Astros 10, White Sox 2: First inning sets tone for off night

Dylan Cease had two rough innings, which isn’t good. It’s worse when he didn’t complete four.

Only one was of his doing. His night started with two unimposing grounders that turned into two baserunners on an infield single and Yoán Moncada bouncing a 5-4-3 ball to second. Michael Brantley then cleared the bases with a three-run blast that put the White Sox in a huge hole before they recorded an out.

The other rough inning was the fourth, which was the same inning where he suddenly encountered issues in his previous dud at Yankee Stadium. He’d retired nine in a row entering the inning, but he lost his feel for the strike zone, opening with a walk and an HBP on a three-ball count. He fell behind 3-0 to Carlos Correa, who hit a run-scoring ground-rule double. He fell behind 2-0 and 3-1 to Abraham Toro, who delivered a two-run single.

Just like that, Cease had once again given up three runs before the first out of an inning, and the first out — a nine-pitch strikeout of Myles Straw — was all he could notch. He followed that with a walk to Jason Castro, and out came Tony La Russa to take advantage of his nine-man bullpen.

The White Sox had no such answer for José Urquidy, who posed two problems as 1) a right-handed pitcher who 2) located well. He threw a whopping 69 of 93 pitches for strikes, forcing the White Sox to hit their way into trouble, and they never could. He allowed just four hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out five.

A Brian Goodwin leadoff double led to a two-run seventh, with Adam Engel and José Abreu both delivering RBI singles in hopes of staging a late rally like the one they’d just staved off against Tampa Bay. Alas, Matt Foster gave up a pair of homers in a pair of innings in a rare outing that probably won’t encourage future work.

Bullet points:

*The loss was the most lopsided one of the season for the White Sox, and just the second time they allowed 10+ runs in a game.

*Gordon Beckham joined Jason Benetti during Steve Stone’s planned vacation and sounded comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable, as both indulged each other’s goofy sense of humor before the game got out of hand.

In their defense, they weren’t in the ballpark for the game, which affects their connection to the actual events. And eventually some of the insight you’d want to see from a recently retired ballplayer made its way into the broadcast.

*Yermín Mercedes went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. In Beckham’s best moment of the broadcast, he gave a mechanical assessment for Mercedes’ timing issues:

“I know he’s struggling a little bit. I see — it’s almost like, when he was going real good, he was really getting into that back, back side, that back knee with a little bend, you know? It seems like he’s just losing his back side a little bit and kinda guessing, like sliding towards the pitcher a little bit versus waiting on it. [Mercedes leans over to watch a pitch outside] Right there, he’s just a little jumpy. It’s almost like he thinks he’s late, and so he’s trying to get his body in position to do something quicker than he has to. He’s a little sped up.”

Beckham went on to suggest Mercedes settle for right field in future at-bats, just to see whether that would recalibrate him and allow him to regain his natural strength to the pull field. Beckham mentioning Mercedes’ fear of being late could also reinforce the fear of a slider-speed bat, but it was nice to Beckham’s background being applied in a way that Stone might not cover.

Record: 43-26 | Box score | Statcast

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ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Pretty safe to say Dylan Cease shouldn’t be starting a playoff game anytime soon…

shaggy65

He’s still very tough to hit when his control is on. He is capable of beating excellent hitters so I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a playoff game. But Tony would have to keep him on the shortest of leashes–one BB and the bullpen starts working.

soxygen

“Capable of beating excellent hitters” is a description that I can’t disagree with. But he isn’t a reliever, so his performance needs to be judged on how often he can get 15 outs without giving up so many runs that his team is out of it. He’s got the pitches and the talent to get major league hitters – even good ones – out. He just doesn’t have the feel for pitching and consistency yet to be a top 4 starter on a playoff team.

Last edited 2 years ago by soxygen

Certainly not before October. We’ll have to see what happens between now and then to know if there even are playoff games to start and if there are who is healthy enough to start them.

jhomeslice

I know Cease has been their 5th starter, but Kopech is really their 5th in terms of ability. Actually he may be higher than that. Cease is really their 6th, and that’s not knocking him at all but remembering how good Kopech is. I would have confidence in Kopech against anybody as long as he is 100 percent.

soxygen

I’m going to guess that both Kopech and Crochet will be more important to this team’s postseason success than Cease.

dwjm3

He was dealing for a stretch in the game and then completely lost it. The speed at which he completely loses his stuff at times is mind boggling. I hope he picks the mind of Dallas and Lynn to see if he can mitigate this issue. I don’t know if it is more focus related or his motion isn’t as repeatable as some pitchers. I’m sure Katz will work with him as well.

Qubort

I feel like he’s been making good strides this year and hopefully that continues throughout the year. Have to remind myself he only has 40 starts under his belt. Still plenty of time to grow and mature.

Greg Nix

Trying to figure out if the connection between “slider speed bat” and “Beckham’s background” is Jim being clever or not…

jhomeslice

You gotta feel for Mercedes, but he has to make adjustments pretty darn soon or they would be better off if he did a stint at AAA working out his problems, and bring him back when he flat out looks a lot better. This isn’t helping him or the team right now, much less batting him 5th.

soxygen

Yeah, when he started struggling in May he still had some pretty good at bats sprinkled in. You could squint and see a major league hitter in there who was capable of seeing lots of pitches, advancing the runner, getting decent wood on the ball versus lefties, etc. But now he’s consistently looking really bad – totally lost at the plate.

If he can find what was working for him as DH versus LHP then there is a role for him on a 26 man roster. He is not finding it batting in the middle of the order on a regular basis so they need to try something else: fewer starts, some starts at catcher, or send him back to AAA.

tommytwonines

So I’m looking at the upcoming pitching match-ups, and I notice ESPN is listing Yoelqui Cespedes as Day-to-Day on the MLB injury report. He’s been called up to the majors?

tommytwonines

Okay the full report still lists him as awaiting his visa – don’t know why they are listing someone yet to play a minor league game with the regular MLB guys.

soxygen

I’m going to disagree with Jim about Gordon Beckham’s best moment last night. I thought the highlight was when he noted that he has often been mistaken for Brad Pitt.

Last edited 2 years ago by soxygen
ParisSox

Gordon Beckham clever guy? Who’d a thought?

As Cirensica

I love that story Beckham shared about how Jose Abreu practiced with a broomstick and a wad of paper to gain hitting confidence. This took me back to my young years growing up back in Venezuela. In LATAM countries is very common to play baseball with broomsticks (baseball bats are expensive). In Venezuela we developed “baseball chapita” which is playing baseball with a broomstick and bottle caps. It is incredible hard to hit a bottle cap, but it is so rewarding when you do.

There is not fielding in baseball chapita. You just make marks to separate singles, doubles, homeruns. If a hit bottlecap passes that line, it is a hit, a double if it passes this other line, etc. One of the best things about baseball chapita is that you only need two players, a broomstick, and a handful of bottlecaps. I played with my brother so many times. We didn’t need to assemble an entire baseball team to play some sorta baseball.

In the link below see Jose Altuve playing baseball chapita.

https://www.20minutos.es/videos/deportes/efmAFT27-chapitas-el-beisbol-sin-pelota-que-causa-furor/

burning-phoneix

I remember seeing a clip of some latin players in an East Asian league (I think KBO) playing with bottle caps and water bottles as bats in the dugout during a rain delay.

Root Cause

Great story. Thanks for sharing

dwjm3

I see the Rays lost last night as well. I think both teams were a little drained after tough series.