Cleveland 6, White Sox 5: Chances to win early, late

James Karinchak doesn’t appear to be a capital-P problem for the White Sox this season. Shane Bieber is still enough of one.

The White Sox had chances early and late to steal a victory in a game Cleveland’s Cy Young winner started, but Dylan Cease’s off night dug too deep a hole. The Sox’s hopes of salvaging a split now rest on the shoulders of a Lance Lynn on short rest.

The Sox trailed 6-3 entering the bottom of the ninth when Karinchak entered the game in place of Emmanuel Clasé, who was unavailable. After beating Karinchak in the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, the Sox got to him again.

Jake Lamb capped off a perfect day at the plate with a leadoff single, took second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Zack Collins single two batters later. Adam Eaton came off the bench with hopes of repeating his extra-innings heroics, but struck out.

But two pitches later, the Sox were within a run, with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Tim Anderson singled on the first pitch, and so did Nick Madrigal, who scored Collins. Both advanced on the throw home, after which Yoán Moncada filled first base on a six-pitch walk.

That brought José Abreu to the plate, and he laid off a curve low and a curve high to get the fastball count he wanted. Alas, the fastball was well-located, and Abreu chopped a knee-high, outside-corner fastball to shortstop to end a game that seemingly had calmed down after a wild start.

(How wild was it?)

It was so wild that the White Sox took a 3-2 lead in the second inning on a three-run Little League home run by Billy Hamilton.

Lamb started the Sox’s first scoring inning with a one-out walk, and just like the ninth, Zack Collins followed two batters later with a single to keep the inning alive for Hamilton. Bieber challenged Hamilton with a 1-0 fastball, and Hamilton ripped it to the base of the wall in right center. Lamb scored, and Collins followed him home, beating a hesitant throw home from César Hernández.

Hamilton had checked up a little between second and third, not wanting to get trapped if Collins weren’t sent. But he kept enough of his momentum to follow the play to third. When the ball trickled away from Hedges on his unsuccessful swipe tag, Hamilton used José Ramirez as a slingshot around third base and sacrificed his face to score himself.

The official scoring is a two-run double, but we know what we saw.

That alone justified tonight’s game, and it appeared to be the only comfort after watching Cease’s pitch count skyrocket out of control early.

Cease endured a 31-pitch first inning that should’ve ended after 22, except his backdoor slider in the dirt to Eddie Rosario handcuffed Collins on his attempt to block it, and Rosario reached. Instead of three outs, Cleveland still had runners on the corners, and an infield single, balk and infield single gave the Clevelanders a 2-0 lead. The inning only ended because Andrew Vaughn sprawled out to make an incredible diving catch, especially relative to his experience level.

Cease pitched around a soft two-out single for a 16-pitch second, but his problems resumed in the third. He had Harold Ramirez on the ropes with a 1-2 count with two outs, but he hung a slider that Ramirez deposited into left to score fellow Ramirez José, which tied the game at 3.

An inning later, Cease was out. He couldn’t put away Bradley Zimmer after getting ahead 0-2, with Zimmer reaching seven pitches later on a single. He left a full-count slider to Austin Hedges up in the zone, and Hedges hit it out for a two-run homer. He retired Hernández on a flyout, but after walking Amed Rosario on eight pitches, Tony La Russa came out, and José Ruiz came in.

The idea was that José Ramírez would have less success facing Ruiz for the first time, rather than Cease for a third. He foiled that notion with a double that made it a 6-3 game.

Ruiz, Ryan Burr and Garrett Crochet kept Cleveland off the board the rest of the way, but the Sox couldn’t figure out how to damage Bieber who wasn’t at the top of his game. Double plays halted threats in the third and fourth innings, and Bieber ended his night retiring 11 of the last 12 he faced, even though he struck out a middling seven by his standards.

After Bieber departed, the Sox brought the tying run to the plate against Bryan Shaw with one out after Anderson singled and Moncada walked. José Abreu popped out on a hanging slider, and Yermín Mercedes struck out on a slider well off the plate. Abreu and Mercedes combined to go 0-for-9, with Abreu stranding eight and Mercedes three.

Bullet points:

*Behind Mercedes, Lamb singled twice , walked twice and scored twice.

*Moncada also reached base on two singles and two walks, and made a really nice play behind third base on a tricky shanked one-hopper as well.

*Besides Vaughn and Moncada, Burr created a highlight with a diving catch on Hedges’ popped up bunt. He knocked the wind out of himself, but stayed in the game to complete the inning.

*Crochet pitched two innings on just 20 pitches, including 16 strikes.

*Cleveland, which entered this series with the second-worst OBP in baseball, posted 19 baserunners against 9⅓ innings of Cease and Carlos Rodón

Record: 33-22 | Box score | Statcast

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Root Cause

The ump swept away the evidence, but we know Hamilton had some skin in the game.
He is winning me over a little bit every day.

calcetinesblancos

Can’t win ’em all, but I liked the fight at the end.

metasox

Small sample warning, but Lamb now sports the highest OPS (after Cease, of course)

GrinnellSteve

And he had a nice catch in right on a sinking liner.

Joliet Orange Sox

I know you’re making a bit of a joke but there are two related points I want to make:

  1. I really think it is time to ride Lamb’s hot bat and get him in the lineup whenever the Sox go up against a right-handed starter. I think it is time to give Mercedes a few days off. I recognize this doesn’t mean Lamb in for Mercedes as Lamb plays most of these games already. It means Grandal, Eaton, Mendick, Collins, or Leury in for Mercedes which I think is a fine idea for a few days. Mercedes is 4 for his last 41.
  2. I’ll still take Moncada as the best player on the Sox even if his ops is only 0.861. He’s on pace for 7.5 bwar for the season which is a really great season. The last Sox players to exceed 7.5 bwar for a season were Gossage and Kaat in 1975. The last position player to do so was Dick Allen in 1972. If Moncada can keep it up, someone other than James Fegan may list him at the bottom of their MVP ballot (but probably not given the mocking Fegan took for including him after his 5 bwar season in 2019).
Last edited 2 years ago by Joliet Orange Sox
texag10

I’m going to preface this by saying I don’t want to remove him from the lineup completely but:

Mercedes really needs to see some time off. His season OPS is .828 which is pretty good but if you take out his first 4 games of the season where he absolutely went off, his OPS drops to .735. That’s still good but he is really starting to struggle. I was concerned back during the Twins series that he had changed his 2 strike approach in an attempt to do more damage and it seems he’s also more aggressive overall. His swing % at the end of April was 51.1% and he had a contact rate 83.3%. Fast forward to today and his swing % is up to 54.1% and his contact has dropped to 80.1%. Those numbers aren’t horrible but he’s now in the 9th percentile for Hard Hit % according to baseball savant. Something’s wrong and if he needs a day or two to figure out, so be it.

soxygen

Agreed- Mercedes looks like he could use some off days against tough righties.

If Mercedes’ defense is as bad as everyone says it is then there may not be much opportunity to see what Collins can do with regular DH at bats. So, more Lamb please!

texag10

Alternatively we could slot Grandal in at DH more often like last year but he isn’t exactly knocking down the door for more PAs lately.

metasox

We should see more Lamb. There was a good deal of knee-jerk negativity places like here so it is good to see him, and others, contributing. He had said he was working on reducing he leg kick because he doesn’t play everyday and it affects his timing. We may be seeing some results. He may not get back to his all-star days, but if he can look the way he did with Oakland briefly last season, that is very, very useful. Some of this is easy, in the hands of La Russa. But there may be some decisions coming up for Hahn to try to move guys to and from Charlotte. Would like to see the Sox get a little more creative that way

AJ Mithen

What is it about Cleveland that the Sox just can’t get over!!

ParisSox

This is a well coached team. Besides putting the guys in right positions to succeed, the hitters seem to be taking good approaches and succeeding in key moments. They are going up there prepared. Even though it was a loss, this is some solid baseball being played every day by these guys. Fun season!

Root Cause

There seems to be a hidden virus that attacks our batters. Currently, they look hesitant and unsure of what to do with the bat. At other times, they collectively go up seemingly with a plan and execute it. Saw it last September and it has happened again. It isn’t the pitcher as it seems to come in waves. Grandal has the most severe case. Mercedes and Abreu are suffering as well. Hope it passes soon.

Last edited 2 years ago by Root Cause
soxfan

Yes we do, Jim, yes we do.

“The official scoring is a two-run double, but we know what we saw.”

knoxfire30

What an odd change of events we have billy hamilton and jake lamb being red hot and vaughn and mercedes cooling off.

Nice to see Burr and Crochet look strong out of the pen.

With the above mentioned success of Hamilton and Lamb and now Burr looking solid two times out the roster crunch could be an issue in the next week or so as Engel, Fry, and Kopech make their ways back… who stays and who goes???

vince

Mendick, Burr, and Foster?

knoxfire30

They love ruiz for some reason and he is out of options but I could see him also going if push came to shove. It probably is gonna have to be those 3.

metasox

Ruiz has good stuff and he is the closest the team has to a long-man as they don’t want to use Crochet in that role and Kopech is used more selectively

Last edited 2 years ago by metasox
vince

Cleveland is who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.

I’ll feel better about this game if we win today and at least take some time off the clock in the division.

dwjm3

I’m concerned today will get rained out.
Forecast looks dicey in Cleveland

lifelongjd

Agree with the opinions to have Yermin sit for a couple days. His approach is totally different from earlier this season. He’s swinging at almost everything it seems and not working counts like before.
Today is a big game in the big picture. A little nervous with Lynn on short rest. But he’s a hoss and hopefully will get us a split.

texag10

He “only” threw 82 pitches and that was 4 days ago so I don’t feel like he should be all that impacted but I stopped playing baseball after 1 year of kid pitch so what do I know?

metasox

If his approach has changed, I wonder how much of that is just trying to respond to pitchers now having a “book” on him.

dwjm3

Forecast looks dicey for today …I’ll be surprised if we play

soxygen

I really hope we get the game in, and not just because I am looking forward to the matinee. I hate the idea of a late September 5-game series with Cleveland.

dwjm3

Completely Agree…I don’t think a five game series to end the season in Cleveland is fair to the Sox.

David

It will also be a five game series for Cleveland, and at that point in the season the Sox probably won’t still be relying on Hamilton and Lamb — by my count their eighth and ninth best outfielders.

Last edited 2 years ago by David