I’ve forgotten what postseason baseball feels like, but tonight’s nine innings all seemed to carry a weight that we haven’t felt in quite some time.
There weren’t any anxious fans for cameras to find between pitches, but between the early hooks put a disproportionate amount of focus on managerial choices in the middle innings, and the deliberate pace of play that made every later at-bat a battle, this otherwise had the markings of an October affair.
And despite losing Carlos Rodón to a sore shoulder after two innings, the White Sox won a battle of the bullpens against the Brewers. A José Abreu two-run homer tied it, #WILDPITCHOFFENSE won it, and a Yoán Moncada solo shot gave the Sox insurance they wouldn’t use.
The White Sox have won five games in a row, which ties their longest winning streak of last year.
This game could have easily been about Renteria’s questionable pitcher management in the middle innings, although trying to nurse a 2-1 lead for the last seven innings can make any manager look not up to the task. Fortunately, Craig Counsell had his own issues with leaving a reliever in too long, and those hurt him more.
Corbin Burnes looked fantastic for three innings in relief of starter Brett Anderson, but Counsell wanted a full fourth. Walking Luis Robert on four pitches with one out should’ve been a cue that he’d lost his sharpness, but when he struck out Yoán Moncada with a fastball off the plate, he got the chance to finish the inning.
One problem: Abreu came to the plate having seen all of Burnes’ pitches during an 11-pitch battle two innings earlier, and this time Burnes had a fraction of the stuff. Burnes fell behind 3-0, and when he tried to get back in the count with a fastball, Abreu took him back over the center field wall for a game-tying two-run shot. And that’s when Counsell pulled Burnes for David Phelps.
Then again, while Phelps had a better process, he didn’t get better results. He faced runners on the corners with two outs after a pair of muscled opposite-field around a double-play grounder that Leury García beat out. Up came Nick Madrigal, and Phelps walked him on four pitches, with ball four scooting past catcher Manny Pina to allow García to score the go-ahead run.
Corey Knebel replaced Phelps, but he ended up giving up a solo shot to Moncada in the ninth that probably wouldn’t have left the yard were it a pre-2019 baseball. It doesn’t count any less.
While Counsell’s bullpen caused agony in the late innings, Renteria had no such issues. Evan Marshall made easy work of the eighth once again, and Alex Colomé worked over three lefties around a two-out double for his second save.
Ross Detwiler picked up the win, and he can be credited with getting the game back on track. He maintained his 0.00 ERA with a most unusual 1⅓ innings. He recorded the final out of the sixth without throwing a pitch, then had to record the third out three times in the seventh. Madrigal alligator-armed a sliding attempt on a grounder to the right side, and James McCann let a strikeout of Avísail García get past him to keep the inning alive. Detwiler wasn’t fazed, striking out Eric Sogard to end the inning.
The innings before Detwiler were a little more of a mess.
Going back to the first, Carlos Rodón came out … not firing, struggling to break 90 in the first inning. He was throwing strikes, but with a decreasing amount of steam. He finished two innings, but the velocity chart showed why Matt Foster opened the third. The White Sox said that Rodón left the game with left shoulder soreness.
Foster carried the 2-1 lead through four, but Renteria lost his compass in the middle innings. Jace Fry gave up a single and double that put runners in scoring position, but came back to get a shallow fly out and a strikeout of Christian Yelich around an intentional walk to make a scoreless escape just any kind of out away.
In came Steve Cishek, who has been terrible at closing the door. Sure enough, he spun a slider on the inner half to Avisaíl Garcia, who ripped the ball to left for his second run-scoring hit of the day. The single scored two, and Cishek has now allowed six inherited runners to score over his five outings.
He had more two-out trouble in the sixth. Detwiler was slow to warm, so Renteria tried to get through the inning with Cishek despite back-to-back lefties coming to the plate with a runner on third. Ben Gamel yanked a single through the right side for another run that gave Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.
Detwiler came in to face Logan Morrison, but he didn’t actually face Morrison. Instead, he picked off Gamel before he even threw a pitch.
The White Sox grabbed a quick 2-0 lead off Anderson. Robert singled, Moncada doubled him to third, and they both scored on productive outs (Abreu groundout, Yasmani Grandal sac fly). They just needed six innings to figure out how to score again.
*Nomar Mazara made his debut, pinch-hitting for Adam Engel in the sixth. He flied out then, but he contributed one of the opposite-field singles in the decisive eighth.
*Robert had his first multi-walk game, as well as his first multi-steal game, swiping second with ease both times.
*Leury García and Moncada each had three hits apiece, while Robert reached base three times from the leadoff spot.
Record: 6-4 | Box score | Statcast
Hopefully Rodón’s shoulder issue isn’t a shoulder-shoulder issue.
I’m going out by on a limb here and say it’s the last we see of Rodón sadly. It’s just a feeling. I thought he was going to be as good as Sale.
Rodon looks like he will miss at least one start. I’m hoping for Dunning. Detwiler has been good but he also hasn’t faced a hitter twice in one outing yet. Keep him in the pen.
I agree with keeping Detwiler where he is. Changing his role might mess him up. He wasn’t a good starter last year, despite a few decent outings.
Here we go again with Rodon. The guy just can’t stay healthy or provide consistent effectiveness.
This was a great team win, though. The Brewers had a totally rested bullpen, but we still pulled it out. A lot of different guys contributed to this victory.
This season seems to be poison for pitchers right now. Id rather they roll out the corpse of Clayton Richard then risk Dunning. Outside of Rodon the Braves lost Soroka to an achilles as well tonight.
I would just firmly plant on the side of caution for any pitcher with a risk of injury for this goofy season.
Prior to his final AB, I believe Robert’s OPS was well over 1.000. So at the time they happened, those two walks actually lowered Robert’s OPS. Man he’s fun.
A walk can’t lower OPS. A walk raises on-base percentage and doesn’t affect slugging percentage.
What? If a guy is hitting .300/.400/.500 and then walks, BA stays the same, OBP increases, and SLG stays the same so OPS increases. OPS can decrease if the SLG% is above 1.000 and the batter singles, but a walk won’t decrease OPS, ever.
Just another reason for me not to post before 8 am.
When we get Dun with Dane — will we get Danish?
Carlos Rodon – Consistently Unreliable
I was so proud of Ricky and the IBB to get to Yelich; not many would have made that move. But then he loses track of things with Cishek and the Lefties. At times, he leans too heavily on who guys are supposed to be or what they were signed for. Foster looks better than Cishek and should be treated as such, yet he might never see the field in a normal season. But then again, he has Marshall in the right spot. Very conflicted on Ricky. Loved how he talked to Robert when he probably should of scored on that double.
Robert seems like he can steal off any righty pitcher. Not the biggest leads, but explosive first couple steps.
I was pretty annoyed with some of the bullpen decisions last night, but Benetti did a good job of making me take a step back late in the game. He said something to the effect of “how fun is this game?” He’s right. Even if Ricky makes me throw the remote a couple times per game, it’s just nice to have baseball back, specifically baseball where I actually care if the Sox win the game or not. Fun stuff, let’s hope it continues.
Agreed. Benetti and Stone have been an absolute pleasure.
Man, Robert just oozes confidence. I have been so impressed by him so far. The dude is built like a brick wall. He’s the second coming of Bo Jackson.
Bo’s tools may have been a little louder all-around, but Robert has better routes to the ball in the outfield, and what seems like a real ability to adjust to pitchers within an at-bat. He could be something special.
That’s fair, but Robert is only 23!
And, in some respects, is a more polished baseball player than Bo was at his peak, let alone at the same age. He already has half the at-bats Bo had in his age 23 season, and comparing Robert’s 2020 to Bo’s 1986 ought to put Sox fans in a good mood.
My biggest concern coming in to this season was the bullpen followed closely by the starting rotation. And while injuries have shown my concern for the starters to be somewhat founded, it has also given me hope for the future of our bullpen. With Bummer, Marshall, Heuer, Foster, and Fry we have the makings of a solid bullpen for the next few years. I know it’s only 4.2 innings so far this season, but the fact that Bummer has a 0.04/0.04 FIP/xFIP tickles me something mighty.
I don’t think I would put Fry in with that group. He has been pretty inconsistent.
Outside of his KC outing he’s been pretty good since I don’t put any of the blame for his ERs last night on him. Should he have allowed 3 baserunners? No, but we aren’t going to have 7 guys in our bullpen that strikeout every batter that they face so I have no problem with Jace in a future bullpen in a middle relief role.
The bullpen really has been a pleasant surprise so far. Heuer and Marshall in particular.
Being that Marshall now has a somewhat larger sample to analyze, he seems like a guy who’s worth a little closer look. He’s running an absolutely ridiculous 21.5% swinging strike rate so far. That’s insane (league average is 11.5%). He’s doing it in kind of anti-Coop traditional fashion (his FB usage is down to like 27% and he’s leaning hard into his CH and SL). Ariel Cohen (creator of the ATC projection system) liked both him and Cordero coming into this season (links below). Basically, his takeaway was they both produced really good plate discipline numbers last year.
Marshall’s slider has looked absolutely ridiculous the past couple of outing. Really sharp, late break, that I don’t remember him having last year (in a year where he was still very good).
Leury Garcia with a K% of 8.3 and a higher BA than BABIP. That is neat.