White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: Setback on roster, but not in standings

We’ve seen it a few times this year: The White Sox suffer a debilitating loss, they don’t play that well, and when they smoke clears, they’ve won two out of three and improved their position in the AL Central.

This time, with the aftermath of Nick Madrigal’s severe hamstring still working itself out, the White Sox pounced on Hyun-Jin Ryu for three runs on three extra-base hits in the first inning, then went quiet for an uncomfortable amount of time while White Sox pitching had to deal with some mental locks from the defense. A couple of insurance runs the final two times the Sox came to bat made it an easier final leg to the finish line.

It’s nice when “Dallas Keuchel deserved better” can be said in the same game as “Dallas Keuchel picked up the win.” He allowed two runs over six innings, and both runs scored thanks to some spaced-out moments from the infield corners.

In the fifth inning, Joe Panik reached on a one-out chopper off the plate because José Abreu fielded it without a plan to flip it to Keuchel. Another chopper off the plate put runners on first and second, and Marcus Semien singled a run home to cut the White Sox’s lead to 3-1.

An inning later, Keuchel had a runner on first when he coaxed Randal Grichuk into a routine grounder to third. Yoán Moncada collected it and fired calmly to first … not knowing there was one out instead of two, and he really should’ve gone to second for a 5-4-3 double play. Even just cutting down the lead runner would’ve helped, because he ended up scoring on a single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to make it a 3-2 game.

Keuchel threw more pitches than necessary, but he still completed a strong six, including a season-high eight strikeouts. Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Liam Hendriks all handled scoreless innings the rest of the way. Marshall induced an actual double-play ball from Semien to erase a leadoff single, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The White Sox blitzed Ryu early. Yermín Mercedes, batting second against a lefty with Madrigal out, doubled with one out, scored on José Abreu’s opposite-field double with two outs. Yasmani Grandal then went the same way, but over the right-field wall for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead.

Ryu settled in from there, but the Sox had better luck when he left the game. Adam Engel turned around a 2-2 Anthony Castro fastball for his first homer of the season, a solo shot that made it a 4-2 game in the seventh. An inning later, Tim Anderson drew a leadoff walk from Joel Payamps, then came around on Abreu’s second RBI double of the game three batters later.

Bullet points:

*Mercedes went 2-for-4 from the second spot. Facing a lefty with less-than-stellar velocity made him a sensible play.

*The Sox extended their AL Central lead to 4½ games with Cleveland idle.

Record: 38-24 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
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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karkovice squad

When did Grandal switch back to the squat? Is his knee better?


I believe a week or so ago he was talking about his knee finally feeling like its back to normal. It was right around when his power started coming around so it seems like that was more then just generic baseball player speak.

As an aside the way the team has bounced back from those really harsh injuries has to be something positive to say about LaRussa and his ability to get guys focused back in.

LuBob DuRob

I don’t disagree with the TLR angle, but I think it also highlights the leadership of players like Tim and Jose and the awesome SP we are getting day in and out.


I agree with both of you, and will also add that these guys seem to really like each other. (Yes, I know winning helps.) But their fondness for one another would certainly explain why a severe injury during a game to a Madrigal or a Robert would result in lackluster, distracted play for the remainder of that game, only for them to then rally around the injured players Gipper-style, and then kick it back into gear.

Infield Grass

I have decided if TLR has any value it is the experience managing with the big picture of an entire season and being ready for the playoffs in mind. TLR may say he manages one day at a time, but watching him it becomes and more obvious he is managing with the big picture in mind even if that may not be the absolute most effective decision to win that individual game. Stone was talking about TLR throwing relief pictures right back in a high leverage situation the next day after a disaster, which is a pattern I noticed as well and I’m seeing more examples as time goes starting with how he protected Vaughn’s confidence for the long-term at the plate, but more importantly in the field early on.


Next man up! Good solid win and series win, starting pitching really carried the load this series and that is great to see.

Actually would love to see Mercedes get a few games in the 2 hole even if its a harder thrower and or a righty that the sox are facing. A lot of his problems lately have been chasing too many pitches with yoan and jose protecting him that wont be as big of an issue.


Nice to see Keuchel pitch well against a team with some really tough righties, and then also see our right handed relievers come in and get two innings on 22 pitches.


Engel’s homer was against a RHP. Nice to see.


If 2021 Engel looks anything like the 2020 version offensively that would be a huge relief, especially with Nick hurt.


Absolutely loved the decision by TLR to bat Mercedes 2nd against a low velocity lefty. Don’t think many managers would have made that move with the way he’s hit the past month or so.

I hope Moncada is going to get some 2B fielding reps. It would be nice if late in a game against a righty reliever we could pinch hit Lamb for Mendick, then put Lamb at 3B and Moncada at 2B.