully.
*The Sox could’ve won this one in regulation after taking a 2-0 lead into the eighth, but that inning bit them.
*Lucas Giolito, who’d pitched brilliantly through seven, gave up a leadoff double, starting the Rick Renteria matchup chain. Jace Fry gave up a deflected RBI single to Joey Wendle, the only batter he faced, Juan Minaya struck out Carlos Gomez, but gave up two bases to Wendle on a stolen base and wild pitch.
*Smith then executed a terrific suicide squeeze with Wendle, whose slide into home took Narvaez into the path of the bat. By the time Narvaez retrieved the ball, he was in no position to throw, but tried anyway and chucked the ball into right field. Minaya then issued an intentional walk, shrugged off a steal of third by Smith by striking out Duffy, after which he gave the ball to…
*… Luis Avilan for the four-pitcher inning. Avilan looked better than anybody, striking out Jake Bauers on three pitches to keep the game tied.
*Avilan almost got through the 10th by himself, but he was slow to cover first base on Willy Adames’ grounder to the right side and lost the race to the bag. Wendle lofted a soft single to center, and so Renteria went to Tyler Danish to face Jesus Sucre.
*Danish struck out Sucre for the one-batter victory in front of scores of friends and family.
*Giolito, making his first start since I called him the Most Sox Machine White Sox, allowed just the one run on two hits and three walks and a hit batter over seven innings. He struck out six and induced nine groundouts to two flyouts. His ERA is now below 6.00 (5.97) for the first time since late April.
*Both teams used six pitchers despite the Rays using four of them before Renteria went to his second.
*The White Sox turned three double plays, including a 7-6 one because Smith didn’t touch second on his way back to first when a hit-and-run resulted in a routine fly to left field. Delmonico got the assist.
*Moncada’s double was the only hit for the White Sox with runners in scoring position, although they only had three at-bats in that scenario.
*Before Narvaez got tied up at home on a bunt, the Sox played a strong defensive game. Anderson made a play to his right look easy and Abreu made a pair of diving stops.
Record: 39-70 | Box score
Lacks the heft and glamour of the U Miami turnover chain but easier to get through TSA.
I think the Sox need to move Moncada both offensively and defensively. He is a run-producer, not a table-setter. The comparisons to Robinson Cano will probably be accurate. He crushes strikes, but I think he’s too selective because of his being in the leadoff spot. When the championship window is open, I would expect him to hit 3rd, behind Madrigal and a leadoff hitter (Basabe, Robert, Gonzalez, Steele Walker?)
As for defensively, assuming Madrigal will be the second baseman in 2020, why not just move him to 3rd now? Yolmer is just a placeholder there, and seems to have hit a wall offensively. Many of Moncada’s errors are the careless variety, when he has plenty of time to make a play. 3rd base is more of a reactionary position. I think he is better suited for 3rd base. His talent is obvious- it’s time to start getting the most out of it. Moving him to 3rd now will allow him to get comfortable there, and be ready by 2020.