The White Sox didn’t make it easy on themselves. Luckily, they were facing a team that only knows pain.
See? I wouldn’t lie to you.
The White Sox committed three errors on the field and made a few other mistakes that didn’t show up in the line score, tallied only seven hits at the plate, saw one reliever battle control issues, and leverage issues with another forced Liam Hendriks into a five-out save after a hairy garbage-time occurrence the night before.
And yet they completed the sweep of the Twins, who went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12. Minnesota entered the series eight games under .500 and seven games back. They’re now 11 games under .500, 10 games back of the Sox, and have the worst record in the American League by percentage points behind the Tigers.
Tim Anderson turning Michael Pineda’s first pitch into a solo shot suggested smooth sailing, but the game was anything but. They could only muster another solo shot off him over the other five innings, which came off the bat of Jake Lamb.
Unfortunately, Lamb was responsible for a run in the field, and a bunch of extra pitches. Playing first base because there’s no natural reason for him to get playing time, Lamb bobbled a potential 3-6-1 double play ball in the second (six extra pitches), dropped a throw from Tim Anderson in the third (four extra pitches), and then couldn’t dig out a throw from Lynn after he gathered a comebacker that hit him in the pitching hand.
The last one put the game in danger, because instead of three outs, a run crossed the plate to make it a 2-1 game. Lynn then had to throw four extra pitches to strike out Willans Astudillo, but even then, it also got past the mitt of Zack Collins, who overestimated Astudillo’s speed and didn’t even try throwing to first. That brought Kyle Garlick to the plate, who put a good swing on a 2-2 fastball with the bases loaded, but saw it fall into the glove of a leaping Billy Hamilton on the warning track for the final out.
So Lynn had to throw 20 extra pitches before the fifth inning, which tested Lynn’s workhorse status by itself. Jorge Polanco kept the inning alive with a double, which prompted an intentional walk to Nelson Cruz. At that point, Lynn had thrown 94 pitches over 4⅔ innings, with Trevor Larnach coming to the plate. Larnach saw nine pitches and earned a walk, but even then, Lynn didn’t leave the game. He faced Mitch Garver for his second bases-loaded jam in as many innings. Garver could’ve drawn a walk if he didn’t fight off two fastballs in off the plate, but he kept the count full, and then looked at a knee-high fastball down the middle on the ninth pitch to end the jam.
Lynn probably shouldn’t have lasted the inning, although he did get a win for the effort. Also, the White Sox bullpen wasn’t exactly lockdown-strong behind him. Garrett Crochet walked two batters with one out, only to figure out the release point on his slider for a couple of K’s to end the seventh. José Ruiz entered with a two-run lead in the eighth, only to run into the Peter Principle yet again. After a leadoff lineout to left, he gave up a roped homer to Max Kepler, followed by two solid singles that had Tony La Russa calling for Hendriks.
Hendriks survived a lineout to start his afternoon, courtesy of another fine play in left center by Hamilton. He also survived a popout, which shouldn’t have been anything to sweat, except Yoán Moncada refused to be called off by Tim Anderson and nearly jostled the ball loose.
All of that went wrong, and yet the White Sox still sealed the sweep. Besides the solo homers, Andrew Vaughn came up with a big single off Hansel Robles in the sixth. Two innings later, La Russa pinch-hit Yermín Mercedes for Zack Collins to face lefty Taylor Rogers with two outs and two on, and Mercedes delivered an RBI single on a 1-2 slider for a key insurance run.
Record: 22-13 | Box score | Statcast
We need a GIF of the two Bobs asking Lamb, “What is it you’d say ya do here?”
His answer would have to be something about having people skills I think. : )
Thinking Lamb could handle 1st base is an insult to Abreu!
Credit where credit is due. He used a barely adequate lineup to beat a struggling team for the win.
It’s nice to have a grown-ass manager in that dugout. One that that doesn’t owe his job to the GM.
Twins… worst record in MLB. Ouch.
Was Bummer unavailable? That 8th inning absolutely should have been his. I was watching the game but I didn’t have any sound, so I’m curious if they said Bummer was unavailable. All in all, another great team effort. This team is getting contributions from everyone!
Nothing was mentioned, but Bummer has been used every other day for the past week (earning two holds).
If we had a normal manager, I would give him the benefit of the doubt that Bummer wasn’t available.
That being said, we have a hall of famer baseball person.
Just in this game alone, he fmade two major bullpen mistakes. First he failed to have anyone warming up in the 5th when the Sox were only up one run and Lynn was over 100 pitches with guys on base. Then, a full two batters after it was obvious he should have someone warming up, Tony turned to Foster instead of Crochet.
If the call on Lynn’s last pitch of the game (8th pitch of the at bat) had been a ball, Foster would have been entering with the bases loaded and a tie game.
How close were we to having that happen? Well, on the previous pitch of the AB to Mitch Garver, Lynn missed the plate by several inches for what would have been ball 4. (Garver did Lynn a solid by fouling it off).
The next batter in the order after Garver? Lefty Max Kepler.
So to reiterate, in a situation that came as close to happening as imaginable, with a tie game, 2 outs, and the bases loaded — La Russa wasn’t going to an elite strikeout artist righty like Hendricks (who was used later in the game) or elite lefty killer Crochet (also used later). Instead, simply because it was the 5th inning, Tony was planning to use the seventh guy on our bullpen depth chart, a righty fly-ball pitcher with big platoon splits.
All of which is to say, I wish I could assume Bummer wasn’t available. But I can’t. Because Tony is incompetent.
That’s a whole lot of words, but:
“It’s nice to have a grown-ass manager in that dugout. One that that doesn’t owe his job to the GM.”
That’s… too harsh. I’m not a TLR fan, but not using Bummer when he pitched yesterday and with a double header tomorrow is understandable. I’m all for manager criticism but this is nitpicking.
I don’t think Bummer pitched Wednesday’s game?
Ah, you’re right, that was Tuesday’s game. Still, I’d imagine Tony was saving Bummer for today’s doubleheader since Hendriks is likely unavailable. The Sox will need someone that can pitch in high-leverage situations.
Hopefully they have a big enough lead vs KC that they don’t need a high leverage closer tonight. : )
If this game was for the division title, sure. I look at it as if there ever was a game to use your lower leverage guys to try and gain experience in higher leverage situations, this was perfect for it. While saving some high leverage guys for the DH the next day. They’d already won the series, they were leading, and it was still early enough in the game to manage it if they failed, like with Ruiz.
With that said Hendricks being used in garbage time yesterday could alter his availability for the DH tomorrow as he was needed today. That was dumb.
I tend to agree with that. The Sox had a 2-run lead with the bottom of the order due up. That was as good a time as any to see if Ruiz can handle higher leverage situations. And now we know he can’t- and we still swept the Twins!
My main part wasn’t the Ruiz inning, or the issue of Bummer’s availability. My main point is that Tony made back-to-back inexcusable mistakes in the 5th when the Sox were less than a coin flip away from tie game with the bases loaded and Matt Foster coming in to face a lefty power hitter.
We won the game quite clearly because the players performed really well.
But we could very very easily have lost that game, *despite* the players performing very well– b/c we have a historically incompetent manager.
Check KC’s and the Twins splits against LHP.
We could have a guy like Rocco Baldelli managing us. He pulled Maeda after 87 pitches in 5 innings, and he had just retired 9 in a row. Then he pulled Pineda at 96 pitches, though he had only given up 4 hits. And this is while having a bullpen that is an absolute dumpster fire. It’s not surprising that it took the Sox 3 batters to take the lead on Tuesday, and 1 pitch to add to their lead yesterday. Rocco makes Robin look like a great handler of the bullpen.
I would have left Lynn in yesterday to finish the 5th. Lynn is a workhorse- he’s made a career of pitching deep into games. And he was still throwing 95-96mph with life on his pitches. And it’s not like the Sox bullpen has been great like we thought it would. Marshall can’t get anyone out, Heuer had pitched the last two days, and Kopech is starting today. He didn’t really have a lot of options to go to there. And I would not bring Crochet into the game in the middle of an inning with the bases loaded. So I think Tony handled that situation well. My main question was about the 8th inning. And the reasoning for leaving Bummer for today’s DH after having pitched 3 of the last 5 days is sound.
Anyone else take issue with that Cruz intentional walk in the 5th?
I understand the thinking, but sheesh–are we going to walk the guy every time he comes up with a guy on 2nd? That was too early in the game to start managing like that in a less-than-critical moment. It opened the door to a big inning and things very nearly got out of hand.
Given the Twins lineup, the guys behind him aren’t threatening. Against a full strength Twins team, I probably agree with you but not this team
I do question Tony’s managing this year. But let’s look at the bottom line. The Sox have the best record in baseball without two of their most dynamic offensive players in the lineup. He must be doing something right!
A very good point. Results matter.
We can talk about process all we want, but results matter.
In baseball, process has been proven time and time again to better predict future results than past results do.