Tigers 3, White Sox 2 (10 innings): Uh oh

The Cleveland Guardians trailed the Minnesota Twins tonight 3-0 before tying the game in one fell swoop in the seventh. They went on to win, 4-3.

The White Sox trailed the Detroit Tigers tonight 2-0 before tying the game in one fell swoop in the eighth. They went on to lose in 10 innings, 3-2.

“What do they have that we don’t have?” is a question the White Sox have probably been asking themselves for weeks, and they probably know the answers, which is why they’re in desperate search for a workaround. That search is harder now, because the White Sox are back to trailing Cleveland by four games.

The evening was also a waste because the eighth inning featured a couple of dramatic elements that would’ve been way, way cooler in a win.

In the top of the inning, the Sox mounted a threat with one out. Josh Harrison doubled, Elvis Andrus singled off of third baseman Ryan Kreidler, but Yoán Moncada popped out to stall the threat.

Leury García further jeopardized the rally with kindness. Spencer Torkelson showed poor body control in flagging down Moncada’s pop-up, hopping into the catch and almost throwing his body over the railing of the first-base dugout. Had he plummeted all the way in, Harrison and Andrus would’ve both advanced a base, but García grabbed Torkelson by the belt, giving Torkelson time to redistribute his body weight back into play.

García’s conscience cost the Sox a base, but karma repaid the Sox when José Abreu followed with a double inside third base. Andrus was in motion and thus scored easily, but it checked up against the side wall in such a way that even a static Andrus makes it all the way around, and that’s how the Sox tied the game.

The game remained tied after eight because of an even crazier sequence, and of course Joe Kelly was involved.

Javier Báez led off with a double which was the product of two mistakes: 1) Kelly hanging a curveball in the zone on a 1-2 count, and 2) AJ Pollock taking it slightly easy on a ball that required him to move quite a bit laterally, allowing Baez to beat the rushed throw in by plenty.

Eric Haase followed with a bullet to the right side, but José Abreu was well-positioned and gloved it. He looked initially at third, but he opted for the sure out at first, so Torkelson came to the plate. Kelly got ahead 1-2, but then threw three curves low and away that Torkelson resisted.

Torkelson could not resist a fourth in the dirt, but Yasmani Grandal also couldn’t catch it. It bounced off his shin guard and out of his reach, so Báez broke for home…

… except the ball caromed toward the mound, so Kelly hustled in, reached down and flipped the ball with his glove to Grandal, who tagged Báez’s torso as Báez tried to step around the tag. Had Báez tried a slide or dive, Grandal might not have been able to find him in time, but because Báez remained standing, so did the Sox.

At least until the 10th, when Alex Lange struck out all three White Sox he faced in the top of the 10th. Liam Hendriks was tasked with stranding the runner on second, but the job became tougher when he bounced the throw to first after Willi Castro’s sac bunt. That gave back an out he could ill afford to lose, and while he struck out Riley Greene, his attempt to throw a high fastball past Victor Reyes ended up belt high, and Reyes hit a game-winning, no-doubt sac fly to center.

Considering the White Sox produced four total bases over seven shutout innings by Matt Manning, they didn’t really deserve to win this game, but it would’ve been cooler if they did. Manning pumped strikes with both his fastball and slider — 59 of 87 pitches — and the Sox could only muster unremarkable contact.

Lucas Giolito had to work harder. He was throwing softer, which probably had a lot to do with it. Giolito’s spent most of the night 90-91, forcing him to rely on his changeup and slider mor ethan he wanted to. He avoided disaster by limiting Detroit to a single second-inning run, but he also allowed four hits and three walks over 4⅔ innings while throwing 96 pitches.

Miguel Cairo managed this one proactively by calling for Jimmy Lambert to finish the fifth, which he did by striking out Eric Haase to strand two runners. Lambert did hang a slider to Jonathan Schoop for a solo shot in the sixth, which turned out to be the bullpen’s only blemish in regulation. Jake Diekman pitched a perfect seventh, Kelly pulled a scoreless eighth out of thin air, and Reynaldo López validated Cairo’s choice for the ninth inning of a tie game with a 1-2-3 inning.

Cairo pretty much made every correct in-game decision, which shows the limitations of relying on the manager to account for all meaningful in-season improvements, especially when “in-season” is limited to the final month.

Bullet points:

*The shortstops had eventful games: Báez went 3-for-3 with a walk, two throwing errors and that baserunning out at home plate. Andrus went 3-for-5, stole a base, scored the tying run, reached on a Báez error, and failed to cut off Pollock’s throw from center on Báez’s double-turned-triple.

*The White Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but the Tigers were 1-for-9.

*Moncada did not have an eventful game in the second spot, going 0-for-5 with six stranded. There’s one Cairo decision that can be rethought.

*The fifth through eighth spots in the lineup went 0-for-16 with three strikeouts.

*Harrison made a diving stab in the ninth inning on a hot shot by Schoop, the kind of play he hadn’t been making lately.

Record: 74-71 | 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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dongutteridge

Wait till they get to the east part of the schedule. Their waves of talent will take over.

ParisSox

I’m upset but I’m also shrugging this off for now.

They’ve got the pitching matchups to win the next two. If Minnesota stops sucking them maybe they can pick up a game or two before the Cleveland series.

itaita

The Twins look toast. I would rely on them as much as i rely on the sox to hit a slider. Cleveland deserves to win the division since they’ve been the least bad of this crummy trio.

metasox

If Cleveland can keep this run going, it is getting to where they should be credited for wnning the division as much as the Sox faulted for losing it. For example, 538 projected the Sox to win 91 games. Cleveland could get close to that.

upnorthsox

The Twins will stop sucking when they play a patsy team like….. the Sox.

charlie

When that first pitch came and Harrison didn’t show bunt our edge was lost. Very poor managing by Cairo.

Holland23

Bring back Tony!! 😉

charlie

Let’s not look after the fact before it happened. This is your 9 hitter who’s biggest job in that situation is to make sure that runner gets to 3rd. Harrison has also shown to not be a good situational hitter who strikes out a lot.

charlie

I’d have killed for that run. Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

upnorthsox

Is that one of those unwritten rules we flog old guys for? Considering we lost it doesn’t seem that playing for the big inning works out all that well either.

upnorthsox

You’ve got to get the first one though or the home team can get the win without a hit.

metasox

I suppose they could have tried 2 consecutive bunts

SocksO’Graham

The Andrus addition shines a bright light on the need to change this roster in the off season. There is a ball player. Sox loaded with bums.

SocksO’Graham

Bums in April
Bums in May
Bums in June
Bums in July
Bums in August
Bums in September

HallofFrank

10-5 in September.

gibby32

Thanks for your illuminating contribution.

chipporter

Apparently, Sox coaches are still incapable of teaching Vaughn and Sheets where the top of the strike zone is.

Augusto Barojas

Or that neither of them is a major league level outfielder.

metasox

To be fair, the players probably have a pretty good idea

King Joffrey

If I weren’t a standings denier, I’d be concerned.

Greg Nix

STOP THE COUNT!!!

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Paper bag guy, oh how I miss thee.

vince

I think it was Jim during the watch-along that pointed out the Guardians have won 7 of 8, and the only loss was to the Sox. Hard to gain ground against that.

The cake was baked when the Sox let so many winnable games earlier in the season slip out of their hands. They should be the ones with the 4-5 game lead. This strong September push would look a lot better then.

soxygen

Not said to disagree with what you said in any way…but there is also the question of how strong this push this really is.

Is 10-5 in September good? Sure, but we spent all season talking about how easy this part of the schedule is. So winning 3 of 4 versus Oakland is good, but the A’s are actually trying to be bad. We just lost last night to the Tigers…who have been effortlessly bad all year.

All of which is just to say that it isn’t just that it is too late, but it is also too little – the Sox put themselves in a situation where they needed to go on the kind of run that Seattle went on earlier this year and that just hasn’t happened.

BenwithVen

I know there’s going to be a lot of time for reflection during the offseason, but that stretch in August were they lost like 8 out of 10 (including that sweep by AZ) looks like an absolute back breaker in hindsight. Especially since that was supposed to be the softest part of a weak schedule.

Last edited 2 months ago by BenwithVen
vince

With a .667 win percentage only two teams in the AL are having a better September – the Astros and Jays. I’d say that is pretty good.

As Cirensica

These type of games are a trademark for the White Sox this season, so let’s shake it off and win the next two. Surely the Twins can take at least one game out of Cleveland. Will be back to 3 games behind, so sweeping the Guardians series puts things interesting. Let’s go.

JimMargalusBiggestFan

Remember when we were told that all of those rest days over the first four months of the season would lead to a fresh roster for the stretch run?

How fresh are Tim’s legs nowadays anyway?

Last edited 2 months ago by JimMargalusBiggestFan
As Cirensica

I don’t think we have had a game with TA, Vaughn, Abreu, Moncada, Robert, Grandal and Eloy in the same lineup. The supposedly core for this window push.

upnorthsox

August 6th, the last game TA played in. We got 2-hit shutout by Texas 8-0.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX202208060.shtml

I’m sure there are more. This is not about how injuries have decimated this team, it’s about a very limited team that cannot withstand any kind of adversity whether it be poor defense, bad hitting, lousy baserunning, disappearing pitching, or poor decision making by players and coaches.
Its the beauty of baseball and the 162 game season, you are who you are and the long season will eventually expose it.

JimMargalusBiggestFan

I don’t disagree. Bad process will eventually lead to bad results.

But I always snicker at the load management aspect of it. These idiots went with half assed lineups frequently over the first half of the season, only to see the team decimated by injuries anyway. Then on top of it, it seems increasingly likely that they’re going to miss the postseason by a small number of games.

Last edited 2 months ago by JimMargalusBiggestFan
upnorthsox

I’m not going to defend lineups and load management, I’ll just say one of, if not the worst process failures of this team all year(including the off season) long was the assumption that the division was to be handed to them at some designated time. Thus, no sense of urgency at all by anyone. It now looks like that time is unlikely to be in 2022.

As Cirensica

So we got one game. Mission accomplished.

upnorthsox

I started with the last game TA played and didn’t need to look further, please look further yourself.

funkerdan

I was going to, but then I got drunk.

funkerdan

Luis Robert was actually off on 8/6. The answer is only 2, 8/4 and 8/5. I counted any appearance in a game, not just starting lineups.