Twins 3, White Sox 2 (8 innings): Superior starter, then inferior relievers

With Lance Lynn on the mound against a homer-prone rookie for Minnesota, this was the game of the doubleheader the White Sox were supposed to win.

They didn’t, but it’s not Lynn’s fault. He threw seven strong innings, allowing just a solo shot to Nelson Cruz that tied the game in the sixth, which ended up tying the game and forcing an eighth.

No, the bigger problem was a White Sox offense that didn’t seem to track what Griffin Jax was throwing, and Tony La Russa’s aversion to using Liam Hendriks in tie games.

Garrett Crochet opened his third extra-inning game of the season, and he dropped to 0-3 in such games, although the two runs scored with Ryan Burr on the mound. Neither Hendriks nor Michael Kopech factored into the game. José Abreu hit a ringing double off Hansel Robles to score one run when the White Sox got their turn, but a strikeout and a flyout stranded him there. Now the Sox will have to hope to turn the tables with an upset when they send Reynaldo López to face José Berríos in the nightcap.

Crochet opened the inning because two of Minnesota’s first three batters were lefty. Alas, he gave up a single to the first lefty, Luis Arraez, that put runners on the corners. Crochet then got Josh Donaldson to hit a weak chopper to third, but Jake Burger didn’t notice that Gilberto Celestino had drifted way too far off the base, and slipped in his attempt to change directions and race him back to third. That mistake loaded the bases with nobody out.

Crochet came back to strike out Trevor Larnach, and Ryan Burr broke Nelson Cruz’s bat to limit him to a sac fly, but Jorge Polando rifled a single to right that scored the decisive run on a bang-bang play at the plate. The White Sox are now left to hope that there are meaningful innings for his two best relievers coming up to salvage the rationale.

Still, it shouldn’t have been this close to begin with. The Sox could only muster one hit off Griffin Jax, and that was Tim Anderson’s solo shot in the third inning.

Unfortunately, while Anderson took the game’s best swing, he also took the game’s worst one. The Sox had an opportunity to extract a walk-off run against an erratic Tyler Duffey, who walked Zack Collins to put runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh, then fell behind 3-0 to Anderson. Tony La Russa gave Anderson the 3-0 green light, but Anderson took it a little too literally. He swung at a high-and-tight fastball that would’ve been an easy ball four, but instead nestled into the mitt of Alex Kiriloff foul of first base.

The White Sox ended up with just four hits over eight innings, with zero of them from the fourth through eighth spots in the order.

Bullet points:

*Brian Goodwin made a fine running catch in the right field corner to take extra bases away from Donaldson in the first inning, and Anderson covered a lot of ground to flag down a pop-up on the left side to end the third.

*Lynn lowered his ERA to 1.94 despite the no-decision in his first game since his extension.

*The White Sox dropped to 4-5 in extra innings.

Record: 56-37 | 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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After hot starts it looks like Engel and Goodwin are both starting to come back down to their backup-caliber offensive pedigrees. I’ll be curious to see if Rick Hahn does anything to try to fix RF.


Lynn looked great.

I’ve been wondering what the Lynn extension means for 2022 Rodon and Kopech. I still think that non-tendering Rodon made it even less likely that he would sign an extension. But it seems to me that the smart thing to do is extend the QO and take some draft pick compensation when he probably rejects it. That means you still have a slot for Kopech in 2022. But if Rodon were to accept the QO, the result would be an interesting predicament for the Sox 2022 rotation – 6 worthy pitchers for what will presumably be a 5-man rotation.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen

But if Rodon were to accept the QO, the result would be an interesting predicament for the Sox 2022 rotation – 6 worthy pitchers for what will presumably be a 5-man rotation.

That sounds like one of those good problems.

Last edited 1 year ago by dansomeone


It only matters because I’d like to see Kopech starting games in 2022.

I can imagine the team deciding it’s easier to put Kopech back in the pen and keep Cease starting rather than try something new with both of them. But Cease in the rotation plus Kopech as a reliever is a lot less valuable than a combination in which Kopech is a starter.