If the White Sox want to make history with consecutive homers every day, they’ll probably be in good shape the rest of the season.
They didn’t tie or break the record they matched on Sunday, when they stacked together back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers. Tim Anderson and Yoán Moncada got halfway there, however, and that turned out to be enough for a different mark.
For the second time this season, the White Sox greeted Matthew Boyd with two homers from their first two batters, and that made its own kind of MLB history.
The White Sox had four more homers in them, and one of them actually came with a runner on base. That was plenty for Gio González and four White Sox relievers, who held down the Detroit offense to hand the Tigers their sixth straight loss.
Every dinger was beautiful in its own way:
- Anderson started the game by working a 3-1 count before launching one over the wall in center to start the game.
- Moncada didn’t even wait a pitch to join him, shoving a fastball a couple rows deep into the right-center seats from the right-handed batter’s box.
- Anderson, reenacting his homer off Boyd from the last time they saw each other, fell behind 1-2, then extended the at-bat nine pitches before flipping an outer-half slider out to right field.
- Luis Robert missed one Rony Garcia hanging slider, but the second one ended up a couple rows deep in left center via a 37-degree launch angle.
- Danny Mendick took the low road after Robert opted for the skyway, finding the White Sox bullpen on a line drive that needed every bit of its 20 degrees and 107.7 mph to clear the wall.
- Robert then one-upped Mendick with a 115.5 mph laser to left that cleared the bullpen.
Those six homers aside, it wasn’t exactly a beautiful brand of baseball. “Those six homers aside” is a qualifier I wouldn’t mind using more often, at least assuming the White Sox hit them.
González struck out 10 Tigers on the evening, but he again came up one out short of qualifying for the win thanks to deteriorating control. The counts grew deeper as the night drew longer, and while he was able to escape one jam with a pickoff at second, he ended up issuing a walk to Miguel Cabrera with his 99th pitch of the night, and out came Rick Renteria to lift him, because Jonathan Schoop already had two good swings on him.
Schoop put another good swing on Steve Cishek for a single to center, but he jammed Jeimer Candelario for a soft lineout that ended the threat.
González’s line — 4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K — will work. His curveball had more power than previous starts, and he used his changeup effectively early as well. It’d just look a lot better if he could start his games against the bottom of the order, rather than the top of it. His last two outings would get the game to the seventh instead of the fifth if he came after an opener.
Fortunately, Boyd had an even more extreme form of his recent run. He struck out nine over four innings, but three of the four hits he allowed left the yard, and he walked two batters on top of it. The start lowered his ERA to 9.64, but it dropped his record to 0-3.
In perhaps the game’s most unsightly moment, Yasmani Grandal came up to field a swinging bunt in front of the plate, made a flip to first for the out, then headed to the trainer’s room. The White Sox called it lower back stiffness and said he was day-to-day, but given the team’s injury luck, it’s natural to brace for worse.
*Codi Heuer picked up his first major-league win for pitching a scoreless sixth around Grandal’s injury.
*Zack Burdi topped him with the best appearance of his pro career. He threw a 1-2-3 seventh on 13 pitches, including five swinging strikes. The Downers Grove South Mustang generated two strikeouts and a weak tapper to the right side off the bat of Miguel Cabrera, who appeared to issue warnings to the dugout about Burdi’s stuff afterward.
*Eloy Jiménez has more comedic range than outfield range, and Luis Robert knows it.
Record: 12-11 | Box score | Statcast
(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)
reminds me of the old joke “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” except in reverse.
Good couple of results but they need to keep it going. All the positivity has come off a rookie reliever and Matthew Boyd.
The trouble with the opener strategy comes in two parts:
1) The guy you have open the game needs to be effective. If he’s not used to starting, or he just has a bad game, you could be down three or four runs. So, if you’re really aiming to win that game, you might have to use one of your better pitchers as an opener.
2) Just by using an opener, you are guaranteed of having to use a quality bullpen guy early. Instead of getting the extra benefit from your starter going, say, seven or eight innings, and preserving usage of that bullpen guy, you have assured yourself of not getting a true bullpen-saving start.
Maybe I’m expecting too much, but I think that a starter should be able to go seven or eight innings at least every few starts. Keuchel, for instance, should have been able to do that on Sunday after being staked to a 7-0 lead. Gonzalez should be able to give us six innings once in a while. These longer outings by the starters might not be happening yet because the pitchers still aren’t totally prepared for it. But maybe they are building up their endurance, allowing them to put in longer starts in the near future.
I’m not too familiar with the opener but my understanding is that a typical starter goes Innings 1-6 (possibly 1 to 5) and then the relief core with middle innings relief, followed by Setup guy, followed by Closer. but in an opener strategy the “typical” starter would go Innings 2-7 and one of the relief pitchers is used up front instead of in the middle.
It doesn’t change the amount of pitchers, but rather throws the opposing batting lineup out of sync.
1.) Same is true with a starter.
2.) You use an opener specifically for guys like Gio who can’t go that deep. You don’t use one for someone like Giolito or Dallas. If you let the top of the order for most teams face Gio 3 times, they are going to blow him up. The reason for Gio’s renaissance is that managers have limited his innings
The benefits of using an opener:
1.) Assuming you use opposite handed opener vs. starter, you force the opponent to either not optimize the lineup based on handedness or to use pinch hitters earlier in the game
2.) The starter starts off facing the bottom of the lineup so you can steal an extra inning (assuming the bottom of the lineup is bad enough that you can get away with the starter facing them 3 times while only facing the top of the order twice). This wouldn’t work against a really deep team like the Dodgers but should work again most teams.
If you assume Gio can’t face the top of the lineup 3 times, when he starts the game, he is only good for 18 hitters (if you assume a 0.320 OBP that’s about 4 innings). If you start him against the 7th guy in the lineup, he can get through 21 hitters (closer to 5 innings). You do need to use a decent reliever to open the game but the Sox aren’t lacking in decent right-handed relief pitchers at the moment.
Do you think Eloy was angered by Robert stealing his fly? Eloy’s face is unreadable.
I don’t think so. Looks like he had some fun with it. I thought it was hilarious. I’m sure Eloy wants him to start getting the ones down the line now too.
He’s a very gifted actor.
I thought Cishek would qualify for the win after González came out. What’s the rule/criteria these days?
If the starter doesn’t go 5, it’s scorer’s discretion. They give the W to whichever relief pitcher was most effective.
Thanks, I just looked it up. It seems like, these days, with openers and the way managers/organizations are worried about starter innings, the Win criteria should be reevaluated.
The win criteria should be eliminated after a careful reevaluation.