White Sox 5, Tigers 4 (10 innings): Rain-delayed, but not rain-denied

The White Sox intended to close out what had been a straightforward game in a straightforward fashion, with Liam Hendriks taking the mound to start the ninth with the White Sox leading 4-2.

He probably shouldn’t have been out to start it, because a ridiculously strong rain interrupted his inning after one pitch, and only one pitch because Hendriks refused to throw a second. When he retook the mound after a 49-minute delay, he gave up a leadoff single and a one-out homer that pushed the game into extras.

Fortunately, the White Sox were able to restore the evening’s straightforward theme in the 10th. They scored their runner on second with a pair of productive fly balls from Yermín Mercedes and Yoán Moncada, while Aaron Bummer put a leadoff walk out of mind with a pair of strikeouts, setting up a grounder to a shifted Danny Mendick that finished the job.

Hendriks might be the only one worse for the wear. He suffered his third blown save of the season, and first since April 24 (which was also the last time he’d allowed an earned run). At least he has his principles.

As a team, the White Sox improved to 2-0 since the Nick Madrigal injury. Over the first nine innings, the bottom part of the order picked up the slack in his honor. Adam Engel found himself involved in three different scoring innings while Zack Collins and Mendick teamed up in another. Throw in Mendick smothering the final out, and the White Sox’s second string stepped up for a night.

The late drama overshadowed a fine outing for Lucas Giolito, who turned the tables on last week’s loss to Tarik Skubal with six sturdy innings. He would’ve traded places with him in the win/loss column were Hendriks able to nail down the save, but they’ll have to settle for team records instead.

Giolito struggled with changeup command early, but his slider was present enough to take on some of the burden. He gave up a solo shot to Nomar Mazara in the second, and another one to Isaac Paredes in the fifth, but the Tigers mustered just three other hits and a walk otherwise, with Giolito racking up nine strikeouts.

The White Sox didn’t exactly ambush Skubal, but they had more to offer than the last time out, when he struck out 11 Sox over five innings last Saturday. He only got half the swinging strikes this time around, giving the Sox a little more contact to work with.

Engel made the loudest of it early with a line drive that skimmed off and over the top of the left-field wall for a solo shot in the second inning. Another one of his batted balls resulted in a run in the fourth, but not an RBI, as he grounded into a double play with runners on the corners and one out after José Abreu doubled and Andrew Vaughn singled to start the inning.

Another leadoff double an inning later also came around to score. Collins sliced a two-bagger to right field, and Mendick chased him home with a single through the middle to make it a 3-1 game. When Paredes answered that run, the Sox found another in the top of the sixth, again without an RBI. Vaughn walked with one out, followed by an Engel single.

Jake Rogers tried to steal an out for his pitcher by throwing behind Engel, but his throw deflected off Engel and into right field. Vaughn came around to score, while Engel got hung up between second and third while misreading Joe McEwing’s waving of Vaughn for one of his own.

Bullet points:

*Abreu made a series of nifty picks around first base, including saves of low throws by Tim Anderson and Crochet, and some slick footwork to receive a throw from Collins after a dropped third strike.

*Crochet did his best Michael Kopech impersonation by handling the two innings before Hendriks by himself.

Record: 39-24 | 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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Yolmer's gatorade

How long should the Sox give Mercedes? Sure, he had a great April, but lots of bad players have flash in the pan good months. Daniel Palka hit 8 home runs and slugged .657 in July 2018. They don’t have a done of better options, but they can’t treat him like a player with established success in the Majors either.

madridsox

He should have been pinch-hit for by Grandal in the 10. Letting him bat against their right-handed closer worked (barely), but it was the wrong choice anyway.

As Cirensica

He is a rookie with 7 homers and a 122 wRC+. Mercedes had a bad May and still produced wRC+ 77 with an OBP of almost .300

He still puts the ball in play as often as he did in April. BABIP crashed down to earth. With a little bit of BABIP regression he could return back to be effective. He is even hitting fewer grounders than in April. Hits will come although his average exit velocity is a bit concerning, and his expected wOBA is trending in the wrong direction.

Not trying to defend Yermin. He is struggling, but he also deserves a longer leash. If Yermin would be striking out at a Mark Reynolds pace, then yes, take him out of there, but he is putting the bat and the ball together.

dwjm3

He still seems to be struggling with velocity. I don’t think he got a hit on a pitch 94 or above in the last week. If he continues to fail to adjust he is cooked.

Personally, I see Eloy taking his spot later in the year.

HallofFrank

They are impressive numbers, but add a little context and they aren’t very predictive of future success. He’s an older prospect with some pop who made the roster at the last minute, ambushed everyone and crushed for a few weeks, but then was promptly figured out by the league.

I still think he’s the best use of DH bats at the moment in hopes that he’ll make his own adjustments, but TLR should drop him in the lineup in the meantime. He’s basically been a black hole in the middle of the order for a month now.

Yolmer's gatorade

I don’t want to totally cut bait with him, but he is getting playing time like a major league regular when I am not convinced he will be around for this whole year. The last couple days have been games against lefties, but he’s been in there in games against good righties while a pretty hot Jake Lamb sits on the bench. Mercedes should still get a fair amount of playing time, but I think it would be much more optimal to drop him down to lefties and some righties until he proves that April was not a fluke.

It is kind of similar to Matt Foster/Cody Huer. Huer is good, but I don’t really see the reason while TLR would totally prefer him over Foster. They are probably equally likely to provide above average production at this point given their past performance.

soxygen

I don’t disagree with the idea that Yermin should sit out some games against righties. I do think – for perspective – it is worth keeping in mind that he is arguably outperforming someone else whose job is hitting righties (Adam Eaton).

And I’m not sure that I wouldn’t rather have Mercedes DH and Lamb in the OF against a lot of righties rather than Lamb at DH and Eaton in the OF.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen
soxygen

The problem with Matt Foster is how long he spends thinking about whether to throw a fastball or a changeup. Good lord that’s a slow pitcher.

phillyd

Looks like Moncada could use a day off

soxygen

Re Mercedes, for a team that has 3 regulars out for what may be the entire season and very little farm system depth there sure is a lot of talk about replacing our rookie DH who has been struggling against same handed pitching…Most days he is not among the 2-3 worst players in the starting lineup. Not to say that he needs /deserves to play every day, but as bad as he’s been it seems like he is still a better bet to get a hit or have a productive at bat than Adam Eaton (including in May and June) versus RHP.

HallofFrank

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. As bad as Eaton has been, he still has a higher OPS and wRC+ in May and June than Yermín. Plus, there’s Lamb, García, Collins as other options… I’d still like to see Yermín get some PAs to see if he can adjust, but the batting him 2nd or 5th every day needs to stop until he adjusts. It’s all the more important to squeeze all the offense out of DH now that Madrigal is out.

soxygen

Love the 2 innings from Crochet. I think the success of this bullpen will really depend on how well Crochet and Kopech are deployed.