Rockies 6, White Sox 5: Kendall Graveman melts down

Even if the White Sox held on to win this game, it would’ve been one of the most unpleasant games of the year. It started five minutes late because Antonio Senzatela apparently doesn’t adhere to schedules, and it took three hours and 36 minutes to complete despite a lack of real action. Two pitchers departed in the middle of innings with injuries.

Adding to White Sox-specific woes, Lucas Giolito got roughed up in another first inning before recovering for an adequate five. They ran into two outs on the basepaths, including Leury García getting picked off at third base by the catcher after Yoán Moncada drew ball four to load the bases for approximately 1.3 seconds. Tony La Russa burned a challenge on a hopeless play at first base early in the game, and Tim Anderson bypassed a 6-4-3 double play by taking it to the bag himself, only to miss second base as he fired to first.

And yet they were in position to win the game, leading 5-4 in the ninth inning. If the White Sox were 98-0 playing every game like this, attendance and ratings would be cratering.

That point is moot, because the White Sox are back to .500 after Kendall Graveman imploded in spectacular fashion. He walked the bases loaded on 17 pitches, then saw Elias Diaz shoot the first pitch he saw into right field for a two-run single that ended the game.

Graveman handled the ninth for a couple of reasons:

  1. He threw just 11 pitches in an easy eighth inning on Tuesday, whereas Liam Hendriks needed 26 pitches to finish the ninth.
  2. He doesn’t have a history of altitude sickness, whereas Hendriks apparently uses meds that makes it hard for him to feel his fingers.

The counterpoint is that Graveman has been mediocre pitching on consecutive days, and those numbers take an even greater hit after he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced.

The only solace is that the Sox had no business winning this game to begin with. Giolito fell behind 3-0 after giving up a leadoff homer to Charlie Blackmon, and two more runs due primarily to misplaced underpowered fastballs. Meanwhile, the White Sox offense grounded into double plays in two of the first three innings. The aforementioned pickoff of García short-circuited a rally in the fifth inning, and then José Abreu broke the wrong way on Yasmani Grandal’s lineout to second for another inning dead by a TOOTBLAN’s hand.

The Sox were able to find some two-out hits to buoy hopes. In the fourth, Grandal picked up Abreu by singling home Yoán Moncada and AJ Pollock after Abreu struck out on three pitches in the more promising RISP situation, which narrowed the score to 3-2.

In the seventh, Leury García literally knocked Senzatela out of the game with a hot shot off the shin for a two-out infield single. Bud Black then made the mistake of calling for lefty Lucas Gilbreath, who was warm, rather than any other righty would’ve had all the needed to get ready due to the injury. The Sox seized the gaffe, as Seby Zavala singled, followed by a Tim Anderson single to tie the game.

When Moncada walked to load the bases, Black came back out to bring in Carlos Estévez for a righty-righty battle against Pollock, only to have Pollock thwart it on one pitch with an inside-out single that gave the Sox a 5-3 lead.

José Ruiz gave up one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh with consecutive one-out hits, but limited the damage and finished the frame. Joe Kelly came out to pitch the eighth, but left with two outs and two on after irritating the same bicep that cost him the end of 2021 and the start of his 2022. Jimmy Lambert finished the eighth by getting C.J. Cron to pop out on the first pitch, so Lambert recorded three outs on three whole pitches over two games. If only it were so simple for Graveman.

Bullet points:

*Moncada reached base three times from the second spot as his numbers continue to climb.

*Vaughn and Abreu both had rough two-game sets. Vaughn went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and strugglin to get any lift. Abreu notched a hustle double, but then got doubled off second.

*García made a few nice catches in center to try to offset his boneheaded baserunning blunder.

Record: 49-49 | 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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Willardmarshall

Sox find air too thin above .500….

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Ah the soggy, lukewarm embrace of 0.500 how I’ve missed thee

Shingos Cheeseburgers

The Sox are hours, possibly minutes away from a hilariously bad trade for a reliever. Feel the excitement!

jhomeslice

Add today’s game to the list of reasons we have not been visited by intelligent life from other planets. As well as reasons why they should not consider trading their best prospects unless it is for Soto or Castillo. 

This team does a lot of things poorly. Baserunning, defense, hitting against right handed pitching. Exceptionally mismanaged. And is excellent/top tier at basically nothing. Even their bullpen I saw was like 19th in ERA after all their “additions” last winter. Kelly hurt AGAIN, big surprise.

I still think they are a good bet to win the division. But man, they need to get with it this winter and add some quality reinforcements. And for the love of God, hire any decent, functioning adult as manager.

palkadance

This. It’s why I feel so silly every time I start hoping for the playoffs. We are bad at every facet of the game: Hitting, homering, RISP, defense, starting pitching (Cease, Cueto and then nothing), bullpen (what Graveman did today is completely routine for this team), coaching. Bad at everything! We would have absolutely no business being in the postseason.

ChiSoxND12

I think you’re oversimplifying a few things:
Sox are actually “good” at “hitting” and RISP (3rd in batting average, 2nd in BA w/ RISP). Their ISO number is an unsurprising 28th overall.

The latter statistic is problematic when defensively you resemble a slow-pitch softball team

And the bullpen spending was laughable then and certainly laughable now

palkadance

I confess, I did not do the work of looking up the numbers. I’m stunned that we are 2nd in BA with RISP. It feels like I have never seen a team fail so often with guys on. As if we have to pray for a wild pitch, or an error, or hope for maybe at least a productive out.
Evidently it is an illusion.

upnorthsox

I’m not sure it is if you take into account their notorious footspeed, I believe they lead the league in advancing the runner from 2nd to 3rd on a hit and of course they lead the known universe in men thrown out at the plate. You add in their innate ability to get picked off base when just standing there and it all adds up to a legendary ability to hit with RISP but not actually score. This is your 2022 Chicago White Sox.

jhomeslice

I would not say they are bad at everything, but they are top tier at nothing I can think of. I mean when a team plays almost exactly .500 for a calendar year, that reflects that they aren’t particularly bad, or good. They are… mired in mediocrity!

Or maybe they are a little bit better than that, but not worthy of excitement. They are a hair worse than what I would have expected after their inexcusably awful offseason. I thought they’d be modestly above .500, atop the central but about the 6th best team in the league. And they’re a little short of fulfilling even that mediocre expectation at the moment.

upnorthsox

The sad/funny/ironic thing is that after years of being mired in mediocrity we purposefully went thru years of losing in an attempt to get out of the mediocrity only to find us mired in the same mediocrity we got out of.

BuehrleMan

I’ve been doing my own research and I’ve discovered that if Graveman wanted the White Sox to win this game he shouldn’t have walked the bases loaded and given up a game losing single.

Nellie Fox

Walked the bases loaded? Hendricks does not pitch? Do the Sox have a bullpen problem? Maybe we have a front office problem.

jhomeslice

Signing the already injured Kelly in the offseason for a stupidly high salary and watching him miss half the season and look like the 2nd coming of Kelvin Herrera is certainly evidence of a front office problem.

Nellie Fox

Actually, if the Sox traded for Mariano Rivera, they would fuck it up.

Ben

Don’t even joke about adding somebody else who’s currently in the Hall of Fame.

Augusto Barojas

Tommy Lasorda would be 95 if he were alive. I am sure if he were, he would be among the top candidates to replace the Russa due to his HOF resume.

itaita

Even though he sorta is adding to the no power problem at least Yas has shown up and getting some hits. Just him moving the lineup along is a good addition. Looks more comfortable up there as well compared to the start of the year when he walked up there praying he wouldn’t have to swing at anything. I dont know what the hell the Sox can do about Giolito however, maybe he knows this is a lost season and is setting himself up for some more commercials after a rebound year?

a-t

today had two things i’m not sure i’ve ever seen.

1: a guy walking yet never touching first base or even leaving the batter’s box before the inning ends
2: a reliever left in with the game on the line after three consecutive walks, extreme extra innings aside

soxygen

Find joy in the little things!

dongutteridge

I don’t want the Sox to make any trades this week and waste future resources on this train wreck of a team.

However, I’m sure they will. So, my choices, in order, would be these guys to get the most impact for the least in prospect capital.

1. Matt Moore
2. David Peralta (gets Gavin Sheets out of RF and gives insurance in case Robert misses a lot of time)
3. Noah Syndergaard

Hulksmash

LOLeury.

Him being picked off 3rd might be the dumbest play in a year flooded with remarkably dumb plays.

You know what it is about this team that really sets them apart? Because I’ve suffered through many an awful Sox team. But this team is different. Why? They’re unlikable. From TLR to Leury to watching whatever first baseman is plodding the outfield to a quarter of the team having the constitution of a Faberge egg to Hahn’s utter banality to the gross underachieving, they’re just hard to like.

This dawned on me today–the reason why this squad irks me so much more than any other. I just don’t like, at this point in time, the character of this team, the organization, or the franchise.

jhomeslice

Well said. I feel much the same. Certainly Jerry, Tony, and Hahn are all in the category of extremely unlikable, Jerry and Tony the most. A cheap, joyless owner and manager, a GM who says all kinds of douche-baggy things, a team that plays with no energy… there’s a lot not to like, certainly.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’ve disliked TLR since the 70’s but I mostly think the players are plenty likable and of perfectly fine character. Winning makes players seem likeable and losing makes them seem unlikable.

As Cirensica

You sound like TLR

😋😋

(I’m pulling your leg)

gibby32

Well said, with perspective.

peanutsNcrackerjack

The White Sox third base coach is a waste of oxygen. Your job is to tell your runner on 3rd base when he is drifting too far off the base, the play before the defense notices it and signals a throw from the catcher. This is pony league stuff we are witnessing.

SoxBulldog13

I was at both games, from batting practice to the nail biting last pitches. Huge, very vocal, Sox fans contingent. Leury got booed a bit after pickoff but I blame McEwing more. Leury, in fairness, also was applauded coming off field after great catch in CF. But man, that was so 22’ Sox that pickoff. We REALLY couldve used ReyNaldo. I noticed a big difference in hitting approaches by the 2 clubs. Rockies hitters battling to stay alive, fouling a ton of pitches off, and drawing walks. Sox hitters swinging earlier and striking out more. Both Sox starters pitch counts only got them through 5. We really missed Reynaldo this series, especially given Liam’s apparent altitude issues. But I will say that tue team did fight hard. They did play with life. This was an unexpectedly incredibly tight 18 innings of baseball. Huge disappointment today ti not finish it off, but it honestly should’ve been a split. Rockies at well under .500 in a tougher division were a dead even match for our .500 Sox. That’s just where the Sox are at right now. It really felt a lot like 18 innings of walking a tight rope, tortuous really, with some happy moments mixed in. But the boys did battle. Lucas didn’t have it today but battled his tail off to get through 5. AJ, Yas, and Moncada were my biggest positives, given their earlier struggles. But we also had a couple key guys look really bad overall at the plate. If Sox can get to 6-7 guys really clicking at same time, with the others just being okay at least, this team can Win more, but right now, Colorado Rockies gave them all they can handle and then some.

Last edited 4 months ago by SoxBulldog13
jhomeslice

Had they taken both against the Rockies, taking 2 of 3 from Oakland this weekend would have looked pretty good. Now, they pretty much need to sweep to feel like they are making real progress. The A’s are the worst team in the AL, it’s about time the Sox beat up on a team for an entire weekend.

Someone said the Sox will win 90. Well if they are at .500 through 100 games basically, that would mean they have to go 40-22 the last 62 games or something. I don’t see this team playing 18 games over .500 for two months anytime soon.

soxygen

Yeah, Oakland is going to pitch right handers in games 1 and game 2 so how easy will those games be?

I keep asking myself the question: what is the worst record that wouldn’t feel disappointing at this stage in the season? I think I’m at 54-44. So we’re now 5 games into the Zone of Disappointment. That’s a big hole to climb out of.

ParisSox

What stuns me about Garcia’s blunder is that there were two outs. Was he looking for a wild pitch and getting too far off the bag? Just dumbfounded.

Right Size Wrong Shape

He was getting a huge secondary lead because the 3rd baseman was shifted way over with a left handed hitter up. When the 3rd baseman snuck in behind him, apparently he fooled McEwing too because it didn’t seem like Leury had any idea it was happening. As DJ said, the third base coach has to be your eyes in a situation like that.

calcetinesblancos

No kidding, obviously with anything hit in the infield they’ll be going to first anyway, so you’re basically irrelevant unless someone gets a hit.

SoxBulldog13

I forgot how much Mired in Mediocrity sucks. Does 100 games of mired in mediocrity count? Or does it have to be years to qualify as being “mired”? I think I answered my own question but man I really hope this team starts clicking and we at least win the division at an absolute minimum.

Last edited 4 months ago by SoxBulldog13
soxygen

The thing about being mired in mediocrity is that when you are mired, the space-time continuum is affected. Is it a day? Is it a lifetime? No one really knows.

Sox fans will die in this plane of reality in which the Sox are mediocre and time does not exist unless someone figures out how to travel back in time and unhire LaRussa and sign George Springer.

I wish we had a bat signal for ImmortalTimeTravelMan, who has not appeared in the comment section for a while…We need a hero, and only he can save us…

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
As Cirensica

Twins lost. What a wasted opportunity.

I have followed baseball for about 40 years, this is the first time ever where I see a team managing its players health so poorly. This is on TLR and Hahn. We seem to be carrying always one or two player in the bench that aren’t hurt enough to be placed in the IL but hurt enough to not be able to play.

Relievers pitching back to back days is now frown upon. This was very common not long ago (like last year). We have some players that can’t play 2 or 3 games in row? What, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the actual fuck is this? The is the least athletic White Sox team in history. I am seriously worried that this team will make it to the post season, and during a crucial 5 games series, TLR will bench players because they can’t play 3 games in a row.

Seriously, I watch the White Sox and I gasp every time I see somebody hustling hard as if instead of a bunch of high paid athletes I am watching my own soccer league filled with fiftysomethings beer bellies guys carrying a tube of Dencorub in their back pockets.

Nellie Fox

you make this comment section laughable, as a sox fan for over 50years. i agree 100% with you. little league taught these high priced athletes nothing because they continue to show the mental part lapses every single game.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

The Sox remind me of a comedian (Brian Regan) who did a show in the spring of one year, and said that his new years resolution was to lose 15 lbs, and that so far he was right on track – having gained 5. I don’t think this team has been headed in the right direction, at all, since 2020. Their stated goal of a championship seems a lot further out of reach than two years ago.

soxygen

I agree that their stated goal of a championship seems further from our reach than it did. I have wondered this before: would it have been better not to finish 35-25 in 2020?

It was a so-so team that did well in a lot of games against the Pirates and Reds and Royals and Tigers. I think that unexpectedly early success really screwed with everyone’s expectations, led them to fire Renteria/hire Tony, led them to believe that Keuchel was better than he actually was, etc. Again, we need someone with time travel capabilities to actually game it out, but it is an interesting thought exercise.

Qubort

I disagree the expectations were off based on 2020 results. I think most people realized they still had some holes, and expected they’d finished off the rebuild. They never did.

If you told me in 2020 that going into 2023 season they still hadn’t signed a RF better than Palka, I’d thought you were crazy. The last part of any rebuild is to fill holes where prospects didn’t. Rick Hahn has been terrible filling RF/2b over the last two off seasons. Unfortunately we’re stuck with him and TLR until Jerry hits the bucket.

soxygen

I hear you. I do wonder though whether Tony would have wanted the job if the Sox had been a .500 team in 2020 instead of a .600 team. I do wonder whether they would have decided that they needed to move on from Rick Renteria if the Sox didn’t seem like they were a hall of fame manager away from a deep playoff run.

Anyway, as I said, it’s an interesting thought exercise because 2020 was so strange. It was a season of our hitters facing crappy pitchers and our pitchers facing crappy hitters and it is hard to come away from that with an accurate assessment of collective or individual strengths and weaknesses.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen