The White Sox have now won six straight games, even though Tony La Russa tried a few managerial heat checks along the way.
The lineup lacked Tim Anderson and AJ Pollock while starting Yasmani Grandal at first base, all with Dallas Keuchel on the mound.
When Keuchel gave him five scoreless innings, he sent him out for a sixth, in which he left him out for three batters too long.
With Liam Hendriks (overwork) and Aaron Bummer (heading to the IL) unavailable for the ninth inning, he went with José Ruiz and Bennett Sousa over Kendall Graveman.
And none of it mattered. The White Sox instead swept the Red Sox at Fenway Park to rise one game above .500, even though they haven’t scored more than four runs a game during this stretch.
The biggest takeaway is that Murphy’s Law is no longer just a bar in South Boston. The Red Sox are now 10-19, and after scoring five runs over three games against the weaker sections of the White Sox pitching staff, those who hadn’t seen many Boston games this year have a better understanding why.
The Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position today, and 3-for-27 for the series. They had a chance to strike damaging blows early and late. In the first, Keuchel issued a leadoff walk as it appeared his control problems tumbled into another start. In the ninth inning, J.D. Martinez almost made the decision to close with Ruíz immediately regrettable with a fly ball that hit off the top quarter of the Green Monster. The Red Sox scored neither time.
Instead, Keuchel threw his best start of the season. That leadoff walk was the only one he issued, he completed six innings by throwing 60 of 92 pitches for strikes, and the Red Sox had particular issues handling his cutter.
Meanwhile, Ruiz bounced back from the leadoff double to get a flared popout and a strikeout on a ridiculously high fastball. He could’ve faced Jackie Bradley Jr., but La Russa turned it into a battle between Sousa and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki, and Sousa won it with a flyout to left center.
In between, the only other trouble the White Sox encountered was due to La Russa’s long leash. Keuchel opened the sixth against the heart of the order by striking out Trevor Story, but Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts singled to put runners on the corners with Martinez coming to the plate.
Ryan Burr was slow to get warming, and so Keuchel faced Martinez. He dodged that threat with getting a weak tapper that scored a run, but Keuchel was happy to get the out on a difficult 1-3 putout. But then he stayed in to face Christian Vazquez, and Vazquez muscled a single to left to score Bogaerts. The White Sox compounded issues by letting Leury García’s throw home go through, and Vazquez advanced 90 feet.
And yet Keuchel still stayed in! Ethan Katz came out to the mound instead, probably telling him that lefty Alex Verdugo was his last batter, and Verdugo made it quick by flying out on the first pitch to preserve the White Sox’s one-run margin.
The White Sox bullpen suggested it could’ve been turned to earlier. Ryan Burr pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, and Matt Foster struck out the side in the eighth, including an eight-pitch battle with Devers that had Reese McGuire punching the air on strike three, even though one out remained.
As for the White Sox offense, it only totaled six hits, but it saved half of them for one inning, and that was good enough. The third inning opened with a single by McGuire and an HBP for Josh Harrison. Danny Mendick moved them both over with a sac bunt, which allowed a run to score on a García chopper that Devers couldn’t handle.
Luis Robert couldn’t get Harrison home, with his comebacker turning into a fielder’s choice at second base, but José Abreu picked up his countryman with a double to left field that scored Harrison and Robert (Joe McEwing won a 50-50 play!) for all the runs the White Sox needed, and nothing more.
*The White Sox were plunked three times, with Harrison taking two of them.
*Keuchel received normal defensive support, with McGuire helping erase a runner on a SHOTHO.
*Grandal stole a base … on a lefty.
*Jake Burger didn’t make a case for surviving the reinstatement of Yoán Moncada from the injured list, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
*A howling wind knocked down a promising García 106-mph rocket to right field, but it also kept Martinez in the park in the ninth.
*Perhaps the White Sox will be more amenable to morning starts after the success at 10:30 a.m. CT this time around.
Record: 14-13 | Box score | Statcast
The Sox haven’t lost since my wife and I arrived in Jamaica on vacation so I guess we just live here now?
do not leave.
Thank you for your sacrifice
You’ll have to just set up shop, maybe join the bobsled team or something.
I know correlation does not equal causation but I have wondered about Dallas’ downfall seemingly about the time spider tack was outlawed. Call me naive but does anyone have a better reason?
he’s getting older and when you don’t top 87 on the gun it’s always a knife’s edge
Sticky stuff would be more if he relied on extreme fastball or breaking ball spin. Sinkers don’t benefit from it in the same way, so as a-t mentioned, it looks more like an age-related decline.
sticky stuff (pine tar, not spider tack level glueballs) still definitely helps with command which keuchel obviously requires. rosin is really only useful in warm & humid conditions, in cold conditions it solidifies and provides very little tack.
to rise one game above .500
LaRussa did everything that he could to give this game up. But Baseball outfoxed him.
“It’s called playing the percentages. It’s what smart managers do.”
Great work DK. Boston is terrible, but Keuchel looked good. Even when Boston strung those hits together in the 6th, nothing seemed to be hit hard. Those were good hitters finding a hole.
I’m very interested to see how they handle the Cueto situation. Cueto, VV, and DK all have one more start before Cueto’s opt out. It feels like it could go any way. Gotta think VV is safe, but a disaster start from him plus excellent starts from the others could make it interesting.
One option could be to try a modified 6-man rotation for a while
Keuchel, VV, Cueto, and Kopech each take turns on the 10 day IL
But this sounds like solving a good problem (too many starters worth giving a shot) by creating a bad one (more starts for the bottom of the rotation, less for Giolito/Cease/Kopech).
Kopech will be innings limited regardless. Cease and Giolito could make most of their starts. Someone will likely end up on the IL evenually.
Kopech is averaging 4.6 IP per start. Over 30 starts, that’s around 138 IP. I’d be surprised if the season inning limit was much lower than that. In other words, I don’t think Kopech’s inning limit is a reason to move to a 6-man rotation. I’d rather see one of VV, DK, and JC hide in the bullpen and wait for an injury.
Sox will need a 6th starter for a double-header next week anyway, so I’d be surprised if they don’t bring Cueto up.
As Hawk would say, it’s not who you play, it’s when you play them. The Red Sox are a better team than we saw this weekend.
I believe the White Sox are too.
What’s the story on Bummer?
MLBTR says knee, seriosity of which is unknown.
While I understand the sentiment that Burger didn’t do anything to help himself survive Moncada coming back, I would argue that he’s done more than JH has. I’m not lobbying for Burger, he needs to go down and work on his pitch recognition and selection.
At the same time, an 11 year MLB veteran that doesn’t understand that he has to take any pitch inside on a 3-1 count with a man at third and less than 2 outs, doesn’t have the chops to stay at this level when he brings nothing else to the table.
Harrison plays second base
harrison is babiping .174 in 61 PA, his strikeout rate isn’t up, statcast indicate he’s actually hitting the ball harder than usual. this is just the life of a contact hitter, not him actually turning into a pumpkin. when he gets his swing plane sorted a little more he’ll get hot and be fine. burger meanwhile is striking out a third of a time with a top-ten whiff rate in baseball.
Jake Burger has been better—and, more importantly, better vs RHP—than Gavin Sheets. I know Sheets hits LH and showed something last year, but I could be convinced to keep Burger on the roster over Sheets.
I dont know what options Sheets still had but i think what keeps him on the roster is how much more “”flexible”” he is to put in the lineup. Since he can play OF whereas Burger is 3B or DH. I also think the team sees more future in Burger so giving him more consistent AB’s is a better use of the AAA spot.
I’d be shocked if Burger couldn’t do what Sheets does in the OF. But still – this would just mean Leury & Engel would see Sheets’ reps in the OF, with Burger & Harrison being the backup INFs. In this scenario, Burger is more or less the primary DH (with spot starts at 3B), so he’d get consistent reps until Vaughn comes back.
But I get it. There are reasons to keep Sheets around and Burger does look like he could use more time. It’s a move worth considering if things keep up, however—especially if Vaughn’s injury lingers.
I wouldn’t be upset if the Sox deemed Yolbert Sanchez more worthy of the spot than both Sheets and Burger.
I too would like to see Sanchez on the Sox. Obviously, I haven’t seen him play and I don’t know what boxes he has yet to check, but, given his age and his Cuban experience with more seasoned competition than most AA/AAA players have faced, I’m eager to see what he has to offer at the Major league level.
Right now, Yolmer Sanchez would be more worthy
nah. burger’s K and whiff rates are untenable, he needs to make an adjustment and he can do that in AAA. sheets’ profile looks fine, he’s still elevating the ball, he just needs the weather to warm up so hitting dingers isn’t nearly impossible at the rate
From the at bats I have seen, the league appears to have adjusted to Sheets. He feasted on meatballs up in the zone last season.
Sheets needs more than just warm weather right now. The OPS is .522. An extra dinger a week would help but it’s not going to make all the difference. I’m not saying he can’t turn it around and the warm weather will help—but the warm weather would help Burger, too, who has actually hit balls hard, unlike Sheets.
Isn’t Burger leading the majors in infield hits? While some of that is sustainable because he hits the ball hard, his current stats probably overstate how well he’s been doing.
Don’t get me wrong: this is not a ringing endorsement for Burger so much as an indictment on Sheets. Despite his struggles, he still may be the best option for DH while Vaughn is out.
With the way Sheets has looked, the best option for DH might just be to let Grandal DH and have McGuire catch. Obviously he stinks at the plate too, but the less wear and tear in Grandal, the better.
Or perhaps the best thing to do is just burn Sheets and Burger’s bats as sacrifices to the baseball gods, in the hopes that it will get Vaughn healthy sooner.