White Sox 3, Astros 1: Luis Robert Jr. gets some help
Luis Robert Jr. can’t do it all himself, but he’ll get the White Sox most of the way there.
Robert factored into all three runs scored by the White Sox tonight, and that held up as more than enough for one night, thanks to a pitching effort led by Dylan Cease.
As a result, the White Sox have a chance to take the season series against the Astros on Sunday, which doesn’t seem possible when you look at their overall record.
Robert gave the Sox the lead with another no-doubt solo shot in the fourth, put the Sox back ahead with a go-ahead single in the eighth, then scored on Seby Zavala’s bloop single later in the inning for an insurance run that proved unnecessary.
Cease had his best start since Opening Day against these same Astros. After he stranded the bases loaded in the first inning — a jam that accounted for half of his four hits and two walks — it was more or less smooth sailing. He didn’t face another runner in scoring position the rest of the way, thanks in small part to Seby Zavala, who cut down Jeremy Pena trying to steal second.
He didn’t get the win, partially because the White Sox could not come up with a (productive) clutch hit against Brandon Bielak, and partially because BABIP worked against them before it worked for them.
The Sox wasted jams in the first three innings. Tim Anderson started the White Sox’s half of the game by getting cut down at second on what should’ve been an easy leadoff double, while Yoán Moncada reached second with a double to start the second, and while he moved to third on Gavin Sheets’ single, the Sox couldn’t come up with a hit that scored him. The Sox had runners on the corners with one out in the third, but Andrew Vaughn grounded into a double play.
(Anderson thought he had an opposite-field solo shot out of the box, but considering he’s only homered once since last May, he really shouldn’t leave anything to assumption in that department.)
They finally broke onto the scoreboard the easy way in the fourth, as Robert connected with a Bielak spinner for his 10th homer of the year.
Alas, that wasn’t enough for Cease to get the win because two White Sox relievers experienced some Bummer Luck. Reynaldo López allowed a leadoff single, was a fraction of a step from getting a highlight 6-4-3 double play ball, then gave up a flared single to right with two outs that put runners on the corners.
In came Joe Kelly to face the top of the order, and he got Mauricio Dubon to hit a chopper off the plate to the right side. It just happened to be a chopper that rose a couple of stories in the air, halfway between the mound and first base. Kelly and Vaughn both went for it, leaving first base open as a result, and the run came home on López’s tab to tie the game at 1.
Kelly ended up getting the win by pitching a perfect eighth, and Kendall Graveman converted a save opportunity in the ninth by pitching around a leadoff single.
In between, Moncada once again opened an inning with a double, but this time he came around to score. Rafael Montero tried busting Robert inside to prevent him from poking an easy grounder to the right side to advance the runner, but Robert adjusted by bringing his hands in, and he was able to muscle a fastball into shallow right field to score Moncada for a 2-1 lead.
Robert ended up advancing to second two batters later on Hanser Alberto’s weak groundout to the right side, and Zavala cashed him in with another opposite-field flare to put the Sox ahead by two. It broke a streak of five consecutive RBIs for Robert dating back to Thursday.
*White Sox pitching allowed only two walks all night, a drastic improvement over eight walks the night before.
*Vaughn had a game to forget. He went 0-for-4 with two of the team’s five strikeouts, and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, including the double play.
*Anderson and Andrew Benintendi combined to reach base six times from the top two spots and didn’t score a run between them.
*Cease only generated 13 whiffs over 97 pitches, but he only allowed one ball hit over 100-mph, and it was a flyout from José Abreu.
*Abreu went 0-for-3 with a walk, although Kelly undressed him with a full-count fastball inside for a half-swing strike three. Abreu still doesn’t run out dropped third strikes, in case you were wondering.
Record: 14-27 | Box score | Statcast
*Rick Hahn goes to fortune teller after the 2021 playoffs*
I have good news for you. You will win the season series against Houston two years from now.
Rick: Yes! We’re gonna have a parade!
*Fortune teller smiles, says nothing*
It seems like Cease gets 0-2 a lot and then throws a completely noncompetitive chase pitch or two to let the hitter back in the at-bat.
I checked out in the bottom of the 7th. I had seen that movie too many times. I watched Chromosome 21 on Netflix. Good show so far.
Giolito vs rookie RHP Brown tomorrow. Brown’s been pretty good and he’s got good stuff, so should be interesting.
I know he’s absolutely gone by next year if not the trade deadline, but I’m happy to see Gio rebounding. He’s a good guy and a good showing this year will get him paid deservedly.
Robert, Jr. is up to 2.0 bWAR which is truly outstanding at this point of the season. It is very unlikely he’ll keep up that pace but he’s on pace for an 8 bWAR season.
There have only been 3 seasons of 8.0 bWAR or more by a Sox position player Two of them are from players in the Hall of Fame (Eddie Collins and Minnie Minoso) and the third is by a player (Dick Allen) who will eventually be in the HOF.
There have been 14 seasons of 8.0 bWAR by a Sox pitcher. Most are pre-WWII and 9 of those seasons are over a century ago. The three seasons recent enough for me to remember are Wood’s 11.7 and 10.7 in 1971 and 72 and Gossage’s 8.2 in 1975.
(The Sox should do something to honor Wood while he’s still alive. He produced more bWAR for the Sox than either Buehrle or Pierce. He’s easily the most memorable individual player from my long fandom because he was so unique. Why not retire his number 28?)
You just killed Ted’s next Sporcle. The shortest one ever.
Agrée on Wood. Don’t know why he’s not considered as highly
Off topic, some nice Terrell Tatum coverage in the Washington Post this weekend….
Just when I was getting on board with the FO’s plan, they beat the Astros. We are now 5 games back from first pick. I can support winning or losing but being semi-bad gets us nothing.
Draft lotto is in effect, so a 1-1 pick isn’t guaranteed for the worst record.
Unless they lose Moncada, Robert, Cease and Giolito for significant lengths of time, this team is far closer to winning the division than it is to the worst record in baseball. Now before all of you rip me apart for this, hear me out.
The Sox have two legitimate top of the rotation pitchers in Cease and Giolito. They will be getting an elite closer back soon in Hendriks. Joe Kelly looks like pre-White Sox Joe Kelly, Crochet will be back soon, and Lopez, Graveman and Bummer have very good stuff. I think the key to their bullpen success will be giving them defined roles to thrive in. Couple those 6 with two of Santos, Middleton and Lambert, and that has all the makings of a lock-down bullpen.
TA is a legitimate top-of-the-order hitter. Moncada looks very good so far. Robert has stretches of MVP-like play. Vaughn is on pace for 120 RBIs. If the top guys are doing their jobs, Benintendi can settle in to the 6th spot in the order and just be counted on to give quality at bats. Eloy will be back in a few weeks, and hopefully he can pick up where he was before his appendectomy. Get Colas back to play right field regularly. Grandal, Zavala and Lopez is a decent set of catchers. That leaves the black hole that is 2nd base, though Alberto (for now) and Andrus are not horrible.
The one thing that keeps this team down is the persistent negative vibe that emanates from the front office/manager. We all know how little accountability there is in the front office. That feeling has to seep down to the players, and it shows in their stretches of maddeningly bad play. Grifol is in way over his head, so for the 2nd straight manager, the White Sox have to overcome their manager’s weakness to succeed.
Some have suggested trading everyone. How is that going to help? Most of the players mentioned above are quality players. It just seems that after awhile in this putrid organization, the malaise of mediocrity and lack of accountability sets in and they lose their edge. That’s why the only way for sustained success is to blow up the front office, not the players on the field. Until that happens, the stench that comes from the front office will continue to waft through the entire organization and drag down the quality on the field to the quality of the front office. JERRY, RICK and KENNY MUST GO. Otherwise, any other moves made are futile.
So go ahead and rip me apart for this. But that’s what I believe. Is this a World Series contender? Almost certainly not. But letting the 3 stooges continue to run the show is never going to give this team a chance at sustained success. In a division where 85 wins will likely win the division, let’s see what happens when/if Hendriks and Crochet return and most of the guys are healthy. In all likelihood, Grifol’s shortcomings as a manager will probably cost this team too many games to make up the deficit that they have, but trading everyone and thinking that Hahn will make the right moves has no chance of happening.
Hopium is free, good on ya for keeping the faith.
I just don’t see it with this group of players. On paper, yea this team should be lights out and a contender, but it’s not. They play terrible, defense is severely lacking, hitting is so hot or cold you have no idea what they will bring day to day. They just aren’t good playing the game together, whether that’s front office juju, poor construction, whatever you want to call it. They aren’t a good team, as their record shows.
I’ve said from time to time to trade everyone on here, somewhat hyperbole somewhat not. Really the only pieces I think are worth keeping right now is Vaughn, Crochet, and maybe Robert if he knocks off the immature stuff. Recently he has and has looked better but that’s still a concern for me. He’s a professional ball player, act like it. Don’t cut people off, don’t just say “I only want velocities, nothing else.” Work at your craft.
We all know the stink of the front office is destroying the franchise, but until old miser Jerry kicks the bucket the likelihood of Rick and Kenny moving on are 0. So we can hope in one hand, and s*+t in another and see which one fills up first. Rick and Kenny aren’t going anywhere unless Rick gets promoted this off-season. Even then, he will still have his handprints on everything and with the way the season is going Jerry is going to want to trade and cut payroll.
So reality for reality’s sake, this team is going no where. If they keep the same band around all we are going to see if a few wins with streaks of losing, terrible defense, and apathy from the team and fans. Personally, I’m ready to blow it up and try and restock a putrid farm system. What is happening now is just doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome, which is insanity.
But again, the problem with blowing it up is that Rick, Hahn and Jerry are still in charge. There is no way they are going to get a haul like Moncada, Cease, Eloy, Kopech, Lopez, Giolito for the players they have. If Rick and Co. ruined these guys, what are they going to do with lesser players? Remember, these were all top prospects that we were very excited to get. Now after 5 years in this putrid organization, we want to get rid of them all, and replace them with what? We will be in a much worse place if we trade these guys as long as Rick is still making the decisions and Jerry controls the purse strings. These are talented players. It’s likely the organization and its malaise of mediocrity and lack of accountability has destroyed them. And the bad defense and hot/cold hitting and inability to throw strikes is a byproduct of this awful organization. Why trade these guys and bring in younger guys who will most assuredly be subject to the same ineptitude?
And I’m not keeping the faith. What I’m saying is getting rid of everybody and giving Rick a fresh start is just moving the calendar back 6 years and hoping things go differently. The only difference will be that we won’t make 2 playoff appearances because the quality of players he acquires this time won’t be nearly as good as the quality he acquired for Sale, Q and Eaton on bargain contracts. So if anyone is high on hopium, it’s you guys who think things will go differently next time.
I agree. A full sell off with the current FO regime is pointless. The rentals aren’t all that valuable. There’s still some talent here. Hold and see if the unthinkable happens. You can always flip Giolito in July. Until then, try to turn things around.
Yes, as bleak as our chances are, that’s our only hope right now. With this current regime in place, they will never have this much talent on the field.
This is the classic case of the sum of the parts is way higher than the whole. It isn’t working, it hasn’t been working, and at some point you have to throw the towel in. The FO and JR have lowered the expectations of the fan base to believe that a division title is something to aim for, and it is not. They can’t compete with the best teams, blow this thing up.
Why? What will that get us if Jerry, Rick and Kenny are still in charge? Now if Jerry sells and Rick and Kenny are put out of their misery, that I’m ok with the new organization blowing it up. But I think a new organization would salivate over having Cease, Giolito, Moncada, Robert, Eloy, Anderson, Vaughn, Colas, Kopech, Hendriks, Crochet, Lopez, Graveman, Colson Montgomery already in place. A competent organization could do wonders with that amount of talent. Could you imagine what Tampa’s front office could do with that talent?
Don’t disagree with you that Rick will royally screw up trading what assets we, it’s expected at this point. I’m not expecting anything different next time, I’m tired of watching this group and don’t want to anymore. That’s my view, this team is garbage and I’d rather watch a young prospect come up.
But counter point to your view is the team has to perform at some point, they aren’t and are going the wrong direction. We can all keep hoping they will be healthy together to click. It’s been 5 years or so of hoping, it hasn’t happened and the likelihood of it happening is extremely low to non existent. This team and collection of talented players has maxed out, best we can hope for is a first round exit from this group.
We are discussing the same thing, the team sucks, the front office sucks, and we are apathetic towards a team we are fans of. Only difference is we are divided on if we want to watch what we currently have or blow it up. To each their own.
I do not want to watch another Hahn rebuild. I will completely stop watching if that happens. And I won’t even care about commenting about it. Because I’ve seen this horror movie before.
Let’s play a little game. Let’s replace Grifol with Terry Francona and Rick and Kenny with their counterparts in Tampa. Now what would you think of this team? This roster is more talented than Tampa’s and Cleveland’s. They are just completely mismatched and mismanaged. It’s that simple.
No guarantees they’re any better, maybe they will maybe they won’t. Either way that’s not the scenario we’re in, we have Hahn and Pedro. So hypotheticals are fun thought experiments but ultimately go no where.
You keep saying we shouldn’t change the path we are on since Rick is still in charge and we have talented players. But he is still charge now with the same group and we 2nd to last in the division. So we should Continue what we are doing to remain in 2nd to last?
You are hoping just as much as the crew that wants to blow it up. We can continue holding on to these guys, hoping for lighting in a bottle, while trade value declines for a lot of them like cease who has team control for a while
I get you don’t want to watch another rebuild. Lot of us don’t want to watch what’s on the field now. Again, we are discussing the same thing. The team sucks and we’re all grasping at straws.
Apathy is strong across the board, are options are bad either door we open. We as fans are screwed either way until Jerry croaks.
I’m not watching either way. I’ve watched two games this year, none since the 2nd week of the season. So I guess it really doesn’t matter to me at this point.
If you have only watched two games this year how can you evaluate the talent level of this team?
I read Jim and Josh’s and the rest of the Sox Machine great analyses. Plus I know from watching Timmy play the last 4 years, that he didn’t suddenly fall off a cliff. And unfortunately, I still follow the team. To just continually say that 3 players are awful, and make no other constructive criticisms means you just have some kind of weird vendetta against these 3 and are pretty clueless about this team. You must be Rick Hahn in disguise.
Your absurd opinion that this team is more talented than the Rays doesn’t deserve a more comprehensive response than those three are awful.
Being more talented in no way means they are a better team. All you have to do is look at Jake Diekman. We couldn’t wait to get rid of him, and the Rays then picked him up and put him right in the bullpen mix. They will likely get the most out of him while the Sox continue to have their formerly top-rated prospects continue to get worse in this putrid organization. Most teams would love to get their hands on Timmy, Moncada, Cease, Giolito, Robert, Vaughn, Crochet, Hendriks and so on. And if you guys get your way, they will fleece Hahn, and we’ll be stuck with prospects that will be ruined by this organization, and Cease or Gioltio will win a Cy Young with the Dodgers, and Moncada, Eloy and Robert will be perennial All-Stars on a quality team.
Just off the top of my head, Anderson, Benintendi, and Lynn are awful.
Hey Rick, What do you have against Anderson, Benintendi and Lynn? You keep singling those 3 out.
No team can be as talented as you seem to think this team is when those three are awful and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So, a guy who has hit over .300 the last 4 years is awful. There are enough awful players on this team, but yet you keep singling those 3 out, Rick. What did they do to you?
Those three are awful, but you wouldn’t know that because you have only watched a couple of games this year.
I could have a more constructive argument with a 3-year old.
You assertions are so ridiculous that a person would need to be on drugs to take them seriously.
Which specific assertions are you talking about?
I’m left wondering, what am I missing on Middleton? His results are far superior to Lopez, yet Lopez keeps getting undeserved chances while Middleton rots in the BP.
This team is not that talented. Let’s play a little game on the position player side: There are 12 teams who make the playoffs. Ideally, a playoff team would have one of the top-12 position players in the league. There are 30 total teams in the league. Maybe, a playoff team doesn’t have the best top-level talent and so might not have a top-12 player in MLB, so maybe they are more focused on depth and have multiple players in the top-30.
By three different rest-of-season projections systems on Fangraphs (Steamer, ZiPS, The Bat X), the White Sox don’t have any players in the top-12. They don’t have any players in the top-30. They have 1 player (Robert) in the 30-60 range in all 3 systems.
I don’t think anyone is going to argue that this team doesn’t have the best top-level talent but depth is their strong suit.
I’m sure idiots here will say, “If everything goes right the White Sox have more players who can be in the top-60 in the league”. Right, except that the vast majority of other teams can say the same thing without needing to say the qualifier first.
The goal isn’t to be better than worst case scenarios. The goal is to be better than other teams, which isn’t happening for the vast majority of the league.
But my point is that these were likely to be top 60 or top 30 players when acquired by the Sox. Moncada was a number 1 prospect in all of baseball. Nobody can argue that Robert isn’t a top level talent. Eloy was a top prospect. Cease, Giolito and Kopech were all top 30 prospects. Everybody couldn’t wait until they arrived on the South Side. Now everyone wants to get rid of them. The fact that all of these guys are now not top players speaks to the incompetency of this organization in developing players or putting them in the best position to succeed. Why is it that all of our guys get worse when they come here, and Tampa, with a few exceptions like Wander Franco and Tyler Glasnow, get other teams middling prospects and turn them into stars. It all starts with the organization, and this one has to be one of the two or three worst at developing players. It’s not that they aren’t talented- it’s that this organization drags them down with their incompetency, lack of accountability or whatever you want to call it. Five years ago, there is no question that Moncada was a better prospect than Yandy Diaz. Yet now, Diaz plays 3rd and bats first for Tampa, while Moncada struggles staying healthy/consistent with the Sox. My point is that it doesn’t matter who the Sox acquire, they will get worse the instant they get into this organization. And that can’t continue if there is any hope for the future.
Look at Tampa’s lineup today. 5 years ago, how many of those guys were more highly rated than their White Sox counterparts? 2, maybe 3? Yet here they are at 29-11, and the Sox are hopeless. And yes, now they perform better than the White Sox players. The question is why?
You should stop comparing the White Sox to the best team in the AL. i understand why you haven’t watched more than 2 games this year, but you need to witness with your own eyes how awful they are. Anderson specifically needs to be seen. One home run since May of 2022, low OBP, very low slugging %. the book on him is that he will swing at pretty much everything, so he is seeing nothing good and swinging at everything. Until he is willing to take 2BB per game, why would any pitcher give him anything to hit? Again, tip of the iceberg, pretty much every player has developmental issues that won’t be solved with this organization.
they are going to rip it down one way or another because JR isn’t going to spend $190 million again.
I’m not saying they aren’t bad now, but the question I keep asking is why? Why have these former all-stars and top 100 prospects all gotten so much worse? And if they are as bad as you guys imply, who would take them? That is why I don’t want to see them tear it down. If they ruined good players, what will they do with the next crop that aren’t as good. I want to see payroll stay high, Jerry lose money, and him sell as soon as possible. The worst thing would be for him to tear it down now, have minimal payrolls the next few years and repeat the same cycle.
Moncada was never ranked as the number one prospect. His highest ranking was #2 (by Baseball America) going into the 2017 season. He was behind the #1 prospect Andrew Benintendi.
Yeah, I didn’t want to say that!!
Are you sure Gio was a top 30 prospect?
Giolito was the #6 ranked prospect in MLB.com pipeline at the end of 2015.