Rangers 8, White Sox 6 (12 innings): Confusing, heroic pitching performance wasted

When Michael Kopech departed this game after two outs, slamming the ball to the turf in frustration after what turned out to be an event with his right knee, you probably wouldn’t have expected a burned-out pitching staff to limit the Rangers to three runs through nine innings, especially when none of the White Sox’s high-leverage relievers pitched any of them.

Reynaldo López, fresh off opening two innings two days ago, once again got the game into the third with no score. Johnny Cueto, pitching long relief on short rest, gave up two runs on his first two batters in the second, then had a rough three-batter sequence for another run in the third, but settled down to finish five and gave the Sox offense a chance to tie the game.

Tanner Banks, back from Charlotte and tapped to throw in high-leverage, walked his first two batters, then recovered to post zeroes in the eighth and ninth. Kendall Graveman finally appeared in the 10th — which is the correct call for a team’s best reliever, which he turned out to be with Liam Hendriks revealed unavailable ex post facto — and stranded the first Manfred Man.

And yet the White Sox still lost, because after a nice little two-out rally in the first inning, they could not score without assistance from a miserable Rangers defense.

In the seventh, they managed to close a 3-1 deficit only because Ezequiel Duran booted what should’ve been an inning-ending double play ball, and Nathaniel Lowe overranged to his right and deflected Andrew Vaughn’s grounder away from Marcus Semien, who would’ve been in position to field it.

And after Duran atoned for his error with a three-run blast off José Ruiz in the 11th inning, the White Sox might’ve only come up with run on a defensive-indifference-generated sac fly, but Charlie Culberson and Eli White collided on Danny Mendick’s drive to left center. Culberson lost it in the sun, and while White made a fantastic effort to range from one gap to the other, all he had to show for it was a dive into a sliding Culberson’s midsection. Two runs scored, Mendick reached third on the painful triple, and he scored on AJ Pollock’s bloop single to tie the game at 6.

Unfortunately, after Matt Foster yielded a two-run single to Jonah Heim in the top of the 12th, the gifts dried up. Instead, Luis Robert decided to hand an out back by getting thrown out at third attempting a pointless tag-up on Jake Burger’s warning-track fly to left. He came off the bag on his feet-first slide, and while he might’ve been determined safe had the original call gone his way, he was initially ruled out, and the call stood after replay. He deserved to be out on thought process alone.

And even if Robert didn’t make that mistake, the Sox lost all rights to victory when they failed to capitalize on Graveman’s scoreless 10th. José Abreu nullified the Manfred Man with a double play, and nobody could make up for it.

Bullet points:

*Jon Gray became the first pitcher to strike out 10 White Sox this year, doing so over six innings.

*Seby Zavala made his first appearance of the year and was out on a grounder where hustling out of the box might’ve made a difference.

*Dylan Cease warmed up late, but La Russa said after the game that it was just to get work in for his start on Tuesday. I’m not so sure. All of this seems like news for a roster about to collapse.

Record: 27-31 | 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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PauliePaulie

“On roster, but unavailable”
-Sox ’22

metasox

I knew I liked Cueto. Sucked that it ended in a loss, but great for him stepping up.

soxygen

Cueto has been a real bright spot on this team

MrStealYoBase

In an alternative universe where instead of Tony LaRussa the Sox are managed by a nameless, faceless, “average” MLB manager that does everything by the book/what the majority of the 29 other managers would do.

In this reality how different is their record from what it is now?

upnorthsox

Pythagorean which uses the nameless faceless average manager says 23-34, so we are 4 wins better than he who shall not be named.

mrridgman

I assume you’re using run differential for that calculation. There’s a cogent argument for the large negative run differential to be manager-driven.

Joliet Orange Sox

I think TLR is so frustrating to many of us because there is no chance of him giving us more in the future. He’ll be 78 at the end of the season. For many of the other disappointing parts of this team, there’s at least some hope of things turning around.

Joliet Orange Sox

My reply was not really to but to those he was replying to.

mrridgman

What would your thoughts be if this disaster of a season continued to the end, no division, no playoffs. TLR retires again. Mystery manager X is hired, brings modern concepts to the Sox. A couple of intelligent trades, a major signing. fresh start 2023 (I know, the fly in the ointment is JR, Kenny and Hahn (who I think is more competent than many on this site – I suspect Sox scouting is still old school) are still there.

Joliet Orange Sox

There’s so much time between now and then that it’s hard to know. Things could look much better or worse by the off-season. Even with your premise that there’s no playoffs this year, there are ways that happens that happens that would make me feel better or worse about the future.

I don’t think Hahn is a great GM but I think it is hard to know which moves are Hahn and which are Kenny and/or Jerry. This is an indictment of Hahn to some extent but it also means that replacing Hahn might not change much. I don’t think anyone in Hahn’s position would have been able to seriously pursue Harper or will be able to seriously purse Judge for next year. The moves I’m most sure were Hahn’s without much Jerry/Kenny input are the Sale/Eaton/Quintana trades that worked out pretty well.

All the rest of this aside, I just don’t see any scenario where TLR being the manager going forward makes me feel better. I’m for removing TLR as manager because I just don’t see any downside to the move. Maybe the Sox improve without TLR and maybe they don’t but I think it is very unlikely that anyone at the end of the year is saying things would’ve gone better with TLR at the helm.

mrridgman

We substantially agree. I think the real problem with the Sox is that there is no chain of command that they all honor. Sometimes Kenny acts as the spokesperson, sometimes Hahn. Sometimes JR makes the decision (TLR), sometimes Hahn. I’m sure Kenny influences some decisions, but the real influencer at the moment is TLR – he went to uncle Jerry, pleaded his case that they were close in 21, all they needed now was a great bullpen and several minor chess pieces he could move around (my suspicion only); plus of course, he wanted Leury.

If we could reincarnate Jack Welch, and force JR to listen, things might change.

Qubort

I don’t understand this thought process. Why should Sale/Eaton/Quintana trades get credited to Hahn but signing Kelly/Harrison/Garcia fall under someone else? Which column does buying out arbitration years for guys that can’t stay on the field fall under? The fan base gives Rick Hahn way too much leeway. Good decisions are credited to him and everything bad is someone else’s fault.

Joliet Orange Sox

I don’t think Hahn is particularly good at his job. I just think TLR and Jerry are bigger problems.

chipporter

It’s the difference between trades and free agent signings. You can be good at one and not the other.

Root Cause

Based on available pitchers, Robert’s out at 3rd may have been a mercy killing.

vince

I know Lynn is technically on normal rest for tomorrow, but moving up a guy who’s missed 2.5 months on the IL last minute seems desperate.

metasox

They are behind and days are coming off the calendar. Probably is time to reach

upnorthsox

If we had only kept Keuchel………..

Shingos Cheeseburgers

To borrow a paraphrase from Jim the Sox absolutely deserve the results they’re getting. If you half ass a rebuild you should expect quarter ass results.

dongutteridge

That should be the team name until Reinsdorf sells the team.

The Chicago half-assers.

Holland23

Very curious about the new logo. Jerry will probably make a lot off money selling the unique caps and jackets.

Augusto Barojas

That’s about it. The cover of their 2021/2022 media guides should be Eaton/Harrison. I hope their attendance is in the gutter by midway through the 2nd half or before, Ebeneezer Jerry deserves that.

As Cirensica

The sad part is that this is a 190M team. How can you half ass 190M in payroll? Only Hahn can do that.

Root Cause

I agree Hahn is a major contributor but most man-made disasters are a culmination of errors. Sad for the fans that you can’t plugNplay one component to fix it and great for the front office that each one can point fingers and know that they are correct.

upnorthsox

sorry replied to wrong post I guess. html code doesn’t work?

Augusto Barojas

A lot of that is the multi-year contract thing. Hahn’s hands are tied when it comes to signing any top free agents. I mean the past two winters the highest annual salary they have paid anybody is Liam at 13M, and his was the biggest overall contract, by far. When you’re given a 190M budget but forced to sign nickel and dime, horseshit players like Eaton and Harrison, this is the result. All of the guys who would have made the team better (top 15 FA’s this winter at least) got contracts bigger than any the Sox have given out the whole rebuild (and in history).

I mean I don’t think that highly of Hahn, but any moron including him could figure out that Springer would have been a pretty good fit for this team, but he can’t do anything. Almost all their disasters come from Jerry and his cheap character, in the end.

patrick

But what’s most confusing is that technically Jerry isn’t “cheap” as evidenced by the overall payroll number. The issue is that whatever allotment of money Hahn get’s to play with each year usually goes to bad/redudant/redudant AND bad players. Leury + Harrison was a dumb use of money. Resigning Kimbrel for trade purposes and hamstringing your OF upgrade pool was a dumb use of money. Kimbrel + Graveman + Kelly was a very dumb use of money. NOT resigning or offering Rodon was a dumb financial decision as well. Having Vaughn, Sheets, Burger, etc. all just waiting for at bats seems like wasting value. The list goes on.

To me it seems like they are so snake-bitten by past bad contracts (hi Adam Dunn), that they (or just Jerry?) worry about propping up a rebuild with what might be like bad future value. Or bad present value given the Sox’s adventures with veteran free agent signings. We all know this so it’s not like I’m breaking new ground here, but I think the narrative needs to change.

Jerry isn’t cheap, the White Sox front office is just bad. Hahn = bad. Kenny = bad. Jerry = bad. The unfortunate reality is that given their ridiculous corporate structure and dedication to family values, while simultaneously mentally residing in 2005, we’re likely to get this same strategy play out when they inevitably trade Tim Anderson and Lucas Giolito for prospects next July. Or maybe more likely sign Andrelton Simmons and David Price to over-market contracts this winter.

kingkellly

I get the injuries, roster construction and abysmal performances from supposed key contributors are not his fault. But where is LaRussa having positive impact? Certainly not lineup construction. They’ve done an excellent job of picking the right time to steal, I’ll give them that.

But the stupid baserunning, the sloppy fielding and lack of hustle have been ongoing issues. Nothing has changed. Given the Sox offensive woes, these small things take on outsized import when every win is a close fought grind. This is a team that plays stupidly, and that’s something that reflects on the manager.

metasox

Regarding hustling: I did not see the Zavala at-bat mentioned above. But he is just up from Charlotte. If he isn’t hustling when he should, that sounds like a problem with organizational instruction. And I would question what the org is teaching when looking at some of Mendick’s baserunning. The majors isn’t the place to learn the most basic fundamentals

Last edited 5 months ago by metasox
itaita

To be fair everytime people have questioned a players hustle the next time they do it a muscle on their body explodes.

vince

As far as injuries, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Twins, Rays, and Padres have all lost more player days to injury than the White Sox, and yet manage to have far better records.

(Just for when Hahn uses injuries as an excuse)

GrinnellSteve

I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused.

asinwreck

Once this seemed so appealing. Now I am beyond belief.

Pete Muldoon

It was a fine idea at the time….

dongutteridge

Can we all just appreciate the fact that the White Sox remain 3.5 games ahead of the 4th place Tigers?

Whoom

Not for long

upnorthsox

I take comfort in the fact that the Tigers have rescued us from the fewest BB’s in the majors. That took effort on their part.

StockroomSnail

First game this year, stayed until the bitter, stupid ending.

This team is too dumb to live.

Deep Dish Pizza

Tired of the lack of fundamentals, hustle and baseball knowledge. All starts at the top in spring training. Can’t run 90 feet, stupid coaching at third and the HOF manager that was loved by most, never by me. Wanted AJ or Cora and now I want a different AJ. Or Sandy Alamor or Bruce Bochy. Anyone who isn’t suppose to be retired..

Augusto Barojas

TLR was never loved by most. Only Reinsdorf, and some paid pundits in the media. I don’t know anybody who did not think it was an utterly ridiculous choice for manager.

soxygen

I would rather have Buck Showalter, Ron Washington, Jim Leyland, Cito Gaston, or even 90-year old Whitey Herzog.

chipporter

The overwhelming consensus in the media, leading up to the hiring, was that it was a feel good interview. After the hiring, it was shock. I can’t imagine one swinging appendage in baseball that stood up and went, “That’s a good move”.