Astros 5, White Sox 1: Walks still the story

Despite being rain-delayed by more than two hours, tonight was actually fun for a few innings.

José Abreu received his video tribute and receiving his long-overdue standing ovation from White Sox fans, then a hearty punch in the back from Tim Anderson after Abreu stole a single with a sliding stop. Luis Robert Jr. hit a majestic solo shot off J.P. France. Michael Kopech held the Astros hitless, and got a little sassy with the Houston dugout during the second inning.

But the gap between how many walks the White Sox issue and how many walks the White Sox draw has been a persistent issue all season, and tonight was no exception. White Sox pitchers walked eight Astros, but only drew one walk themselves, and that drove the wedge in the scoreboard.

The Astros took a 2-1 lead at the halfway point with only one hit. Kopech, who walked six batters over 4⅔ innings, walked the leadoff man in both the fourth and fifth innings. Kyle Tucker came around to score on a stolen base, productive out by José Abreu and a sac fly, while ninth-hitting Martin Maldonado walked to start the fifth, moved to second on a one-out walk, then scored when Andrew Benintendi couldn’t come up with Tucker’s slicing fly in the left-field corner after a long run.

The White Sox briefly threatened in the fifth when Robert singled to lead off the fifth and Seby Zavala singled two batters later. The threat ended after a flyout and a groundout, and Astros pitchers went on to retire 14 of the last 15 batters they faced, with a Gavin Sheets two-out walk in the seventh inning the lone exception.

The Astros actually started hitting in the sixth inning, with two-out RBI doubles by Maldonado and Mauricio Dubon off Gregory Santos putting the game away. Yordan Alvarez hit a majestic shot that would’ve threatened the fiberglass goose behind the right-field seats were it still there in the ninth inning, which at least provided the remaining fans some entertainment.

Despite all the walks, the offense was the bigger problem. They were held to three hits by a guy making his second career start, and six consecutive spots in the order failed to reach base (8-9-1-2-3-4 went 0-for-22 with four strikeouts). Robert and Zavala were the only White Sox to make hard contact that stayed off the ground.

A pregame meeting didn’t help, nor did the return of Yoán Moncada, who went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a strikeout. Elvis Andrus departed the game clutching his side after his eighth-inning groundout, and was replaced by Hanser Alberto after Alberto pinch-hit for Adam Haseley in a reverse-split situation against Bryan Abreu that was probably overthinking it.

The White Sox tied their season worst water mark at 14 games under .500, although every team in the AL Central lost today, so the Sox remain just 8½ out of first in spite of it all.

Bullet points:

*José Abreu went 1-for-4 in his first time at Guaranteed Rate Field as a visitor, flipping a two-out single to center off Aaron Bummer in the seventh.

*Kopech threw just 48 of 94 pitches for strikes, and was especially wild with his fastball. He only got five swinging strikes on 94 pitches, in part because the Astros only swung 32 times.

*Santos broke the fourth wall, so at least we got a meme out of it.

Record: 13-27 | Box score | Statcast

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42 Comments
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StockroomSnail

(Best Lucille Bluth impression)

You want your batting average to be .325, not your winning percentage.

Last edited 26 days ago by StockroomSnail
ParisSox

Welp

Shingos Cheeseburgers

If they’re gonna stink this bad bring back Leury. Hell bring back all the fun players from the last decade.

streetsahead7

I wonder if Conor Gillaspie and Moises Sierra are still active. I’d watch that pair again

As Cirensica

Casper Wells can play the outfield and pitch. We can have a two-way player.

StockroomSnail

Yolmer, can you still lift a full Gatorade container?

soxygen

48 out of 94 pitches for strikes? Oh boy…Kopech is a hot mess.

I have all the info I need on Ethan Katz right now. Any high school would be lucky to have him as its pitching coach.

Last edited 26 days ago by soxygen
ParisSox

Maybe Coop can fix Katz

dwjm3

commentaire de la semaine

chipporter

I know this sounds petty…

But I don’t want to hear the broadcasters stupping for the ballparks food vendors while our struggling pitcher is getting squeezed by the ump, without comment. Wegner certainly contributed to Kopech’s problems by not calling strikes that were strikes.

Malkatraz

nah. he sucked. wild pitchers don’t get borderline calls.

and what about the blatant ball 4 on alvarez that was called a strike…which ended up turning into an out?

Right Size Wrong Shape

The ones in the early innings weren’t borderline calls, they had the entire plate. Wegner was horrible. I didn’t see his last couple of innings.

chipporter

My comment wasn’t about the umping, it was about the announcing and the announcers being too busy pumping up the in park concessions than commenting on the game.

To my point, they had plenty to say about the low pitch to Alvarez, but not a word on Kopech getting squeezed while the camera was trained on them in the booth eating.

Last edited 26 days ago by chipporter
upnorthsox

Bennetti is always complaining about balls and strikes and Steve ends up having to walk it back to reality. If Jason gets any worse we might as well have Chuck doing play by play.
That said, the endless food promos have become extremely annoying. It’s a constant reminder that the product on the field isn’t worth going for anymore.

As Cirensica

I have a problem with this team that I cannot rationalize with confidence. Perhaps Jim can think of an analysis and post something but with the information at hand, we would have to venture into the assumptions realm.

This team looks as bad as tanking year teams that were losing on purpose.

The White Sox lost close to 100 games in the following years:

2013 => Lost 99 games
2017 => Lost 95 games
2018 => Lost 100 games

During the first 40 games in those years, the W-L record were:

2013 => 11 – 29
2017 => 18 – 22
2018 => 19 – 21

We are currently at 13 – 27. However, in those years, the team was designed to lose games. Those teams were truly bad. This is the problem, the 2023 team is a 190M (close) payroll team. There is more talent in the 2023 team. No question about it. And yet, the team plays as bad as the 2013, 2027 and 2018 teams. Actually, you can make a point those 2017 and 2018 teams were better.

I have to think there is a huge ‘unseen’ problem within the White Sox organization. It is not the lack of talent. It is something deeper and damaging. I am starting to think that this team can sign Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, and Ronald Acuna, and they will still be bad.

There’s something within the White Sox organization I cannot put my finger on. However I feel confident in saying it starts with leadership (lack of). Using corporate terminology, the White Sox have motivational problems. You can see players that appear not to have the capacity to perform well (even though they can). A player’s plate approach tells you “I cannot get the RBI with the man on 3B and fewer than 2 outs”. He promptly strikes out. Then there is some attribution issues when players with talent can’t pin point what went wrong. They “fix it” by saying things like “I stink”, and “I need to be better”, but this is an issue that goes beyond your usual phraseology.

All of this is a leadership problem. It won’t be solved by signing prized free agents. It can only be solved by changing leadership either with new leaders or with leaders recognizing there is a problem and acting on it. I do not think Pedro Grifol is the right man to solve this. More than a manager, he behaves like a motivational speaker, and a bad one at that because if there is something this team lacks is motivation.

BenwithVen

You’re 100% right. I honestly hope a book is written about this team, I bet it would be fascinating.

Last edited 26 days ago by BenwithVen
md03

I think Jim has broken it down as a technology, infrastructure and accountability problem. No one cares about winning because there isn’t a mandate to win, there is no investment into the development and technology, or other organizational tools that every other team has in the 2020s. We’re even behind the Royals now and they aren’t even trying, so this whole thing needs to be taken down to the studs. We need an organizational rebuild starting with the owner or an empowered executive who’s competent.

Last edited 26 days ago by md03
Augusto Barojas

You can make arguments that this team is better than it has played. But the problem is indeed lack of talent. They have way too many awful players, and not enough good ones. And no great ones other than maybe an emerging Robert. Their “good” players are hurt way too often, and proving not that good when they aren’t. Motivation and a good manager might help but won’t solve 95 percent of this mess. It’s the roster.

They are arguably better than they have played, but this team is NOT better than mediocre. They have league worst production at RF and 2b, Benintendi doesn’t offer much in LF, whenever Grandal does not catch they have league worst production at catcher. Their backups are piss, whenever someone is on the DL they have league worst production at that position as well for the duration of the DL stint. You can’t have league worst production at 3-5 lineup slots at the same time and claim that the talent is really there. They have not added ONE quality player since 2020. Their weaknesses far outweigh any strengths, and they never address their weaknesses. That is one of their primary problems. Tim, Yoan, Eloy are all very over rated, and miss 1/3 of games. And that’s not even the worst part of the team – a pitching staff with the 29th ERA!

If everybody was healthy and playing well this is barely a .500 team, probably not even. They need to add 2 or 3 high quality players at key positions (like Semien, Harper), as well as 3-4 pitchers. None of this will happen. They need to add 5-7 high quality players and won’t add even 1. There isn’t anything to analyze anymore, this team has more holes than a sieve, and needs to be destroyed and rebuilt by a new owner and GM. Which means none of this is going to get better for a very long time, other than brief stints of mediocrity rather than pure stink.

roke1960

I agree with as Cirensica. This is not all that different from the team that was 20 games over .500 in the first half of 2021. It’s not a lack of talent. Look at some of the talent on other teams. Houston won a World Series with Martin Maldonado’s bat in the lineup most days.

The problem with this team is that mediocrity is accepted as the norm. It’s why all these players who came here with great credentials are now just average players. It starts at the top. Adding Betts, Trout and Acuna wouldn’t be the solution. Subtracting Jerry, Rick and Kenny and everyone associated with them is what must happen. No amount of talent can overcome the pervasive stench that comes from this FO.

Marty34

It’s all about lack of talent. Anderson, Benintendi, Lynn are terrible.

roke1960

They might be terrible, but they are all talented. Tim has been a .300 hitter for the last 4 years. Benintendi has been a solid if unspectacular player. Lynn was the best starter on the USA team this year. They have been dragged down to mediocrity or worse by the horrendous stench that come from Jerry and company.

Last edited 26 days ago by roke1960
Marty34

There is no might about it, they are terrible. It’s called getting old.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Lynn used to be talented. Now he is turd level. Beni is an average talent.

Zavala, Sosa, Andrus, Sheets, Alberto, and Romy are not talented. Members of the above festival of turd players are sometimes 1/3 or more of their lineup. It’s not just about their “talented” players but their defcon 3 turd level depth. This team just isn’t and will never be good without roster upgrades up the yin yang.

Augusto Barojas

Houston had one useless bat like Maldonado. The Sox have sometimes 4 or 5 in the lineup at the same time. Houston has Alvarez and Tucker, two left handed hitters better than any on a Sox roster since Thome. Sox are league worst at 2b/RF, Houston has Tucker and Altuve. Houston and other teams have enormously more talent. It isn’t close. Denying that is imagining things. Their best players are way better than ours, and less injury prone, and their worst players are not as awful, or plentiful. That is what is meant by a lack of talent. They need several better players. You’re not going to get this roster to win even if Russel Crowe from Gladiator managed them. He would say “Sire, I need better men than this!”, LOL!

Comparing to 2021. Rodon is gone and Lynn blows chunks. Those two were probably the biggest reason for their 2021 first half success. Both their ERA’s were around 2 through June. Abreu is gone. The 2021 team was over rated by easiest schedule, and this isn’t close to the same team now anyway, esp starting pitching. And of course Tony isn’t here to offer wisdom!

Adding Betts, Trout, and Acuna wouldn’t fix the pitching but would go a long way toward fixing an offense that has scored 3 runs or less in 22 of 40 games. Who are “all these players who came here with great credentials”, by the way? They haven’t added one such player since 2020 unless you count Lynn, who was good for exactly one season. Benintendi may be better than this, but he’s still basically average at best. Semien and Harper would have turned weaknesses into strengths. THAT’s what they needed, not pondering why an inadequate roster with glaring weaknesses up and down isn’t winning when it isn’t possible in the first place. The only way to get better is to actually address their weaknesses!! And by now, they’ve lost most of their strengths as well.

Last edited 26 days ago by Augusto Barojas
670WMAQtheElder

It’s a perfect storm of problems. There is some talent, but more players who are AAA level or MLB guys past their prime. There are 2 or 3 selfish players who need to be shipped out, but they might be the most physically talented on the team. Grifol is a rookie manager who is trying to make the players better, but either he is not effective or the players are not listening or both. The FO has spent money foolishly on guys past their prime or guys who can’t stay off the injured list, so there is no more money to spend. A key player got cancer. The unbalanced schedule, which helped the Sox get by, is gone. Said FO is full of careerists drawing very nice paychecks. The owner makes statements that show himself to be out of touch with 2023 MLB, yet he says he won’t sell until he dies.

Given all this, we are fans of this team, and we deserve better for our time and money. The Sox should be an important part of our summer, and I think we want Sox baseball to be, but right now it is better to find other things to do.

Marty34

It all starts with the salary structure of this team. You can’t have the worst players also be the highest paid it makes for a terrible clubhouse. There is no such thing as a team-friendly contract.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Other than Lynn I don’t really know what you are talking about. The highest paid guys have been playing pretty well.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Well, maybe not all playing well, but I wouldn’t call TA and Benintendi the worst players on the team.

Last edited 26 days ago by Right Size Wrong Shape
StockroomSnail

Hahn has wanted to be fired for years. This year is a cry for help, release him from his hell Jerry!

Matt

the sox lost huh? oh well. Just supporting Sox Machine

chipporter

Strenuously?

ForsterFTOG

I can’t handle the reference.

Marty34

In an organization filled with lost causes Ethan Katz and Tim Anderson need to be the next ones shown the door.

Adam

They all need shown the door. Every last one. Even Robert, Cease, and Vaughn. Trade every single player if possible. I know some aren’t at their peak value. Ok, so take a chance on a high ceiling but very low level player. Trade everyone. Restock the system. Rethink free agency, if you’re not gonna sign 250 mil guys, ok. So sign 6 10 mil per year guys and use that for depth. Whatever. As long as we throw all 26 guys currently on the team on the trash heap

StockroomSnail

I’m for the white sox ceasing operations.

Perhaps come back as another team. Sock based teams seam historically mediocre… let’s try another garment.

The green hats? The blue scarves?

upnorthsox

I am not rooting for blue scarves. Sorry.

chipporter

The pink garters?

roke1960

Nope. Management needs to be shown the door. It’s why so many players seem to forget how to play, and others thrive in a new organization.

ForsterFTOG

We lead the league in serial abusers.
Maybe start there?

StockroomSnail

The Ricky Vaughns, in honor of the California penal league’s finest?

Last edited 25 days ago by StockroomSnail
RayHerbert

Who’s thriving in new organizations, other than Semien and maybe Bassitt?