White Sox 2, Guardians 0: Johnny Cueto bests Shane Bieber

Tonight, any margin of error would do for Johnny Cueto.

Tasked with waiting out a two-hour, 55-minute rain delay and facing Shane Bieber after an embarrassing loss the night before, Cueto received two single runs of support in the sixth and seventh innings, and the latter proved to be unnecessary. He came within one out of a complete game, and thanks to his effort, the Sox have a series to take the series at Progressive Field despite all the strife of the opener.

Cueto scattered five hits and a walk over 8⅔ innings, and the Guardians needed a two-out error by Josh Harrison to put two runners on base in the same inning. He only struck out two, but he could seemingly dial up a grounder or a pop-up whenever he needed non-threatening contact.

Oscar Gonzalez was the only hitter Cueto couldn’t solve. Gonzalez, seemingly hellbent on proving Tony La Russa right for his intentional walk on a 1-2 count, singled, doubled and walked in three trips against Cueto. When he came to the plate as the tying run with two outs in the ninth inning, La Russa switched to Liam Hendriks, and Hendriks struck him out to end the game.

Bieber was almost as good as Cueto, but he wasn’t his sharpest. The White Sox actually drew three walks against him, and tacked on five hits as well. They couldn’t figure out how to make them count until their third time through.

Luis Robert, starting for the first time since Aug. 12, started the sixth with a single. Two batters later, Bieber spent way too much time over the plate to José Abreu when he’d retired him earlier on pitches outside. When he hung a 1-2 slider, Abreu crushed it to the deepest part of the park. It bounced on the warning track, then off the top of the wall to stay in the park. Had it been an automatic double, the Sox still might be scoreless thanks to more misadventures scoring from third. As it stands, Robert scored easily from first, and the Sox took the lead.

An inning later, Yasmani Grandal led off with a single, took second on a wild pitch, then chugged to third on Elvis Andrus’ single past the shorstop and into center field. Joe McEwing waved him home, which was terrible for so many reasons:

  1. Myles Straw has a strong arm.
  2. Grandal wasn’t anywhere close to where he needed to be to score on it.
  3. There were no outs.
  4. It had rained on and off even after the delay, so the turf was wet.
  5. Grandal has been managing knee issues all season.

Sure enough, Grandal was out by 20 feet, and in his effort to attempt to evade Luke Maile’s tag, he ended up wrenching his knee, and he had to be helped off the field.

Andrus managed to salvage the inning by being his own third base coach. He took second on the throw home, stole third on James Karinchak, and while Josh Harrison’s fly to right wasn’t nearly deep enough, Will Benson’s aggressive throw home took a strange hop and hit Maile in the mask. It didn’t bounce that far away, but Andrus noticed that nobody was in an easy position to recover it, and he dashed home to beat Andres Gimenez, who could neither flip it to home or get to the plate by himself.

The Sox needed that run spiritually, because they’d failed to capitalize on a similar situation the inning before. After Abreu doubled, he advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Moncada got aced on a backdoor curveball for a called strike three, and Gavin Sheets grounded out to right to end the threat.

No matter the frustration, the White Sox gained a game on both Cleveland and Minnesota, which had its four-game winning streak halted by the Rangers. The Sox are back to a game behind the Twins, and 2½ behind the Guardians.

Bullet points:

*While Moncada went 0-for-4 with a K at the plate, he did make a few slick picks to support Cueto in the field.

*Robert went 1-for-3 with a walk in his first game back. His follow-through is one-handed, but his plate appearances were good enough to keep playing.

*Cueto lowered his ERA to 2.58, and he’s averaging 6⅔ innings a start. He could get down-ballot Cy Young support if this keeps up.

*The official word on Grandal is left knee discomfort, but Carlos Pérez is on his way to Chicago.

Record: 62-59 | 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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dwjm3

6) Grandal runs like Jake Taylor

itaita

He wishes. I dont think he could leg out a bunt.

Either way just think how differently the games would be if Eloy had HR power and not warning track power somehow. They might’ve won game 3 vs Houston and made this game much easier. I dont know if its just missing it a little or an injury but hes squaring it up but the ball just isnt making it over the wall.

ParisSox

Stone mentioned heavy “dead” air last night with no wind following the rains.

I hope that was it.

StockroomSnail

Anybody else sing ‘Johhny Angel’ with Johhny Cueto’s name instead?

lifelongjd

If the Sox want to sign Cueto to a 2 year $20m contract I would totally be supportive

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Cmon we all know upon completing the O in Cueto in the signature his hand would seize up and he’d be out five weeks

Augusto Barojas

That seems reasonable, but man do they get snake bit signing guys over 35. Cueto will be 37, a year older than Lynn, and as we’ve seen from Lynn, one year can make a huge difference in production. For whatever reason, this is Cueto’s best year the past several seasons. The last season prior to this one that he posted an ERA under 4 was 2018. Maybe he’s their best option, but it’s not like it would be shocking if next year he became mediocre like the prior 3 years.

I love the dude don’t get me wrong, but my guess is next year it would be a long shot to expect a repeat performance, or anything close, based on age and history.

ParisSox

I say this not wanting to lose Grandal, but I’m glad Perez is getting his chance. His plate discipline should play well in the stretch run and I think he has a chance to contribute more offensively than Grandal was able to give.

As Cirensica

I have been saying that Grandal is not 100%. That’s why his power is gone. His surgically repaired knee might never be back again. TLR should have pinched run in that situation. Grandal should have never been running there. McEwing still has a job because he is with the White Sox. In another org, he would be a goner.

Augusto Barojas

I think Grandal has had his last productive at bats for the Sox, personally. I wish he were healthy, you are probably right that it’s related to his knees. But as it is, this is probably the only way to get him out of the DH spot when he isn’t catching, because of our halfwit, a-hole manager.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

I’ve been thinking it for a few starts but it seemed absurd to say out loud but Johnny absolutely deserves a couple CYA votes. Remarkable season.

To Err is Herrmann

I’ve been fired from jobs for a lot, lot less than what Joe McEwing just did.

Holland23

You need to follow up on this post. Don’t leave us in the dark.

To Err is Herrmann

When I was a stockboy with White Hen Pantry, my boss suspected me of taking one of the (in my defense, to-be-thrown-out) doughnuts and taking a bite of it in the alley outside. I was sent to take a polygraph test, where they asked me if I had ever taken a day-old doughnut. This is true.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think we’re going to need a full blown oral history of this, with interviews from all involved. This is better than fiction.

To Err is Herrmann

My boss, who had recently lost his job as a high school industrial arts teacher, must have had eyes in the back of his head or the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes because no way did he have any physical evidence or eyewitness accounts. The emotionless woman who ran the polygraph asked me 20 questions about drugs before hitting me with, “We all know that when we take day-old pastry out to the back, we may be tempted to take a bite out of one. Have you ever eaten a day-old pastry?” I refused to cave and denied it. I lost the job anyway.

To Err is Herrmann

That is to say, White Hen Pantry is more willing to fire someone for the good of the organization than are the White Sox.

Papa Giorgio

Well, you know what they say, “to err is human”

ParisSox

Is sleeping with the cleaning woman frowned upon here?

metasox

He has had a rough year but Grandal has been a hard nosed warrior out there all season. Playing when it looked like he shouldn’t be. The Donaldson episode showed a willingness to back teammates. Trying to avert the tag despite his physical condition. Sox need that kind of toughness

Last edited 3 months ago by metasox
soxfan

Grandal for manager. Garcia for third base coach. Abreu resigns to play first base and serve as hitting coach. 2023 improves both on and off the field.

Last edited 3 months ago by soxfan
shaggy65

That looked an awful lot like an ACL tear to me. Considering his preexisting knee issues and the position he plays, ACL recovery would likely cost him much of next year, as well.

When Joe sent him Yas had the same look on his face that I did- -a look best captured by the word “seriously??”

knoxfire30

Its basically impossible to be worse at your job then Joe McEwing is

Not that I am ever happy to see someone get hurt but on the bright side replacing this years grandal really isnt all that difficult and tony not being able to dh him should improve the defense in the OF and the lineup at the same time.

Last edited 3 months ago by knoxfire30
asinwreck

Yes, McEwing managed to needlessly endanger an employee’s health while not damaging the organization’s ability to perform. That might get him a CEO job if he ever decides to move on from Reinsdorf’s lifetime sinecure.

soxygen

“Replacing this year’s Grandal” is not really the big problem though. The big problem is next year – an off-season of him having no trade value, even as a DH; not being able to count on him to be/stay healthy while also being on the hook for $18M +; figuring out and re-allocating our C & 1B depth; etc.

Last edited 3 months ago by soxygen
knoxfire30

I’m thinking it’s a sunk cost but if he did blow out his acl we won’t be able to waste 300 to 400 at bats next year with the hope he isnt washed

They would have to actively get a catcher . Of course knowing they’ve needed a backup c and rf and 2nd hasn’t helped them the last few years

soxygen

If we had a time machine we could revisit the choice to “trade from our catching depth.”

MrStealYoBase

McGuire and Zavala are both out of options. So the only real option besides trading one was to carry 3 catchers on the ML roster.

soxygen

Unless Grandal was never a catcher, in which case the question was whether to carry both Grandal and Sheets until rosters expanded. I would have preferred that the Sox carry 3 “catchers”, option Sheets back to AAA, and see if Grandal could stay healthy enough to build some trade value. In the end, it may not matter much but McGuire was a good defender and a lefty so now we’ll have to see how much of a step down Perez is from that.

I just don’t see how it ever made sense to take a guy who had had multiple knee injuries and surgeries in the last 2 seasons and put him at the most demanding position for knees when that wasn’t actually necessary. We can’t know whether it contributed to the injury last night, but it sure didn’t help.

For what it’s worth, Diekman’s usage and results last time out don’t indicate that trading for a left handed reliever added much to our chances of making the postseason.

Last edited 3 months ago by soxygen
knoxfire30

Depth = like Ray or semien

Augusto Barojas

If Grandal’s injury is anything even moderately serious, it makes it exceedingly unlikely that he can be counted on for anything next year. That was probably true before yesterday. Which makes Zavala their full time catcher for 2023. We’ll get to see what Perez can do at least, I don’t expect miracles or for him to be a realistic answer for next year.

Contreras will be a FA. He would cost enormously less than Judge, Correa, or Turner, the 3 guys who would really make a difference. I wonder if the Sox might go after Wilson, he is having a very nice season on the north side, and they might be able to “afford” him.

Right Size Wrong Shape

It is the Sox MO to “spend big” on positions that you don’t have to actually spend big on, so in that respect Contreras wouldn’t surprise me. I think they’ll probably just talk themselves into Grandal coming back healthy at some point next year, though.

lifelongjd

I don’t see the Sox making major changes to this team next season. The biggest question is what will happen with Abreu. If he re-signs, they will no doubt run it back with much of the same personnel.

calcetinesblancos

What’s funny about that Andrus scoring play is how it’s the type of thing where you can’t think about it and then react; you have to know what to do the second the opportunity presents itself otherwise don’t even bother.

chipporter

As we ponder what decisions are coming down the line for next year, can I ask…is JR still going to own the team, because if he is, the rest of the discussion is somewhat moot, don’t you think?