White Sox 5, Twins 3: Gavin Sheets walks off Minnesota
Gavin Sheets, in his first two at-bats against Jose Berrios, seemed lost. He had difficulty timing up the sinker and whiffed against the sliders resulting in two strikeouts. For the third act, Sheets stepped up to the plate with an opportunity to be the night’s hero. Brian Goodwin sliced a single through the shift, and a pitch hit Andrew Vaughn. When Berrios spiked a slider that catcher Mitch Garver couldn’t corral, Sheets looked at Goodwin and Vaughn standing in scoring position. A medium-depth fly ball would at least tie the game.
On a 3-1 fastball, Berrios tried to jam Sheets but missed his target. That mistake traveled 390 feet, landing in the right-field bleachers. The rookie tagged Minnesota’s Ace for a three-run homer as Chicago won, 5-3.
Before the seventh inning, this night’s story was about Garver and Berrios working well to limit the White Sox offense. At the same time, the Twins catcher supported Berrios with two solo home runs. The game seemed to be on autopilot as the Twins were leading 3-1 going into the sixth inning. The one run was Jose Abreu’s 17th homer of the season, moving him into fourth place all-time on the White Sox home run leaderboard.
In the sixth inning, it was Yoan Moncada’s turn. Having a history of success against Berrios before tonight (2 HR, .294/385/.559), Moncada didn’t miss on a sinker that found too much of the plate. Pulling the pitch into right field for a 405-foot solo home run to cut the deficit to just a single run.
The three home runs ruined Berrios’s final line as he finished with 6 IP 4 H 5 ER 3 HR 1 BB 8 K. With plenty of scouts in attendance and skepticism out of Minneapolis about a long-term extension, perhaps tonight was the last start for Berrios in a Twins uniform. Time will tell.
Reynaldo Lopez started the game on the White Sox pitching front, and it was pretty rough early. Luis Arraez hit a single to left field and advanced to third base after Lopez’s errant pick-off throw. Josh Donaldson hit a deep enough fly that Sheets ran down short of the warning track in right field, but quickly the Twins were ahead 1-0.
Lopez’s hanging slider was the first of Garver’s home runs in the second inning. After a scoreless third inning, manager Tony La Russa decided that Lopez’s night was over. Lopez went 3 IP 2 H 2 R 1 ER 1 BB 3 K throwing 27 strikes in 44 pitches. The fastball was OK, averaging 95 mph in velocity and generating two whiffs on 13 swings. However, the slider still isn’t sharp, and the changeup is still a work in progress.
Matt Foster was next in line and suffered a scare in the fifth inning. After allowing Garver’s second home of the night, Foster was hit by Max Kepler’s line drive. Luckily, Foster was not seriously injured, and the liner deflected Danny Mendick for the out. Remaining in the game, Foster had another comebacker hit at him, but this time fielded the grounder and started the inning-ending double play.
Codi Heuer pitched a scoreless sixth inning striking out a batter and walking one. Covering the seventh inning was Aaron Bummer. His slider was on point shutting down the Twins offense. This unit had a tough time last Friday against Houston, but tonight, the trio of Foster, Heuer, and Bummer was good enough to buy time for the White Sox offense.
- Prior to the game, the Chicago White Sox announced Luis Robert will be making his rehab start in Winston-Salem starting Wednesday.
- Danny Mendick went 0-for-2 laying down a very questionable sacrifice bunt in the third inning, and Leury Garcia was 0-for-3. He did have a nifty tag on Nick Gordon for a caught stealing. Still, the White Sox could use some more production at second base.
- Gavin Sheets in 16 games is hitting .245/.333/.633 with 5 HR and 14 RBI.
- After the game, Matt Foster was returned to Charlotte.
Record: 57-37 | Box Score | StatCast
It’s more than just the results, Sheets just looks great. Real power from the left side, has hit a couple of real bombs and done exceptionally well since being called up.
I hope this cements his roster spot as far as any notion of Lamb replacing him. Sheets is younger, and has more upside and future value than Lamb, beyond question.
What a thrill for a guy with just a few games under his belt. No matter what he does the rest of his career, Sheets will never forget tonight as long as he lives!
Been thinking a bit on this lately with the fact Eloy is coming back soon and now Robert on rehab assignment:
The only value I can conceive of with Lamb at this point in time, is that he would consolidate two players (Sheets and Burger) in to a single roster spot. Is that something we want to do? I’m not sure but we have Eloy coming back soon, Robert is on a rehab assignment, I’m sure we’d all love an upgrade at second. Billy, Engel, Garcia, and Savala probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Lamb and Goodwin don’t have any minor league options left so they would have to survive waivers and accept the assignment if we were to send them down. It seems to me that the Burger is all but a sure thing to be sent down once a second basemen is procured and Sheets is wholy dependent on if you think he can be the starting RF for the rest of the season because DH is about to get super crowded.
The consolidation with Lamb being able to cover both outfield and infield corners and the minor league options issue is the big thing that would lead me to sending Burger and Sheets to play everyday and continue to work on their defense in case there is another injury and then they can always come back up when rosters expand in September. They can’t send Mendick down until they acquire someone at 2B.
Hamilton could go down if since he and Engel are redundant with a full outfield (i.e., if the starting outfield is Vaughn, Robert, Sheets and/or Goodwin) especially if they get a second basemen thus freeing up Leury to also backup.
Though I wouldn’t mind sending down Vaughn. His wRC+ for July in only 109 and that is his best month
He does have a great looking swing, but replace Sheets with Mercedes in your post. It’s ALL about the results. I absolutely hope you are right, and don’t want to shit on the parade, but it’s possible (and likely) the league will figure him out too. It is awesome that the Sox have had so many guys fill the holes in the line up, even if it is only temporary. All this being said, that was an awesome moment last night.
The pitch Sheets hit out last night was 96 mph. Mercedes struggled to hit pitches 94+ so Sheets has an edge on Mercedes at least for now.
Sheets cannot hit lefties (0 for 9) but has murdered righties. His numbers vs RHP are much better than Lamb, even if the OPS of 1.17 is going to come down. He has as many homers as Lamb in a little over half as many at bats.
You’re probably right that the league will start to throw him a lot of breaking stuff and he will come back to earth, but still. Lamb is not a very good player really, even if he has contributed a bit. Lamb was only an improvement over Eaton or Vaughn/Mercedes when they were in a total slump. Lamb is not better than Goodwin, Vaughn, Sheets, or Burger by the numbers, and they have Eloy and Robert coming back also. I don’t see room for Lamb, aside from an injury, or massive slump by one of those mentioned.
Or replace with Palka, Delmonico, etc. A lot of guys have a nice run but probably best to temper enthusiasm. Just enjoy it and see what happens.
I agree that I would rather have Sheets on the postseason roster than Lamb, but Gavin is still essentially just hitting fastballs. He has to learn to hit breaking balls better and it might not be the worst thing if he went back to AAA to work on that. As for Burger, he needs to be playing every day after all his time off and there just won’t be DH at-bats for him. I assume Burger is back in AAA soon to make room for Eloy, and rightfully so.
The other wildcard, of course, is that either Sheets or Burger could be wearing another uniform before the month is out.
Watching Vaughn’s at bats, eye test is telling me that he is so close to going on a total tear. just missing barreling some things up these past few games.
How crazy is this? Look at their lineup and their contributors? Sheets, Vaughn, Burger (!), Collins, Goodwin (!) .. Someone said it before, if you had put this roster / lineup to us in February, we would have thought disaster struck and they were playing for next year already.
This is fun to watch.
Also, I ate crow last night when explaining this to the wife. She said, “well maybe that manager has something to do with it”. Yeah ok.
Really hope this is the start of a major tear by both Abreu and Moncada. Good to see the home runs start flying again.
Moncada especially. He has been OK this year but the power numbers way down. Certainly a lot of room between his production this year and 2019, hopefully he is heading toward the latter.
2019 he had a wRC+ of 140. This year it is 131
Speaking of Bummer’s slider
The more I watch Burger, Sheets, and Vaughn the more I want the Sox to stand pat at the deadline. At least deeming those 3 guys as untouchables. I know it’s early for Burger and Sheets and the league will adjust to figure out their weaknesses, but they just look like they have the potential to be very good MLB players.
Burger is blocked by Yoan. He is the opposite of untouchable.
Other teams, please touch our Burger!
I don’t think there is any player that is “untouchable” in our prospect/rookie pool. Being unreasonable about our farm system is how the Rangers held on to Jurickson Profar for years while he need nothing to help them because of his prospect shine. Don’t trade people just to trade them but if the offer is right, ship them out.