If Lance Lynn‘s mighty struggles against the Houston Astros doomed the White Sox’s chances before Game 1 started, then it stands to reason that Lucas Giolito‘s dominance over the Astros since he became a Cy Young contender would carry equal weight. He’s thrown two starts against Houston in his career, and both were complete games, including one shutout. Add up the lines from the two games, and you’re looking at: 18 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 17 K.
It doesn’t quite work that way for fans, especially ones of a team that doesn’t have a rich history of overcoming the odds, which makes the times they’ve fumbled away favorable matchups all the more painful. White Sox fans are largely to expect the worst and hope for
the best passable.
Their most recent performance against Framber Valdez back on July 18 was just that. Steady pressure resulted in four single tallies, including solo shots by Yoán Moncada and Tim Anderson. Three of their seven hits went for extra bases, and they drew four free bases on top of that (two walks, two HBPs). It was more than enough for a Carlos Rodón who was at the top of his game.
The White Sox appear to have their best possible lineup against a lefty like Valdez, even though he might prefer facing righties thanks to his changeup. His splits are slightly better against righties on the season…
- vs. RHB: .219/.305/.321
- vs. LHB: .225/.354/.363
… but on splits like these, it’s possible they’re at least partially formed by a team’s better lefties staying in to face him, while the lesser lefties get swapped out for equally unremarkable platoon bats.
Either way, the White Sox don’t really have that to consider. Of the four lefties they sent out to face Lance McCullers Jr., three were switch-hitters. Gavin Sheets is the only one who’s being replaced lefty for righty, and Andrew Vaughn homered off Valdez the first time they met.
Otherwise, Leury García playing over César Hernández is the only thing to first-guess, because he has 13 homers off lefties this season in just 202 plate appearances, which exceeds the number of extra-base hits García has against lefties this year (nine over 139 PA). That’s the only thing I’d actually do differently, but a theoretically slightly better ninth hitter isn’t enough to swing the game. It comes down to more people doing their jobs, starting with the starter.
As for relievers, Tony La Russa should have all hands on deck, with his best five relievers yet to be used. Dusty Baker let the White Sox see Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly before they had to, although there’s enough of an argument for knocking off rust in lower-leverage situations that it shouldn’t yet be a factor.
For Houston’s lineup, the only change involves Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez exchanging their positions from Game 1, and Chas McCormick playing center instead of Jake Meyers, but the rest of the batting order remains untouched.
* * * * * * * * *
TV: MLB Network
|SS||Tim Anderson||1||Jose Altuve||2B|
|CF||Luis Robert||2||Michael Brantley||DH|
|1B||José Abreu||3||Alex Bregman||3B|
|C||Yasmani Grandal||4||Yordan Alvarez||LF|
|LF||Eloy Jiménez||5||Yuli Gurriel||1B|
|3B||Yoán Moncada||6||Carlos Correa||SS|
|DH||Andrew Vaughn||7||Kyle Tucker||RF|
|2B||Leury García||8||Chas McCormick||CF|
|RF||Adam Engel||9||Martin Maldonado||C|
|RHP||Lucas Giolito||SP||Framber Valdez||LHP|
(Photo by Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports)
\Princess Leia Voice
Help us, Lucas Giolito, you’re our only hope
What do we think about Leury playing over Hernandez?
Hernandez has been bad since the trade and Leury has had hot streaks, but Hernandez has a solid track record of being good—and, in particular, being better than Garcia. Maybe the playoffs are the time to play the hot hand over track record, especially when the gap isn’t large. But, it strikes me as some combination of odd and bad.
I would have switched it up with a lefty starting, Leury not doing much yesterday, and Hernandez was at least starting to hit a little at the end of the season. However, like Jim said above, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
They also both have interesting defensive records. At their best, they are both phenomenal defenders. At their worst, they are more than acceptably error prone.
It could be as simple as Leury looking a bit more locked in taking drills at 2B the last two days. Or it could come down to which of them is battling fewer aches and pains.
I’m inclined not to second guess a decision like that one where TLR and the front office really do have much much better relevant information than the general public.
I didn’t have kind words for TLR’s lineups most of the year. But I think this is exactly the lineup I would have drawn up based on this roster.
I could see some arguments to make tiny tweaks here or there, but none of them are meaningful changes and I think their would be good counter arguments saying to keep it as is.
As a side issue: Tim Anderson needs two hits today to maintain his all-time record of “most hits through first XYZ post season games.”
He is tied for the 2 game record, holds the 3 game record on his own, and is tied for the 4 game record.
With two hits today, TA would tie CarGo for most hits through 5. (And with 3 hits, TA would hold the record on his own!)
Well, when Eloy’s going well, I’d be disappointed with an RBI fielder’s choice with the bases loaded and 1 out, but right now, I’ll take it.
so this is just on MLB network – how can I stream without a subscription?
Here’s what I did: sign up to Fubo via streaming. The package with MLB Network is like $80 a month, but they give a 7 day free trial. I just signed up less than an hour ago, and it’s working great to watch the game. Just make sure to cancel within a week.
We are leading the game.. Just sneaking a bit of it from work
I mean, loads of strike calls looking
Giolito is making them swing…throwing strikes
It’s very early, but he looks really good.
Can’t wait until later in the game when Buck Showalter can tell us how to save our closer for a situation that doesn’t come.
Sometimes I wish TA would at least give them the impression that he’s willing to take some pitches.
I missed the start of the game because I was… killing time reading Sox Machine & the Athletic ????????.
I’m on the west coast and hadn’t converted the time zone’s correctly.
But I rejoined the game after we scored top of the first.
If we win, does this mean I’m obligated to miss the start of every game this series?
Yes. Yes it does.
I assume that was a rhetorical question.
2nd inning, good time to put this game out of reach for the Astros with a crooked number.
Put a funny plaid sports coat on that Capital One guy and you’ve got Ryan Dempster.
If anybody from the bottom of the order wants to start doing something, that would be great.
Those were not good at bats. They need to be more patient.
Yeah, the swing by Engel on the second pitch was especially bad. It was way down and away, and coming from a lefty, it would have been coming from even farther away to get there.
Yes, Jerry we need a right fielder. Engel is not the solution
I find annoying when hitters that foul and foul and foul….
What is the “injury delay” that Gameday is referring to?
Moncada had a long way to go to try to catch a popup in foul territory and then slipped and went hard into the wall. He was down for a few minutes, but is staying in the game.
Moncada slide into the padded fence trying to catch a foul. He didn’t catch it and stayed a bit on the ground. He seems fine.
Good grief, Jim Kaat and Buck Showalter on the broadcast. neither has been relevant to baseball in 20+ years. this could be brutal. and this is coming from an old guy (58 myself)…
Thus far I am Ok with them, but that might be due to a recent high doses of ARod
arguing that Garcia could have gone to 1b on that groundball is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. How on earth is Garcia supposed to watch the runner while fielding the ball? “Put ’em where Abner Doubleday inteded”…. It’s like none of these guys have watched a baseball game since1966.
I am not OK with them anymore…WTF?
Oh wow, I totally missed that, but just heard a replay that was posted, and he did say that.
I don’t understand. Why was he referring to Moncada as a “one of those”?
I took it as “if only you could grow Moncadas”. I honestly don’t think Jim Kaat is smart enough to make a “40 acre and a mule” reference. Regardless it was a super creepy, objectifying conversation.
you don’t need to be smart to make statements grounded in racial stereotypes.
You have to have paid attention in middle school history. If you’ve been listening to Jim Kaat you probably, like me, doubt that that’s the case.
He also just made a really weird mule reference. 82 years young.
Good question. It is open to a wide range of interpretations…all of them bad.
i took it as “a stud looking athlete’ is all
Walking hitters after striking out the side…It is not that Giolito is not throwing strikes, this Astros players just keeps fouling and fouling and fouling
Poor catcher defense leading to a run, you say?
It was a tough one in the dirt with a lot of spin. Grandal moved over to block and got in good position, but it spun off his glove. That was on the pitcher with how it bounced in front of the plate. Maybe you meant the throw home, but I don’t think the throw was going to get him anyway. Maybe I’m wrong on that one.
The wild pitch. Agreed it was not an easy stop but not an impossible one. Already the second one in 10 innings of the series. You can’t stop everything but there’s a reason the Sox are bottom 5 in WP, PB, & CS. It’s one of those things that can be a killer in close games.
Didn’t Grandal have a terrible series, or at least game, in a post-season for the Dodgers? I would like to see the Sox consider if he should eventually go to more of a primary DH / backup catcher role. But that is a subject for another day.
As I recall he got sat in games in the 2018 playoffs specifically because of defense but that’s the kind of decision depth like the Dodgers’ can afford you.
Actually the door swings both ways!
The walks are hurting us tremendously. Astros can hit the ball. you can’t give out walks when facing a good offensive team
ugh, pito or grandal needed to come through there.
Why would you bunt a guy from second to third with 1 out with Bregman? Is that Showalter who said that?
I’m glad I don’t have any sound.
It’s brutal. I don’t mind Costas doing play-by-play, but the analyst combo is really bad, and Costas won’t be challenging anything they say.
I think I’m going to synchronize to DJ and Len on audio because it really is an awful broadcast.
It’s not helping that aside from poor play, we have absolutely rotten luck in this series too.
Can we get a fucking break????
Vaughn looks completely lost
Narrative Narrative Narrative
The most overused word in society today.
I only used it once!
I believe that “unprecedented” has overtaken “narrative,” but yes, your point is taken.
Robert hasn’t made an out this series yet, right? And yet they’ve only scored two runs.
Keep doing your thing. The luck will change eventually.
I am a fan of playoff Lucas
Does he come out next inning for the third time though? I lean ‘yes’ but I think it’s a real question.
Bullpen up and warm, though.
So with his pitch count, the third time through coming up, and thoughts towards needing him later in this series, do you pull Giolito now or let him go at least one more?
One more inning maybe? So your bullpen has to pitch 4. Hoping he gets thru the next inning clean
Cross posted, I vote he gets a crack.
Edit: Yes. Let him pitch.
The lack of extra bases is sinking us. I think the only extra base in this series has been a double (?). Hard to score runs with scattered singles here and there.
All singles I think. Yeah, having an ISO over .000 would be a good goal.
Engel bunting? Seriously?
He smoked one…to a freaking glove. Can’t get a break.
Sox will have 3 run lead after this inning, or next.
That’d be great. And if you’re wrong, you can just blame the crack. It’s win-win, really.
For the record you said this before they even tied the game. There’s 2 of the 4 runs needed.
Damn, almost! But I did leave next inning as possible for the other run. If they get it, my post had better get some thumbs up, lol
So close, three runs to take a 2 run lead, but you allowed for another inning for it to happen.
The baseball gods won’t allow us even an inning of enjoyment with a lead.
2 hits and an unlucky out after a hard hit ball….Valdez is cooked. DSNB
LUIS ROBERT IS GOD
I mean GOOD
I meant ????
I’m starting to believe the first one is more true.
Robert is a man amongst boys at this point.
I used to say if God wore a number, he’d wear 35. I think he’d switch to 88 now.
TA7 and Luis Robert are the two guys who definitely came to play. The others have to pick up their game a little
There’s the on-air apology from Kaat about the 40 acres comment.
I’m sure someone told him even Keith Law is calling him out. Twitter doesn’t forgive
All the sudden I am back into this game. I want MORE….MORE runs
Is someone up in the Sox pen? Not sure it makes sense to bring Giolito back out after a long wait.
Soon it will time to test our lauded bullpen in a meaningful game
Even if they do want to put him back out there, they really should have someone warming, anticipating possible trouble. I hope they have someone up.
To pick up on Shingo’s first comment on this thread: Use the force, Luc.
Time to pull Giolito out of the game
They can’t. They have no one warming, somehow.
Oh man, I don’t mind putting Giolito back out there, but how do you not have someone warming, just in case? He looked like he was losing it a bit last inning.
Yordan Alvarez scares the shit out of me. Going to Crochett, a rookie, is a ballsy move by TLR
Yeah, and he threw 26 pitches yesterday and gave up 3 hits to 6 batters (at least one was a soft, infield hit). I don’t know about this. Let’s see what Crochet’s got.
And it didn’t work out. WHERE IS AARON BUMMER? We need a groundout for double play.
They showed on the broadcast that Alvarez has no platoon split for his career. And yet they went to the only good reliever who isn’t well rested in order to get a lefty.
‘Fresh reliever coming in and walking the first batter’ is up there for me with ‘out at home on the contact play’ in terms of things that drive me completely insane
I think Ozzie Guillen mentioned that was one of the things he hated the most.
Didn’t we fire the last manager for mismanaging the bullpen in the playoffs?
TLR’s in game strategy hasn’t really been tested during the season and it’s worrying to think it potentially could be an issue.
He admittedly managed the macro this year well but the micro is what matters now.
Throw some sliders!!
Fuck this…Why is Crochett pitching here???
Are we saving Tepera, Bummer, Kimbrel, Hendriks for what exactly?
I completely agree. It was one of my biggest concerns. You get high leverage situations in the middle innings in the playoffs, and you have enough off days to rest your best guys. Use them in those situations. I’ll amend this to add that Crochet is a good reliever, but he’s not fresh and the Astros got a good look at him yesterday, so that needs to factor into the decision.
If Giolito doesn’t walk 2 of the first 3 guys, we’re not even having this conversation. Inexcusable.
Giolito should have been allowed to walk only ONE hitter, but apparently our HoF manager didn’t have anybody warming up, and then he brings Crochett when he has a grounder specialist in Aaron Bummer. So this 2 runs shitshow innings is on TLR
But Crochet got a ground ball, it just found a hole. Then he got another one for a DP.
And his ERA in the series is 0.00!
It’s seriously embarrassing. The Sox had a chance to change the narrative surrounding their team but instead Jerry hired TLR and now we have to deal with this bullshit.
Tony saving the relief aces for higher leverage situations later in the game since he knows Crochet will create higher leverage situations. Hall of fame stuff.
More like Hall of Shit Stuff.
“Good win loss record” – Costas on a reliever
I muted that garbage broadcast 2 innings ago
Wow. Hey Bob, here’s a reliever who was 4-5, and here’s one who was 7-1. Which one would you like? Congratulations, you just chose Jose Alvarado over Emmanuel Clase!