White Sox 4, Guardians 2: Reverse Fortune Favors White Sox
Infield errors, terrible baserunning, and leaving a starting pitcher in one batter too long are typically how the Chicago White Sox lose to the Cleveland Guardians. On Tuesday night, fortunes reversed in the White Sox favor as they scored three runs in the seventh inning on their way to a 4-2 victory.
Cleveland broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to White Sox nemesis Josh Naylor. He doubled down the right field line off Dylan Cease to score Amed Rosario. It was one of those impact hits that generally wins the game for Cleveland, as they boast one of the best bullpens in baseball. Entering the seventh inning, and the mood not being great as the White Sox offense was sputtering again, Guardians manager Terry Francona stuck with his starter Logan Allen.
Allen’s pitch was relatively low entering that seventh inning, but the White Sox batters finally figured out the southpaw. It started with Andrew Vaughn’s well-placed grounder in the hole between shortstop and third base. Rosario made a nice stop but couldn’t recover in time to make a throw.
Next was Andrew Benintendi, and in a lefty vs. lefty matchup, the White Sox left fielder doubled down the right field line. Benintendi’s 14th two-bagger put runners in scoring position with no outs setting the stage for Yasmani Grandal.
In the fifth inning, Grandal punished an Allen high fastball for his fourth home run of the season, tying the game 1-1.
A fly ball should tie the game despite Vaughn’s lack of footspeed. Well, Grandal hit a grounder in Jose Ramirez’s direction. Vaughn was running with the hit, and this moment is where we type how another White Sox runner was thrown out at home on a contact play. Instead, fortune changed for the White Sox.
If Ramirez had fielded the grounder cleanly, Vaughn could have been thrown out at home. But instead, Ramirez fumbled the exchange and couldn’t even make a throw to first base. Grandal reached safely on the error, Benintendi moved up to third base, and it was a 2-2 game.
White Sox manager Pedro Grifol swapped out Grandal for Adam Haseley to pinch run with Clint Frazier batting. On a 3-2 fastball, Frazier fought it off for a foul ball. Allen tried to get Frazier to chase on a low sweeper, but he held up and took his walk to load the bases. At this moment, reliever Enyel De Los Santos was warming up. With nobody out and Romy Gonzalez batting, Francona stuck with his starter.
That decision ended up burning the Guardians.
On the first pitch, an inside cutter, Gonzalez pulled it down the left field line for a two-run double. The White Sox took a 4-2 lead and were still in a prime spot to bust open the game with runners in scoring position, no outs, and the top of the order coming up. It was then Francona pulled Allen for De Los Santos.
Sure enough, De Los Santos was electric, striking out Tim Anderson, Jake Burger, and Luis Robert in order. The trio combined for eight swings and whiffed seven times against De Los Santos. Perhaps swapping De Los Santos to face Gonzalez could have kept the game tied for Cleveland. Nice to see the White Sox take advantage of a managerial misplay.
The Guardians’ bad base running play ended the fourth inning. With runners on first and second, Andres Gimenez hit a grounder up the middle that Tim Anderson had to make a diving stop before it reached center field. Anderson had no shot to throw out Gimenez at first base, but as we got up, he saw Josh Bell being waved home by the third base coach. Making a strong, accurate throw to home, Anderson saved a run as Grandal had plenty of time to place a tag on the sliding Bell. Well, more like Bell flopped toward home plate. Nonetheless, it was a run-saving defensive play by Anderson.
Dylan Cease improves to 3-3 on the season, and his final line of 6 IP 5 H 2 ER is good. It helps lower his season ERA down to 4.60. But there’s an underlying concern. Cease only struck out three batters while walking two. In back-to-back starts for Cease, he only struck out six Guardians batters over 12 innings. That’s very un-Cease-like.
Looking at StatCast, the Guardians rarely whiffed against Cease’s fastball last week. On 15 swings, they only whiffed once, which is remarkable. Tonight, it didn’t matter what Cease threw; it wasn’t generating swings and misses.
- Four-Seam Fastball: 19 swings, two whiffs
- Knuckle Curve: 9 swings, one whiff
- Slider: 12 swings, two whiffs
Forty swings by Guardians batters, and they only whiffed five times. Even Cease’s CSW% was just 20%. Against the MLB’s worst offense, according to Team OPS, Cease could get away, allowing this much contact. Was the last two starts just a well-prepared Guardians team lacking offensive talent, or is Cease’s stuff diminishing? We’ll learn more in Cease’s next probable start in Detroit.
- Joe Kelly tweaked something in his lower half during the eighth inning. He made an excellent defensive play on a slower chopper, but the training staff had to visit Kelly. Kelly stayed in the game after a couple of practice pitches, but something to monitor.
- Luis Robert Jr. was pulled in the ninth inning for hip tightness. With a quick turnaround tomorrow, perhaps Robert will get a rare day off.
- On the funny side, watch Clint Frazier’s jumping attempt on a Jose Ramirez fly ball in the eighth inning. It’s the typical circus play we’ve come to expect from White Sox right fielders. Ramirez was awarded a triple off the mishap, and it’s funny because it didn’t cost the White Sox the game.
- Jake Burger received the Platinum Sombrero as he went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. In 11 road games, Burger is hitting .133/.235/.300 with 15 strikeouts in 30 at-bats. Quite the opposite from his home splits (.333/.375/.833)
Record: 20-30 | Box Score | StatCast
these are the types of wins that the ’21 Sox stockpiled– a very strong pitching staff suffocating inept ALC opponents– and they’ve got to keep it going. 6-2 so far on this 13-game ALC-only stretch. Let’s get a win tomorrow, and then 4 at the Tigers. I thought they needed to go 9-4 for the year to stay alive, and they’re on track for that so far.
Hapless Team A beats hapless Team B. Film at 11.
The AL Central, The cause of and solution to all of the White Sox problems.
‘Only’ 5,5 games back. Which is insane considering our start to the season.
Let’s keep winning. Does not need to look pretty.
So Winning Ugly?
5.5 games back and 10-under. Welcome to the AL Central. I’m not sure that anyone in that division will be over .500. The good thing is that the Sox lost so many of these types of games early in the year. To finally win one like that has got to help build some confidence.
I made the comment a month ago the sox would have to be amazingly bad to run away from the AL Central cause no one in the AL Central was gonna be able to run away from the sox… and here we are… a bad team in a worse division that will gas light themselves into not giving up on a season even though they arent real contenders, yippee!
I don’t want them to give up on this season unless it means cleaning out the front office. If Hahn trades Giolito and others, we are set for rebuild 3 under Hahn. That will undoubtedly go worse than rebuild 2, since he doesn’t have 3 young guys on friendly contracts to trade now.
The sox have bad choices to make, try to win a terrible al central at the expense of not trading assets likely to walk at seasons end, or start a mini or even full rebuild with a front office that gives you no hope that they can accomplish anything of value. Its a terrible spot to be in.
You nailed it. I think we’re screwed either way. Unless Jerry miraculously decides to sell.
Should also note they are looking at a 2024 where payroll will be cut and their farm may be ranked dead last in baseball.
Yeah, we might be able to look at 2023 as the good ol’ days.
Whatever, man. I’m just here for the ride.
I don’t think the decision will be difficult when the time comes. Either this team shows some life and talent or they don’t. If they do, hold the assets. They aren’t that valuable, anyway. If they don’t, then do a controlled sell or re-tool: the expiring contracts go and maybe TA if the price is right. Change the complexion of the roster and try again in ’24. A full-rebuild can’t be in the cards yet.
I mean not to sound to joyful about a sell off but you could have possibly the best SP available, the best SS available, and 2 or 3 high end relievers available. In a league where expanded playoffs makes it that more teams are buyers then sellers… I think the returns could be pretty good.
With the free agent SS class of ’24 absolutely horrible.
Which brings up one of the unfortunate things, if you trade TA you have no one to replace him with next year. There was the remote possibility of Colson but that’s now gone by the wayside.
2024 is shaping up to be a whole bunch of bad options, it’s hard to imagine how Hahn keeping his job thru this shitshow but if they somehow pull out an ALC win or even a close 2nd he may just keep his job.
Depends on if they are actually going full rebuild or if they are trying to contend in 2024, cause in a rebuild you could go with romy and sosa up the middle and be fine for a year to give those guys a shot, montgomery would be the 2025 plan
What about Romy and Sosa this year makes you think you can contend with them as starters next year? Maybe they can turn it around in the 2nd half but as of right now they’ve shown nothing, actually less than nothing.
Think that is unfair for sosa who is 23 and has a track record of succeeding in his 2nd go around at each level, but for romy that is probably fair.
But whats the difference if you are going full bore on the rebuild its not gonna matter who you run out there.
You bring back Elvis… Doesn’t move the needle in 2023/2024 but it’s a Rick move for sure.
What track record? He did it once at AA, that’s hardly an indicator. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for the rest of this year but he’s shown nothing in several attempts, less than nothing actually. If the Sox had any faith in him he’d be up now instead of Romy so I’m not the only one he hasn’t shown enough to.
What full bore rebuild? To what end? What does that even mean? Are you talking several years or more of losing for better draft position? How did that work out last time? And don’t you need skilled evaluators for that to work?
Are you talking trading everything not nailed down ala Oakland? Is that even about winning or is it about moving? Are we moving too?
As I said above, 2024 is shaping up to be a bunch of bad options. There is little on the FA market to help out, nothing coming up thru the system, and few good trade options. It would take a skilled evaluator to make lemonade out of our lemon shitshow and the ALC is conspiring to keep our lemon in charge right where he is. Luckily June and July are much harder than the current cakewalk we are stumbling thru so there’s hope.
sosa ops’d 933 in AA and 821 in AAA as a 22 year old, and has ops’d 1.121 so far in AAA this year as a 23 year old and you dont think thats something to get a look at because he has failed in 100 mlb at bats???
He had .297/.352/.469 in AAA not .126/.143/.223 or even .214/.240/.282 like in AA.
Thousands of players have not got past 100 ABs and most hit better than .126/.143/.223.
Just to be clear, I said: “I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for the rest of this year but he’s shown nothing in several attempts, less than nothing actually” which is what .126/.143/.223 is.
TA is a wild card. It’s overplayed but largely true: as TA goes, so goes the team. But therein lies the rub: if he continues to struggle, the team will struggle but if you trade him you sell low. If he turns it around, his value is high but the team is better. Either way, I’m not expecting them to trade TA.
I don’t have a good sense of what the expiring contracts would return. Maybe Syndergaard is a good comp for Gio? Last year he returned a 25-year-old Mickey Moniak (40 FV) and Jadiel Sanchez (40 FV). A good Joe Kelly and Graveman probably add another 35-40 FV flier each. A 40 FV doesn’t even crack the top 10 prospects in even the weak Sox system. And that’s the point: even by moving these guys, the system is still weak and the outlook for ’24-25 is unchanged.
That doesn’t mean it’s pointless to make those trades. If the team continues to look bad, they should. But suppose they do show some life and they are something like 2-3 games back in July. I’d rather roll the dice with, say, a 30% chance at making the playoffs than get those rather modest returns.
Giolitos value I think nets you a top 100 level prospect. Teams are always desperate for starting pitching and know the sox could simply take draft compensation if they dont get a real offer. Plus the demand will greatly outweigh the supply for higherish end starting pitching.
I think the Kelly, Gravemen, Hendricks types bring you back guys in the 35-40FV range.
I would place Anderson as a wild card to bring you back a top 100 level player, he will need to start producing in June and July in the buildup to the deadline but he is under control and its a bad 2024 free agent crop of shortstops. Of course the sox could also hold onto him and hope his value increases in the off season or at the start of 2024.
Maybe he nets a back-half-of-the-top-100 prospect if you take one prospect instead of two, yeah. The best case is someone (to put it in White Sox terms) like Bryan Ramos. More realistically, I think it’d be someone like Schultz, Mena, or Rodriguez. That prospect, by the way, is likely not to be close to the majors, either, if coming from a contending team. Gio is just hard to value. He’s been better than last year, but the fastball velocity is closer to ’22 than ’21. He’s more of a #2 or stellar #3 than an ace.
If Anderson and Giolito are both good in June and July—and thus have trade value—I’d expect the Sox to look like they have some life and can win the central. The main point I want to defend is this: I’d rather take a shot at the playoffs than take whatever modest bump to the system these trades would net. If they look totally lost and out of it come July, sure. Move ’em.
Giolito’s health record should give him a lot more value over Syndergaard. Even then I was surprised at how little Syndergaard got in return, but I think there was still some draft stock sheen on Moniak (who may actually be good).
I’d buy “more value” but not “a lot more value.” By the trade deadline, you need a guy for 2 months and (hopefully) some change. Gio’s health record will give him a lot more value on the open market, when a team needs to commit several years to him. But for a rental, I doubt teams weigh health records that much. As long as he looks good and healthy at the time, I’d say that’s about all that matters.
In that case you might as well go for the glory of a division championship
I guess they thought batting Burger second against a southpaw was a smart move. Looked good on paper. He’s got the lousy home/road splits, but are the righty/lefty splits that bad? A small sample size for righties, though.
I don’t worry about Cease’s stuff diminishing at his age. He’s been lights out this year at times. Maybe a little injury, maybe a little mechanically off.
I missed the Frazier blunder. But, anecdotally, I’ve been pleased with the SSS early returns from Frazier. The power isn’t there, but he seems to be taking good ABs. The .444 OBP will play. Anyhow, it’s a better use of a roster spot than the Jake Marisnick’s and Billy Hamilton’s of the world.
Yeah, except, um, have you seen today’s defensive alignment?
Good thing Kopech isn’t a flyball pitcher! Oh, wait a second…
Holy shit… and I am work and probably will miss the whole game. That should be entertaining.
This team is getting back to being fun lately. If they aren’t going to win a ton of games, I at least want the losses to be fun. If they’re going to win AND be fun, well that’s certainly a fantastic turnaround. Hope they keep beating up on the AL Central, and we’ll see where things stand at the end of May!
While they’re the worst offense, aren’t they one of the best offenses at not swinging and missing?
That was my thought too. I’m not that concerned yet about Cease’s swing-and-miss numbers because the Guardians usually put a bat on everything, just not with much authority.
Lowest strikeout rate this year for their hitters so yeah. I’m with Right Size and not worried.