White Sox 5, Cubs 4 (12 innings): Winning ugly, losing Tim Anderson

So much happened in between Jake Burger’s error that allowed the Cubs to score the game’s first run in the seventh inning and his walk-off single that mercifully ended the game in the 12th. Most of it was awful.

A win’s a win, but a win isn’t much of a win when it offers little that can be emulated against better opponents. Still, on a day that saw Tim Anderson helped off the field due to a groin injury that’s sending him to the injured list, at least the White Sox got something out of it.

Perhaps Burger shouldn’t have been in a position to have to block P.J. Higgins’ grounder inside the third-base line, because Tony La Russa once again was intent on having his starter finish seven innings despite diminishing returns toward and past the 100-pitch mark. Cease had thrown 18 pitches to three batters in the seventh, the last of which was a two-out walk. After a stolen base, Cease intentionally walked Nico Hoerner. Kendall Graveman was warm, but La Russa stuck with Cease, who allowed Higgins’ grounder to the left side. Burger tried to backhand it, and it deflected off him and into left-field foul territory for a run-scoring error.

Redemption came a bruising and woozy five innings later. After Matt Foster kept the Cubs off the board in the top of the 12th, the White Sox only had to push Manfred Man and Anderson replacement Danny Mendick across home plate to call it a day. It only took three pitches, with Andrew Vaughn inside-outing a grounder to the right side that moved Mendick to third, and Burger muscling a line drive over a five-man infield to score Mendick.

The action in between provided an inventory of failure on both sides:

Seventh inning: José Abreu reaches on a throwing error by Nico Hoerner, moves to second on a Yasmani Grandal single and takes third on Gavin Sheets’ deep flyout. Adam Engel walked to load the bases, after which Reese McGuire hit for himself and struck out on three pitches. Josh Harrison then lined out to second to end the threat.

Eighth inning: With two outs, a runner on first and a 3-2 count, Abreu half-swings at a ball four well inside and taps back to the mound to kill the rally.

Ninth inning: After Liam Hendriks strands a leadoff double, David Robertson comes in and offers a personal contribution to the 2016 vibes with a blown save. Sheets sliced a double inside third base against the shift, followed by Robertson firing wildly to first on Engel’s weak grounder to the left side, and #WILDPITCHOFFNSE through the wickets of Higgins that scored pinch-running AJ Pollock to tie the game. Engel advanced to second, but groundouts by Yoán Moncada (finally pinch-hitting for McGuire) and Harrison stranded him.

10th inning: Reynaldo López fields Higgins’ leadoff bunt with plenty of time to get Manfred Man Hoerner at third, only to find that nobody’s there because Burger loped toward the ball. He then rushes a throw to first that scores Hoerner and allows Higgins to replace the runner at second. He later scores on a Christopher Morel single for a 3-1 Cubs lead.

Yet the Sox tied it up. Mendick moved Harrison to third with a single, Vaughn cashed in one run with a sac fly, and after Burger walked to move Mendick into scoring position, Abreu tied the game with a single. A pair of flyouts couldn’t get the winning run home.

11th inning: Aaron Bummer allows an easy stolen base to take the bunt out of play, followed by a sac fly that gives the Cubs yet another lead. The White Sox were able to answer within three pitches, as Engel singled home Pollock to tie the game at 4.

Up came Leury García with the intent of bunting Engel to third. The bunt would’ve accomplished it, but García was ruled out for running inside the baseline on a throw that hit him and deflected away. Engel had to return to second, and then Engel got himself out when he broke the wrong way on Harrison’s comebacker. Over the course of two outs, the Sox lost 90 feet.

Throw in a Mendick sac bunt attempt that resulted in an easy out at third base on a fine play by Marcus Stroman, and the White Sox were fundamentally terrible all day. Fortunately, Cease bounced back with an excellent start, allowing one unearned run over seven innings to keep the Sox in the game. Four walks were the blemish, but he pitched around the first two, and he probably shouldn’t have been around to issue the fourth.

The Sox had to stomach a costly injury to Anderson while Cease kept the Cubs at bay. In the fifth inning, Anderson ranged to his left to handle a Higgins grounder, and while he successfully made a cross-body throw for the 6-3, he injured his ground during it, and hit the ground in short center after a couple of hops. La Russa said an injured list stint is imminent.

Record: 23-23 | 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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a-t

A thoroughly pyrrhic victory

As Cirensica

Most ‘mired in mediocrity’ win of the year.

funkerdan

I only disagree because we didn’t win based on the injury, we just happened to win later. Still, your point rings loud.

Papa Giorgio

This guy Total Wars

roke1960

That train wreck we feared at the beginning of the season? Well, we’re in the process of witnessing that now. Fortunately for me, my son and I went golfing shortly after Timmy got hurt, so I didn’t see the rest of the game. First off, if this version of LaRussa isn’t the worst manager in baseball history, I don’t know who is. He makes Terry Bevington and Robin look like Hall of Fame managers. There had to be a half dozen decisions that he made today that were just plain awful. Without Timmy, they will be very fortunate to go 3-6 against the Rays, Jays and Dodgers. The offense is truly pathetic in every way, and now they are without one of the only consistent performers. The rest of the team has to elevate their game so much now- but even if they do, Tony will still make the wrong decision at the wrong time to cost them a game. If it meant Tony and Hahn were fired after the season, I would be ok if they just completely collapsed and finished with 70 wins. But the problem with that is Jerry is still the owner, so things won’t get any better. This is such a poorly run organization at every level. It is almost inconceivable that a team can be run so poorly.

funkerdan

3 days ago we saw a train wreck in Harmar. this is worse.

HallofFrank

Hey, see, the White Sox only needed three free base runners in scoring position to score five runs. They sure showed us!

hitlesswonder

So for my premature post-mortem, I’d like to say that the Twins deserve the division crown. They approached the offseason like a team that wanted to make the playoffs. The White Sox approached the offseason like a team that didn’t want to spend too much while making the playoffs.

Also, I find it baffling that Hahn has consistently failed to understand what depth really is on a roster. It’s not having two Leury Garcias. It’s having an above average 2B so that when Grandal and Moncada disappear, the offense isn’t league worst.

670WMAQtheElder

I don’t think Hahn is making the decisions on the roster. I think he does what TLR wants. Lots of mix and match pieces (players) he can manage during the game and during the season. 45 different lineups!?

gibby32

The Twins deserve nothing.

a-t

The Twins went into the season with a rotation consisting of one decent pitcher (Gray) and then a bunch of 1) kinda interesting but not at all top prospect rookies and 2) washed-up guys hoping to salvage some competence. Their position player group rests on two extremely talented but constantly injured stars. What they did to get Correa was creative and ambitious, but they’re going to be paying the rotation piper pretty soon with that one decent pitcher now also hurt.

kingkellly

I can’t believe I’m writing this. I don’t like Tony LaRussa. I didn’t like him the first time around. Hated the hire and nothing has changed my mind. But he’s far, far down the list of problems facing the White Sox. It’s like obsessing over a hang nail while bleeding to death.

Cease generated a ground ball the Burger butchered. That’s not LaRussa’s fault. Cease did his job and should have been out of the inning. But somehow he’s the focus of criticism because he left a pitcher in who “only” generated a ground ball to third instead of an even better result .

AJ Hinch was the hot item when LaRussa was chosen. The Tigers have been as big a disappointment as the Sox this year. How AJ Hinch, or whoever you believe is the greatest manager baseball history, would turn this team into a first place team given the reality of how they’ve played between the lines is beyond me. This team can’t hit. It doesn’t catch the ball. It’s an injury prone roster that lacks competent depth. No manager without supernatural abilities can fix that.

LaRussa is an ass. But twisting everything into a narrative to the narrative that he is the teams primary problem is bridge to far for me. He’s way down the list at the point.

billm2214

He might be way down your list but he’s still on it and an easier fix than trading/signing players. This team has above average talent. Larussa had HOF success years ago but it’s pretty obvious he’s just too old and not sharp enough anymore.

mrridgman

To be honest, I’m a TLR detractor. I hated the hire. I hate a good share of his lineup choices. I hate his constant resting of key players. I don’t like his (lack of) pinch hitting choices. Etc. But trying to be fair, I acknowledge the hitters have been crap, and there’s nothing he can do about that; or is there? Another story, another day. However, I have been trying to pay attention to the smaller things, to try to determine whether TLR gets those right. Here’s what I saw/heard today:

  1. Opposing runners stealing bases in crucial situations. Runner on second, Bummer pitching. Bummer takes one look, turns to the plate, runner takes off 10-15′ for third before Bummer throws to the plate. Stone notes that this is a known Bummer habit, he looks the runner once, never twice. If Stone knows it, why doesn’t TLR? And why doesn’t he fix it?
  2. Reynaldo pitching, Manfred man on 2b. Bunt close to Rey, yet Burger jogs in the direction of the ball. Rey gets it and looks to throw to third, but there’s nobody there – it could have been an out. Instead Rey whirls and throws it away in a hurry. Stone remarks on the lack of coordination between Rey and Burger. Don’t they work on this? Spring Training? Practice? Then another bunt closer to Rey than Burger, not an out possibility at third but once again Burger jogs toward the ball, nobody covering 3rd. Isn’t this the manager’s job?
  3. I didn’t see this, but saw it posted on the game blog. On parallel coverage MLB commentator Jim DeShais noted that both in the 9th and 10th innings, runners on 2nd, the outfielders were playing too deep to throw out anybody on a single. Whose responsibility is this?
  4. We had lost the DH earlier, so when the pitcher came to bat in extra innings, TLR pinch-hit Leury (WS are last in MLB in pinch-hit attempts). Leury was the last bench player available. TLR had Leury bunt; the pitcher could have done that, and saved Leury. As poetic justice, Leury ran inside the baseline and was out, also requiring the runner to return to 2b.

This is a lot of stuff happening in one game, maybe there was more. Maybe similar stuff happens in every game. Isn’t this management’s responsibility?

WestEddy

I didn’t understand why he pinch ran with Pollock, and not Leury. I’m guessing Leury’s faster, and Pollock’s a better hitter.

Just John

Ridge, seems like lots of good points here about inept management. And Jim’s similar points seemingly every day now, and many others of you as well. Some of TLR’s problems are arguable subtleties but others are bafflingly obvious.

I have not seen or heard many of Hahn’s pressers or Q&As. Are these TLR issues ever pointed out? In other words, to what level has TLR’s ineptitude been scrutinized publicly?

As Cirensica

This. All of this. This team is poorly prepared for games, and not only that. It is poorly prepared physically speaking. The amount of major injuries this team suffers by doing routine baseball activities is baffling. All of this even after considering TLR maddening resting of players to keep them “fresh”. This is not normal. Something is wrong here.

Last edited 6 months ago by As Cirensica
roke1960

The decision I thought was one of the worst was bunting with Mendick in the 6th. Harrison leads off with a walk, then gets wild pitched over to 2nd. 3 chances to drive him in from 2nd, but Tony decides to bunt and the runner is thrown out at 3rd. Unbelievably bad baseball decision. And that isn’t 2nd guessing. I told my son while we were listening in the car that this was stupid. 10 seconds later Harrison is out at 3rd. Just awful.

Last edited 6 months ago by roke1960
mrridgman

In reviewing Jim’s essays of the last few weeks, considering the comments of rabid Sox fans, it seems like the silliness decisions are accelerating. Are TLR and staff feeling the pressure of unmet expectations? I’d be curious for an opinion from the mental health industry (although perhaps not appropriate from afar).

As Cirensica

I have been wondering whether Cairo, Menechino and Katz realize how outdated TLR managing style can be. I get that TLR lives in a cloud, and might not see the obvious, but Cairo? Menechino? Katz?

roke1960

I respectfully disagree. Tony makes so many obviously bad baseball decisions- yesterday alone he made at least 5- that he sabotages the team. Though it will never happen, I’d really like to hear the players’ honest take on Tony right now. His crazy idea of over-resting players is obviously backfiring. Most of the players he sits get hurt- now Timmy is out. He seems so joyless- you gotta believe that is rubbing off on the players.

And this is coming from one of the few people that didn’t think that hiring LaRussa was such a bad idea. I thought Tony was one of the best ingame managers I’d ever seen. The key word there is WAS. His decision making now is awful.

jhomeslice

Energy and vibe matter. A lot. In sports, and in life. I’ve seen it. This team has been flat/lethargic since July, for the last 3/4 of a season. That starts with the manager, who is 26 years older than the average manager in the AL. He is tired, he manages as if the players are as tired and frail as he is. Of course all of that has impacts that go beyond his batshit crazy and assclown lineup choices.

Even Hinch would not fix this mess, but things just might start to work better, with more positive energy/momentum. This team will win nothing in October under TLR just as sure as it will win nothing until they pay a free agent more than Grandal. TLR is more than a hang nail, he is closer to cancer for this team.

dongutteridge

Fundamentally, the White Sox more resemble a little league team than a World Series team.

Soxfan2

Do we see Yolbert Sanchez finally get a shot? Or is Tony gonna roll with Mendick/Garcia/Harrison to cover the middle infield?

Either way this offense is in even more trouble but I’d like to see Yolbert Sanchez get a shot at this point. We know what those 3 current guys will do. Maybe the Sox can get some 2021 luck and Sanchez can hit while the sox need it most.

ParisSox

If this team stays mired in mediocrity the whole season and doesn’t make the playoffs, it will be time to clean house – KW, Hahn, LaRussa and staff, including and especially the training staff, except Katz. Keep Katz at all costs.

This is the time the run should be peaking with Abreu and Grandal passing their prime, Anderson in his prime and others coming into their prime. In theory and excellent starting staff and quality bullpen. There really is no excuse to not miss the playoffs.

I’m ready to eat my words should there be a hot second half, but as long as Harrison gets ABs in the 2-hole, I don’t see big winning streaks in our future.

dwjm3

Jerry on the hunt for a new GM would be pretty ugly.

I imagine top candidates would turn us down left and right similar to what happened to the Mets. Top front office talent isn’t going to tolerate an owner who thinks it is his job to hire the manager. Furthermore, they won’t put up with an owner that wants to be involved with every baseball decision. The process wound probably culminate with either Jeremy Haber getting promoted or some mediocre retread getting hired.

It will take ownership change to fix this organization.

chipporter

^^^^^This….see, Chicago Bears Chairman wants coach to play Justin Fields.

When ownership meddling of this level happens, it completely eliminates all top tier candidates from having interest.

soxygen

Exactly. If Jerry would just confine himself to setting a lower budget than we’d all like, I could live with that. There is never a day when this team is just the White Sox. It is always, on some level, Jerry Reinsdorf’s team.

BenwithVen

Man, it would have been nice to signed a big bat at 2B who could then just slide over to SS while Harrison/Leury cover 2B. Too bad that there weren’t any of those available. Just a damn shame.

Last edited 6 months ago by BenwithVen
TommyAgeeFan

Yesterdays game was another frustrating game, and once again, I was getting ready to throw in the towel on the 2022 CWS. Then Tim Anderson got injured.

I don’t know if we can call this a blessing is disguise, but TA’s injury will quickly move the fanbase closer to 2023. Many ways to explain the performance after first 46 games, and we have heard them all. It’s now time to accept that this is just not our year. The 2022 edition is not a bad team, but the fact is the Chisox are just average. Very much like what we saw with Twins last year, high expectations, poor performance.

Considering the injuries we have seen this year, the CWS have received little-to-no production (WAR) from Moncada, Eloy, Sheets (RF or DH), Yaz, and 2nd base. Of our nine batters every night, only 3-4 can be counted on (SS, Andrew, LuRob, Jose).

So, what needs to look different in 2023?

  • Regardless if we move Jose at trade deadline, his salary will be off the books. It’s time to move Andrew over to 1B full-time.
  • Unless we see improvement from AJ, his salary also goes away.
  • Same with Josh Harrison.
  • I am not sure how much Yaz has left, but we do not have many options here.
  • And how to explain Yoan’s total drop-off in production?

Our continued experiments with RF/2nd Base/LHB have failed once again this year. Most significant is Gavin Sheets; showed great potential and promise last year, but seems to have lost power as LHB bat this year.

For 2023, CWS management needs to be honest with themselves. Do they really want to win another World Series, or are they satisfied just remaining competitive? Even with loss of Jose next year, their window remains open, considering the potential of LuRob, TA, Andrew, and maybe Jake Burger, along with solid starting pitching of Cease, Gioloto, and Kopech.

I was there in 2005; with a few off-season acquisitions (Pods, Tadahito, and I am sure I am missing more) they had a team that could pitch, hit, and play defense. And they won it all.

soxygen

You are very confident that Jose won’t be back next year

670WMAQtheElder

As of this morning per MLB.com the Sox aren’t even in the expanded playoffs.

As yesterday showed this team is not fundamentally sound. It is mired in mediocrity. And boring.

This is TLR’s team from top to bottom. As JR’s guy, he is the de facto GM, not just the field manager. How else do explain the emphasis this past off season on the bullpen and the multiyear contract to a utility player who is one of his favorites? TLR wants a roster he as field manager can tinker with every day so he can be the most important guy, front and center, of that day’s game.

And, remember, when he was involved with the Diamondbacks a few years ago when David Stewart was GM, Dave and he essentially destroyed that franchise, and it has yet to recover.

What player, coach,”general manager”, trainer, etc. can argue with the HOF manager? Assuming they have the chops to want to and that is questionable. None of them. What TLR wants, TRL gets, with JR standing behind him. This will remain the status quo unless TLR exits or if he unwisely spends JR’s money without result. Like the Shields trade took out KW.

You know, as you get older, as I have, you gain wisdom. And part of that wisdom is to know when your time is no longer prime, and you exit gracefully content in the memories of your contribution to your profession. There is no fool worse than an old fool who tries to stick around and be relevant when the profession has moved on. It is embarrassing to all.

roke1960

Excellent post. This really is Tony’s team.

GrinnellSteve

This last paragraph might apply to Keuchel, too.