White Sox 6, Guardians 3: Dylan Cease bests Shane Bieber

His last time out, Dylan Cease prevented the Minnesota Twins from stealing back a split with seven shutout innings in an 11-0 romp that ended the first half.

This time out, Cease threw six shutout innings to help the Sox salvage a four-game weekend against the Guardians.

The White Sox again provided early run support with a surprising five-spot in the second off Shane Bieber, and thanks to another All-Star-caliber outing from Cease, that turned out to be all they needed en route to a soothing split.

In terms of peripherals, both pitchers were just about equally matched:

  • Cease: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 4 K
  • Bieber: 6 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K

But while Cease kept the ball in the park and scattered his hits across the afternoon, Bieber allowed three homers, including two in a five-hit, five-run second inning that dug him too deep a hole.

Two of Tony La Russa’s most controversial lineup decisions provided the shock. Leury García opened the scoring by jumping on a 3- 1 fastball and hoisting it just over the wall in right for a two-run shot that put the game’s first runs on the board with one out in the second.

Adam Engel turned over the lineup with a single, and Tim Anderson followed with a base hit of his own. After Yoán Moncada moved both runners up, AJ Pollock came to the plate in the third spot, which didn’t seem like the best use of that position … until Bieber hung a first-pitch slider, and Pollock whipped it out to left for a shocking 5-0 lead.

The Sox only had two other hits off Bieber the rest of the way, but one of them was an Eloy Jiménez solo shot that made it a 6-0 game in the sixth.

Cease had to navigate some RISP trouble in each of the first three innings, including a first-and-third situation in the third inning after a Josh Naylor infield single. But then he got Franmil Reyes to ground into a well-turned 5-4-3 double play, and the rest of his afternoon was comparatively easier. His biggest issue was a line drive off his leg with two outs in the fifth, but he threw one test pitch, then one more pitch for a groundout that made the game official.

The Guardians did put a couple balls over the fence, but they were inconsequential. Reyes took Kendall Graveman deep for a two-run shot, but that merely made it a 6-2 game, and Graveman struck out the side.

In the ninth, Liam Hendriks gave up a solo shot to Steven Kwan that a natural right fielder probably would’ve robbed, as it had enough hang time and little enough carry for an easy setup. Unfortunately, Gavin Sheets was out there, and neither his timing nor alignment were there to get the job done.

Bullet points:

*Cease is now 10-4 with a 2.03 ERA.

*The Sox are at .500 for the 17th time this season.

Record: 48-48 | 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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a-t

With today’s heroics, the Chicago White Sox are now 266-161 (.623 winning %) in games where franchise cornerstone, longest-tenured player, future Hall of Famer, and godfather to all four Reinsdorf progeny Leury ‘Legend’ Garcia homers for them.

As Cirensica

How is this possible if Leury doesn’t even have 40 homers in his career?

Joliet Orange Sox

With man this is impossible, but with TLR all things are possible.

Jerry 19:26

As Cirensica

I see, 🤔 I don’t think I have that bible version at home.

jhomeslice

It feels good to win the last two of a series after losing the first two, I guess. The Sox next 20 days worth of games are impossibly easy. Colorado, Oakland, Texas, Detroit, KC until the middle of August. All of those teams at least 8 under .500, 3 of them under .400. Winning less than 2/3 would be inexcusable. Twins playing Brewers, Padres, Jays, Dodgers… Guardians get Boston, Tampa, Astros, Jays during that time. Sox should be in first easily by mid August. Maybe even by a few games.

They should still win this hapless division rather easily when all is said and done. Beyond that, no comment. I just hope they don’t do anything stupid in the next week.

Qubort

Like trade Sosa for Benintendi?

a-t

Now, now, let’s not give them any evil ideas

itaita

Nice to see Eloy’s bat showing some pop since the break. Would be nice to see them go on a little run and win 12-14 of the next 19 before that Astros series but we’ve been waiting for a run like that since the first week of the year.

jhomeslice

They’ll probably get that, only because of the teams they’re playing. 3 worst teams in the AL plus Texas, Colorado. They’d better win some games. Less than 12 would be ridiculous. Twins and Cleveland should get creamed, probably good for a 5 or 6 game swing against both teams.

Augusto Barojas

The next 3 weeks may flip the standings, but is hardly a measuring stick to gauge this team’s “improvement” even if they are finally a few games over .500. We’ll see if they even kill it during this time.

HallofFrank

Winning games against bad teams would be an improvement.

a-t

It’s true that we’ve been waiting for that run, but the offense finally being actually healthy should help a lot in beating up on crappy teams. The past 16 games (the 4 4-game sets vs division rivals) they went 9-7, but averaged over 5 runs a game with a very good +25 run differential. Things are shaping up, even if the record hasn’t budged much yet.

Malkatraz

The offense is actually healthy?

a-t

Outside Robert, yes, but Engel is one of their two actually competent backup plans anyways

Root Cause

A good win last night and today. They certainly seem to do enough to salvage series or the year when needed. Maybe now they can go on a run and get some momentum. We need Robert and still waiting to hear what is going on with him. His vision is more important to him than the fans but would like to hear an update soon.

lifelongjd

I couldn’t figure why our struggles against the Guardians bug me the most. But I think it’s because to a man, the Sox are a superior team to Cleveland. But they play harder, are more fundamentally sound, and are far and away the better coached club. I never felt comfortable even up 6-0 because they are scrappy and well coached.

Must be nice to have that kind of leadership

Augusto Barojas

Cleveland is well coached, yes. But well coached is NORMAL. The Sox are hideously coached, and make even normal, competent coaching seem otherwordly by comparison.

dwjm3

Well coached isn’t “normal”. There are quite a few mediocre coaches in this league. There are three bad managers in our division alone. Finding elite level coaching is actual quite difficult when you look around the league.

Augusto Barojas

We all know that La Clown is worse than all. The physical and mental demands of coaching a pro sports team are not a good fit for someone who is almost 80. Which is why nobody within 5 years of his age has ever coached an NBA or NFL game. And the only one his age to ever manage an MLB team for a full season was Connie Mack 80 years ago. It might have something to do with why this team has played with no energy for the past year.

TLR has the worst energy and attitude of all the “bad managers”. He is rotten to the core.

dwjm3

I don’t agree that he is the worse manager out there.

I think Baldelli and Matheny are worse than him. The collapse of the Twins that Baldelli presided over last year was some of the worse coaching I’ve ever seen.

The age argument isn’t particularly compelling either. I think it is a lazy analysis. Belichick is still coaching at a high level at age 70 and Pete Carroll is coaching over 70. Some people can be highly functioning at a more advanced age, it just depends on the individual.

If one is going to critique LaRussa it is better to stick to the body of work on the field.

Top tip: Assigning nicknames to him doesn’t make your point more compelling.

mrridgman

I’ve hated the TLR hire since the start, and my view is that he has to be in the bottom 5 of managers, where and with whom in that group I won’t guess because I don’t watch many other teams’ games. TLR seems to be making less WTF moves the last several weeks, particularly in lineup construction, but I don’t think we should choose a manager whose strong point is learning on the job, particularly one who is a 77 yo HOFer.

I imagine that there are days, probably many of them, that TLR doesn’t have the energy (more mental than physical) to be at the top of his decision-making prowess (whatever that is). I’m not as old as Tony, but within shouting distance. I traveled for work a substantial amount before I retired; some domestic but more international, probably gone 90 days/year. Unlike MLB travel, I usually would be in one hotel for as much as 3 weeks at a time, although some trips involved hotel hopping. I never felt it during the trips, but when I’d get home it might be 2-3 days before I felt normal again. TLR gets no breaks (AS Game aside). He is superhuman if he’s 100% even half the time.

Last edited 4 months ago by mrridgman
texag10

And pointing to two outliers (in a sport with significantly more decision makers overall) doesn’t make your point more compelling. TLR is old. TLR is a bad manager. Is age the primary factor in his performance? I don’t know. It certainly isn’t helping in anyway recognizable way.

Augusto Barojas

La Russa isn’t 70. He is 78 (in 2 months). There is a difference. I’ve had family members in nursing homes younger than him. People decline when they get older, especially as they near 80, it’s a biological fact of life. To manage an MLB team requires energy and vitality. TLR has neither, and the team has played with consistent lethargy the past year. The average age of the other AL managers is 52, for a reason. Give me a break if you think his age is irrelevant or that it is insulting to call him too old for his job. To point out that he is 5 years older than all but 1 person to ever manage or coach one of the 3 major sports for a full season gives perfect context to how ridiculous it is for him to be managing at his age.

Garcia has batted 3rd or higher in 8 games, and even was in disbelief himself when told he was batting 3rd. Nobody needs to use age to point out how bad TLR has managed. He’s been an asshole defending his mistakes, too. He’s a stubborn and joyless old man who has cost them several games so far at the very least. I don’t buy any argument that somebody else is worse, it is certainly not objective.

Last edited 4 months ago by Augusto Barojas
lifelongjd

I think my biggest issues with LaRussa are his arrogance and stubbornness. He thinks he’s smarter than the rest of the world and keeps making the same errors with lineups and pitching decisions, even with recent results and analytics suggesting he do otherwise. Making Giolito go through a lineup for the 3rd time or starting Leury at 2b just keep blowing up in his face, yet he continues to make the same decisions. Then he makes it seem like the rest of the world doesn’t “get it”.

Augusto Barojas

There have been several times he’s made decisions that have almost been a middle finger to Hahn or somebody who tried to correct him. They brought up Sosa and he didn’t start, much to the frustration of fans. Then as if somebody told him to start Sosa, he bats him leadoff in his first MLB game. His decisions are not always out of being arrogant/wrong, but out of spite. He is arrogant and childish… I mean it’s been beaten to death.

And yet, somehow, he remains.

dwjm3

One is entitled to make a case for whomever they think is the worst manager in the game today.

It is your opinion that he is the worst, and it is my opinion that others are worse.

You are not the arbiter of what is considered an “objective” argument on the matter. In fact one could make the case that your argument isn’t objective considered it is laced with emotion as witnessed by your use of nicknames like “LaClown”.

calcetinesblancos

Honest question: is anyone here pretending to be objective? The Russa is an asshole. He’s a grouchy old man with a dangerous drinking problem, social views that align with that uncle you pray never speaks at the Thanksgiving table, and a bizarre level of arrogance for someone that regularly sees his moves blow up in his face. I hated the guy when he got hired, and I hate him even more now that he’s run the team into the ground

He insults the fans with his words, his actions, and his hubris. We don’t owe him shit.

dwjm3

I’m not an admirer of LaRussa. I push back more against the line he is old and by default he can’t hack it. There are people in an advanced ages still capable of running complex entities. One shouldn’t be dismissed solely on their age. Honestly, the commentary people make on here about age would be a lawsuit waiting to happen in a corporate setting.

I also don’t find the arguments about his energy very compelling. We aren’t around him on a daily basis, so it is difficult to critique that. Arguments critiquing his baseball acumen are fair and typically are how most managers are judged.

I don’t agree with many of social views, but I don’t think they are particularly relevant to the job he is doing. He isn’t exactly involved with public policy. He is only a baseball manager after all.

His drinking was grounds for not hiring him in the first place, but that is a different argument as that decision was already made.

Augusto Barojas

Aw… did the word “clown” hurt someone’s feelings? Should we add that to the list of woke injustices of the world?

It’s been beaten to death by half the posters on here how bad TLR is. Even the optimists. It’s been impossible to miss for anybody who has followed this team for the past year. Believe whatever delusional nonsense you want, that age has nothing to do with human biology, or that TLR really isn’t that bad. Name another manager who has had a player as bad as Leury hitting 3rd or higher in 8 games, with no defensible reasons. Or a rookie from AA hitting leadoff in his first MLB game. Or who called for an intentional walk on a 1-2 pitch which ESPN called the worst intentional walk ever. TLR has undermined this team’s best chances to win in countless examples, many before they even take the field. You state others are worse, absent any compelling arguments or examples because of course there are none. And you call my analysis lazy. Yeah, I’m the one who is not being objective.

And I’m certainly not going to whine about what words people are using, when others have used much worse ones to describe the Sox dysfunctional, washed up manager than “La Clown”. And they are quite appropriate.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I wasn’t going to bring it up because it’s not that important, but the “LaClown” and “The Russa” stuff is getting kind of annoying to me. I’m not in any way offended by it, not do I like La Russa. I just don’t see how it’s clever.

calcetinesblancos

El Nino = The Niño
La Russa = The Russa

I don’t make the rules Señor.

Joliet Orange Sox

El Train = The Train ??

Right Size Wrong Shape

Yes, I understand it.

dwjm3

Agree, Jim has done a good job positioning this site as a credible opposition voice to the organization.

If the comment section is laced with goofy commentary like “LaClown” it cheapens what Jim has tried to create.

Augusto Barojas

It also cheapens things when people resort to bitching and whining about word choices. Other people have used “asshole” when referring to our beloved Sox manager. People are free to say what they want as long as it’s civil, Jesus. We’re adults, and men, most of us. Maybe make a lucid argument to support the point you are trying to make rather than complain about the words of others. I used “clown” in one post, you’ve complained about the use of the word in three. Clown isn’t among the most hurtful or insulting words in the english language, truly. Be strong.

Qubort

Both the coaches you mentioned have continued to coach and adapt. TLR took a decade off. When TLR didn’t know Hendriks didn’t have to run in extra innings, he admitted he didn’t know the rule and STILL defended the move. Not knowing the rules seems like a basic attribute a manager should have. Whether it’s the worst or 3rd worst manager in baseball, he’s a joke.

jhomeslice

I don’t think too much criticism of Tony is justified, in a way. He has a demanding job that he never should have been hired for. There is no reason at all to expect an obviously declining human being at his age to perform well at a job that has physical and mental demands suited to someone much younger.

This whole mess is entirely Jerry’s fault for hiring him, not Tony for not being able to manage well at his age. I feel sorry for him, he never should have been in the position to embarrass himself and the team in the first place.

a-t

I mean, I doubt Jerry forced Tony to take the job. This wouldn’t have happened if Tony wasn’t interested in coming back to skipper once more despite already being elected to the hall of fame. Jerry going outta the way to hire Tony absolves the front office of blame (No Hahn Fault) not Tony himself lol

jhomeslice

Of course Jerry didn’t force him to take the job, but he was the one with the disastrous idea to offer it to him. So Tony has a big ego and thought he could hack it when offered the job. It’s totally on Jerry for hiring him, and now that we’ve seen the results, for not firing him.

I agree Hahn is innocent of any wrongdoing. His reaction was probably “you’re kidding, right?” when he heard the news like the rest of us.

hitlesswonder

 to a man, the Sox are a superior team to Cleveland

That’s just not true. Gimenez and Ramirez are both arguably better than any position player on the Sox. Kwan, Rosario, and Naylor all are having better years than many Sox players.

They have better team pitching as well, by whatever metric you want to use.

The gap isn’t great, but the reason the Guardians have a better record is that they have been a better team. And they are well-coached. But I don’t think the Sox have way more talent than the Guardians.

jhomeslice

The Guardians are well coached and have overachieved. The Sox have underachieved and have the worst coaching in the sport. And they are separated by only a game, which will change shortly because of the massive differences in strength of schedule the next 3 weeks.

I don’t think the Sox are way better, but will probably be 5 games ahead of the Guardians by year end. Which won’t mean much when they play massively better teams than the Twins or Guardians in October.

a-t

Ramirez sure. Gimenez no. He’s running a pretty high BABIP (non-TA7 category) of .359 without previously showing that to be a real skill of his, and his xwOBA thinks he should be hitting for a ~115-120 wRC+ instead of a 142 wRC+. Please note that Statcast’s xwOBA and wOBA have been calibrated so there isn’t that huge early season disagreement now. Much more likely that he’s a good (3-win) player having a great year, not a perennial All-Star level performer.

“Are having better years” says very little about true talent level. Tommy Edman is “having a better year” than Juan Soto by fWAR. Outside of J-Ram, none of the Cleveland hitters have more talent than say, TA7, Grandal, Moncada, Robert, Abreu, and Eloy, who is probably a wash with Nolan Jones.

They’re well-run and overperforming. True talent level isn’t the at all the same thing as record.

upnorthsox

And potential isn’t the same thing as actual performance. We are a ways away from 2019 and at some point you have to deliver on the promise or realize that your best days have passed. The Coulda Woulda Shoulda White Sox have been the one thing to reach its true level of potential.

a-t

The six-pack core of hitters I listed delivered as expected in 2020 and 2021, beside Eloy last year due to his constantly exploding body parts. We don’t need these dudes to establish a new, better baseline of play, though Pito is attempting to, we just need these dudes to stay healthy enough to deliver what *has* been that baseline. That issue is on the coaching and particularly training staffs. Arguably AV should be in that core too, although I’m a little worried that he’s merely a very good hitter, not an excellent one, due to what has been only average power production.

Last edited 4 months ago by a-t