Guardians 8, White Sox 4: Lance Lynn starts, finishes ugly

My curling league runs on Monday nights, so I’m never more disconnected from the White Sox when my draw time aligns with first pitch. When I get off the ice and check my phone, I’m usually left to solve the question “Why does everybody hate the White Sox tonight?”

Looks like tonight had three answers:

Lance Lynn’s start: Three batters into his outing, Lynn had a runner on first, two outs and a pitch count of 10. After the inning, the White Sox trailed 5-0. Seven consecutive Guardians reached, starting with the inning’s second infield single, followed by a seeing-eye single through the middle, a broken-bat single to center, and a palpable two-run single off the mound.

While there was plenty of bad luck (none of the nine first-inning batted balls qualified as “hard-hit”), Lynn contributed to the cause with a pair of walks, and only one swinging strike over 39 pitches.

Lance Lynn’s finish: Lynn started the fifth inning on 90 pitches. He’d retired eight in a row at one point, but his scoreless fourth involved stranding two runners on a 103-mph groundout from Josh Naylor.

But whether it was more the doubleheader looming on Tuesday or Tony La Russa’s general faith in veteran pitchers regardless of recent history, Lynn got a chance to face three batters in the fifth. They went single, hit-by-pitch and a ringing Nolan Jones double, and Lynn went from maintaining a 5-4 deficit to leaving with the Sox trailing 7-4. Jones then scored on a single by Matt Foster’s second batter for the final score.

The offense’s general effort: The White Sox looked briefly inspired during the third and fourth innings. In the third, Tim Anderson kept the inning alive with an opposite-field single, and Yoán Moncada followed by getting on top of a 90 mph cutter and heaving it over the wall in right center for a three-run shot.

An inning later, Eloy Jiménez drew a six-pitch walk to move José Abreu into scoring position, and AJ Pollock cashed him in with a single off the glove of a leaping José Ramirez to make it a one-run game.

Other innings featured nothing. They opened by going three-up-three-down on six pitches, and they only used up seven in the ninth. Out of the 34 plate appearances the White Sox had over the course of the evening, 21 ended on three pitches or fewer.

Two of them came with runners on the corners and nobody out in the seventh inning, when they chased Quantrill from the game. Seby Zavala popped out on Trevor Stephan’s first pitch, and Anderson swung at all three he saw, grounding into a double play. Stephan only needed four pitches to get three outs, and then he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth on 10, which must’ve winded him.

Sox hitters consumed just 114 pitches over the nine innings, while the White Sox threw 152 over eight.

I’m still catching up on the finer points of the game. If there’s anything worth citing, let me know.

Bullet points:

*Leury García was charged with an error when his relay throw home escaped Seby Zavala, and Lance Lynn — who spent multiple such plays floating around the middle of the diamond — wasn’t backing up.

*Joe Kelly struck out two and threw 13 of 18 pitches for strikes during a scoreless sixth, so that’s something.

*Former White Sox prospect Alex Call made his MLB debut in the seventh inning, lining out to center against Kelly.

*White Sox pitchers plunked three Guardians, so we’ll see if five games over four days breeds contempt.

Record: 41-44 | 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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ChiSoxND12

Leury’s relay was imperfect, but Seby certainly should have corralled it to make the play so I’d put that one more on Seby 100%. Lynn wasn’t there to back it up, allowing the extra 90 for the batter-runner. Another one of those that wouldn’t have counted as an error had nobody advanced, but the bottom line is the play should’ve resulted in an out but didn’t.

We’re….not good at the little things. Like, none of them

funkerdan

Lynn did that twice in this game. I’ve seen other games where he remembers where he’s supposed to go and goes there. I think him not executing his pitches is creating a fog that is forfeiting his ability to execute the other aspects of his game. In the first he needed to go to third but instead he goes home and Stone called him out saying the ball was by him. I mean, whatever. I’m not mad. I’m just hungry.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Good thing they have that super high resolution space telescope up and running since that will be the only way to see the Sox’ playoff chances by the end of the week

lifelongjd

I am starting to hate this team

Trooper Galactus

“…starting…”?

As Cirensica

Hate is a strong word. I don’t hate this team. I do dislike tremendously the manager, and the front office.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

On the bright side Lynn’s ERA is a full run lower than Keuchel’s was after about the same number of innings pitched this year

Augusto Barojas

Lynn is really doing well replacing Keuchel since coming back. It’s almost like Dallas never left.

Unlike DK, he has no vesting option… gets 18 M next year no matter what. That extension is working out well.

Trooper Galactus

He’s also been hung out to dry on three separate occasions by a manager who has made no concessions to his age or injury. Sure, the first inning was all on him, but it didn’t have to get so out of hand in the fifth, and his other outings were generally fine until he got extended past the point of reason.

jhomeslice

Very true. This is the most mis-managed team probably in MLB history. Which is why any comparisons to the Braves last year or non-dominant teams that have won a title is nonsense, my opinion.

Not every World Series winner is a super team, but name one with league worst defense, the worst manager of all time, the 4th worst run differential in the league, and that can’t hit right handed starters that has won a World Series. Their weakness against RHP is one of the worst that any team could have, given that right handed pitchers are a majority. This team is closer to the cusp of destruction than it is to a title. Even if they upgraded the roster, self destructive, psycho, a-hole La Russa is too much of an obstacle for just about any team to overcome.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Actually, the comparison to the Braves vis a vis mismanagement isn’t too far fetched. Many have linked the Braves turnaround last year to the moment that Snitker gave in and started allowing the analytics department to dictate their defensive shifts. I think they went from last in the league in shifting to first, and their defensive numbers skyrocketed.

jhomeslice

So La Russa is suddenly going to start being smart and listening to people? Riiiiiiight. La Russa sabotages their chances in so many ways, from the energy and vibe he brings, his obsession with Leury and lineup choices that make no sense, consistently leaving pitchers in too long (as you pointed out).

Snitker isn’t and never was anywhere near as awful as La Russa. Nobody is. I mean come on. This team has been bad defensively since the start of 2021 and isn’t going to start to be good with Anderson at SS and their corner outfielders.

Last edited 4 months ago by jhomeslice
Right Size Wrong Shape

I never indicated that I thought LaRussa was going to change. I’m just pointing out that the two situations have some similarities.

jhomeslice

I think the similarities are along the same lines as the Sox signing players that are “just like” Semien and Robbie Ray. I don’t think the 2021 Braves are going to be who anybody is comparing this Sox team to by season’s end. More like the 1984 White Sox.

Right Size Wrong Shape

It would be interesting to see what the Sox starters’ actual ERA’s are compared to what their ERA’s would be if TLR took them out the second a majority of Sox fans started thinking, “I really hope TLR doesn’t leave [insert name here] in for another inning.

metasox

Aren’t innings totals for Sox starters already among the lowest and the bullpen pretty well worked. Not sure there is an optimal alternative, at least not a consistent one

Last edited 4 months ago by metasox
soxygen

One alternative would have been to look at Kopech (never pitched a full season as a starter), Cease (often can only go 5+), Lynn (knee injury and off-season surgery), and Keuchel (sucked except for 2020 versus very crappy competition) and conclude that the team needed another starter to get through 2022.

Another alternative (not necessarily separate) would have been to use a 6-man rotation to give Kopech and Lynn and a struggling Giolito more rest. I’ve been a bit surprised each time they have sent Martin back to the minors because this is a brutal stretch of games/days for a team with this rotation. And getting 5 innings from Martin every 6 days would more than make up for whatever we have gotten from the last man in the bullpen.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
burning-phoneix

Isn’t Martin the starter for the 2nd match against Cleveland?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think he’s starting game 1 vs. Bieber.

soxygen

Yep, and I’m not really sure why he hasn’t been starting every 6th day for a while now.

They are relying too much on Lynn and Kopech giving them innings every fifth game and Giolito pitching third time through the order. What is the plan with these guys? Pitch them until they break down?

That’s 3/5ths of the team’s rotation! Someone getting paid to be in charge of things needs to take charge of this particular thing.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
Qubort

Cueto and Velasquez are/were the 6th and 7th starters. Guys willing to take deals as the 6th starter are going to be fringe level players. I think they actually did decent in the that department since Cueto has been great and VV and has eaten some innings.

Right Size Wrong Shape

They had to have a pretty good idea that the need to cut ties with Keuchel was a definite possibility going into the season.

soxygen

Maybe…it kinda sounds like it if you check out this paragraph from a piece this spring…

‘‘Every career ends at some point,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘Every star eventually doesn’t shine as brightly. But guys who have been stars, like Dallas, have that reserve and confidence to pull back on, and I think that’s going to serve him really well going forward. We are entering this season viewing him as part of what’s going to help us win.’’

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
burning-phoneix

Sox starters are 22nd in the league in IP. Sox relievers are 9th in the league in IP. The problem lies in the fact that the bullpen is pretty lopsided. You got only a few elite relievers like Liam Hendricks and Graveman mixed in with plenty of low leverage innings eaters like Jose Ruiz, Matt Foster and Bennet Sousa and nearly all of them walk way too many guys

As Cirensica

I read a tweet (I can’t find it now) that indicates that the ERA of White Sox starters in their last inning of work in a given game is more than 10, which supports the idea of TLR very slow hook. We might be hemorrhaging wins just for that aspect of the game.

BuehrleMan

Leury might not have been charged with an error on Nolan Jones’ double had Lance Lynn been backing up home on Leury’s relay throw instead of just standing in the middle of the diamond pouting because he had served up a meatball.

itaita

A normal team would just shrug this loss off as a bit of bad luck that happens but the Sox cant afford those kind of games. My only real worry is if the front office panics and does another Tatis tier trade or something stupid. But outside of that ive shifted into a enjoy what you can enjoy type season. Just not happening for them this year.

ParisSox

yeah that’s where I’m at. i kept hoping this stretch would show their true talent. And in a way it is. Ergo, not going anywhere this year. enjoy the show. Wait ’till next year.

Holland23

Well, we do have another Tatis to trade.

hitlesswonder

In this moribund season, I would just like to say Jose Abreu is awesome. At age 35 he has 2.3 WAR and a 138OPS+

That contract was fine…the only thing bad about it is that it prevented Abreu from going to a better team more worthy of his service.

ParisSox

there’s still the trade deadline

To Err is Herrmann

What depresses me the most about this team is that in any functional organization, it would be time to let the manager go. We know TLR has a job-for-life. JR, Hahn & Kenny completely screwed up the rebuild, and giving this cranky guy a job for life just as he was charged with a second DUI has got to go down in history as one of the all-time stupidest moves made in baseball.

FlyingSpaghettiMonster

So far. I’m confident they can still do something more stupid.

jhomeslice

The choice to hire him was one of the stupidest ever. The choice to not fire him is even more stupid.

As Cirensica

And the choice to keep him for the 2023 season will be…?

Nellie Fox

The players have been told not to run or play hard and it is showing what that gets you. We should not expect more than a lackadaisical attitude in the dugout or on the field. The theory is a team can not win a pennant early but you can lose one is becoming ugly.