Royals 5, White Sox 2 (10 innings): Central losses resume piling up

If you heard that the White Sox let the go-ahead run cross the plate in the 10th inning because the catcher let a head-high sinker glance off his mitt for a passed ball with two outs, you’d probably assume Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate.

And you’d be wrong. Instead, it was Reese McGuire who couldn’t catch an ordinary miss with the bases loaded, after Aaron Bummer had alternated walks and strikeouts in his second inning of work. Manfred Man Whit Merrifield crossed the plate, a Kyle Isbel single drove him two more, and the Royals were able to seize the series after their initial lead slipped away.

Asking for a second inning from Bummer was probably too much given his season to date. He overcame his usual control problems in the ninth by erasing the leadoff man he plunked with a pair of grounders, the second one resulting in a double play that gave the White Sox a chance for their first walk-off of the season. Instead, Andrew Vaughn was the only batter to reach base in either of the last two innings via a one-out walk that didn’t go anywhere.

Bummer was a sensible choice to start the 10th, what with Andrew Benintendi coming to the plate, but he walked Benintendi, and then later gave up the single to lefty Kyle Isbel, defeating the purpose of the matchup. Then again, there weren’t any other great options, as José Ruiz and Tanner Banks preceded Bummer in the game, while Kendall Graveman was unavailable and Liam Hendriks is still dealing with a bad back.

Besides, it’s hard to win while scoring two runs. Brad Keller limited the White Sox to two singles and a Leury García solo shot in the sixth inning, and while the Sox were able to tie the game in the eighth off Josh Staumont, it came at a cost. Yasmani Grandal led off with a single, after which Tony La Russa pinch-ran Josh Harrison in his place. Harrison scored 90 feet at a time — wild pitch, single, sac fly — and given the quality of Benintendi’s throw from left field, Grandal could have done the same thing.

Alas, when his place in the order came around in the 10th, Harrison hit instead, and struck out.

The White Sox managed just five hits and a walk, whereas the Royals tallied six hits, eight walks and a hit batter. They had chances early, as it took Keller a couple innings to settle in, but once Keller stopped falling behind in the count, the Sox made life rather easy for him. García’s homer on a high sinker was the only thing that prevented Keller from facing the minimum over seven innings, as the other two singles were erased by double plays.

Michael Kopech had to work harder over five innings, as he appeared to have less than his best stuff. He issued four walks over five innings, including a pair of free passes to Nicky Lopez that led to single runs in the first and fifth innings. Benintendi drove both of those runs home, dropping a double down the left-field line, then hitting a sac fly in the same direction.

Kopech would tell you he could pitch better, but he, Banks, Ruiz and Bummer held the Royals to two runs over nine innings, so the results served the purpose. The offense just isn’t doing the same.

Bullet points:

*McGuire had a home-run ball knocked down by the wind, but Bobby Witt Jr. also was denied a long ball by 2022 conditions.

*Salvador Perez went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, and 0-for-13 with eight strikeouts for the series.

*The White Sox are now 3-9 against the AL Central.

Record: 7-11 | 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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Do you wanna know how I got these scars?

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Credit where it’s due: the Sox are ahead of the rebuild curve and are already at the ‘can they hold it together for one more year?’ stage


I can’t believe Jerry Reinsdorf was smart enough to take advantage of tax loopholes and become rich.


Good gritty start by Kopech when he obviously didn’t have his best stuff but still banged out 5 innings and limited the Royals to 2 runs. Shame the offense is dead atm but when your missing half of the top of the order its to be expected.

As long as the Pitching staff holds where it is if the offense shows any kind of life they will start winning games again.


Yeah I mean without Moncada, Eloy, Robert, plus a league worst production at 2b, I mean they are not a good team unless they get healthier than that. Hopefully two of them are back soon.


The sky isn’t falling, calm down. They’re 2nd in xSLG after only the Yankees. I said it yesterday, I’ll keep saying it until it’s no longer true: Manfred’s meddling is the issue here. They’re not taking walks bc they’re being aggressive, and the underlying data actually says that aggression is completely validated. It’s April; trust process over results, and the process is actually just fine.


That might mean something if the rest of the league wasn’t playing with the same ball.


The White Sox offense is a complete outlier compared to the rest of the league. As a team, they’re leading the league in xwOBA – wOBA at 0.066. The second-place team are the Astros at 0.045; third, fourth, and fifth are 0.044, 0.041, and 0.041.

Everyone’s offense is down due to the new ball and humidors. The Sox’s is down far, far beyond anyone else’s, and their pitching staff has not been equally lucky to balance. On a closely related note, the Tigers’ and Guardians’ pitching staffs are no. 1 and 2 for luckiest around.


no offense, but these numbers have been being thrown about for like a 2 weeks now. Until these guys stop pounding the ball into the ground and learn to take a walk, they don’t mean anything.

It also doesn’t explain why they lead the universe in errors or TLR’s bad decision making.


I’m begging you guys to actually look at what is happening and not just be doomers just for the sake of it. I said the exact same thing yesterday and everyone upvoted because they won; they lose a game today and now everyone disagrees?

1) Two weeks is a laughably short stretch of time in this sport. For two weeks last year Yermin Mercedes was the best hitter in baseball.

2) They aren’t ‘pounding the ball into the ground’ by any stretch, they’re actually doing a much better job of lifting the ball. They’re 12th in GB%, 9th in FB%, and 18th in GB/FB.

3) They aren’t walking because they are seeing a lot of pitches in the zone. They’ve got the 3rd-lowest BB% because they have the third-highest Zone% (the % of pitches they see that are in the strike zone). Next to them on both those charts are Colorado and (notably) Toronto.

4) They should not be Grandalizing their approach and getting passive. They’re not striking out too much, and they’re getting excellent results on contact per Statcast– 2nd in xSLG at .501, 5th in avg exit velo at 90.1mph. That’s not ‘pounded into the ground’ either, they’re 3rd in air batted ball avg EV at 94.7mph, hence the gaudy xSLG.

5) Yes, everyone’s offense (esp power) is suppressed right now, but the Sox are on another level that way. Their xSLG – SLG is .501 – .349 = .152 right now. Second place is Milwaukee at -.105, third is the Yanks at -.102… etc. Power-focused teams like the Sox are getting penalized most by this stupid new ball but even among their slugger brethren they’ve been immensely unlucky.

6) Yeah the defense weirdly sucks right now, Tony always sucks, and the backend of the bullpen sucks right now. But they are in this rut first and foremost because they haven’t scored runs; many of these close games they’re losing should never have been close in the first place.


I appreciate your drill-down and I accept it. I have some degree of concern that the players may not realize it and may change their approach which could lead to otherwise avoidable negative results. And, of course, as you note, LaRussa always sucks.

Augusto Barojas

Since July 20 last year the Sox are a game under .500. Throw out this season and they’re still only a couple games over during that time. That isn’t just “bad luck”. They are a very overrated team that isn’t anything special, and did next to nothing to improve this winter. They have a god awful manager, a proneness to injuries, and can easily get shut down by decent right handed pitching which we’ve seen since the summer of 2020. They’ve played lethargically the past 3 regular season months, and fell flat vs the Astros because the playoffs don’t care about stats that would make excuses for why the Sox score less runs than better teams and can’t hit righties.


This is such a lame stat. They played lethargically because they had a 10 game lead. Their only objective in August and September was don’t get hurt. And the lowest win % they had in any month last year was .538.


They have the fewest walks in the league. When someone finally gets a hit, no one is on to come home. The Royals I think ended up with 19 MORE walks than the Sox in the series. When they got their hits, guys came home. That was the difference in the series.


I wouldn’t say the process is just fine—plenty is going wrong besides bad luck.

But I agree with the sentiment. People here are acting like the season is over—hell, they are acting like this team won’t be good for the foreseeable future. Sox fans are literally the only people who think that.


Of course the season’s not over. The Sox are still the most talented team in the division. But they need to put the brakes on this skid right now. Look how quickly the season spiraled out of control for Minnesota last year. Yes, the Sox have more talent, especially in the rotation, than the Twins had. But they need to get Moncada and Robert back in the lineup. That is just not a very good lineup right now. Sheets should be nowhere near 3rd in the order, Abreu and Grandal are easy outs, and the bottom of the order is just not very good. And the worst part about it is that they just seem to be going through the motions out there. That is very concerning. 3-9 against the division is atrocious. I don’t think any of the teams in the division are scared of the Sox this year.
As I said in a previous post, these next few months are very critical to this team’s future. They need to get Robert, Moncada and Lynn back and avoid any more crippling injuries. If this season goes off the rails- and as unlikely as that still is, it is becoming a possibility if the injuries keep piling up- I think Jerry will start to unload some of the guys who are nearing free agency (especially Giolito and Moncada). And the championship window could start to close. Remember, this is Jerry Reinsdorf we are talking about. He’s never given a $100 million contract. Do you think he’s going to start now, especially if this season isn’t a huge success?

Augusto Barojas

The Sox are 13th in power rankings and 16th according to ESPN. There are plenty of people who are not Sox fans that are noticing how the Sox are actually playing without blaming baseballs or bad luck. Rankings rise and fall, of course it is still early but their 2b and weaknesses vs RHP, inept/inadequate offseason moves, and the character/mental flaws of their manager are things they won’t be able to hide or run from, and don’t bode well for a great season.


I didn’t say the industry didn’t notice the Sox are playing bad. The Sox are playing bad. That’s just a fact. I said no one else in the industry thinks this is a bad team or end of the window. Everything I see (outside of these message boards) is roughly: the Sox have been bad, but the underlying data, divisional foes, and pending returners from the IL all suggest things will turn around.

Don’t get me wrong. Things have been terrible. And I’m much less confident the Sox will win the division than I was two weeks ago. But I still am confident they will. More importantly, I’m still confident they’ll be good next year and the year after, too.


Starting Friday, the White Sox will embark on a grueling 50-game stretch that runs through June 22. During which, they will stare the teams many believed to be their competition to winning the pennant in the face. The Sox schedule over that span includes the Angels (4x), Red Sox (6x), Yankees (7x), Rays (3x), Blue Jays (6x), Astros (3x), and throw in the Dodgers (3x) for good measure. That’s 32 games of a possible 50 against viable postseason contenders.

This is why I said above that these next few months are very critical to the White Sox future. 32 games against teams from other divisions that would be considered contenders. If the Sox don’t get their act together soon, these teams will stomp them.

I agree with Frank. I’m still confident that the Sox will turn this around very soon and win this division. But they can’t wait 1 week or 2 weeks to start playing better. It starts tonight.


That stretch will show where they are really at. They will get their ass kicked if they are not hitting a ton better, that’s for sure. In addition to those tough opponents, it’s clear that they are not going to win games against the AL central by default this time around.

By June 22, if they are somehow at or above .500 at that time, it would show that they have taken a big step forward. Even winning 25 of 50 would not be awful. They would need to win 27 of 50 just to get to .500. If they only win 22, they will be 10 under.


Yes. I would go so far as to say that they need to go 27-23 during this stretch. Being under .500 in late June does not sound like a contender to me. Time to step it up boys.

Augusto Barojas

I won’t argue that the Sox are not better than they’ve played. But the they are basically a good team that isn’t great, even if healthy. They have the same weaknesses as last year, where they happened to be in the only division they could have won. If they were not in the AL central, I would not put their chances of getting to the playoffs as high. And health just does not look probable or sustainable for this group.

Even if they get better which is very likely, I think there is very little to be optimistic about as far as title hopes or exceeding 2020/21, personally. Their pitiful efforts during the winter pretty much decided that, along with having the worst manager I’ve ever witnessed. There would be a lot more to like about this team if not for TLR and the fact that they never give out FA contracts of any magnitude. Just a shame that this team has the owner it does, or they would have a competent manager and a roster that would give them a much more realistic chance of doing something meaningful in October.


And the reason I’ve been saying that the window could close if they don’t make the playoffs this year is that I don’t see Jerry bumping the payroll over $200 million for a team that didn’t make the playoffs. The days of having Giolito, Moncada, Timmy and others making below average salaries are over. Just to keep the team as is, payroll will have to jump. Several players get significant raises next year. Yes, Abreu could come off the books and Keuchel likely will, but they will still need to fill 2nd base and right field and probably start looking for a catcher to replace Grandal. I could easily see Jerry trading Giolito and Moncada to save $35 million. Jerry could demand Hahn take a few steps back to keep the payroll in line. And if they take a few steps back, the window will likely close on a World Series championship.

Look at last year’s Twins. Their window opened in about 2019. They won 100 games in 2019 and won the division in 2020. Last year started as a dumpster fire and they traded Barrios and Cruz. Now their window has likely closed. And they even added Josh Donaldson a few years ago and Correa this year. Jerry wouldn’t have authorized either of those contracts.

Last edited 11 months ago by roke1960
Shingos Cheeseburgers

I’m curious to see how predictive expected batting stats will be given the fundamental change in the ball this year. I do think the offense is better than this but those x stats are trained on a dataset that occurred in an environment that is much different than the environment this year.


Cueto tonight: 4 innings, 1 hit, no walks/runs, 6 K’s.

I’d rather watch him than Velasquez, as soon as he is ready. Maybe he can actually help.


I’d rather keep Valasquez over Keuchel. Anybody disagree?


I see no point to Velasquez. If Keuchel finds his command (which does not look likely), he has much better chance to be decent than VV, who has no track record of success. DK had an ERA under 4 each of the four years prior to 2021. I don’t hold a lot of optimism for either. If Cueto is close to decent, when Lynn gets back one would hope they will not have need for those two.


Last time out, looked like Keuchel was making a special effort to keep the ball low. If he is making adjustments, I have some faith he has the savvy to make it work. And he seems to be reasonably healthy.

Augusto Barojas

Keuchel has had 3 starts. One disaster, the other two were tolerable for a 5th starter. He has had a few innings where he looked pretty decent. I’m not ready to give up on him yet. If he can be decent 1/2 the time or a little more, that’s probably better than what they will get from Velasquez.

Kelly Wunsch N' Munch

Neither are optimal. Kuechel should have the edge between the two. He’s been successful in the past. Kuechel has never had overpowering stuff. He’s always relied on guile. But realistically all things being equal, they’re going to probably cut Velasquez before Kuechel (if they were to cut either) mainly because of the disparity in their pay rate. I’m still scratching my head as to why they signed Velasquez to a Major League deal.


eh, $3M these days is almost a minor league deal itself. 37 year old david robertson, who threw less than 20 innings combined between 2019/2020/2021, got $3.5M from the cubs


Which is better: cancer or a brain tumor?

Trooper Galactus

This has some, “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kotos,” vibes.


La Russa said he didn’t put Hendriks in because it wasn’t a save situation. Incredible.


To be fair, a guy with a .378 opponent BA might not work great with the manfred man on 2nd. Opponents are basically hitting like April Yermin off him so far.


Wait, he really said that? I assumed it was his back. Once you are tied in the 9th inning of a home game, you will never get a save situation – the next lead you get as the home team wins the game, so that’s dumb even for following traditional old-school thinking with the closer.


If I recall he did this a couple times last year, and said the same thing.


It’s gotten to the point where even his most ardent supporters can’t defend him anymore.