White Sox 7, Rays 5 (11 innings): Tim Anderson gives bullpen second chance

White Sox win

The White Sox are undefeated when Tim Anderson scores four runs in a game.

It’s only happened twice, and both games required late rallies for the White Sox to pull it off, but still. With his bat and legs, Anderson propelled the White Sox to a victory in their first 11-inning game since 2019.

His heroics mean we can start with what went right, and Anderson was the rightest. He smacked a game-tying solo shot in the ninth inning after an agonizing eighth, and when the game came back to him in the 11th, he factored into the game’s only extra-inning runs. First he shot a single through the right side to score Manfred Man Zack Collins. Then he took second when the late and wide throw home wasn’t cut. He moved to third on a passed ball, and though Luis Robert couldn’t get him home, José Abreu hit a chopper to third high enough for Anderson to score without a throw.

(Abreu made Anderson work harder in the fifth, as Anderson needed every inch of his extension to dive successfully around Mike Zunino’s swipe tag on a contact play.)

Tony La Russa could’ve stuck with Liam Hendriks, who summoned beast mode to strand the potential winning run in the bottom of the 10th after the Sox went scoreless in their half. His first pitch resulted in a productive groundout that moved a runner to third, but he struck out Wander Franco, then teased a popout from Nelson Cruz to get the game to the 11th. Those battles only required eight pitches, but perhaps La Russa didn’t think Hendriks could weather a second adrenaline spike.

Fortunately, Ryan Tepera got the job done in Hendriks’ stead. His worst pitch of the inning — a 3-2 slider to Brett Phillips — resulted in a flyout just short of the warning track to open his night, but while Cruz took third on the play, Tepera stranded him with a couple of strikeouts, making Anderson’s baserunning exploits more appreciated than necessary.

Anderson finished the game 3-for-6 with two RBIs and four runs scored (a fourth hit was taken away from him when an infield single was correctly revised to an error by Brandon Lowe behind second base). He’s the reason why we’re waiting until now to talk about the eighth.

There’s a lot to second-guess, and La Russa did some of it after the game. He opened the inning with a 4-2 lead and Craig Kimbrel on the mound, but Kimbrel found immediate trouble by throwing his first seven pitches out of the zone. He got a lineout from Kevin Kiermaier before a second walk, but Manuel Margot advanced from first to third on a stolen base and wild pitch during an at-bat that ultimately ended with a Mike Zunino strikeout.

With the tying run still at the plate, La Russa pulled Kimbrel for Aaron Bummer to face the lefty Lowe. Kevin Cash countered with Randy Arozarena, who drew his own four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners. That’s when Wander Franco hit one of those classic too-high choppers that backfire on Bummer to make it a 4-3 game. Bummer then walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases even though first base wasn’t open, and Austin Meadows upset the lefty-lefty strategy by lining the first pitch to center for a two-run single.

La Russa kicked himself during his postgame Zoom call for not trusting Kimbrel’s track record. He might also kick himself for intentionally walking the go-ahead run into scoring position, especially with Bummer having the tendency to compound bad breaks with mistakes.

Fortunately, Anderson caused high-leverage headaches for the other dugout when he endured a 1-2 count against JT Chargois to hammer a full-count slider over the center-field wall for a game-tying homer, putting the redemption story in motion. Garrett Crochet survived his own leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth, and the rest is victory.

Prior to the foundering of the bullpens, this looked like a well-earned victory for Lucas Giolito, who held the Rays to two runs on three hits over seven innings, striking out eight. He should have received more offensive support, but four runs looked like plenty with the way he was throwing. The Rays made him pay on a couple of his limited mistakes. Ji-Man Choi took a center-cut, thigh-high fastball out to left center to tie the game at 1 in the third, and Margot sliced a drive past Eloy Jiménez on a hanging slider with one out in the fifth. Jiménez took a bad angle to turn two bases into three, and Margot came home on a sac fly.

Otherwise, Giolito pitched beautifully, with his slider laying down the law before his changeup arrived. He threw just 90 pitches over seven innings, but induced a whopping 24 whiffs, distributed relatively evenly among his three main pitches (10 fastballs, eight sliders, six changeups).

Michael Wacha wasn’t nearly as sharp, but the Sox offense still needed time to crack him. The Sox foreshadowed an early crooked number when Anderson reached on the error to start the game and scored on Luis Robert’s double to right center, but Abreu and Jiménez struck out, and Yoán Moncada flied out to keep the Sox limited to one.

The second run didn’t come until the fifth despite threats in between. Joe McEwing sent Andrew Vaughn into an out at home plate on Seby Zavala’s one-out single in the second inning, when a stop sign would have loaded the bases for Anderson. It wasn’t a bad send in terms of McEwing’s clock, because it was a bang-bang play at home. But Vaughn wasn’t expecting the green light, and took an angle better suited for holding up than charging home, and the extra feet traveled cost him.

The Sox broke it open — kinda — in the fifth. Anderson reached on an infield single, moved to second on a Zunino passed ball, took third on Robert’s groundout to the right side, then scored on the contact play. Yoán Moncada made the other two runs a lot easier by crushing a 1-1 changeup out to center for his 11th homer and a 4-1 lead.

The Sox outhit the Rays 11-5, but they both only mustered two hits with runners in scoring position. The Rays were 2-for-10, while the White Sox were 2-for-18. A win’s a win, and the magic number is 30.

Bullet points:

*Brian Goodwin went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, including an 11-pitch at-bat in the 10th where his bid for a two-run homer went foul by only a couple feet.

*Vaughn might’ve had the worse game, going 1-for-5 with six stranded along with the out at the plate. He’s now 2-for-46 on the season with runners in scoring position and two outs. Anderson covered for mostly unremarkable games down the line.

*Hendriks picked up his eighth win of the season, which is not the stat you want to see from a closer unless he’s pitching the 10th inning on the road.

Record: 72-51 | Box score | Statcast

Author

  • 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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To Err is Herrmann

Tim Anderson has 2 WAR just in the two games I have seen him play on TV in the past 9 days (Iowa and tonight, and I know I am calculating WAR incorrectly). It’s healthy that the man we call TLR (FDR, JFK, LBJ, TLR) recognized his mistake. A good game to study before the playoffs begin. Btw, that cornball analyst on High Heat on MLBtv called the ChiSox “fraudulent” and “paper tigers” and predicted the pennant would come down to the Astros and the Yankees. His sidekick pushed back in the strongest terms, championing the Pale Hose and predicting the Bronx Bankers won’t make it to the playoffs. We need to bring some high heat to High Heat.

Jason

I mean, the Yankees are the hottest team in the league right now. Fraudulent and Paper Tigers are hot take terms for the role he’s playing, but he’s not wrong that they look dangerous.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jason
Malkatraz

When MLB Network started copying ESPN’s loudmouth formula I started tuning out. Kind of sad.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Great comeback win. Bullpen management utterly ridiculous, bordering on completely incompetent.

roke1960

What a gutsy win! I hope Tony learned something tonight. Kimbrel should not have been replaced in that spot, and fortunately Tony admitted that later. You have to trust that the studs that you got are going to do the job. That’s what you got them for. And I didn’t like the walk to Cruz. Don’t put the lead run in scoring position. But Timmy bailed them out. What an awesome game he had. When he gets on base, great things tend to happen. And good to see a Moncada blast. If he gets it going, that lineup is absolutely stacked. That was probably the best win of the year- the only mistakes were the two bad decisions by Tony. But he won’t make those mistakes again. Don’t stop now, boys!!

Last edited 2 years ago by roke1960
Infield Grass

TLR had the only mistakes I guess if you ignore the fielding mistakes by the players throughout the game? They made some great plays too to balance the ledger, but this wasn’t a particularly well executed game from the players either. Good that they get a win where it’s cost them previously, especially on the road against good teams.

Root Cause

It is just an opinion but I felt that Timmy refused to lose. He more than made up for his errant throw to 2nd. This is a champion’s mentality. They don’t show up to play, they play to win.

GrinnellSteve

I don’t think an accurate throw gets him.

GrinnellSteve

I got the impression Tony felt his mistake was disrespecting Kimbrel. Certainly that’s true, but there’s also the matter of bringing in Bummer knowing the response will be Arozarena. I’d much rather go with Kimbrel-Lowe than Bummer-Arozarena.

Also, walking the lead run into scoring position is bad, but loading the bases for a pitcher who is having trouble throwing strikes is worse.

GrinnellSteve

The strike zone last night was a hot mess. Zavala was not getting calls in the zone and Zunino was getting them outside the zone. The first 5 pitches to Choi in the 9th were in the zone, resulting in a 3-2 count. Choi walked on the 6th pitch. That’s the most egregious example, but it was a theme throughout the night.

roke1960

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse umpired at bat than Choi’s in the 9th. Crochet threw 5 strikes, 4 clearly in the zone and had a 3-2 count. That was just brutal.

Malkatraz

Very interested to see the Umpire Scorecard for last night. The umpire didn’t miss a lot of calls, but I can’t remember it being so one-sided.

GrinnellSteve

Timmy is on the bench again? He sat Thursday and is out again today. Is he hurt? And Robert is out, too. Vaughn-Goodwin-Lamb in the outfield. Mendick at short. I hope rather than full days off, Tony is waiting for the perfect opportunity to deploy TA and Robert.

Foulkelore

I was surprised/worried too, but luckily both are getting days off. James Fegan relayed that TLR is concerned about 7 straight days on turf. Although, I would maybe think Tim could play two games in a row on turf after having Thursday off.

GrinnellSteve

Tony has an office.

roke1960

That’s the benefit of having an 11.5 game lead. None of the other teams can afford to rest anyone at this point. Hopefully, having rested and refreshed players and pitchers will pay off in the postseason.

Malkatraz

But why does he have to rest both his #1 & #2 hitter on the same day? Timmy could get a day off tomorrow against Archer (who he’s never hit well).

roke1960

Yeah, I don’t understand that. Rest one today and one tomorrow.

roke1960

Hopefully, Cesar and Goodwin will have better days than yesterday. If they don’t we’re in trouble.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

It’s not hard to understand. TLR is more overrated than bright. In addition to last night’s game, he brought in Bummer in the 8th a couple games ago to face 3 straight right handed hitters. Almost cost them that game too.

He doesn’t deserve a free pass just for admitting a mistake that people on here knew in real time was blockhead stupid. Most MLB managers know better without needing to blunder like that.

dwjm3

There is still something to play for namely the number 1 seed.

jhomeslice

Vaughn has sat at least one game each of the last 4 series, while it seems TLR’s plan is to make sure Lamb plays as much as possible. They have the division won, but have secured nothing as far as playoff seeding. TLR is managing some games as if they don’t matter. Mistake.

Yolmer

I think part of TLR’s MO is to use the regular season to test players for the playoffs. The lessons learned yesterday are trust Kimbrel and don’t put Eloy in the outfield unless you have to. Plus, he sees a bit of how Kevin Cash thinks in the clutch. But I am not going to rush to judge the moves right now because this is a playoff team and what really matters is how they perform in October.