White Sox 1, Giants 0: Leury García, against all odds

With Oakland optioning Christian Pache to the minors earlier on Friday, Leury García took over as baseball’s worst regular hitter.

If that’s what it took for García’s season to start trending upward, so be it. With two outs in the ninth inning of a scoreless game, García delivered the game’s only run with a single off Giants closer Camilo Doval for a sorely needed win after midnight. Sure, every win feels critical right now, but it mitigated the damage from Byron Buxton’s walk-off homer against the Orioles earlier in the evening, and so the Sox remain 5½ back of Minnesota in the Central, and four back of second-place Cleveland.

The situation was one of those innings that García has snuffed out so many times before; a rally that got to him because nobody could put a bigger dent in the inning. He was the fifth batter to come to the plate against Doval, as Gavin Sheets reached with one out when Brandon Belt led Doval too far with his feed on a stiff attempt at a 3-1 putout, after which Adam Haseley pinch-ran. Yoán Moncada struck out, but AJ Pollock’s normally unremarkable grounder had the fortune of kicking off third base for an infield single despite Jason Vosler’s best attempt at corralling it, keeping the inning alive.

That’s when García came to the plate. He took a slider for strike one, followed by a 101-mph cutter and another slider out of the zone. Doval returned to the zone with a slider García swung through, but when he went to the pitch once more on 2-2, the third time ended up being the charm for García, who roped a liner through the right side. It led Mike Yastrzemski right into a strong throw to home, but Haseley beat it with a neat slide behind the tag for the game’s first run. Kendall Graveman made sure it was the game’s only run.

From starting García to saving Graveman for the ninth and ever decision in between, La Russa avoided getting burned by calls that seemed suspect in real time.

For instance, Lance Lynn took the mound for the sixth with 90 pitches and nobody immediately warming. He fell behind Joc Pederson 3-0 to start the inning, which is when the bullpen started to stir, but Pederson used the green light to fly out to left, and that put Lynn on much better footing to finish the frame.

Joe Kelly pitched the seventh, which was fine, but Tanner Banks handled the eighth. He walked two batters, but he erased the first with a double play, and aced Belt after the two-out walk to emerge unscathed. He also pinch-ran Jake Burger for Andrew Vaughn after Vaughn’s two-out double in the eighth inning, which didn’t seem like that great of an upgrade. Luis Robert tapped out to the mound to negate the speed advantage, but Vaughn’s spot didn’t come up again.

In the other dugout, Gabe Kapler was more proactive, partially because he had better choices. He lifted Alex Cobb after five innings and 67 pitches because the White Sox offense started hitting him harder. He went from John Brebbia to Taylor Rogers to Dominic Leone, all of whom were appropriate choices for their innings. His team lost with their most imposing relief arm on the mound. As much as the White Sox have scuffled, the Giants are in a similar kind of funk as of late, and the White Sox were the less movable object.

As for Lynn, he lowered his ERA to 4.50 with six shutout innings. He issued both of his walks in the first inning but struck out Tommy La Stella to leave ’em loaded, starting a run of 12 consecutive batters retired. He didn’t look overpowering, but Oracle Park is a comfortable place to give up well-struck fly balls, and on a cold and foggy night, he took advantage of an environment that turned deep drives by Yoán Moncada and José Abreu into warning-track flyouts for the other side.

Bullet points:

*Banks picked up his first win for his inning of work.

*The White Sox only gave the Giants two shots with runners in scoring position, and neither were successful.

Record: 36-39 | 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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vanillablue

Haseley’s slide was nice. It looked like he was going to be out but he evaded the tag. Pretty unexciting game otherwise, the fog was so thick that it felt like it was raining in the last few innings. But we’ll take the W.

Last edited 5 months ago by vanillablue
Joliet Orange Sox

Eloy played left-field in Charlotte on Friday. He walked in each of his three plate appearances.

HallofFrank

I’m not holding my breath, but this team could *really* use a fully-functional, offensive beast Eloy.

Augusto Barojas

Eloy has an OPS of about .500 in his 12 or so games at Charlotte. I have my doubts we will ever see fully functional, beast Eloy again. Or that even if we do, he will remain healthy long enough for it to matter much.

As Cirensica

He walked in each of his three plate appearances

With Eloy, that is a mortifying sentence without more context. 😋

ParisSox

See? Sticking with Garcia through all those early struggles finally paid off. Way to stick it to the haters, TLR!

(Just ignore this other hand where we saw losses piling up because of these decisions.)

As Cirensica

I can’t believe I watched this entire game. Easter time zone meant I went to bed after 1 AM. It was a boring game only rewarding because we won. Let’s score some serious runs today, and early.

burning-phoneix

which didn’t seem like that great of an upgrade.

Strangely, according to Baseball Savant, Vaughn is 20th percentile in Sprint Speed while Burger is 64th Percentile.
How can you be outran by a big guy with multiple blown Achilles injuries?

As Cirensica

Some people overlook the importance of the length of your legs. Maybe Vaughn is short legged, big torso guy. I have a huge torso (you need two X-rays to get my whole lungs), so when I sit down, I look taller than many people that are actually taller than me standing up. Thus, I am the slowest walker in my family mostly because my strides don’t cover a lot of ground.

I see Vaughn, and I see a guy with short legs. Then when you look at Adam Eaton, he was very fast for a small guy because he had very long legs compared to the rest of his body.

a-t

Burger definitely has some twitch to him, it’s why he can play 3B. It’s the upper body flexibility that prevents him from being actually good there. Testament to his now years of hard work on his lower body re the Achilles.

chipporter

When Leury hit the wall going for the popup, it’s honestly the first time in my life I’ve ever rooted for someone to be hurt. I’m a very conflicted person these days.

a-t

jeez man don’t say that. Leury is sucking butt this season but he’s not a bad person for it

#3 for HOF

Maybe La Russa is playing Garcia nearly every day because they are kindred spirits.

Luery is one of the worst players in baseball, and La Russa is one of the worst managers in baseball.

Misery loves company.

As Cirensica

I read spirits and think of other spirits

upnorthsox

Fun fact, this was the Sox first win of the season while scoring 2 or less runs. We are now 1-16 in games scoring 2 or less runs.

Yes I know I have a weird idea of fun.