Twins 5, White Sox 1: Some bad habits resurface

It turns out the White Sox aren’t a completely different team under Miguel Cairo, because this loss to the Twins bore some familiar scars.

The White Sox offense was once again baffled by Dylan Bundy’s combination of elevated 90-mph fastballs and breaking balls thrown for strikes. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this year after five shutout innings this afternoon.

Lucas Giolito limited the damage to two runs over five innings, with both runs coming on a two-run homer by Carlos Correa in his final inning of work. He also had to work around six hits and two walks, and he needed a generous strike to escape major trouble in the fourth, but he lowered his ERA to 5.21, so it counts as a minor success individually. The effort neither won nor lost the game on an individual level, but he’s still a guy just trying to get through the season as a contributor.

The White Sox defense had moments, but also moments to forget. Leury García made a couple of nice catches in shallow left field inside the foul line on Luis Arraez, and AJ Pollock effectively covered center field. On the other hand, Elvis Andrus bobbled a double-play ball and forced Giolito to record an extra out in the fourth, Andrew Vaughn played what should’ve been a Jake Cave flyout into a triple, and Seby Zavala whiffed on a catchable Kendall Graveman slider for a key insurance run-scoring wild pitch in the eighth.

Above everything, García factored way too much into high leverage. The White Sox finally strung together positive plate appearances against Michael Fulmer in the second, with Eloy Jiménez, Gavin Sheets, Yasmani Grandal and AJ Pollock all with well-struck drives. Jiménez lined out, but Sheets doubled, Grandal singled him to third, and Pollock doubled him home while moving pinch-runner Adam Haseley to third.

That’s when García came to the plate, and that’s when Rocco Baldelli called for his best bullpen weapon, Jhoan Duran. Cairo did not seek a better weapon himself. Instead, after García swung through a fastball for strike one, he tried to safety squeeze Haseley home on a drawn-in infield. Haseley was thrown out by plenty, and Cairo’s defense of the decision failed to inspire.

Watching it unfold in real time, I figured we would see a squeeze attempt, but I wondered if Cairo would go for the suicide version. With the infield in and Duran’s stuff probably being difficult to bunt, I thought he might call for the one that makes any bunt that touches ground in fair territory a success. Nope.

Two out of three against the Twins is fine, especially since Cleveland continued to crap the bed. This upcoming series against Seattle should tell us if this is a different team in any reliable way.

Record: 67-67 | 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

Cheers to the M’s for sweeping Cleveland, much obliged. They’re my second team, but I’ll be at T-Mobile rooting against them these next three games.

chipporter

Leury is now a fastball hitter? Diekman in a high leverage situation? Replacing Graveman after 5 pitches in favor of VV? These are the red flags we need to heed with Cairo. When a person reveals their true nature, believe them.

Last edited 3 months ago by chipporter
shaggy65

While that Leury comment is laughable, Cairo DID show us his true colors by calling for the bunt (which is a solid call and probably succeeds most of the time). I don’t mind Diekman in that spot because we were already behind and he faced 3 lefties. I was surprised to see VV, just like you, but upon reflection I’m fine with it. 2 runs back in the 9th? That’s not high-leverage time and we know Graveman pitches better when well rested.

MattVerplaetse

Disagree pretty strongly here. If they’re serious about being in the race, then they have to stop their season-long practice of treating one and two run deficits like blowouts with regards to bullpen management. They’ve routinely waved the white flag in games that might otherwise have remained within reach.

As Cirensica

All good comments from chipporter to matt

gibby32

I would have agreed with this comment for much of the season, as Tony failed to see any urgency at any point. But they are now two games back, which makes each of the next 28 games pretty damn important, including the next seven on the road. They need Graveman for those games, which may include one or two run advantage games. As Shaggy noted, Graveman is better with rest.

metasox

And VV was not a complete concession as he has looked good recently. It is a judgement call, but Graveman is about to blow past his regular season high in innings since ’17 when he was a starter. It is understandable some conservation will be required.

chipporter

The problem with the VV decision, is that we took Graveman out after 5 pitches to replace him with VV in a 2 run, bloop and and a blast, game. To save Graveman for another day is to ignore the importance of every opportunity to win every game at this point.

calcetinesblancos

Sucks we couldn’t come up with a big hit. Also sucks that we couldn’t run aggressively enough to scrape a few more runs together.

As Cirensica

I am OK with taking 2 out of 3 from the Twins. Finally the low EV babip luck is against the Guardians who all the “sudden” can’t hit the ball (besides 2 or 3 guys in that roster, nobody can’t hit the ball there). The Twins is a very incomplete team, so this is very winnable.

Leury Garcia keeps finding big spots under TLR and Cairo. How to avoid that? I think it is a 50-50 blame here. 50% on the manager, and 50% of Hahn for putting Garcia in the 26 roster for three years. Unless he is DFA’ed, a manager has to play him because no manager can go on playing with 25 men, and ignore one. Garcia is gonna play because Hahn put him there. How can Garcia’s usage be minimized in a team full of weak hamstrings, hips, and knees? Good luck with that.

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica
roke1960

Yes, Hahn signed Leury, but that has Tony’s fingerprints all over it. Tony raved last year about how valuable Leury was- I’m pretty sure he was the driving force behind that deal. Same with Kelly. Now Tony almost certainly will not be managing next year, but the Sox are on the hook for $13M in useless contracts to those 2. I would just release Leury over the winter and eat the $10M. Romy, Mendick, and likely Sosa and Yolbert are all better than Leury. He has to go to keep the new manager from even thinking about putting him in.

As Cirensica

Hahn could’ve given Leury a 1 year contract

GrinnellSteve

I’d like to see the new GM trade Leury, eating most of the contract. At the right price he would have value to some lousy team out there. If he can save $2M in future commitments, that can be used elsewhere.

metasox

Use less Leury by addressing the bench. One spot is effectively going to an extra DH plus Engel and Leury. Replace the first two with guys who can fill in for those injuries more effectively and Leury won’t be pressed into service as often. Lower on the depth chart in the super-utility role, he still has value

Last edited 3 months ago by metasox
chipporter

I believe that you inadvertently hit the nail on the head, when you qualified your statement with, “more effectively”. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m not sure many players would get over the qualifier bar with current mgmt.

Last edited 3 months ago by chipporter
charlie

My biggest takeaway from this game was unfortunately Giolito.
He’s always in trouble because he rarely gets ahead.
Unless this changes over final few starts I’m not re-signing him.