The White Sox weren’t in trouble before the game.
They’re in trouble now.
The White Sox were outscored by five runs for the second time in as many games, this time blowing a pair of leads with their No. 1A starter on the mound. They posted four runs, which is an impressive total when learning that they’re still searching for their first extra-base hit of the postseason. The defense was misplaced. The managing was reactive, except for a weird pinch-hitting decision that resulted in a weaker defensive outfield that got exposed.
Liam Hendriks did pitch in the eighth inning. Unfortunately, the Sox were trailing the Astros 9-4 by then.
They head back to Chicago down 2-0, which risks the Blackout scheme being likened to a funeral the first time the crowd is taken out of it, and many times after.
Giolito struck out the side in the first and labored afterward, and when he got through four with a 2-1 deficit, it seemed like Tony La Russa had the opportunity to apply the lesson from Game 1 and spare him the third time through. It was especially vital when the Sox rallied for three runs off Framber Valdez and gave him a 4-2 lead.
Instead, Giolito started the fifth without backup, walked two of the three batters he faced, and that’s when Garrett Crochet entered. He exacerbated the issue by walking Yordan Alvarez to load the bases, after which Yuli Gurriel smashed a grounder through the middle to tie the game.
That set the theme for the rest of the game — terrible BABIP misfortune for the Sox, and weird decisions by La Russa, and both collided in the top of the seventh.
It started with César Hernández pinch-hitting for Adam Engel against Ryne Stanek, even though Hernández hasn’t been a threat against right-handed pitching in a Sox uniform. He struck out, but the Sox still managed to put together a two-out rally with a single and a walk until Yasmani Grandal lined out hard to deep right field.
In the bottom of the inning, Aaron Bummer opened the inning and gave up a bouncer through the middle to Jose Altuve. He struck out Michael Brantley, then was struck an Alex Bregman line drive that still had enough oomph to roll into center field, putting runners on the corners. Then Yordan Alvarez hit his own grounder through the middle to give the Astros a 5-4 lead. Bummer is used to this sort of issue on grounders, but what was stunning was that nobody was close to flagging them down.
In came Craig Kimbrel, and he had a Kimbrel inning. He got Yuli Gurriel to line out to Leury García, but when Carlos Correa smoked a liner the same way, he spun García around for a two-run double that broke open the game. García had problems in right field at the end of the season, making the decision to remove Engel even more pronounced. Kimbrel then cinched it by yielding a two-run shot to Kyle Tucker that buried the game.
I’ll have more about the inventory of mistakes once we hear what La Russa has to say about them, but here’s a spot to vent for the time being.
*Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and José Abreu combined to go 8-for-13, which shows you the limited utility of singles.
*Grandal went 0-for-3 with a sac fly, but stranded six, thanks in part to that 102-mph lineout that had an expected batting average of .590.
*The broadcast featured guys aged 65, 69 and 82, and they didn’t make it one inning before making a comment that required an on-air apology later in the game.
Houston leads 2-0 | Box score | Statcast
Not a good performance for Gio but it isn’t like they were ever going to shutdown the Astro’s anyway. The question was whether the Sox offense could answer. 18 singles later the answer is no.
I give the Sox credit for at least finding a variety of ways to lose by five in the playoffs.
I feel like I’m watching the Sox v Blue Jays in the 1993 ALCS all over again. We need a shot of Wilson Alvarez.
We need an injection of more talent. Adam Engel starting in right field isn’t the mark of a championship team.
The Astros payroll is 194 million and ours is 140 …it is showing up on the field.
This is probably the most relevant post on here. Even a great manager would not fix the obvious talent gap between these teams. They have to either close the payroll gap and get a couple big time players, or their playoff flops will be an annual thing.
Perhaps things like strength of schedule, record against winning teams, and home field have some relevance in assessing a team’s actual rather than hoped for postseason chances after all.
I know these two games were a big disappointment and make things look worse than they are, but I also think it’s fair to say that anyone is fooling themselves if they think the Sox are on the same level as a team they’ve lost 7 of 9 to this year, many of those games not being close. Getting a real manager to replace TLR would be a great start, but won’t fix everything that separates these two teams that was revealed in their head to head games.
This a good, but flawed team, that is clearly not a part of the upper echelon in the league.
…which is exactly what you could have said before the 2020 season, at the end of the 2020 season, and before 2021 season. They’re no longer mired in mediocrity but they’re still mired.
Exactly right. And while they do have a lot of talent, the only way to bridge the gap in talent to the upper echelon teams is through significant payroll increases. Either we see some bold and aggressive signings, or it won’t happen. Simple as that.
I don’t have much confidence in Hahn’s MLB talent evaluation. I think we’ve had more trade and FA busts than most teams. But this offseason the Sox are going to have to spend to build starting pitching depth because there is none in the high minors right now, and get a real MLB RF or hope Sheets develops fast, and evaluate and upgrade catching, and get a real DH or develop Eloi into one.
And when they could have bolstered DH and RF (including with, I don’t know, Michael Brantley), they elected to bolster the bullpen. Then La Russa leaves Giolito in for the fifth inning despite struggling. The roster was constructed for his wishes, and then he doesn’t take advantage of its strengths. What, then, is the point of Tony La Russa?
I’m still amazed that Artūras Karnišovas was hired and allowed to hire Billy Donovan from outside the Bulls’ established circle of trusted insiders. That isn’t likely to happen with Jerry Reinsdorf’s baseball team while it’s still Jerry Reinsdorf’s baseball team.
The Sox added two late one-inning guys, including a redundant closer. The way the post-season works, seems they really needed another Kopech who can throw multiple innings. If the Sox had more reliable multi-inning guys on the roster, I can see any manager going in with the mindset to pull the starter earlier
What would be the point of multiple Kopechs if Tony is unwilling to use the one we have? I thought the entire point of conserving his innings in the regular season was so he’d be ready for the post season.
Its more then just talent that makes the series a bad one for the Sox. The Astros are just the perfect counter to them in terms of how they’re built. The Sox played better against every other team in the playoffs (That they played against) and in any other series i think they would’ve made a series of it. But this is just a bad matchup that is making the Astros look a little better and the Sox worse then they are really.
That being said the Sox should look to dump Kimbrell in the offseason for whatever. Its clear the guy does not fit here for whatever reason.
NONSENSE, AS MULTIPLE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING ON THIS WEBSITE ALL SUMMER, NONE OF THOSE THINGS MATTER. CLEARLY YOU ARE NOT A REAL FAN AND YOU JUST WANT THEM TO LOSE….
The Kimbrel thing pisses me off so much. It was a bad trade at the moment it happened. Absolutely no one could be surprised by his performance today. He has been awful in every high leverage situation. We have to be the last team that still runs a proven failure out there in the playoffs just because he’s on the roster and he was good three years ago. They couldn’t WAIT to see Kimbrel in there.
I’m so tired of being an embarrassment.
Kimbrel was borderline amazing before the trade. The question asked is the judgement of acquiring a closer with the expectation he doesn’t need to close. Hahn made clear at the time that he and Williams both considered Kimbrel their number one acquisition candidate. I don’t recall who else was available, but presumably the Sox could have matched Tepera up with someone who cost less in talent. And maybe addressed RF or DH as well. Not every team had good luck with its deadline acquisitions, but this plus the 2B acquisition who isn’t even starting isn’t going down well.
Trying to make one team’s closer into the new team’s set up guy has blown up many times before in MLB. Hahn should have known better. Yes, in the summer, the 8th inning was a problem, but one that Tepera could have fixed, so it would be Kopech, Tepera, Hendricks. Madrigal made the bottom of our order dangerous. He will be missed. As for Hernandez, what happened to his power? I think just one or two HRs for the Sox after 20 or so with the Indians? God save us from coaches in any sport that make the player fit their system instead of the other way around.
Remove Kimbrell from the playoff roster. If it applies to Keuchel why not Kimbrell.
Frustrating that this team had three clear needs after last season – right field, DH, and bullpen – and in the most important game of the season, we had a crucial misplay by a backup backup right fielder, a rookie getting overmatched at DH, the $16 million reliever blowing up, and the $18 million reliever nowhere to be found.
Bullpen a clear need? That’s revisionism. Everyone thought the bullpen was a core strength for the Sox coming into the season. Some people even wondered why the Sox paid so much for Hendricks and wanted Colome resigned to keep the Bummer-Marshall-Colome late inning trifecta.
I don’t think that’s true. Last year’s bullpen relied heavily on guys like Marshall and Foster who had career years and couldn’t be counted on to repeat them (and did not, as it turned out.) Let’s say you’re right, though. Then what does it say about our GM that his two biggest acquisitions targeted a need that wasn’t there? And for the record, I liked the Hendriks move, but didn’t understand the need for Kimbrel.
I hope they cannot turn a blind eye to how bad a choice it was to hire TLR, even if he is far from their biggest problem. But he is certainly a hindrance and not a help, and they could really squander much of their rebuild if they stubbornly stick with him instead of admitting and correcting an obvious blunder.
Please no more talk about getting rid of TLR. The more we talk about it, the more false hope will slowly creep into my brain.
I agree but TLR has a two year contract, so he’s back in 2022 at age 77 unless JR decides he’s not.
I didn’t realize he had a 2 year contract. Bad for 2022 but at least there is hope for 2023.
I could’ve sworn we fired the manager who couldn’t manage a bullpen in a playoff series and yet here we are. Add to that leaving Leury in the game for all his ABs and his “defense”, the piss poor defensive alignments that even the dumbasses in the booth were questioning, and it’s no surprise we are down 2-0. It’s telling that we were winning this game right up to the point a managerial decision had to be made. Tell me again about how great a bullpen guy La Russa is?
I don’t see how even the staunchest TLR supporters who have defended him all year can continue to do so. It isn’t fair to blame him as the sole reason they lost either game because neither was close. But he didn’t help, and probably cost them home field by the way he managed during the regular season. He certainly has shown nothing the first two games to support the narrative of them hiring him for his “championship experience”. He’s got to go, period.
I didn’t see most of the game but was struck reading that Hernandez pinchit for Engel and then Leury went to RF. That seems like some of what looked like “overmanaging” from early in the season. Maybe there was something about the matcup La Russa liked, but Leury has shown RF isn’t working for him right now.
To me this was the worst decision of the game. Because even the kindest interpretation of it still makes it seem stupid. And then we saw Leury get turned around. Of course.
Yeah. It’s funny because I hated the hire because of his DUIs, the fact that he didn’t fit the vibe of the team, his asinine opinions about kneeling, the fact that he hasn’t managed in forever, and also that the GM clearly didn’t want him here.
The fact that he’s been exposed as an awful manager is icing on the cake.
TLR owns this one.
I know we can’t replay it to see it but that is the difference of 4 to 3 vs. 4 to 9.
Number 3 has zero upside associated with it. Hernandez doesn’t hit RHP this season, his glove has been up and down, and I don’t believe anyone was even on base when he made the switch. How you can take out your second best defensive player in a tie game, I’ll never understand. Engel makes that catch and then who knows what we’re talking about right now. Just absurd.
While we’re on defense, why are we shifting less this year compared to years past? Who’s genius idea was that?
He objectively cost us more than two games in the regular season. By Tony’s own admission he cost us two; and there were dozens of others that he shared a large piece of the blame in.
So, yeah, he cost us home field advantage pretty clearly.
There is something kind of hilarious about Ricky getting knocked for among other things going to the pen too early in a playoff game, and then now you have the new guy who doesn’t even have guys warming up in the pen to be ready in crucial situations.
Yes, it is ironic. But the reason Ricky was fired was because Hahn was going to bring in Hinch. You have to justify the move somehow, so they picked on Ricky’s bullpen management. TLR is not Hahn’s hire! And now Hinch is with the Tigers…look out for them next year.
I simply cannot wait to see Garrett Crochet come in to replace Dylan Cease with one out in the fourth on Sunday with the Sox trailing 3-1. It’s gonna be electric.
Anyone know exactly how many hits through the infield Houston had in games 1 and 2? I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was 15.
That’s kind of the story of the Sox season. Something like 4th best in the AL in LD% against, and maybe 5th or 6th in exit velocity or hard hit rate, and then something like 9th or 10th in a babip allowed.
I think an off-season review of the defensive positioning is probably in order.
Why wait for the off season? We still have 1 game, at least, to play. Start tonight.
And yet people here were saying Bummer was a shitty pitcher instead of piss poor alignments behind him….
Right, and Heuer was sort of the same thing. Lots of ground ball & soft contact that found holes. That’s why he had a FIP that was about 2
runs lower than his ERA. Sold low there. He’s probably going to be a pretty solid major league reliever for a while, but sadly it will be on the other side of town.
My greatest fear is that Jerry will never fire TLR and TLR will never quit.
Yeah. Let’s pray for a “it’s me or him!” stand from Hahn lol.
Careful what you wish for. That might mean Hahn is gone instead of TLR.
I dunno I’d be interested to see what inevitable replacement GM Hawk Harrelson could do on the Free Agent market.
I will exlude myself because of the crack, but would bet that at least 10 people on here would manage this team at least marginally better than TLR. Time to stage a coup.
Have Jim take a written baseball acumen test, square off against TLR. I’ll bet several would torch TLR on such a test. Jim or one of the baseball analytics guys, clear your schedules for next summer!
Bring back Ricky Renteria. The guy who yanked Dunning out ASAP probably does not leave Craig Shrapnel in to give up that home run. This was my two-months long Craig Kimbrel nightmare come to fruition. Same guy from 2018 postseason, 2019 and 2020 and August-September 2021. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 15 times, maybe there’s a pattern there that deserves some close analysis. A disappointing loss served up in the most disappointing way. Hahn needs to dust off his 2020-21 needs list and try again if Jerry will let him.
What a pathetically overdone take by people on here. The starting pitching has been lousy and they haven’t had an extra base hit in two games. But the focus not surprisingly is to blame TLR. Josh mentions a BS comment about DUI on podcast? Not relevant and real weak….
The players for the most part have not played well and the Astros are damn good. I thought Astros in 4, games, all the homers on here saw visions of WS…
Face it, Houston is a better team, better defense and so far more breaks. Everything ain’t TLRs fault. I’m disappointed in this thread and in the podcast today.
We got one!
Going out on a limb here and thinking that it’s possible that Houston is a better team *and* TLR sucks and is the wrong guy for the job.
Exactly. It isn’t fair to blame TLR for all, but also isn’t fair to ignore his crappy managing and the obvious need to get somebody better. Can only hope he quits out of fear of getting fired, or shame.
I agree TLR is not the entire problem. He is just the part of the problem that was easiest to see in advance and avoid. He’s an arrogant, joyless, man with a lot of baggage who wore out his welcome 40 years ago for those of us who remember those years well. The Sox knew that when they hired him.
It was a wildly unpopular hire when it happened so it is easy to see why there’s a lot of scrutiny when the team had a better winning percentage in 2020 (0.583) than in 2021 (0.574) and the team has look overmatched in the first two postseason games this year. I don’t think there are many people really hoping TLR is back for another season next year no matter what happens in the next week (and I am definitely hoping for the Sox pulling off a comeback we all talk about for years to come).
The manager makes the lineup, he or his staff position the fielders, he or his staff may be calling the pitches, he manages the bullpen. So, yes, the manager is accountable–especially in playoff games.
Here is my indictment. One, TLR didn’t prepare the team for the playoffs. He let home field slip by despite being swept in Houston during the season. Two, he played Garcia in both games instead of Hernandez. The GM traded for Hernandez, he is a bona fide MLB 2B. Garcia is a super utility guy, but a utility guy nonetheless. Three, he played Engel in RF after barely using him at all in September so he got no ABs, and it shows. Four, he compounds the mistake by PH Hernandez (whom he wouldn’t start) for Engel and thus reducing our defensive capability, so he got a negative move there. Five, in both games TLR was too slow removing the SP. And he didn’t bring in his best guys to pitch in high leverage situations. Crochet is not nor has ever been the first guy up to relieve in a close game in 2021. Why in the ALDS, twice? A rookie instead of Kopech? Six, TLR saw since Aug. 1 that Kimbrel can give up the HR in high leverage situations. Why did he think that would suddenly change in the playoffs? Seven, TLR suddenly moves Robert out of the two hole in game one after successfully having him there for most of September. And we’ve seen that Moncada is not a good #2 hitter. Eight, TLR is 76 years old. I have to wonder if the grind of a full season wore him down in a way a younger man wouldn’t be. Nine, I still can’t forgive him for the Mercedes thing. Rather than try to teach TLR just broke him, and we’ve had no effective DH since. Ten, if Rodon could pitch five innings very effectively against the Reds 9/29, why isn’t he as a LH starting game one or two with the RH starting the other now when it counts? If he wasn’t hurt then, why is hurt now ten days later? Like we saw in Cincy early this year, TLR likes to save people for situations that never show up because they have their “roles.”
The biggest TLR sin of the night should have been anticipated. Hendriks has been treated as a traditional 1990 closer all year, used basically in only the 9th inning, even though most of MLB has moved past that concept. Use your highest leverage guy (formerly closer) in the highest leverage game situation. 5th inning, Houston down 2 with men on 1st and 2nd, one out. The game was in hand, bring in the best reliever in basebal and finish the inning. if he doesn’t throw too many pitches he goes the 6th as well.
The counter is, save him for later situations – well, they did, 5 down in the 8th.
LaRussa made a lot of mistakes but a lot of these “indictments” are ridiculous.
One, he let home field slip because half the team was injured at various points. Tim Anderson, Carlos Rodon and Adam Engel most of all. If these guys are out because TLR was grinding out one or two more wins down the stretch, would playing an extra game at home be worth playing an infield of Leury at SS, Hernandez at 2B and either Sheets or Billy Hamilton in RF?
Two, Garcia has been better than Hernandez. Full stop. He’s been better on infield D and better at the plate. Leury should be starting ALL games at 2B. The mistake was bringing Hernadez in and playing Leury at RF.
Your third and fourth indictments are contradictory. Should he put Engel in RF or not?
Five, I agree he was too slow to remove the SP but Kopech? The clear reason Crotchet was in there was to face the left handed batters of the opposing lineup. The correct answer is to bring in Bummer (well it turns out he couldn’t make a difference either) but Kopech is a rookie too! They’re both Rookies! Kopech has a grand total of 20 IP in the majors than Crotchet.
Six, So TLR shouldn’t bring in Kimbrel because of regular season record but he should bring in Hernadez DESPITE his Regular season record. “Hernadez was better with the Guardians” yeah and Kimbrel was the best reliever in baseball with the Cubs.
Seven, that’s objectively the correct move. Eloy, Grandal and Moncada CANNOT drive in runs. Robert should be in the heart of the order because no one other than him, Tim and Abreu are getting good wood on the ball.
Nine: Mercedes was slumping before the whole thing even happened. He had a hot start to the season and the league adjusted. Simple as.
Ten: Perhaps you’ve noticed that Rodon was barely hitting 90mph on the gun vs the Reds after 8 days of rest and couldn’t muster much better against the Detroit Tigers before them with 9 days of rest. He’s walking wounded at this point and needs twice as much rest as a regular Starter to be able just to walk to the mound.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Here are my responses. One, when the team knows it is going to play Houston for most of the month, you push. Yes, injuries are a fact, but TA was slow getting to the IL. Was he hurt or not? I can see managing Rodon carefully, but to what end if he’s going to have to pitch game 3 when he could have pitched game 1 or 2? If Engel is hurt bad enough to be ILed, then is he good enough to play in the ALDS with a few ABs in the last week? How about Goodwin, a LH, on the roster instead? And playing him more in the last month than he was. Yes, Garcia was a better hitter than Cesar, but I don’t think he is a better defender. If he was, why trade for Cesar at all? As for Crochet or Bummer in that situation, the Astros hitter had absolutely equal splits against RH or LH pitchers. There was no advantage! And who’s better, Crochet or Kopech? Your point about Kimbrel v Hernandez is a false comparison. I can have different decisions about different players who play different positions in different situations. If Eloy, Grandal and Moncada can’t drive in runs, which I dispute, then Hahn should be fired and TLR retained. Yes, Yermin had to adjust to the league, so work with him, not dismiss him, and don’t publicly humiliate him. When we look back at this season it will be hard to deny that he was the offensive difference maker between pre All Star Sox and the mediocre +/-.500 level team of the second half, so April/May is an important reason the Sox won the Central. Rodon was in the low 90’s on his fastball per Gameday. Yes, his velocity is down, but he pitched 5 innings of one hit baseball. He can certainly walk to the mound.
I think the whole idea of a best 3/5 series for baseball is wrong. The strengths of a team over 162 games is negated, and the weaknesses magnified. That’s what’s happened here so far. But this is the situation, and the on field leadership has to prepare and mitigate the risk of a short series. One way was to make sure the Sox had home field. We are the best home field team in the league, and one of the worst against the good teams on the road. And in a short series there is no time to recover from mistakes. Each game has to be managed like it’s the last one. Starting Lynn was a mistake (he’s hurt, too). Gio first, Rodon, two. Lynn at home. RH, LH, RH. Use your best players in high leverage situations, and forget about roles or what inning it is. Heck, use Hendricks in the fifth if you have to shut the other guys down. Take the crowd out, keep the lead or keep it close. Don’t worry about who’s going to pitch in the ninth during the fifth. If they blow open the game it doesn’t matter.
I’ll buy you a beer Sunday if you’re there. You seem like a good Sox fan.
I was for Lynn starting the series, and I know many people thought that was a terrible idea. Regardless, the evidence was there on why it could go south fast, so why didn’t they have a reliever ready to go the second it started going downhill? How do you even let a starter give up five earned runs in a playoff game?
Larussa’s tactical mistakes today definitely hurt. My main indictment of him is more of the 30,000 foot variety. He was brought on over other more qualified candidates for one reason, for his experience and winning playoff pedigree. He was tasked to take this young inexperienced but talented team and mold them into champions. He was supposed to prepare them for the pressure of playoff baseball. Against a veteran playoff-experienced team, on national tv with a loud hostile crowd, he was supposed to be the leader who takes these guys to the next level. This was his moment, the reason to put up with all the baggage. Barring a baseball miracle, he’s completely failed.
Is it too early to fire TLR?
It might be actually too late
Navigating the Houston lineup is a battle of attrition, two times through the order the Sox were still in both games. Lynn should have been pulled after 3 and Gio after 4, that’s his big mistake in both games. 2nd big mistake is not giving Kopech the baton first in one of these games.
Regardless if Cease or Rodon starts, if Kopech isn’t starting the 4th (certainly the 5th) on Sunday, the hall of fame baseball person needs to go.
Great recap as always Jim. The litany of unforced errors the rest of game is just more evidence that the modern game can’t be managed without a stout analytics team. The talent is here, the payroll is enough(higher would be better). Poor management and coaching was exposed again. I think they lose in 5 games, but today was definitely winnable.
I just truly don’t understand the point of having two good long relievers on your roster in a short playoff series and either not using them or not putting them in before the shit hits the fan. This has been some Joe Maddon game 7 level incompetency.
My bet, but much more importantly my season, was stolen from IMO one of the best GM’s in sports and Tony Larussa. I can’t stop thinking about it. Need to let it go.
Hinch instead of TLR could have the difference here
To be honest, I liked the hiring. Also, to be honest, I think he should have been fired after the game. It honestly looked like he was paid off to lose that game, I am being honest, he was that bad. The Sox hit the ball hard and they had a 2 run lead. They should have won that game. Many elementary kids would have managed that better, again I am not exaggerating.
I’m not sure who they should hire, I am not a fan of Hinch and I know he’s not available, but Tony needs to go. I also don’t understand why Hanh wasn’t cutthroat like he has been. Although Lynn is their best pitcher, he shouldn’t have touched the ball this series. The sample wasn’t small. Further, Kimbrel should have not been on the roster. I am so sad that this was so avoidable, they have all the talent they need.
Lynn HAD to touch the ball this series. Who else is available? Keuchel? Lopey? Banged up Rodon?
Kike Hernández has in one game 4 more extra base hits than the entire White Sox in 2 games
It is what it is. I am so sad at the current situation being so avoidable but I am betting on the Sox to win Sunday, and I can’t ever not enjoy a Sox home night game in the postseason after that PK slam. City Beautiful, Southside, baseball, that is all.
I really don’t understand not going with Kopech in the 5th inning. That might even give Gio a chance to come back in Game 4.
Leury in RF. WTF
I have slim hope that Cease and Rodon / Kopech save us in the next two games so they can at least get their butt kicked in Houston one last time.
Either way, the holes are clear. And you see the difference between a complete team and an incomplete team.
As for payroll, yeah spend more but what about the Rays? Could we be smarter please?
Finally, we will miss Madrigal I believe.
Thanks for listening. This was therapeutic.
That’s my biggest problem with the “spend more” philosophy. I’m not against it at all, but I’m also not confident in it.
Rick Hahn has proven to be objectively bad at acquiring major league players. It doesn’t matter if they are on big deals or the usual small deals, the odds of him acquiring a good major league player are very low.
I just don’t understand JR. You’re cheap, fine. But you can be cheap and still be successful if you invest in data and player development. If you do that well, you don’t need to be big spenders in FA. Yet, he’s unwilling to do that either. We get the worst of both worlds. Cheap owner and a bottom 5 player development department.
Yes, our record with FA’s is poor for the most part.
If I’m Hahn, I’m begging JR to let me sign Story or Semien to come play 2B. That should help Sox fans forget about Madrigal. If it’s Hernandez, and Madrigal is inevitably outplaying Hernandez, Hahn will never hear the end of it.
Semien wants to play in the west coast. He is gonna cost a lot. We will not sign him. The Jays have already offered him a big multiyear contract that Semien promptly rejected. I honestly don’t like Story (wRC+ of 100 this year while playing in Colorado? pass).
I say keep Cesar Hernandez and for Christ sake sign a REAL right fielder. Last night I was thinking of Kike Hernandez who has always been a great player. He was signed for a meager 14 million and 2 years contract. Why can’t Hahn find players like this? Next year, nick Castellanos is AGAIN available. He is still under 30 years old.
Also, don’t pick up Kimbrel’s option. Look for a way to keep Rodon. The same rotation should work next year. Resign Tepera.
I thought I read Tepera was almost certainly going back to the Cubs.
Prepare to be annoyed; I guarantee Tony the Russa will have the pitchers on an extremely short leash in game 3, which will leave us wondering why he didn’t do the same thing in games 1 and 2.
Their bullpen isn’t going to shut down the Astros for 6 or 7 innings. Bummer gave up 3, Kimbrel 2. If TLR had Lynn and Giolito on a shorter leash, who the heck could he have brought in that would shut down the Astros for that much of the game?
The only chance the Sox have to shut down the Astros in game 3 is a great outing by Cease. If they have to go to the bullpen by the 3rd inning, they are going to lose anyway because their bullpen aside from Liam isn’t all that great either. They’re getting schooled by a much better team, bottom line.
I mean, isn’t that the point of having both Kopech and Lopez on the roster? Both of those guys can come in early if you need them to, pitch multiple innings, and keep you from burning through your entire pen in one game.
Sure, you could bring in another pitcher and they could get rocked too, but if the alternative is leaving the starter in until the game is basically out of reach, well…
If the Sox lose next game and get swept, I honestly believe that the team should re-enter rebuild mode. This might sound crazy but at this point how can the team even reach the level of heavyweights like the Astros, Dodgers and Rays? Outside of Robert and Liam Hendricks (and MAYBE Grandal) I wouldn’t take one White Sox player over his opposing number from the Astros.
You’re right. It sounds, and is, crazy.
To be like the Dodgers or Rays (who both lost last night) you have to build a system of amateur player acquisition, minor league development and MLB-level scouting (with saber metrics) and acquisition. Once Hahn got full control away from KW I think that began and we are only a couple years into it. 2020 doesn’t count because there were no minor league games. The Sox in many positions have a young team with limited MLB experience, and a couple guys in Vaughn and Crochet who were never in the minors. They have talent and it can develop at the MLB level with the right coaching staff. TLR is not a developer, which is why his hiring was inconsistent with the direction Hahn was taking the system. What’s the point of a Katz with a LaRussa? Hahn did bring in veterans to support the core, as he said he would. Lynn was a great move; so was Goodwin after the injuries hit us. Hendricks was brilliant. Hahn or somebody could see Colome’s limitations as a closer. So, in short, the young core of this team hasn’t peaked. It can get better with age, experience, and continued development. And if Hahn replaces the guys this winter who aren’t producing like he did Colome and Encarnacion last winter. I think he will. As for TLR, that’s basically up to JR and what happens in the next couple of days.
I would like to see the Sox be rigorous in constructing a real team, not just an assortment of players. Like undo the logjam of DH-1B types. Maybe that means trading Jimenez, as an example. Something other than just patching over spots with Eaton signings.
This feels like the sports fan equivalent of an existential crisis; is the point to compete, or to only truly compete when you think you have the entire thing more or less locked up?
Did White sox win any game in Houston this season?
Where are team s XBH?
So many questions, sorry. I am suffering, but the 2nd half of the season was not much different
Exactly. The optimists who said record against good teams did not matter were hoping that the results in the playoffs would be different than the regular season. They are the same.
It should surprise nobody really. Their record inflated due to the weakest schedule in MLB. All players stats similarly inflated. They need to add someone like Castellanos in the offseason, or this will be a boring as hell team to follow that will predictably fold in the playoffs every year, because they are a good but not a great team.
I do think people overreacted to our record against >.500 teams. When Eloy, Luis, and Yaz miss as many games as they did, results become muddled. Houston never faced Luis or Eloy in the regular season and got to face Keuchel which wouldn’t happen in the playoffs. The players just haven’t performed outside the top 3 and then TLR makes idiotic decisions to compound everything. I really like Crochet but there was no reason whatsoever that he should have pitched yesterday, let alone trying to clean up Giolito’s mess. It was a disaster of a decision before he even left the bullpen.
I don’t get this kind of thinking. The season is 6 months long. The only way to enjoy 6 months of games that are creeping ever closer to 4 hours long is if the team is fun to watch on a daily basis. This is a fun team.
It has been obvious to me for months that we were not in the same tier as Tampa & Houston. But we still got to enjoy a young team overcoming a lot of injuries and winning more than 90 games. That seems like a pretty good outcome. I’d much rather have a decade of good baseball than a single pennant followed by a decade wandering the wilderness.
Earl Weaver used to say that, as a manager, if you bring the tying run to the plate in the 7th inning or later you’ve done your job. And I think that’s more or less right.
The front office version of that is that you’ve done your job if your team is playing meaningful games in September. The best front offices are successful at that most years. I’d love to see the Sox succeed like the Cardinals succeed. Try to put together a team that can win 87 games every year. Win the division for a few years in a row. Make the playoffs as often as not. Win a World Series every now and then, rather than once a century.
Sure, do your best to win in the playoffs, but some things you just can’t control. Like injuries, luck, and other teams.
The thing that I kept thinking this year was that there was no roster move that we could and would make that would put us in a materially better position to overtake Houston and Tampa (not in terms of record, I mean in terms of likelihood of winning postseason series).
When you have no top prospects, no farm depth, and an owner who isn’t willing to make the big FA acquisition or take on a lot of money via trade, then all you can really do is exactly what we did: give up young guys from the major league roster for maybe some pieces that will help a little, but not a lot. So, we went from being a second tier AL team with Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer to a second tier AL team with Craig Kimbrel. Not sure that’s what the Cardinals would have done…
Let’s go win 3 in a row. In any event, I hope we are playing meaningful baseball in September 2022.