Astros 7, White Sox 1: Shopping list reinforced

Look at it this way: At least the White Sox wasted no time reminding everybody about the best ways to upgrade the roster when the trade deadline arrives in two weeks.

The bullpen? Codi Heuer walked the No. 9 hitter to load the bases after inheriting two on from Dylan Cease with two outs in the sixth. He got Jose Altuve to ground out, but Aaron Bummer made a mess of the seventh with erratic control in his first game off the IL, and Jose Ruíz allowed a bases-clearing double to push the game out of reach.

Second base? Leury García failed to cover second on what could’ve been an inning-ending force play in the third, instead opening the door for the two runs in the third inning that gave the Astros a forever lead. He then cut in front of Anderson on a Martin Maldonado roller for another non-error error. On top of that, he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Help against righties? The White Sox tagged Lance McCullers Jr. for a Tim Anderson triple on the first pitch and a Yoán Moncada double on the second, then didn’t collect a third hit until Anderson again in the ninth inning. McCullers struck out 10 White Sox and induced nine groundouts while throwing just 94 pitches over seven innings. His slider was nasty and he has a 2.80 ERA for a reason, but there are going to be plenty of strong right-handed pitchers come October.

That’s how the White Sox fell to 0-5 against the Astros this year, while Dylan Cease dropped to 1-5 against teams .500 or better. He was the least of the White Sox’s problems, striking out 10 batters himself over 5⅔ innings. He just had that frustrating defense-induced stumble in the third, then gave up a resonating homer to Michael Brantley in the fifth. He was otherwise fine, with plenty of brilliant moments, which is enough for the team’s fourth- or fifth-best starter.

Reynaldo López also did his job, which was to pitch the final two innings of a lopsided game without incident. He allowed just a single while recording a strikeout.

Bullet points:

*34,516 fans came out to boo the Astros, who have outscored the Sox 34-9 this season.

*Brian Goodwin struck out all four times up, which makes him as good as Yordan Alvarez.

Record: 54-36 | Box score | Statcast

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
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.

Articles: 3891
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

If the Sox are only going to score 1 run against a team like the astros it really doesn’t matter what the pitching does.


FWIW: haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but Lamb began rehab assignment with Charlotte.


I really don’t see a path to playing time for Jake Lamb once Eloy comes back.


I don’t know the timetable for Lamb. But I could see Lamb and Burger platooning at DH for a time. When EJ is back, that is a different matter

Infield Grass

Lamb and Eloy come back and they can send Sheets and Burger down to get regular playing time in case there is another injury. Lamb can at least cover both corner infield and outfield spots if there is an in-game injury and gives the team the option of giving Vaughn a day off against the tougher righties. Or you can play Lamb in right and Goodwin in center against righties, but I prefer keeping Engel or Hamilton in center for defense.

Assuming they make it this team will be another one series and out in the playoffs. I could see several wild cards teams kicking their ass. It goes to show how bad the AL central is that the division winner can pick up so many easy wins and still be a mediocre team.


I really think people need to chill out. It is July and we have no idea what our roster will look like come October.

Will Eloy, Robert, Grandal be back?

Will we acquire second base help?

Will we acquire bullpen help?

Will Houston improve?

Will Houston sustain a significant injury?

I would hold off on writing the teams death notification.

Joliet Orange Sox

We have a 5-game sample that proves beyond any doubt that the 56-36 Astros are infinitely better than the 54-36 White Sox. It is clear to any rational observer that if the Sox played the Astros 1000 times that the Astros would win every single one of those 1000 games. If this were not the case, we would have seen examples of post season suprises in the past like wild card teams winning the world series, teams with the best record losing early in the playoffs, and teams that were a dozen games under 0.500 early in the season winning world series.

It is clear to me that the White Sox need to follow the model of 2017 when they took the season series from the Astros 4-2. I miss those heady days of 2017 when the Sox were clearly better than the Astros. It was so much more fun than this year when the Astros are infinitely better than the Sox.

I would really like the Sox to look for another bat and a bullpen arm just like I would’ve if the Sox won on Friday. I just think there’s been some overreaction to one game.



It was a game. Started by Dylan Cease. Against a good team. I wouldn’t make too much of it. It’s the longest season in sports. 162 games. Chillax and enjoy it.

Clearly we are not the best team in the AL. Every year there is one “best team in the AL” and 14 teams that are not the best. I can still have fun rooting for the 2nd or 3rd best team in the AL. And some years, the 2nd or 3rd best team wins the pennant. For what it’s worth, the team that keeps kicking our butts looks like the best team in the AL.

FWIW, I hope the team is able to acquire middle relief and backup catcher upgrades, and would welcome another bat. I’d like to see the Sox win the pennant. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that the season is long, anything can happen, and there will probably be another baseball season after this one (if not, then we have bigger problems than not being able to beat the Astros!).


Great, great post!!!


I agree on overreaction. But still, the Sox bullpen is a weakness that cannot be ignored, and they are not getting help there unless it is by way of trade. Even if Eloy, Robert might have gotten them on the scoreboard a couple times, the bullpen would have still imploded.

While we focus on our injuries, Bregman has been out for a while on the Astros too. I see the Astros as the best team the Sox will have to deal with in October. While it is not wise to make too much of their games with them, I don’t believe the results should be brushed aside and ignored, and the team assessed through rose colored glasses. As you put it, their weak links get exposed against elite teams.

Hahn has his work cut out for him if the goal is more than just making the playoffs. “Shopping list reinforced”, indeed.

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice
Root Cause

I want to agree with you but you are arguing against the time traveler!


Exactly. This team is, on paper, worse than the one swept in Houston, having now lost Grandal, but (hopefully) far from the lineup they’d face in October.

While it’s hard to watch games where the team loses decisively via defensive mistakes and walks, the silver lining is it puts a nice shiny layer of Carmex on the cold sores of the Sox roster (granted, the negative is it gives opposing teams more leverage in trade talks, given how obvious the need for RP, 2b are for the club).

Last edited 1 year ago by Jason

I couldn’t agree more. If the White Sox have Brian Goodwin hitting cleanup, Leury playing 2nd and batting 6th, Collins catching, Sheets DHing and Adam Engel playing against a tough righty, then yes, they will not go anywhere in the playoffs.

Jim, you did an excellent job pointing out the shopping list. Unless Bummer can come back and be dominant, they probably need 2 more effective relievers. And they definitely need a 2nd baseman, because Leury playing regularly there will just expose him for the bench player that he is. But we are getting Eloy back soon, Robert likely in the next month, Grandal by early September. I would like to see Hahn go get Story and Mychal Givens from Colorado, then add another quality reliever. So now for all of you ready to jump off a cliff tell me how this lineup won’t be able to compete with anyone in baseball:
Timmy ss
Yoan 2b
Grandal c
Eloy DH
Story 2b
Abreu 1b
Robert cf
Vaughn lf
Engel/Goodwin/Lamb rf

with a top 3 of Lynn, Rodon, Giolito
and a bullpen featuring Hendriks, Kopech, Bummer, Crochet, Burr, and 2 more quality relievers.


According to the standings, Houston is 43-22 against teams over .500, the Sox 16-25. Striking is how this suggests the competition Houston has faced has been tougher. If playing better teams helps to make a team better, teams like Houston are better prepared for a post-season schedule.


What these numbers tell us is that this Sox team is not as good as most Sox fans think. We’ve racked up a lot of wins against really poor quality of competition.

This team is not a couple of minor upgrades away from passing the Astros, Rays, Red Sox, or A’s (let alone all four). This is part of the reason that I wouldn’t insist on this team going “all in for 2021.” The gap between us and those teams is fairly substantial, even if our overall records are pretty similar.

To go beyond the Astros:
Boston 33-24 versus teams above .500;
Tampa Bay 37-27;
Oakland 27-29;
Mariners 32-29;
Jays 26-34;
Yanks 27-32.

That’s 7 AL teams that have legit shots at the playoffs and have fared substantially better than the Sox when facing other good teams.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen

So you don’t think adding Eloy, Robert, Grandal, a good 2nd baseman and two good relievers would make a difference. Man, you guys just have a low view of this team!


I don’t think adding three guys who might not be fully healthy and two of whom may be competing with one another for at bats at DH, along with possibly a couple of minor upgrades to mid-leverage relief and middle infield depth, are going to make this the best team in the AL.


So what do you think they need? Trout, Ohtani, Soto and Tatis?


So you really think the Red Sox and A’s are superior to the Sox? Have you seen the Red Sox rotation? The Sox top 3 of Lynn, Rodon and Giolito matches up favorably with any top 3 in baseball. A lineup with Vaughn hitting 8th would be a gauntlet for any staff to work through. You are seriously underestimating the White Sox.

Last edited 1 year ago by roke1960

Are Lynn, Rodon and Giolito going to perform at this level for an entire season? Is your sense of how good they are shaped by the quality of competition the team has faced?

And it isn’t like other teams don’t have injuries and guys coming back from injuries.

Again, I agree with the consensus of what moves are necessary. I just am less optimistic than many that those deals are going to be enough to meaningfully improve the Sox’s chances of winning the pennant (or being better “on paper” than all 3 of the Astros, Rays, and Red Sox).


You can say that about every team. Are the Astros going to continue to perform as they have been? If the White Sox add a quality 2nd baseman and 2 quality arms and Eloy, Robert and Grandal come back, then they are as good as any other team in the AL. Yes, other teams will get guys back from injury too. But we don’t know what injuries will happen to teams over the next 2 months. I’m just saying the White Sox roster at full strength will match up with any team in baseball.


Except that the Astros and Rays are a lot better than the White Sox. And I think that the collective assessment of the Sox is based in part on overachieving in 2020 versus a laughably easy schedule, and overachieving in 2021 versus an easy schedule again.

No dispute about what the team needs. The question is: how much should the team be willing to give up to make those improvements to the 2021 roster? And how much should we expect those trades to actually lead to better results? Those answers depend on your assessment of how strong the team is. Clearly, you have a more optimistic view of this team’s playoff chances and the likelihood that some upgrades via trade will meaningfully improve the Sox’s chance of winning a postseason

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen

It must be tough to spend all your time talking down your favorite team. All I know that a healthy Sox lineup with the starting staff they have and Kopech and Hendriks at the back end is something no team is going to want to face. The Sox need to find a 2nd baseman a couple of more relievers to get them to the back end and they will be a very tough out in the playoffs, just as tough as the 27 Yankees, I mean the Astros and Rays.


Good grief man. I give up.


Comments like this are maddening: If you aren’t a fanboy that blindly thinks your team is great than you are just talking down the team. This team is not a 2nd baseman or reliever away from jumping either the Astros or the Rays, let alone the Red Sox or the Yankees. The talent gap between all of those teams is wide, and you close it by either making a conscious effort to fill spots with good players or a bunch of young players (Jimenez, Robert, Moncada, Vaughn) all need to make the jump to perennial all stars really quick…..


Sorry, but I beg to differ. I’m not a fanboy that blindly thinks my team is great. I’ve been a Sox fan for 50+ years. Vegas has Sox as the 3rd best odds to win the WS, behind the Dodgers and just behind the Astros. So I think a lot more people than just me think the Sox have a great chance.
Which team in baseball has 4 or 5 “perennial” all-stars? And which team has a starting staff better than the Sox. Last year you guys complained that they couldn’t win because they didn’t have 3 reliable starters. Now they do and it’s they don’t have a team full of perennial all-stars.

Jim, I’d like to see you do a poll on here. If the Sox add a good 2nd baseman (Story or Frazier) and a couple of solid arms, and Eloy, Robert and Grandal come back, do they have enough to win the World Series. I’d be very interested to see the responses.


So just to be clear:

There is a universe where Rick Hahn gives up the assets to get Trevor Story.

Two young players who may combine for 100 games played between them by the end of the season come back and both play at an elite level for the playoffs

The Sox acquire two solid relievers

What do you think the chances are for all three of those happening exactly?


They don’t have to happen exactly. The playoffs over the years are littered with teams that aren’t necessarily the best teams, but ride great starting pitching to a World Series title. They don’t need Robert and Eloy to come back and be elite. They just need them to be solid. Do you really think they have no chance to win the World Series?


Before today, did you think there was a universe where the Sox sign Lance Lynn to a 2-year $38M extension?


The Sox versus Houston’s strength of schedule would have 8 fewer wins. This would put them more or less on par with teams like Seattle (against whom we are 3-3), Toronto (against whom we are 2-1), and Cleveland (against whom we are 5-6).

That is, our .390 win % vs good teams in 65 games (the number Houston has played) would give us a record of 25-40. The Sox .776 win % in 27 games versus bad teams (Houston has only played 27 such games compared to our 49) results in a record of 21-6. Together this would be a record of 46-46.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen

I really don’t care what the record against good opponents of a team batting Goodwin cleanup, Leury playing second, Collins catching and Sheets DHing is. Barring a major collapse, the White Sox will win the Central, not have to play a wild card game, and will have a rested Lynn, Rodon and Giolito ready to go. If all the players come back, and they make the additions we have been talking about, they will be as good as any team they play, and will have a better top 3 in the rotation of anyone they play. Who cares that they can’t beat the Astros with 4 guys that wont be playing in the playoffs? This team is built for the postseason, and they have a manager who is more than playoff tested.


I don’t even know what you are arguing anymore. “Built for the post season” and need a good second baseman and 2 good relievers in the same thread. Oy.

All I was ever saying is it isn’t 2021 or bust, and I don’t know that we’re going to be able to upgrade enough via trades to make a difference in terms of our likelihood (on paper) to win the pennant. I have been a die hard Sox fan for 40 years, and I sure hope this isn’t the best/only chance we’re going to have to make good on this rebuild. We don’t need to overreact to every loss, and we should also be realistic about how good this team is that has literally played the easiest schedule in all of baseball per ESPN.


Teams that have 5 capable starters and a lock-down back end of the pen are built for the playoffs, where it all comes down to pitching. Cease and Keuchel will likely be in the pen for the playoffs. Yes, they still need a 2nd basemen and probably 2 relievers, but the pitching studs are in place.


How many teams in a typical year successfully upgrade 3 roster spots via deadline trades? I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing not that many.

We are both rooting for this team to go as far as possible in a year in which they have a 90%+ chance of making the playoffs and three good starters. The only possible areas of disagreement are (1) how close we are to being (on paper) the best team in the AL and (2) how much we’d be willing to give up to get this team there…which is purely academic since neither of us make trades for the White Sox.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen

I agree. We are both rooting for the Sox. Good thing they don’t play the games “on paper”. GO SOX!


As an aside we had 34, 516 show on a day where covid cases were up in 49 of 50 states. Yeah I realize folks in Illinois have largely done a good job getting vaccinated but the pandemic isn’t over and our fanbase still turned out in droves.

I seem to recall this being the fanbase Don Cooper and Kenny Williams were all to keen to attendance Shame over the years. Maybe they should have directed their fire elsewhere.


In response to no one in particular, I think that when the shopping list is long then it may be a good idea to step back and recalibrate expectations.

Yes, the Sox have multiple needs. But it takes (at least) two teams to make a trade. Other teams are in the same boat and are looking to upgrade via trade. By definition, the teams that acquire help were willing to give up more than anyone else in the market, meaning that many such acquisitions end up being “overpays.” And some trades just don’t work out (because of bad scouting, injuries, or just plain bad luck).

If the Sox need to successfully execute multiple trades, and all of those trades need to work out as planned, then maybe we are expecting too much from the trade market.


The Braves are doing their best to acquire bats/gloves that make sense for the Sox. First Joc P and now Vogt from the Dbacks – you know they’re getting some righty bullpen help soon. It doesn’t seem like they gave up much at all, either. Anyone want KevAn Smith back?

On a side note, doesn’t La Russa look like a grandpa in his jammies in the Southsider unis?

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Big game feeling ➡️ Embarrassing defeat

Hopefully they show up for the National broadcast tonight


IIRC, Sox have struggled when nationally televised. But that would make sense as those include the best teams

King Joffrey

Maybe the pitching staff and Collins should work on that wild pitch/ricochet play that Hendriks and Zunino pulled off in the ASG.

Brett R. Bobysud

Not official yet I don’t believe, but with the Braves acquiring Vogt from the D’Backs, it sounds like they’re going to DFA Lucroy.

That would be a pretty reasonable and easy add for the catching position.


Two weeks to trade deadline. The results of this series and the one in Milwaukee will give Hahn a real good sense how this Sox roster matches up against playoff teams. Let’s assume a returning Eloy and Robert (and a resurgent Yermin?) solve DH/OF holes. 2B needs an everyday bon fide MLBer. But how much is an Escobar or Frazier going to cost? Probably one of Burger or Sheets. Do you make that trade? And relief help is definitely required. Codi and Aaron are just not consistent, nor is Marshall, this year. I don’t think relief help is going to be as expensive as 2B help. But how about another starter? The guy who is a stopper in the playoffs? Do you sign Hamels? Costs money, but not players.


Hamels would be the 6th best starter on this team. Unless they are going to get someone like Scherzer, then they are just fine with the rotation. I don’t think Sheets or Burger should be off-limits in trades. The only guys that should be off limits are those who will still be major contributors when Eloy and the others return. So that means Kopech, Vaughn and probably Crochet. Everyone else should be fair game.


The return of Eloy, Robert, and Grandal will make a big difference of course. They may add nobody else offensively even at 2b, and still be fine doing so.

But even the return of those 3 won’t help their middle relief, which they should not ignore and pretend will be ok on its own. Aside from Liam, the only two guys I trust in their bullpen are Kopech and Crochet. Even Bummer has been pretty bad often enough to render doubt. You hope he improves, but I would not bet their playoff hopes on it. Burr has been good of course but only for 16 innings or so. But even if Burr is for real, they do not have enough quality relievers. As good as Lynn has been, he has averaged less than 6 innings a start. They are going to need a better bullpen, or I think it will likely be their undoing in the playoffs.


I agree 100%. If Bummer cannot be as effective as he has in the past, then they need 2 quality arms.


Yeah, the bullpen is one area that will not improve because of guys coming off the DL. There is no reason to believe their bullpen is going to be appreciably better without additions. It’s close to a disaster right now. Kopech/Crochet cannot pitch every game in the playoffs.


It’s one game. They better gets their heads out of their asses and show up for the next few.

Infield Grass

So the Sox sent their 4th starter against their the Astros 1st. I didn’t mind it because you need to expose Cease to as much pressure as possible to know what you have for the playoffs. I thought he did fine, which was encouraging especially if the defense Garcia had done his job. Just in general against Houston what it has shown is defense matters and you can’t be giving the best teams extra outs even with the Sox pitching. Cease gets out that inning with no runs scored he may go at least another inning and that takes another relief pitcher out of the equation. If they’re not down several runs then the Sox likely go with the better relief pitchers. Having a catcher that wasn’t awful behind the plate would have helped all of the pitchers. There is a domino effect. Houston has the best offense in the AL by far and statistically their starting pitching has been even better than the Sox so far this year. And they have the experience of playing in at least the ALCS the last four years. It’s stacked in their favor right now. The silver lining is that other than Bregman being out this was pretty much the optimum Astros lineup and pitching, but it was not anywhere close to that for the Sox.

Brett R. Bobysud

Lynn signs extension through 2023 with an option for ’24.


Great move!! Spend, Jerry, spend!! Don’t stop now!!


Whoa!! What a totally great and unexpected move!! I can’t believe I’m reading this to be honest.


A very team friendly deal, certainly less than what Lynn could have gotten on the open market if he chose free agency. Which means he wanted to stay more than maximizing his contract dollars. Speaks a lot to his quality as a teammate.