Royals 2, White Sox 1: Home runs beat singles

It was a busy pregame for news coming from the White Sox. Nobody appears to know for sure when Luis Robert will return, and Rick Hahn made a trade with Boston. After sending Christian Vazquez to Houston, the Red Sox needed a catcher, and Reese McGuire was available. In exchange for a left-handed hitting catcher, Hahn could check one of his trade deadline to-do list items of filling the need for a left-handed reliever with Jake Diekman. 

Probably the best news was Kansas City announcing LHP Daniel Lynch was coming off the IL and would start Monday’s game. As a team, the White Sox were hitting .280/.341/.438 and had the 4th best OPS in MLB. For a team struggling to produce offense at home, the news of the Royals starting Lynch was welcomed. 

The White Sox first time through the order against Lynch was a mess. Only Andrew Vaughn had a base hit, ripping a single in the first inning, but Lynch racked up five strikeouts. White Sox didn’t mount a threat until Tim Anderson hit a comebacker off Lynch’s leg for an infield single. Yoan Moncada poked another single to put runners on the corners. After watching a changeup float for strike one, Vaughn made a mistake chasing at a fastball eye level that he popped up ending the inning. 

The first two innings have given Michael Kopech fits in 2022. Before tonight, Kopech had a 30 K to 26 BB ratio in the first and second inning, with his numbers getting much better facing a lineup a second time. Tonight was a different story for Kopech. He ensured Yoan Moncada was warmed up as he fielded all three groundouts in the first inning. Kopech only threw seven pitches which was a great sign. 

Kopech was grooving for three innings. Flashing the velocity we saw last year coming out of the bullpen, Kopech hit 98.6 mph on his fastball while keeping Kansas City scoreless through three innings. Facing Salvador Perez for the second time, Kopech hung a slider off the outside corner that got pulverized. Perez hit it over the batter’s eye in center field, traveling 452 feet, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. 

As the wind picked up inside Guaranteed Rate Field, Kopech’s mistake breaker to Whit Merrifield took flight for a solo home run in the sixth inning. After striking out Vinnie Pasquantino, Kopech screamed into his glove in anger, walking off the mound. Allowing just two runs over six innings is pretty good, but with this offense at home, it’s a slim margin of error for White Sox pitchers. 

That offense showed some life when Vaughn’s liner sailed over Michael A. Taylor’s head in center field for a leadoff double. Abreu smoked a line drive with an exit velocity of 108 mph, but it was right at Merrifield for unlucky out. That was enough for Royals manager Mike Matheny, who replaced Lynch with Wyatt Mills with a low, sidearm delivery. Jimenez topped a low slider resulting in a groundout. With two outs, it was up to Yasmani Grandal to drive-in Vaughn. 

Last year, this situation was one White Sox fans looked to as Grandal delivered almost every time. Today, Grandal is having a career-worst season hitting and mustered a slow grounder ending the inning. A leadoff double once again resulted in no runs scored. 

Tony La Russa pushed Kopech into the seventh inning, and that decision was off to a good start. Hunter Dozier and Nick Pratto flew out to start the frame, but Kopech got into trouble. He walked Taylor, and Nicky Lopez got just enough for a single to right field putting runners on the corners. Now at 96 pitches, La Russa stuck with Kopech against Maikel Garcia. This type of situation is where managers end up being a hero or cast blame. The game would be over if Garcia got a hanging slider and crushed it as Perez or Merrifield did. 

Instead, Kopech got Garcia to pop out to the White Sox Garcia ending the jam. On 100 pitches, Kopech went 7 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 R 1 BB 3 K. The two solo home runs were his only blemishes. 

White Sox finally scored in the bottom half of the seventh. Garcia reached on an infield single as his slow roller stayed fair and advanced to third base when Seby Zavala singled to right field. La Russa had Gavin Sheets pinch hit for Adam Engel, and Matheny countered by going to his bullpen again for Dylan Coleman. 

Ahead 2-0, Sheets lifted a fastball to left field, resulting in a sacrifice fly. Coleman was still in a jam after walking Moncada, putting the onus on Vaughn to come up with the big hit. Thanks to a tremendous defensive play by Merrifield and a pick by Pratto at first base, Vaughn came up empty as the White Sox still trailed 2-1. 

In the ninth inning, Sheets singled with one out to keep the pressure on, but Anderson grounded into a 5-4-3 double play ending the game. 

Despite racking up ten hits, the White Sox lost because in today’s baseball death by home runs is still more efficient than paper-cut singles. 

Game Notes:

  • Minnesota Twins were down 3-2 in the 10th inning, but a walk-off HR from Gio Urshela saved the day. 
  • Amed Rosario had the game-winning hit as Cleveland beat Arizona in 11 innings. 
  • White Sox drop back to three games behind Minnesota and now two games back of Cleveland in AL Central.

Record: 51-51 | Box Score | StatCast

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Shingos Cheeseburgers

Sure the game was trash but that’s nothing new. Now that Diekman signing – hell baby 82-80 here we come!

a-t

bums.

BenwithVen

Tony almost falling asleep in the dugout perfectly encapsulates how I feel about this team.

jhomeslice

The most boring team I have ever followed. And most ineptly coached. They lost a game in the standings to both of their hapless AL central brethren, too.

As someone said, the AL central is a disgrace to the rest of MLB. They should not even be allowed to have a playoff team. Not one team in the Central would be higher than 5th, or above .500, if they were in the AL East.

chambers.kevin

Tony needed to go out there and argue that call on Sheets in the 9th. Yeah, he wouldn’t have overturned it, but sometimes a manager needs to go get ejected to light a fire in his players. When I umpired, had a coach all hot and bothered, “Hey that was the right call, but I’m trying to fire up my team. Can you eject me?” So he yelled for a minute, I tossed him, and his team got fired up and won.

huisj

I’m pretty sure you’re just remembering Gene Hackman in Hoosiers. Was there a struggling alcoholic assistant coach/dad involved in this too . . .

Augusto Barojas

I mean seriously, when your manager falls asleep in the dugout, might it be a sign that he’s a bit too old for the job? It’s 17 years after Ozzie managed the Sox to a title in ’05. And 17 years later, Ozzie is STILL 20 years younger than La Russa.

This whole franchise is a complete embarrassment top to bottom.

itaita

I dont think ive ever seen a team watch more floating breaking balls over the middle of the plate then this team.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

This team is all about stuff that floats, that’s for sure.

To Err is Herrmann

A few days ago a commenter wrote (sorry I don’t remember the moniker) that this team is “less than the sum of its parts.” Despite many players defending TLR and taking the blame themselves for poor play, I think the underperformance of this team does fall on the manager. He has to know how to talk to them, motivate them, coach them, help them understand what they are doing and make adjustments. Nodding off in the dugout is inexcusable. The manager must be fired and the hitting coach must be fired. Having said that, I know in the weird world of Jerry “Second Place” Reinsdorf, incompetent GMs and managers have jobs for life. I think going forth the “Fire Tony” and “Fire Hahn” chants should be a feature at Guaranteed Rate. It may be fruitless, but it has to be said. No accountability is a dumb** way to run a Major League Baseball club.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Those weren’t boos. They were chanting “La Rooooooosa”.

ActiveAndUnavailable

One of the things they attempted to sell us fans on with the hiring of LaRussa was the idea that “we will never be outmanaged” in the dugout. But since then, we’ve seen this team be outmanaged and out hustled, out fundamentaled (is that a word?), and out prepared on a regular basis.

TLR’s teams in St Louis were consistently the most prepared, most fundamentally sound, and the hardest working teams in the league. We never saw David Eckstein get thrown out at 3rd on a walk.

We have already seen that TLR really doesn’t know how to manage a Major League bullpen in this generation of baseball (or maybe we’re actually seeing how a Dave Duncan-less TLR would have managed one back then, too?), but if the preparedness, hustle, and fundamentally soundness of the TLR teams didn’t come with, then there was no potential *baseball* benefit to be had by his hiring.

NancyFaustsOrgan

Will Sox Machine please make/sell t-shirts with Jerry Reinsdorf dangling a carrot on the front and the #2 on the back?

metasox

Why is the thinking Hahn is so untouchable? I can understand Williams to a degree. But other than having to acknowledge failure, don’t see why Hahn couldn’t be replaced. Especially now that real money is being spent, I would think JR would be looking for something better

Jim Margalus

That assumes Reinsdorf prioritizes results, rather than avoiding getting to know and trust new people.

metasox

True, he likes relationships. But at least swapping someone from within the org wouldn’t seem radical if a team at the peak of a rebuild struggles to play .500. JR didn’t hire La Russa to get booed. He really expected a good team

Last edited 4 months ago by metasox
soxygen

Yeah, though some of the moves we blame Hahn for might actually be TLR moves. For example, I have heard that Joe Kelly was someone TLR really wanted on the roster. In classic Sox fashion it is hard to even know who to blame for the roster moves.

upnorthsox

Sorry but the roster is all Hahn.

soxygen

To be clear, I’m happy to blame Hahn – he has the kind of job that requires accountability, and the thing he should be held accountable for is the roster. I’m simply pointing out that the chain of command on this team is f’d up and so just firing Hahn might not actually fix the problem.

Augusto Barojas

Grandal at DH is a joke, his OPS barely higher than Leury. He should only be catching, and even at catcher he should be backing up Zavala at this point, not starting. He is just awful, and can’t be your DH.

They are going to pay 18M each to Grandal, Lynn, and Moncada next year. Plus 10M to Pollock, 9.5 to Eloy, 8.5 to Kelly, 5 to Leury, and 3.5 to this Diekman guy they just got. That’s 90M to 8 guys that have combined for a negative WAR. They should look to trade any of them to any team that would pay more than half their salary, all except maybe Eloy. That’s a pretty ugly picture when you’ve got nearly half your payroll slated to 8 players who are combining for total garbage. Almost none of those guys other than Eloy are good bets to be worth close to what they will get paid. What waste.

They need to make some creative trades in the offseason that involve some salary dumps among those guys. At least Grandal, Lynn, Pollock, Diekman, and Kelly will be off the books (58M) after next year. Maybe Tony will be gone as well. 2024 baby!

soxygen

In the off-season they are going to need to trade someone who makes actual money or we’ll end up with basically the same team next year. If this year’s payroll is basically maxing out the budget, then there really is no way to improve without trading from the active roster. And that is something I very much doubt will happen today, and I don’t really expect them to do it this off-season either. It just isn’t their style.

As Cirensica

Turns out that allowing Hahn to splurge is worst than having him on a tight budget. Hahn just isn’t a baseball guy. He shouldn’t run a baseball team. He has no baseball acumen. Never played the sport. Was never “incubated” among the sabermetric movement that has produced some good other GMs. He is just awful.

soxygen

Yeah, as Jim noted recently, if you know that you are GM for life then you will always want to maintain long-term financial flexibility. And if that is the goal then it is hard to be anything other than stuck. Here we are at .500 for the 21st time this year, the team is boring, and there isn’t much hope.

We just lost a game to a bad team with a left-handed starter who had not been scheduled to start the game. This team was supposed to make a deep playoff run, and hitting LHP is supposed to be our strength. It’s hard to watch this team, with the way that they have come out of the ASG break, and conclude that this is anything other than a .500 team. They have showed us who they are, and it is time to believe them and to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that the same people who built this boring .500 team are going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and make a magic move that puts the Sox in a position to win a playoff series and be competitive year in and year out.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
Liveox22

Yep.

Hahn: we are eeeeehhhhhhhh, going to, like I said, ehhhhhhhhh, going to do things and stuff. Any time you are in eeeehhhhhhhh, situation from a baseball perspective when you can do things and stuff, we will ehhhhhhh, address that at that eeeeehhhhh time

As Cirensica

No traction. Yesterday’s game was so boring that I ended up playing old people games in my tablet while I waited for something to happen. Snooze festival.

I am very disappointed of what Hahn did during this trade deadline. Diekman does not move the needle up. Probably the other way. This team needed a hitting spark. Some kinda last years Braves move, but not, Hahn got us another toilet (I am borrowing a joke from asinwreck). Dismally managed and front “officed”

Last edited 4 months ago by As Cirensica
jhomeslice

The only thing adding Diekman does is put them on the hook for 3.5M next year. I mean if a guy has the worst walk rate in the AL and an ERA over 4, I don’t care if he’s slightly better against lefties, adding a guy like that isn’t a plus. And it makes no sense to hook yourself for 3.5 M next year.

They’ll probably add another reliever today, which would be pitiful. They spend every dime last offseason on the bullpen and still they trade for more, as if that has anything to do with why this team fucking blows. They have league worst defense, and a mediocre offense that sucks balls against right handed starters. Those are their two main problems, with the third being the manager who is so old he falls asleep during games watching this boring ass, mediocre team.

Having said that, I think this season is a lost cause and would rather them do nothing that helps them than trade prospects. So I’m not mad that they didn’t make a trade to help them for this year. To me they would have been better off DFAing McGuire than being on the hook to pay Diekman next year, unless they think they can trade him in the winter. Everything they do is just so friggin stupid.

Qubort

It’s 3.5 million. That’s next to nothing and Banks is the only healthy lefty in the bullpen. The trade isn’t exciting but it was the proper move. I hope they stay pat as I doubt any one move turns this team around. Next year is a lost cause too unless TLR decides he’d prefer to take his naps somewhere besides a dugout.

As Cirensica

No. It wasn’t the proper move. It could be a move that ends up being the proper move, but that does not mean it is the proper move.

upnorthsox

To be fair, I also fell asleep during this game. I only wish I didn’t wake up in time to see the 9th.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

222 Tony games left! (Assuming zero playoff games which feels like a safe assumption)

Nellie Fox

Do they give participation trophies at the end of the season?

ForsterFTOG

Only for those that participate.

King Joffrey

Gold plated participation trophies go to those who have been on the active roster for every game this season. Come on down, Josh Harrison, Jose Abreu, Jose Ruiz, and or course , Leury Garcia. Silver plated trophies for those who only missed games due to paternity leave (Kopech) or vaccination status (Cease and Graveman).
If I missed someone, we can engrave another trophy.

soxygen

Can I also just point out that the news that Luis Robert was in the clubhouse Sunday after the game, but still isn’t over his cold, made me think: jeez, this team can’t even manage a cold properly?

If he has a cold then please keep him away from everyone else. And if he doesn’t have a cold, please stop saying he has a cold. Why should I feel anything other than dread when a guy who might be contagious and is too sick to make a rehab start shows up in the major league clubhouse when it is full of the rest of the guys on the active roster?

Liveox22

If you cannot play with a cold….

BenwithVen

I watched the CHGO post-game show from last night and Vinnie Dubar sounded very ominous about what’s plaguing Robert. It sounded like Robert came back for more testing and the team isn’t really sure what’s wrong with him. I hope he comes back soon, but I’m preparing myself for the worst.

NancyFaustsOrgan

Get gets pulled from a rehab assignment with “cold-like symptoms” and then ends up in Chicago only to not play? Something not good is happening…

soxygen

I’ve spent a lot of time seeing neurologists, and here is the thing…the brain and everything connected to it are really complicated and most of the time the best they can do is shrug and refer the patient to a different specialist (no offense, neurologists!). They aren’t like orthopedic surgeons, who are basically carpenters (see problem, fix problem). Anyone hoping for a definitive answer soon is likely to be disappointed.

Last edited 4 months ago by soxygen
metasox

Does he really even have a cold? It may have just been an excuse to explain leaving the rehab and getting back to Chicago. Or it could just be something related to whatever he has going on

Last edited 4 months ago by metasox
vince

Finding it difficult to care about this team. The Tuesday watchcasts are the only times I watch a full game, and not because of the game. I might crack gameday open to check in otherwise. I guess I posted this though, so I still care a little.

Nellie Fox

Still remember the Michael jordan game with the flu and then it hit me, Robert has a cold and can’t play for 2 WEEKS !!!!

jhomeslice

That’s a bit harsh, and it’s pretty obvious that Robert is having real issues that they don’t really understand, and are not talking about. This team is soft no doubt, but I think it is pretty clear that Robert is dealing with something a lot more serious than a cold.

I hope his health did not factor in to why Hahn decided to do nothing at the deadline. This team is dead in the water without Robert. Probably even with him as well. I just hope he’s ok.