White Sox 5, Royals 3 (10 innings): Luis Robert saves the night

Between Monday night curling league and a late-night airport pickup, I had to catch this game through phone, MLB.tv and Gameday Audio, so here’s a bullet-point recap:

*Johnny Cueto entered his White Sox debut with no ERA. He left it with a 0.00 ERA after six scoreless innings. He opened his start by striking out the side and retired his first nine hitters, and he faced the minimum through four, but while the Royals started amassing more traffic in the middle innings, they couldn’t square him up for a key hit. The fastball averaged 91-92, but he topped out at 93.5, and it had some jump on it.

*Cueto didn’t get the victory because Kendall Graveman and the White Sox defense conspired against him. Graveman located unusually poorly, and the Royals’ bats looked unusually live against him. They stung him for four hits and three runs over the course of 17 pitches before a Salvador Perez double play stopped the bleeding.

*Maybe Graveman should’ve only allowed two, because Andrew Vaughn couldn’t get back to the wall on Whit Merrifield’s drive off of it, and Yasmani Grandal couldn’t handle a great relay throw from Tim Anderson that beat Nicky Lopez to the plate on the fly.

*Vaughn and Grandal drove in the Sox’s only three runs in regulation. Vaughn cashed in Adam Engel with a sac fly after Engel led off the third inning with a double, then stole third base. Grandal finally showed some power, taking Brad Keller deep on a hanging 0-2 slider in the fourth inning that gave the White Sox that 3-0 lead Graveman blew.

*Luis Robert ended up being the first star because he hit a bigger two-run homer in the 10th inning. Just when it looked like Scott Barlow was set to go six-up-six-down while stranding the Manfred Man, Luis Robert took one inside-corner slider for strike one, then hammered a second one over the wall just left of center to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.

*The Royals had no such answer for Liam Hendriks, who struck out the side on 12 pitches for the save. This time Hendriks threw only half fastballs.

Record: 17-17 | 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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chipporter

Outside our division, only one AL and one NL team have scored fewer runs than the Sox.

And I don’t care what logic you use, but batting Vaughn behind 6 players with lower averages is not plain stupid, it’s extraordinarily stupid.

Last edited 6 months ago by chipporter
jhomeslice

Suggesting that La Russa is extraordinarily stupid is an insult to extraordinarily stupid people.

BenwithVen

Cueto sure was fun to watch. Just locating his pitches at will and everything he throws moves. Hopefully, this is the beginning of Abreu and Yaz waking up from their season long slumbers.

jhomeslice

Cueto really impressed me. I mean I’m sure he’s not going to be that good every time out, but he doesn’t look like a guy who is on his last legs. With DK righting his own ship a little bit, once Lynn gets back they should get a decent start most games, with some depth. You would think.

As you said hopefully Yaz coming around, he can help. If only they got rid of their halfwit manager and the nonsensical lineups. It truly is amazing how awful TLR is, and that he still has a job.

metasox

Speaking of legs, Cueto seems to run really well. And a lot. Nice seeing a pitcher who seems active and not glued to the mound

Augusto Barojas

The dude looked good, like he has a couple or more years left. He did well enough with the Giants in 20 starts last year (ERA just over 4) that it isn’t that surprising. What is surprising is that no other teams showed an interest and that he was available.

gibby32

I have always liked Cueto, but let’s not get too carried away after one appearance. But if he can be a competent 4-5, and if Lynn can come back healthy, and if Keuchel can prove me wrong and be a competent 5-6, the team might be able to offer a competent starting pitcher for the great majority of their games. Then, it’s up to the offense.

BenwithVen

Kind of have to think he had a narrow list of teams he’d be willing to play for (i.e. contenders) and was waiting for a spot to open up.

knoxfire30

What a job by Cueto

Hearing TLR trying to justify Vaughn hitting 9th gives me absolutely 0 confidence in anything he can do as a manager

I cant think of a bigger home run hit in a May game then Robert’s the team desperately needed the win after blowing the lead and how the season is gonna. Just cant overstake how big a homer that was.

texag10

I’m surprised that is what gives you zero confidence and not the previous 199 games.

metasox

He was known for experimenting with hitting the pitcher 8th. Same idea. If Anderson is just about the team’s best hitter, get someone on base ahead of him. I don’t know if it works, but there is a logic to it.

gibby32

Respectfully, no there is not—-for so many reasons. The key one is that you want your better hitters to get more at-bats. Second, hitting Vaughn at 7 still sometimes provides the opportunity to have someone on base for Tim. Third, the difference between Vaughn’s OBP and, for example, Leury’s OBP, is less than .1 (I think), so there isn’t that much of an advantage, undercut by the fact that Leury is a lot faster. And it’s outweighed by Vaughn getting more at-bats. The decision betrays a profound incompetence.

metasox

I fully understand the analysis. Vaughn is an odd choice as more of a power and RBI guy. But putting aside the specifics of the players at the bottom of the order as none of them are really ideal for this role (Leury might be closest), there is a logic to wanting someone on base ahead of one of the team’s best hitters and RBI threats if they don’t plan to move him off leadoff, which they don’t. So, for example, I could see Leury over McGuire. Again, Vaughn seems odd, but I get the intent of shaking things up while the team is struggling to get runs.

Last edited 6 months ago by metasox
knoxfire30

Its not at all the same

and anytime you take your best (one of) and move them to a position where they will get the least amount of at bats possible its bad

If you are desperate to get people on ahead of Anderson then let Anderson bat 3rd and put your 2 highest obp people in front of him at 1 and 2 , I however wouldnt recommend this cause TA has been one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball

metasox

Against a right hander and since just coming back from injury, not sure where Vaughn hits is anything to get that worked up about.

chipporter

Actually it is, because AV’s OBP splits are .350/.308 L/R, so the R/L argument is almost moot.

texag10

The person making that decision has absolutely zero credibility though

lifelongjd

The lineup wasn’t the only questionable decision by TLR. Pitching to Merrifield with a 2-0 count with a man on third and one out was really short sighted. I’m no fan of Beckham doing the games, but he did suggest putting him on to set up the double play with Perez who was up next and it seemed obvious, especially when Merrifield got the hitter’s count. The fact that Perez hit into the DP after the tying single just hit the point home even more.

Where the hell is the strategy from LaRussa? I get not putting the winning run on base, but the moment screamed for something proactive from the Sox.

gibby32

Perez was not up next. Walking Merrifield would not have been a good idea. He’s not hitting. The problem is that our pitcher did not execute.

Joliet Orange Sox

The intentional walk discussion during the broadcast was about whether to walk Benintendi or not. I believe raises a valid discussion but has the wrong name for the batter.

Merrifield batted with men on 1st and 3rd. There was no discussion of walking him to load the bases.

After Merrifield doubled to clear the bases making the score 3-2 and took 3rd on the throw, Beckham did suggest walking Benintendi to set up a possible double play. The Sox chose to pitch to Benintendi who singled to drive in Merrifield tying the game. Pérez then hit into a double play.

Last edited 6 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
ForsterFTOG

I think Beckham said to walk Benintendi with a 3-0 count.

Joliet Orange Sox

It was indeed a 3-0 count on Benintendi before he ripped the single at over 100 mph with an xBA of .930. I think it was pretty clear that Benintendi had the green light on 3-0.

lifelongjd

Royals – Bottom 8th
GRAVEMAN PITCHING FOR CHW
CHW
KC
Taylor reached on infield single to third.
3
0
O’Hearn hit for Rivera
3
0
O’Hearn singled to center, Taylor to third.
3
0
Lopez ran for O’Hearn
3
0
Isbel struck out looking.
3
0
Merrifield doubled to deep left center, Lopez scored and Taylor scored, Merrifield to third.
3
2
Benintendi singled to right, Merrifield scored.
3
3
Perez grounded into double play, shortstop to second to first, Benintendi out at second.

lifelongjd

Apologies, I had the flow incorrect. My message still applies

tommytwonines

So what does everyone think of LaRussa?

Joliet Orange Sox

I’ve been thinking about this since 1979 and I think I need another 43 years to decide. 😉

Last edited 6 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
soxfan

Cueto is definitely taking the road less tunneled.