Sox Machine Live!: Boston beats up White Sox pitching

Stream Date: 5/26/2022

Josh and Jim recap the White Sox series loss against Boston as the pitching staff got beat up. Is this the end of Dallas Keuchel with the White Sox? They address that possibility while sharing his postgame comments.

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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HallofFrank

On the upside, this is the 3rd consecutive Thursday the Sox have scored 7 runs!

On the downside, they are 1-2 in those games and were outscored 21-35.

soxygen

Also, they proved that you can’t win when you give up 16 runs. So at least we don’t need to try that again!

To Err is Herrmann

Compare Keuchel’s comments with those of high-priced Sox starter Neil Allen, who after his last bad start in his 0-7 stint in 1987 said:

“When you stink, you stink, and I stunk.”

I have always admired Neil for this moment of honesty and clarity.

mikeschach

anyone still confident that this is better than a 500 team? is there a realistic path to turning this season around? I thought that winning the Yankees series might spark the change…

HallofFrank

Yeah, I think so. It’s been a frustrating season. But the last 8 series, they’ve gone 4-2-2 despite it being a miserably difficult stretch with poor injury luck—probably the most difficult stretch of the season. The schedule gets *a lot* easier in the 2nd half. If they are within 3-4 games of the Twins at the break, I’m confident they’ll win the Central.

soxfan

FanGraphs still has us as the favorite to win the division with a 65% chance of making the playoffs, while Baseball-Reference still has us at 35% to make the post-season.

Grandal has a career OPS+ of 117 v. this year 51, while Moncada is 110 v. 25.
Lynn’s career ERA+ of 119 is going to replace Keuchel’s current year 49 and/or Velasquez’s 72.

If Grandal and Moncada had simply been healthy and played replacement level and Lynn played to his career average rather than having Keuchel perform as he has been, we’d be 3 games over .500* on pace for a 0.568 winning percentage. Apply that to the 118 games remaining and we’d be projected to win 67 more games or 89 total which would be good enough to win the division or make the wild card if Minnesota beats Baseball-Reference’s expectations right now.

So all we need to do to make the playoffs is for Grandal and Moncada (arguably two of the best to play their positions) to play like replacement-level players and Lynn to come back healthy and replace the dregs of the rotation. We don’t need a mid-season trade; we don’t need Garcia or Harrison to play better or less; we don’t need a breakout by a rookie. We need three long-time veterans with proven track records to basically just break even and we’ll make the playoffs.

So, yes, I still believe there’s a realistic path to turning the season around.

*Grandal is -0.7 WAR; Burger -0.5, Moncada -0.1, Keuchel -1.1, while one third of Lynn’s 162-game average WAR is 1.3 for a total lost opportunity of 3.7.

roke1960

I’m pretty confident that Moncada will turn things around. He started out good, now has had a 2-week funk. He’ll snap out of it. I’m not sure Grandal will. This is a good example of getting great value out of the front end of a contract and bad value out of the back end. He is doing nothing well right now. Most fastballs early in the count he fouls off to the right side and then rolls over pitches late in the count (if he doesn’t strike out). He’s not walking, he can’t throw out baserunners, and he has a hard-hit ball about once a week. He can’t continue to bat in the middle of the lineup.

But Abreu is starting to hit, Timmy and Vaughn have been very good, and Robert will be back next week. If Moncada can start hitting, they will have a very formidable top of the order.

When Eloy comes back, and barring any injuries, my lineup would be:
Timmy ss
Yoan 3b
Robert cf
Abreu 1b
Vaughn lf/DH
Eloy DH/lf
Pollock rf
Grandal/McGuire c
Harrison/Leury 2b
with Sheets and Engel on the bench.

The key to this season will be remaining healthy. With that lineup and a starting 5 of Giolito/Cease/Kopech/Lynn/Cueto and a bullpen of Liam/Graveman/Kelly/Bummer/Foster/Lopez/Ruiz/Sousa,
they should dominate that easy 2nd half schedule. And the Twins schedule gets much tougher in June, so I could see a rapid switch in the standings.

Last edited 6 months ago by roke1960
As Cirensica

Good comments by Roke and Soxfan. I also think this team has enough talent to get out of this negative run differential and give the Twins a fair fight. I also have my doubts about Grandal getting back to prior year form, but I do expect him to be slightly better than what he has been.

One thing that appears to be obvious is that the White Sox aren’t running away with the division like last year. The 2B black hole shouldn’t matter too much if all the other veterans perform near their career’s averages.

Keys will be

  • Health.
  • In game preparation (it feels it has been awful)
  • Physical conditioning (it feels it has been awful). The excessive resting high paid athletes like they are Chinese jars is perplexing. This organization treats these athletes as if they were on the verge of a major injury
  • TLR. Here I don’t know what to expect and that might be the problem. TLR keep making some decisions that leave the White Sox in a position to fail. TLR bullpen management hasn’t been good. His constant line up tinkering might be the cause of players not getting any momentum going
  • What Hahn will do prior to the deadline, and here I am scared. I rather he does nothing to be honest.
roke1960

Spot on. The x-factor in all of this is Tony. I think he has already cost the Sox several games this year, including possibly yesterday. Getting back to 7-5, then bringing in Banks was a huge mistake- especially with 2 off days in the next 4 days. I really believe his lineup construction has been a big factor in the offensive malaise that they are in. And we all know he’s not going anywhere. But I still think that their pitching is so much better than Minnesota’s that they will win the division in spite of Tony’s awful managing.

roke1960

Barring any major injuries, the one move I would like them to make at the deadline is getting someone like Brad Miller to play 2nd. We still need another solid LH bat that can hit righties, and he has done that his whole career.

jhomeslice

Miller might be better than what they have, but he his highest WAR the past 8 years is 1.1. He can’t be a plus defensively at 2b.

Curious what you would think of my Juan Soto suggestion from the other page, rumors are the Nats might look to trade him. I was thinking a package with Vaughn and Eloy might get a conversation started, even if he would probably cost more than that. I think they need a big shakeup, Soto is at least a real outfielder who would help improve their league worst defense. And he’s a left handed hitter.

HallofFrank

I actually did trade for Soto in my OPP. I traded Vaughn, Kopech, Sheets, Adolfo, Cespedes, Matt Thompson, and Montgomery for Soto and Josh Bell. It’s a King’s Random. But I think that’s in the ballpark of what it’d take. Bell is a rental, but Soto has a couple of years left. Maybe you can find a way to substitue Eloy for Vaughn/Kopech? But I doubt it.

roke1960

I think the Nats would want a combination of major leaguers and top prospects for Soto. He may be the best offensive force in all of baseball. Sheets, Adolfo, Thompson and possibly Cespedes are just throw-ins. They’ll probably want a couple of top 100 or even top 50 prospects, something the Sox don’t have.

HallofFrank

Yeah Sheets and Adolfo’s trade value has probably decreased since I proposed that. But Vaughn and Kopech’s (and maybe Montgomery?) value has probably increased?

I’d be surprised if the Nats got a much better offer than Vaughn and Kopech plus. If they want younger players, then yeah the Sox have no shot.

roke1960

I agree with you. I would think Vaughn, Kopech and Montgomery would be good value, but most baseball people think that wouldn’t come close to getting it done. I think these generational talents, especially at that young age, have a value that goes beyond mere stats.

roke1960

Soto would be fantastic- I don’t think the Sox have enough to get him. It would take Vaughn/Eloy/Kopech and more for him. Plus no way Jerry would even consider paying him what his next contract would be. It would take away too many pieces from the major league roster, because they don’t have any top 100 prospects.

I mentioned Miller because he would strictly be a platoon at 2nd, but he has a career .775 OPS against righties. I’m not sure what other lefty bat would be available.

jhomeslice

You’re right on the contract, which nixes the whole point. 2 1/2 years of Soto isn’t really worth giving up Vaughn, unless Jerry would pay Soto to keep him. I thought he was under contract through 2025 not 2024. Not worth it probably for a team like the Sox.

roke1960

Yep, Jerry operates on a different set of rules than all the other big market clubs.

HallofFrank

I would *absolutely* give up Vaughn for 2.5 years of Soto. In the blink of an eye. And it’s not close.

soxfan

Sure, but the consensus seems to be that’s not enough. What else would you include? Kopech and Vaughn seems like a lot given you’d either have to pay to replace Kopech or give back the incremental value you’re gaining with Soto in the downgrade from Kopech to…Martin?

HallofFrank

Yeah, giving up Kopech may not be an option now because that’s a big subtraction. In my OPP I traded Vaughn & Kopech then addressed SP elsewhere.

How about Vaughn, Montgomery, Colás, Thompson, and Crochet? That’s probably not enough, but it’s a start.

soxfan

I’m not great at understanding trade value, and I understand Soto has the longer track record of success and is therefore more projectible, but it’s possible that Kopech is worth more than Soto this year and Vaughn is almost certain to have more value through the end of his team control. On a PA-adjusted basis, he’s basically keeping pace with Soto this year (albeit, not left-handed and barely and outfielder).

Yes, pitchers get hurt a lot (but Kopech has already had TJ surgery) and, yes, there’s a bit of wishcasting when it comes to Vaughn’s potential, but Vaughn/Eloy/Kopech seems like a dramatic overpay for the remaining couple years of Soto’s team control.

roke1960

I’m not great at trade value either, but baseball people think that Soto is almost undtradeable because he is such a great offensive force. When a guy is compared to Ted Williams, I’m not sure what package will be needed to acquire him.

roke1960

A proposed Dodgers trade for Soto was their top 3 prospects, all in the top 65, and Gavin Lux. And they said that was just for starters. It would cost more than that. Anybody on the Sox that the Nats would be interested in is already on the Sox roster. Nobody else is really close to a Top 100 prospect.

HallofFrank

He does feel unreadable because there’s almost no way the Nats get fair value for him. But it also seems crazy to me to let him crush on these doomed teams for the next 2.5 years. A Soto return may not return fair value, but it’d return *a lot* of value that could be franchise-altering.

metasox

Sox must decide whether to continue carrying 14 pitchers. If so, that could take out Sheets though it costs the team a lefty bat