I thought Pedro Grifol committed an unforced error a few days ago when he told the media that he will “never compromise a major-league win for development,” and tonight’s game shows why.
Had Grifol never gone to those lengths, he could’ve used development as an excuse when he allowed Jesse Scholtens to allow the first two batters to reach in the seventh inning to reach after six scoreless were in the bank, only to face two more batters. Three of them came around to score, turning a potential win into a loss.
Likewise, instead of pinch-running Trayce Thompson for Gavin Sheets after his one-out walk in the seventh, he could’ve used Thompson to pinch-hit for Oscar Colás when Craig Counsell pulled righty starter Brandon Woodruff for sidewinding lefty Hoby Milner. Milner struck out Colás on four pitches without any contact, and then Colás moved to right field to accommodate Thompson in center, rather than having Thompson play center alongside Sheets in right.
Had Grifol preserved individual development as a defense, he could say he wanted to see how Scholtens handled a seventh inning when his pitch count was reasonable (only 83 pitches at the start of the inning). He could say that he wanted Colás to see a lefty no matter what, because they may as well use these last two months to try to fashion him into an everyday, every-PA player.
But since Grifol said he would “never compromise a major-league win for development,” all he did was make two big mistakes.
Scholtens dropped to 1-5 on the season, when he should’ve had to settle for a no-decision at worst. I was slightly surprised to see him start the seventh since he’d never gone that far into a game before, but considering the extra days of rest coming before and after this outing, it made sense to push him a little bit.
I was more surprised when Grifol didn’t lift Scholtens after a leadoff walk that brought the tying run to the plate. I was downright befuddled when Scholtens didn’t even get so much as a mound visit after he allowed a subsequent single to Andruw Monasterio. And when Bryce Turang’s deep drive to center came up a dozen feet short of the warning track, but still allowed both runners to tag into scoring position, I figured Grifol or Ethan Katz saw Scholtens’ record flash before their eyes.
But nope, Scholtens stayed in to face a fourth batter, and Tyrone Taylor split the left-center gap with a 102-mph rocket to tie the game at 2.
That’s when Grifol came out to pull Scholtens, but even then, the go-ahead run belonged to him, and he came around to score on Bryan Shaw’s watch to give Milwaukee a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Scholtens heads home with a quality start, which is like going for gold and settling for a participation trophy.
Meanwhile, the White Sox offense only could muster two runs, but at least one of them was exciting. Yoán Moncada of all people turned around a 95 mph from Woodruff, scorching it into the right-center seats some 430 feet away. That kind of sizzle from Moncada had been missing for months, but it gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
The other run was welcome, but less exciting. The Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third when Sheets doubled, advanced to third on a Colás single through the left side, then scored on Elvis Andrus’ groundout.
*This series continues to make more sense if you view it as a Cubs-thwarter. The Brewers maintained their 2½-game lead in NL Central.
*Lane Ramsey threw the final two innings, both scoreless.
*Sheets reached base in all three trips, and Moncada went 2-for-4. The rest of the lineup was 1-for-26 with a walk and a hit by pitch.