White Sox 11, Royals 6: High fives all around

White Sox win

The White Sox offense put up five runs early and five runs late. White Sox pitchers made it uncomfortably close both times.

Nevertheless, they improved to 12-0 against left-handed starters while snapping a two-game mini-skid with Dylan Cease on the mound, so it’s hard to be picky.

The run prevention might not have been optimized, but the Sox maximized their scoring opportunities. Twice they had the bases loaded with fewer than two outs, and twice they got at least a slam’s worth. The Sox were 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position, which generally gets the job done.

If there was only one regret, the White Sox could have knocked out Danny Duffy in the second inning. Edwin Encarnación hit a solo shot to start it, and the ninth batter of the inning, José Abreu hit a two-run double. Nick Capra tried to make it three with Yasmani Grandal, but a good relay cut him down at the plate by a step.

It was a good send with two outs, but there was a chance that Mike Matheny would’ve lifted Duffy before he faced Encarnación again. Duffy instead got a reprieve, and he used it to grunt his way through six, allowing only a Tim Anderson solo shot the rest of the way.

He actually ended up outlasting Dylan Cease. Cease allowed a Hunter Dozier solo shot in the first, but ended up keeping the Royals off the board until the sixth rolled around. It wasn’t the prettiest effort — only one strikeout and seven swinging strikes on 96 pitches — but he cut down on the walks and made the Royals hit their way aboard, and they couldn’t muster a threat soon enough.

With a little better luck on two balls hit to Luis Robert territory, he might’ve thrown a quality start. Instead, one rattled off the wall in center before finding Robert’s glove for a leadoff double, and another was just out of the range of a dive in right center for another two-bagger. Instead of two outs and nobody on, he had to settle for five-plus.

Matt Foster came in and took some time finding his groove, allowing a single and a two-run double that made it a 6-4 game with still nobody out. For some reason Adalberto Mondesi dropped a sac bunt, and while it advanced the runner to third, it gave Foster some footing. He responded by striking out Ryan McBroom and getting Whit Merrifield to pop out.

The Royals never brought the tying run to the plate again, despite some leaky work from the low-leverage White Sox. Another five-run explosion against the Royals bullpen, punctuated by a 458-foot, 113-mph homer from Robert, simply provided too big of a cushion.

While Duffy lasted six innings, the second crooked number made Matheny use two relievers in the seventh, and four relievers overall. The Sox could’ve done more damage, but at least for one night, they did plenty.

Bullet points:

*Tim Anderson raised his average to .347 and his OPS to .999 by going 3-for-4 with a walk. He now qualifies for a batting title, and he’d win his second if the season ended today. His only flaw was an error on a fairly routine grounder by Nicky Lopez, but Cease pitched around it.

*Yasmani Grandal also reached base four times from the third spot.

*Encarnación homered on a 91-mph Duffy fastball down the middle, so while he might’ve been inspired by Josh’s post, he didn’t exactly refute the point about above-average velocity.

*Eloy Jiménez made a nice leaping catch on a line drive to the warning track. There’s no joke here — good read, good line, good timing.

*Bernardo Flores Jr. gave up two runs in his MLB debut, but he pitched the way you want to see a rookie pitch in the eighth inning with a seven-run lead — making the Royals do something with strikes.

*Conversely, Steve Cishek loaded the bases on a single and two walks to put the tying run on deck, but he got a strikeout, then lucked out on a bang-bang play at first that maybe shouldn’t have held up under review to end it.

*The Indians and Twins were both idle, so the Sox are now a half-game behind the former and a game up on the latter.

Record: 23-15 | Box score | Statcast

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Oddvark

With Lopez swapped for Flores, and Flores coming out of the pen, should we expect a bullpen day the next time a 5th starter is needed? And with the 2 off days next week, will we see a 4 man rotation then?

NorthSideSouthSider

They actually don’t need a 5th starter again until September 15th if they choose that path. My bet is they don’t choose that path and start Rodon against Pittsburgh but I think I prefer rocking with 4 starters. I imagine Ricky will want to get Dunning some extra rest though.

John SF

I’m learning a lot of new things, as a fan, about expectations.

The Sox have become such reliable winners that I’m no longer watching these games with the same eagle eye I watched much less important and much less enjoyable games during large portions of 2017-2019.

Trying to reset my expectations, the way a starting pitcher does. In a very Buddhist way, I keep trying to remind myself that the only game that matters to me— as a fan— is today’s game. And the most
Important part of today’s game is whichever part I am watching right now.

iowasox1971

With tonight’s homer, Edwin has seven in the team’s first 38 games, which rounds out to 30 over a 162-game season. Plus, he just had one stolen from him by Buxton the other night in Minnesota. Back in late February, when we still thought a 162-game season would be played, how many homers were we expecting him to hit?

Yes, I am disappointed with his batting average and some other stats of his so far, but I think those will improve as he gets his timing down. He hasn’t really been locked in yet, but he still hit the homer tonight that got the team going.

I realize that some people are bothered that the homer didn’t come off of a fast-enough pitch, but I’ll take it. Just as I’ll take most of Robert’s homers, which seem to come on breaking pitches that don’t break much. Most homers in Major League Baseball are hit off pitchers who made a big mistake on that particular pitch. Generally, the pitches with a lot of movement and velocity on the corners aren’t hit very hard or very far.

It was disappointing to see Cease not be able to go longer after being staked to a 6-1 lead. That short outing forced us to burn a Marshall appearance on a night when we should have been able to rest all of our top relievers. I know Marshall was brought in when it was 11-4, but it probably was only a two-run game when he started warming up.

oldtimer

This is so different than past years. A veteran doing the minimum would have been DFA’d to give a young promising bat a chance in a September call-up (Mercedes). EE should be very thankful the Sox are in a playoff hunt. I would love for EE to get on a roll, but I think the EE we have seen to date is the one we will see going forward. Let’s just hope there is a surge of adrenaline come playoff time.

joewho112

I expected him to have an above average OPS. He is currently hitting about the same as Adam Engel did last year

iowasox1971

Through Jermaine Dye’s first 20 games with the Sox in 2005, he was batting .175 with a .517 OPS. Through Edwin’s first 27 games with the Sox this season, he’s hitting .173 with a .692 OPS. Dye ended up having a pretty good 2005 season, if I recall correctly.

It remains to be seen what Edwin will do this year, and while I don’t think he will end up being World Series MVP, he is, as Dye was in 2005, a proven veteran who deserves a chance to get totally untracked. Edwin hit a homer that got us started last night, and he would have had another one in Minnesota had it not been for a super-human play by the center fielder.

Our other options at DH are not exactly great ones, so we might as well stick with Edwin and hope he bounces completely back. I was hoping for an .800 OPS from him, and he probably won’t reach that in this shortened season, but Mazara, Grandal and Moncada haven’t exactly been meeting expectations either.

Eagle Bones

Did you read Josh’s article yesterday? I’d have to dig into Dye’s 2005 season, but not all struggles are created equal. The underlying numbers will tell you a lot more than simple batting average, OPS, etc.

MarketMaker

Exactly. Give him at least another 100 ABs to get his timing down. IF he’s still hitting .173/.264/.429, then we can talk about changes. One of his stats isn’t horrible. Why aren’t we talking about that one?

Red_Hair_White_Sox

Slugging % in a vacuum is not a useful stat though. It way overvalues the usefulness of extrabase hits in relation to other ways of producing. If your SLG is fine but your OBP is horrific then your OPS will be below average.

His wrc+ is 87 and his wOBA .296 both below average for anyone, let alone a DH. The standard stats and advanced stats are both painting the same picture. HRs are fun but if bumslaying 90mph fastballs is your only playable asset then you are probably not a suitable option hitting 5th or 6th in a playoff batting order

joewho112

Why is no one talking about all my charity and volunteer work? All I hear is “serial killer” this and “dismembered corpses” that

Eagle Bones

Are we still doing whooshes here? Or did that go out with baggy pants?

Eagle Bones

This post is missing a “clearly” in here somewhere.

knoxfire30

There is a side view angle of the Robert homer where you see the sox dug out, and at contact I believe its adam engle whose jaw just drops ! Amazing video

theSKOT

.@ManofSteal_15 is all of us. pic.twitter.com/4etS9UBCKU

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 4, 2020

As Cirensica

Jim forgot to comment in his bullet points: Cordero didn’t pitch.

MarketMaker

He had an emergency armectomy but should be available tonight.