Astros 2, White Sox 1: 10th inning never arrives

The White Sox are now 3-5 in games that were tied entering the ninth inning, and in the last four of those, the White Sox’s best reliever has been absent when the stakes were the highest.

Instead of turning to Liam Hendriks on two days’ rest to get the game into extra innings, Tony La Russa handed the ball to Garrett Crochet for the ninth. Crochet promptly showed how impressive Carlos Rodon’s seven innings were, giving up a lineout to Michael Brantley, a sharp single to center by Yuli Gurriel, and a walk-off double into the right-field corner by Yordan Alvarez.

Crochet wasn’t an illogical call, what with Brantley and Alvarez being lefties. Crochet’s breaking ball just failed him tonight. All three batted balls came on the slider, and they all had dangerous expected batting averages (.370, .650 and .810 on Alvarez’s game-winner).

Still, it’d be nice to see Hendriks occasionally be allowed to open a ninth, especially when rested. He’s only had one such opportunity this year, when he struck out two batters in a perfect frame on April 13. La Russa then saw Crochet and Matt Foster falter in the 10th, and that seems to have scarred him.

But just getting to the 10th is preferable, especially in a game where the White Sox offense might’ve looked different when spotted a runner in scoring position, because it only had one of those over the game’s final six innings. The Sox were stymied for a second straight night by a decent right-hander, with Luis Garcia followed José Urquidy’s impressive outing on Thursday with seven strong innings of his own tonight.

Garcia scattered seven hits and a walk over eight innings, but he limited the damage to one run. He survived a smattering of hits early on, with six hits through three innings only leading to one first-inning run. Brian Goodwin doubled with one out as the game’s second batter, which turned out to be the lone White Sox extra-base hit. Goodwin needed a pair of singles to score, and the lineup turned over in a similarly labored fashion the rest of the way.

After getting Andrew Vaughn to line out to end the third, Garcia retired nine consecutive batters until Vaughn doubled with two outs. The throw into second bounced and hit Vaughn in the face, and he eventually left the game with bruising, robbing the Sox of maybe their only potent bat. José Abreu’s one-out walk off Ryne Stanek in the eighth was the only other baserunner the rest of the way, which is why starting the 10th with a runner on second might’ve been a godsend.

Rodón did what he could, pitching seven innings of one-run ball. Rodón lowered his ERA to 1.83 on the season, and it’s a testament to his season that an outing like tonight’s was a little disappointing. Houston’s only run scored because Rodón lost the thread in the fifth.

Once again, Rodón carried a no-hitter well into a game. This perfect game bid lasted into the fifth, when Alvarez shanked a grounder through a vacated left side for the game’s first hit. Rodón had to pitch from the stretch for the first time, and he lost his ability to locate. He walked Carlos Correa, gave up a bases-loading single to Abraham Toro, and when he struck out Myles Straw to get within one batter of an escape, he walked ninth-hitting Martín Maldonado on four pitches for the only run he allowed.

Rodón rallied to strike out the red-hot Jose Altuve for the final out, and he more or less resembled his 2021 form the rest of the way. He faced a crisis in the seventh with two on, one out and a pitch count of 103, but he induced a 6-4-3 double play from Straw to close out seven.

Codi Heuer then breezed through the 9-1-2 part of Houston’s order with two strikeouts and a broken-bat lineout in the kind of outing that hopefully foreshadows a return to above-averageness.

Bullet points:

*Zack Collins was caught stealing on his first-ever attempt, although it’s because Danny Mendick whiffed on an attempted hit-and-run. Mendick ended up walking and Tim Anderson singled after him, so the Sox had an inning with three baserunners and no runs.

*Rodón only got 14 whiffs on 106 pitches, which shows Houston’s ability to make contact.

*Tim Anderson robbed Michael Brantley of a single in the hole, thanks to a pick by Abreu on the other end.

Record: 43-27 | Box score | Statcast

Author

  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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dwjm3

We need a significant bat at the deadline if we are going to beat an elite AL team in the playoffs. Somebody like Asdrubal Cabrera isn’t enough in my view.

Root Cause

TLR becomes everyone’s hero if he can convince Jerry to open up the pocketbook and fill the holes in RF and the bullpen.

dwjm3

You got to love Reinsdorf logic….He hires his buddy to manage because he regrets firing him in the 1980s yet he gives him pieces like Adam Eaton to work because he is still a slave to making an extra buck …nobody does eccentric quite like you Jerry

jhomeslice

It doesn’t have to be Gerrit Cole, the Sox seem to be vulnerable to getting shut down by any RHP. Their 3 losses this week vs RHP, their 2 wins coming against lefties.

I think it is good that they lose some of these games, personally. It is better to recognize their weaknesses than let an inflated record hide them. I don’t buy into them being the best team in the AL or the favorite based on their record, when it includes 20-3 vs the worst 4 teams in the league. Their rotation should keep them in any playoff series, but right now, they look like they would have no better chance than either of the teams they faced this week. I could care less if they have the best regular season record but lose in October.

Their weakness vs RHP goes back to last year, even with Eloy and Robert. Their “answer” to that was Eaton, their only offseason offensive addition. No need to comment. So expecting the return of either or both of them to fix that is probably wishful thinking. I think they absolutely need some kind of addition, even if it is unlikely to be a huge get like Castellanos. I hope Hahn is wise to this need, and looks at is as closer to a need than an addition that would be nice to have. They should be able to find a trade partner that would involve only their minor leagues, and exclude Kopech, Crochet, Vaughn from any deals. Probably means they are out for someone like Castellanos, but there are almost certainly any number of guys they could get that would help, many that have been mentioned here. I hope Hahn is on this, and doesn’t wait until the end of July to get something done.

dwjm3

One thing to keep in mind Castellanos can opt after this season so that lowers is trade value. However, I’m not convinced Cincinnati will trade him.

jhomeslice

That’s why I said they would be unlikely to get him. Would cost too much among other things. But they do need someone, and there are any number of guys who could help. I hope they are patient on the one hand to hopefully get the best player possible, but at the same time I hope they do not wait until the end of July.

soxygen

Another thing to keep in mind is that if he opts in he’ll make $16m in 22 and 23.

If Jerry had been willing last offseason to sign a corner outfielder for 2/$32m we could have had Michael Brantley.

I think Castellanos is probably too expensive.

roke1960

This is just not a major league lineup. Goodwin was a 1-game wonder, Mendick is responding how we thought he would after having to play regularly, and the biggest problem is Moncada, Abreu and Grandal are not hitting at all. They absolutely need an infusion of quality into this offense.
Unfortunately, the Reds are right in the thick of the race, so they aren’t trading anyone. Adam Frazier would be a nice addition in the 2-spot, and they really could use someone who can hit righties to play RF. The league has figured out Mercedes, and it doesn’t seem like he’s capable of making adjustments, I think it’s time to move on from Mercedes and Goodwin, and move Mendick back to a utility role or back to Charlotte. Try Gavin Sheets in right until Eaton comes back, then give Eaton a week or two to see if the rest helps him. If it doesn’t, he needs to be DFAd. But unless this offense gets major production from Timmy, Yoan, Jose and Yaz, they are going to be easy picking for any competent right-hander. You can’t rely on pitching to win every game.

Last edited 3 years ago by roke1960
As Cirensica

If the White Sox plans to play for more than 1 month with a lineup where half of it consists of a mix of Eaton, Lamb, Hamilton, Mendick, Yermin, Collins and Goodwin, then say bye bye to 1s place. Sure, Goodwin has been fun in 2 or 3 games, same for Hamilton, and Mendick’s gran slam was a joy, but they are isolate occurrences rather than the norm. Yesterday’s game showed us the true reality: unless our SP throws something close to a no-hitter, we won’t be able to win.

Unless Hahn is 100% sure that Eloy and Robert are coming back soon, he can’t stay put or TLR will grind down our only healthy and valuable asset: starting pitching.

Last edited 3 years ago by As Cirensica
GoGoSoxFan

Why do I dread coming to these comment threads after every loss?

joe blow

Couldn’t agree more. Crochet was the proper move in the 9th, then bring in Liam for the 10th. Crochet got hit hard for the first time in a long while and it’s TLR’s fault again

roke1960

I agree completely. Crochet was the right move for the 9th with 2 lefties coming up.

dwjm3

Maybe you would enjoy being a Cubs fan more.

They tend to be rahs rahs who think they got a chance to win every year. There is nothing in this thread that is over the top. It is largely discussion of how to fix our issues.

Drdoctor

plans to play for more than 1 month with a lineup…then say bye bye to 1s place

Really? With all the faults in this division? For better of worse, the AL Central has enough issues that the way the Sox are playing now, I would be quite surprised to see them lose first in a month. Feels over the top.

Moncada, Abreu and Grandal are not hitting at all

Moncada has an OPS+ of 126 and a wRC+ of 130 (21st in the AL). Saying that is “not hitting at all” feels over the top. Yaz is 123 and Abreu 117 wRC+. Okay, sure, not All-Star or MVP vote numbers, but “not at all?” Come on.

Maybe you would enjoy being a Cubs fan more

Over the top…and just mean. I wouldn’t suggest that suckitude on anyone.

roke1960

Yes, Moncada, Abreu and Grandal are having good years, but they have not been hitting lately. Abreu has an OPS of .564 in his last 15 games, Moncada is 4-28 in his last 7, and Grandal is 3-25 in his last 7. We can’t have all 3 slumping at the same time.

Last edited 3 years ago by roke1960
mrridgman

Eloy may be back by August, will he be ready to contribute? Robert is further away (see the Sox lack of discussion), maybe not at all this year.

The current lineup is not sufficient to win playoff series’ against good RH pitching, unless one thinks we faced Cy Urquidy and Cy Garcia. Last night’s lineup is probably the best they can do vs. RH at this time:

  1. Anderson – having a good year, not as good as 2019/20
  2. Goodwin – what to say?
  3. Moncada – having a good year, not as good as 2019. Reports this morning that he is having similar symptoms to when he had Covid.
  4. Abreu – having a decent year, not nearly as good as 2020.
  5. Grandal – having a decent year, walks are good if somebody then drives him in.
  6. Lamb – what to say?
  7. Vaughn – not yet a good hitter vs. RH.
  8. Collins – probably should play more vs. RH.
  9. Mendick – adequate sub.

Eaton, Garcia and Hamilton are below replacement level, each having a few highlights but no sustainability. Engel should play more when healthy. Unless Mercedes adjusts to the league adjustments, he’s toast.

Honestly, look at that lineup and say you feel confident against good teams in a playoff. Sox need 2 impact players, the names have been suggested by several on this site, no need to repeat; best if they are signed for next year as well. The impact players do NOT include Herrera, Escobar, etc., that’s just churning the sediment.

GoGoSoxFan

Your definition of “discussion” looks a lot more like a bitch-fest to me. The “TLR sucks” narrative has grown quite old imo. I expect it to change shortly, however, when the “Renisdorf is so cheap” narrative will replace it as the trade deadline approaches.

Last edited 3 years ago by GoGoSoxFan
dwjm3

There are multiple posts in this thread suggesting how the team can improve.

I’d suggest getting used to complaining about TLR. He is probably the most polarizing coaching hire of the last 20 years. The fanbase will never be united behind him.
Heck I know one older Sox fan that still hates him from the first time he was here. Most owners would have never made that hire knowing it would be a pr disaster.

GoGoSoxFan

I’m not begrudging anyone the right to criticize TLR or anything else, but how many times do you have to make the same point over and over and over and over?

dwjm3

I’m sure if you are talking how he uses relievers in high leverage situations or another aspect of his tenure? Jim usually tries to hold the organization to account if he sees a pattern of failure which can lead to the discussion reoccurring.

roke1960

I don’t see a problem with him not using Hendriks last night in the 9th. Crochet was a good call against the 2 lefties coming up.

jhomeslice

Yeah, I mean people discussing on here are just keeping it real, and don’t want to hear about how great this team is or how they are the AL favorites when outside of the Twins, Tigers, Royals, Orioles, and Rangers, this team is 4 games below .500. They are not likely to go far in the playoffs with this team as it is today. With some good roster moves or trades they might, that’s what the discussion is about.

roke1960

I agree wholeheartedly. They can probably win the division with this roster because the division is so bad. They definitely need an upgrade at 2nd and RF, they need Eloy to come back and be fully healthy and productive by the playoffs, and they could probably use one more quality arm in the pen, though getting Kopech back will certainly help. This 25-man roster cannot consistently beat the good teams.

jhomeslice

Eloy should help, I expect him back in a big way. He is a force against RHP, and could help that a lot. He is absolutely a difference maker, and they would undoubtedly have a better record against good teams if he did not get hurt. So on a positive note, he is one significant player that should help even if they do very little in terms of trades.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

This team is good but flawed which still makes them the best Sox team of the last 15 years.

The Sox have never been good at actually solving their glaring issues so I’m not holding my breath in regards to them actually completing the roster.

knoxfire30

This loss is on the offense, having said that the choice now on a lot of occasions to avoid using Hendrix except in the perfect save situation is a problem that is very likely to rear its head in the post season.

The sox need to get a bat at the deadine, or to have Eloy and Robert come back to full health. The current lineup isnt good enough but both of those scenarios happening would be the dream cause this pitching staff is world series material.

lifelongjd

Houston is one of those teams that is going to be difficult to beat no matter what. Especially on the road. The Sox aren’t on the same plane as them right now and just need to tread water over the next 6 weeks until reinforcements come. I’m ok losing to Houston in competitive games especially with a lineup consisting of Mendick, Lamb, and the corpse of Mercedes.
I’m taking Hahn’s words as truth that he doesn’t want to waste this season’s opportunity. Guess we’ll see what that means. They desperately need a lefty OF to help them vs right handed pitching. I’m sure Hahn realizes this. It’s time to put his money where his mouth is.

roke1960

I would be fine with Adam Frazier and Joey Gallo. Then we could have a lineup against righties of:
Timmy ss
Frazier 2b
Yoan 3b
Abreu 1b
Gallo rf
Grandal c
Lamb DH
Vaughn lf
Engel/Goodwin/Leury cf
I think that would be very competitive. When Eloy comes back, he can slide into DH/lf platoon with Lamb and Vaughn.

roke1960

Then even next year, Robert slides back into center, Madrigal back to 2nd, and Frazier and Engel are part of a very strong bench.

dwjm3

Gallo has an OPS of 693 against righties. He isnt an ideal guy to hit righties.

Last edited 3 years ago by dwjm3
roke1960

His career OPS vs righties is .812. I think being on a contending team with actually good hitters around him will help.

jhomeslice

Gallo is in the Adam Dunn/Encarnacion mold. God no!!

roke1960

Since I’m sure Castellanos is not available, then I guess the best options would be Haniger or Ketel Marte, but they will cost an awful lot. Who do you propose?

jhomeslice

To get Marte it seems a sure bet that they would have to include Vaughn. Since he is under control through 2024, I would be all for that deal. He would certainly contribute a lot more than Vaughn to their chances this year, probably next. I like Vaughn but Marte is solid, could absolutely be the difference in the outcome of a playoff series, is versatile, has cheap contract for next 3 years… he would be the one player I would deal Vaughn for.

They would have Haniger next year, so he is also worth more than a rental. I would not deal Vaughn for him, but if they could get him for 3 of their top 10 prospects, maybe even 4, I say do it. None of their minor league prospects are in the top 100, or is likely going to be a high ceiling difference maker in their future title aspirations. Haniger is a legit power bat, hits righties even though he is right handed. Could absolutely be the difference in a playoff series too I think.

Peralta or someone similar should be cheap, and is more likely. Not as likely to be a playoff series difference maker but you never know. If they could add Escobar or Cabrera to that deal, it might make sense.

Hope Hahn is looking at players not mentioned here as well. What are your thoughts?

dwjm3

I agree with your thinking on Haniger

roke1960

I pretty much agree with you. If they could get Haniger and not have to include anyone on the major league roster, I would do that. I don’t think there’s really anyone else that would make a big difference. I’m not convinced Gallo would be a bad acquisition. I think giving him a chance to play on a contender might rejuvenate him. But I think Haniger or Marte are their two best bets. Then get Adam Frazier to play 2nd and take Leury’s role next year.

soxygen

I don’t see Seattle wanting the prospects we have. They haven’t been competitive in a long time and already have accumulated a number of good young guys on the MLB roster. I’d guess diPoto wants what we don’t have – guys who are ready to contribute in 2022. Otherwise he’ll just trot Haniger out there in 2022.