Rick Renteria pulled out most of the stops in an attempt to halt the White Sox’s three-game skid skid. He allowed Lucas Giolito to throw 119 pitches to get through six. He used Garrett Crochet on consecutive days, which is something he only did twice at Tennessee, and to subpar results. He turned to Codi Heuer for an inning after he threw two yesterday. Quibble over the wisdom of Giolito’s start in particular, but the White Sox got the game into the ninth tied at 2.
But then came the ninth. He had both Alex Colomé and Gio González warming, and Renteria chose González. After the game, he said Colomé only had an inning in him tonight, and Renteria thought it’d be better deployed in the 10th.
Of course, the 10th inning never arrived tonight, and the losing streak is four games, but saving Colomé isn’t the terrible thought it usually is. With extra innings rules being what they are, the chance of Colomé having a lead to protect in the 10th is greater than the standard season, with Tuesday night’s game a very fresh example.
The problem is that González had one out, the bases clear, and lefty-mashing Jordan Luplow at the plate with a 3-0 count. Instead of conceding the at-bat and picking on the eighth- and ninth-place hitters who aren’t built specifically to destroy pitchers like him, González tried to get back into the at-bat with a 3-0 fastball, 90.7 mph and right down the heart of the plate.
Luplow did what he was supposed to do, and now the White Sox are in second place and staring down the barrel of a potential sweep at the hands of the Tribe with Zach Plesac looming.
Had González pitched around Luplow and still suffered the loss, then I’d place the primary blame on Renteria. As it played out, the player’s thought process was worse than the manager’s. Either way, the decisions by Renteria and González are magnified because the White Sox offense only mustered four hits, with four times as many strikeouts. James McCann wore the golden sombrero, and Luis Robert and Adam Engel had matching silver ones.
They did make Shane Bieber work. The presumptive Cy Young winner allowed only one unearned run on two hits over five innings while striking out 10, but he issued three walks, threw two wild pitches, and ran his pitch count to 98. (The run could go either way, because José Abreu reached on a smoked grounder José Ramírez couldn’t handle.)
Giolito was equally inefficient, thanks to a 36-pitch third inning that required Giolito to record five outs. McCann was slow to find a pop-up behind him, and Anderson bobbled a potential double-play ball and had to settle for the fielder’s choice. He somehow pitched through that, but he suffered damage earlier and later. Santana factored in both times. He hit a solo shot in the second, then nubbed an opposite-field gork shot through the vacated left side that pushed a runner to third, setting up a Franmil Reyes sac fly in the sixth.
Giolito did rack up 22 whiffs and 11 strikeouts, so his stuff looked crisper than it had his previous two times out. The hope is that the extra day off between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason will help diminish any hangover from the pitch count.
The White Sox were able to erase the two leads Cleveland took on Giolito’s watch. In the fourth, Abreu reached on the aforementioned hot shot, took third on Eloy Jiménez’s double to left, then scored on Edwin Encarnación’s groundout. Jiménez advanced to third on the play, but was stranded by strikeouts of McCann and Robert.
In the eighth, Yoán Moncada greeted rookie phenom James Karinchak with a rifled shot over first base and into the right-field corner, which he legged out for a triple. Abreu then hit a missile to the right-center gap for a sac fly that scored Moncada to tie the game. Encarnación managed to keep the inning alive thanks to a goofy throwing error by Cesar Hernandez, and his pinch runner Yolmer Sánchez took second on a wild pitch, but McCann again struck out to strand the runner.
*Abreu made a couple of nice plays in the field, starting a 3-6 double play, then snagging a hot shot with a barrel roll for a 3-1 putout.
*Madrigal was charged with an error when an otherwise harmless Ramírez grounder hit the lip and jumped up on Madrigal to extend Heuer’s eighth inning. Heuer then walked Santana to make it a legit jam, but escaped with a three-pitch strikeout of Reyes.
*Crochet looked no worse for the wear, getting two strikeouts and a flyout.
*McCann is 6-for-37 with 15 strikeouts in September, Robert is in an 0-for-28 skid with 15 strikeouts, and Moncada has two hits in his last 33 at-bats. Oddly, both hits are triples.
Record: 34-22 | Box score | Highlights
If 30+ years of fandom has taught me anything is that no matter how good you think the Sox are they’re not that good
This choke job is worse by the numbers that 2012 but I’m feeling less bugged by it. A near decade of bad baseball after 2012 and the realization that they’re just not all that good of an organization at building a complete baseball team has softened the blow.
The presenting sponsor for the opening round of the playoffs is Arby’s, right?
Calling this a choke is silly. A rotation with Dylan Cease in the #3 spot, with Kopech having opted out, and Dunning and Lopez at #4 and #5 has over-achieved through most of the season. Because they did not continue to over-achieve, you call it a choke. The ebbs and flows of a baseball season are going to happen. Whatever occurs over the next 4, 6, 7 or up to 26 games, this season has been a success.
If a team can get it to the point where they have a 94% probability to win the division and then blow it most definitely is a choke no matter how you window dress it.
This is a little unfair. If there’s anything this team is *not,* it’s being like other Sox teams this millennium. Unlike the 2012 team, this team is playing poorly after clinching a playoff spot in a year in which seeding doesn’t really matter. And you’re talking about, literally, less than a week of games.
The Reds series felt like the Sox just took a break, almost like a hangover after clinching.This Indians series has been frustrating to watch, but it doesn’t particularly worry me. They haven’t been outmatched despite this being a very poor matchup. The teams have the same amount of hits and the Sox actually have more BBs. It’s so easy to imagine the Sox taking the last two, and probably all three, with the slightest differences.
The Indians, maybe more than any other team in baseball, seem built to beat the Sox. I’d rather the Sox be matchup up with any other AL team in the playoffs than the Indians.
Ludlow swung at a fastball down the middle? What a novel concept, sure wish our guys swung at some of those.
Regarding Renteria “thinking about” resting Robert: TOO LATE!
I don’t know why they didn’t rest Robert and Moncada long ago. Not sure why Moncada isn’t getting regular rest
I said it last week that Robert should have sat out the last Twins game. You have a young guy slumping at the plate and (for him) struggling in the field. It’s an afternoon game after a night game that he struggled in so you give him a day off before heading to Cincinnati to try and get his mind right. Instead, he’s played every game. He appears that he is seeing the ball good as evidence by his walks but his timing is definitely off and it appears to be effecting his defensive play.
On another note: I know we have no insight into this but I wonder where Abreu is in all of this as the clubhouse leader. We know that he has been good about reaching out to the younger guys when they are dealing with issues on the field and helping them to prepare better. I assume he’s doing the same thing with Robert but is Robert ignoring him? Is it just not translating to on field results?
What? You think Jose has some magic bullet to improve rookie performance, such that if the rookie doesn’t improve one of the two is screwing up?
No. I think Robert is going through a slump for probably the first time in his career. We’ve seen this song and dance before with Beckham. Abreu is supposed to be our clubhouse leader and I’m just curious what’s going on behind the scenes, not that anyone here will actually have any insight in to the situation. From my perspective it looks like Robert has lost his timing at the plate which seems like something that Abreu could/should be able to help him work through but here we are, still waiting for Robert to turn things around. He hasn’t had a hit since the 15th and hasn’t hit a home run since the 3rd. The league has adjusted to Robert and we haven’t seen him adjust back. Given all the “clubhouse leader” narrative that was shoved down our throats this offseason, you would think this would be something Abreu would be the first to help with.
I think that you have confused clubhouse leader with batting coach. Further, you do not seem to understand that baseball is hard. It took Eloy about four months last year to find his rhythm. This year, the fourth month is November.
No, I’m pretty sure I’m not the one confused. That is exactly the kind of thing Abreu does and sounds exactly the kind of thing Robert needs right now.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that some of our slumping players look like they’re getting close. Robert was almost turning around fastballs and hit a couple long foul shots. Moncada had the triple. Edwin had 2 hits yesterday and was on base twice today–sure once was on an error, but better things happen when you avoid hitting pop-ups.
If these losses to the Indians knock us back to a playoff spot where we don’t face the Indians, perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise, too.
Been a really painful week, but Mazara and EE havent hit all year, now adding in the slumps of Moncada, McCann and Robert really starts to amplify things.
Part of me wants to say this is good, get the worst stretch of ball out of the way before the playoffs but the other part of me says these guys have lost all momentum and are gonna be easily bounced ….
The good news is the top of the rotation and back end of the pen continues to be really good so no matter how much the offense sputters they will still have a shot.
Agreed, the pitching is good enough to keep them in games. Crochet is ridiculous. What fun he is to watch.
Whatever happens with the division/seeding, I’ll be happy if the Sox win 2 against the Cubs and, especially, win on Sunday. That’ll hopefully give a little confidence boost heading into the playoffs. They were bound to hit a cold streak at some point, so let’s hope they can turn it around before it’s too late.
One thing I thought of last night is that the White Sox, without Marshall and Bummer, need to score a lot of runs because we are very vulnerable in close games.
Any words on how Marshall and Bummer are progressing?
Where was Cordero the past two nights? He’s been warming up in the bullpens both games but hasn’t come in. I know he’s not been lights out but Gio shouldn’t have been the call there, esepcially since Renteria specifically said he was saving Colome for the 9th so you weren’t expecting multiple innings out of Gio.
Luplow in 2019 vs Left Handers: 198 wRC+ with a .422 (!) ISO. I don’t think it takes a genius to tell you that Luplow facing a lefty that throws 87 MPH would result in something bad.
Nice to see everyone regressing to mean Sox fandom. That couple days of positivity was really weird.