Blue Jays 9, White Sox 3: A boost for Toronto’s self-esteem

In a make-or-break week for the Blue Jays as currently constructed, they opened the series against the White Sox deciding to make.

The Jays broke out of their offensive doldrums with nine runs and seven extra-base hits in a game started against the White Sox’s best pitcher. Bo Bichette embodied the turnaround better than anybody, going 4-for-4 with three doubles after entering the game hitting .211/.273/.298. Danny Jansen, one of the Jays who has been doing his best, knocked them down late, driving in five runs, including a two-out, two-run homer off Jordan Leasure in the seventh, and a two-out, two-run single off Tim Hill in the eighth.

In the process, Erick Fedde suffered his first loss as a White Sox, and he’d more or less deserved it. The Blue Jays appeared to be sitting on his sinker, which Fedde made possible by missing a little bit too widely with his sweeper. He also suffered from the White Sox’s current outfield alignment, which didn’t have the range to potentially bail in him out.

The White Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning (although they needed four hits to do it, and ran into an out to end their chances for more). The Blue Jays immediately answered with two, starting when Andrew Benintendi couldn’t chase down Bichette’s lazy fly down the left-field line for a leadoff double. Fedde nearly escaped trouble with a couple of groundouts, but his 1-1 changeup to Daulton Varsho, while a little low, was over the heart of he plate, and Varsho had just seen a changeup miss the pitch before. He hoisted the pitch out to right center for a 2-1 lead, and the Blue Jays never trailed.

They expanded their lead an inning later when Kevin Kiermaier took 90 feet on Tommy Pham by stretching a single into a double, took another 90 feet on Andrew Benintendi’s arm on a flyout to left, and scored when Jansen notched his first RBI with a double to right center out of the range of Gavin Sheets. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. then tacked on another run with a solid single on a second straight full-count sinker to make it 4-1, which turned out to be enough.

At times, it looked like the White Sox might break through for a crooked number, but they had to settle for single runs.

In the second, after Andrew Benintendi grounded into a double play, Paul DeJong reached on a single, stole second and scored on Korey Lee’s single. Lee then advanced to third on Nicky Lopez’s single, but when the Sox tried to double-steal a run to avoid putting all the burden on Danny Mendick, the Jays jumped it, with Bichette charging the throw from Jensen in time to return the throw home to catch Lee.

In the fourth, Gavin Sheets led off with a double when George Springer lost a bet on his diving attempt, but Eloy Jiménez and Andrew Benintendi rolled over on two of the next three pitches to risk stranding Sheets. DeJong bailed out the middle of the order with a single to center.

Capping off the Sox’s scoring, DeJong blasted a solo shot to right center off José Berríos in the seventh, which cut Toronto’s lead to 5-3. DeJong had three hits in his first three plate appearances today, which matched his hit total over 44 plate appearances with the Blue Jays last year.

The Sox never drew closer, because when Leasure entered to face Jansen after Dominic Leone yielded a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh, Leasure hung a slider that Jansen converted into a two-run homer to ice the game.

Bullet points:

*Nicky Lopez joined DeJong with a three-hit game, but it didn’t translate into runs because Danny Mendick, Tommy Pham and Andrew Vaughn combined to go 0-for-13 with five strikeouts behind him.

*The White Sox dropped to 0-4 on the road trip, and remain stuck with baseball’s worst record for at least one more day.

Record: 14-34 | Box score | Statcast

Author

  • 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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LamarHoyt_oncrack

More please. The Yankees series was disappointing, no games with a margin of victory over 5. But today was more like it. Only team with a negative run diff over 100.  Hopefully the O’s come to town and obliterate them this weekend, in front of Jerry and like 8 fans. 

Alfornia Jones

more is coming for a team designed to score 3 runs a game. pitching staff has given up the most homers, and home run season hasn’t even started on the southside.

Adam

Who is this team designed to score 3 runs? We’ve done that 23 times in 48 games. If a win was recorded every time we scored 3 we’d still have a losing record and long odds to finish above 500.

Alfornia Jones

if you design a team to score 3 runs, the expected wins at this point would 12, so hey are above par so far. no one said anything about them being designed to win games.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, but they scored 6-8 runs in 6 games and 9 runs once, so that’s like scoring three runs another 8 times!

Dirt

#SoxMath

StockroomSnail

I too am here to see the blight sox humiliated.

JR’s Culture Club

From an MLB story last week…

“Those first 15, 18 games were really, really tough. It was a tough storm. But we are all better for it. We really are,” Grifol said.

Looks like Pedro’s revisionist history will need some revising…. Just a tough opening 15 games, Pedro?

You sure about that?

StockroomSnail

Pedro is the Old Faithful of obviously false bullshit.

hitlesswonder

This team requires a massive rebuild to just be bad.

StockroomSnail

The white sox have 1 player with 1+ WAR.

The .500 padres? 7.
The 1 game over .500 twins? 7
. 500 Boston? 7.

The white sox are DEEP in the guano.

soxygen

Regarding the hybrid approach described above, if Schultz pitches every seven days, wouldn’t it always line up on the same day of the week? Or are some weeks longer than others? It does feel that way sometimes, but less frequently now that I’m self-employed.

soxygen

Meant to put this in the minor keys, but I got distracted by parenting.

ParisSox

kids causing brain damage again

StockroomSnail

Leap weeks?

Trooper Galactus

Too bad the pitching wasted the team’s biggest offensive outburst of the last five games.

Also, holy shit, Andrew Benintendi went from #1 overall prospect to Gold Glover to All-Star to absolutely toast with amazing rapidity. Guy’s only 29 years old with a performance dive that looks like a 39 year old’s.

Warren Z

Benintendi’s season so far reminds me of Adam Dunn’s horrendous season in 2011, in which a player’s overall performance just totally fell off a cliff.

Fedde didn’t really have it today, but a decent left fielder catches that lazy fly by Bichette and Toronto’s first two runs do not end up scoring.

Then, Toronto gets a run in the third when each member of the outfield doesn’t make a play that a good outfielder would make.

Trooper Galactus

If Benintendi wants to follow up his horrendous season with a 41-homer campaign I’ll take it.

knoxfire30

Grifol on Dominic Fletcher, who hasn’t had AB since return. “Gavin is hitting third, Pham is hitting first and Beni is a consistent pillar in our lineup. He’ll come in for defense and do some stuff. He has to wait for an opportunity and take advantage of it.’

I cant even believe this is real life, fire this fucking clown now. One of the only things the whitesox are really good at is destroying any chance for a young player to find success.

Jeffrey

Beni the Pillar has a bWAR of -1.9 in 43 games, and an OPS+ of 41. Any other team would sit him down, but with his contract, maybe they are hoping, without any reason, that if they keep playing him he’ll magically return to the mediocre player he was when the previous regime paid him more money than anyone else would have ever given him. Or maybe it’s just Grifol with his usual suck up, punch down management style.

The only solution is to treat Benintendi’s contract as the sunk cost it is, and DFA him. He’s toast, an occasional decent game notwithstanding. He’s only going to get worse, and he’s not going to be part of the next decent Sox team, the arrival of which should be scheduled for 2026 (although I’m getting more and more skeptical about that). But even if Getz wanted to, would the owner let him?

We watched a season of Oscar Colas last year. Dominic Fletcher can’t be worse. He needs to play, either in Chicago or Charlotte. Getz isn’t stupid at all. He has to know this. So do something, Chris.

JazznFunk

At this point the most prudent course of action is try to to fix Benintendi. I don’t know what happened with him. Maybe it is in his head and he should be with a different team. And none of Fletcher, Colas or DeLoach look like anything special regardless. A year ago people were clamoring to release Lynn – he turned into Nastrini and Leasure. Can’t just give up on everyone.

Last edited 30 days ago by JazznFunk
upnorthsox

Yep, I understand the frustration but to think that a DFA is the answer is just knee jerk silly. If he’s unplayable right now then sit him, or at least start restricting his playing time to situations where he has a better chance to succeed. At worst he becomes the most expensive 4th OF in the majors. As to now, at most he’s very much a platoon player as his .088/.088/.118 vs LHP is unplayable and he probably shouldn’t see any ABs above 7th in the order. If someone else gets hot and he’s still not hitting RHP then restrict him more. He’s got 3 1/2 more years on his contract and there’s certainly reasons to believe he could turn it around in that time.

Jeffrey

1. Pedro doesn’t seem willing to sit him. So, unless he can be prevailed upon or replaced with another manager, sitting him doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

2. What reason is there to think that he will “turn it around” — be significantly better, and not this year, which doesn’t matter, or next year, which doesn’t either, but in 2026 or after, which we we hope will? He’ll turn 30 in July. According to Statcast, his bat speed is 8th percentile and his hard hit rate is 14th, which suggests physical decline. Those things don’t improve on the other side of 30. Nor does fielding, and the numbers confirm the eye test — he’s really bad out there.

3. The most likely result of a DFA is that he’d end up in Charlotte. He’d be put on outright, as opposed to unconditional, waivers. Would any team claim him? It would have to assume his contract. At that point Benintendi could reject a minor league assignment, and become a free agent. Would he? So, the Sox would continue to pay him. But you and I wouldn’t have to watch him. And if he did find the fountain of youth in Charlotte, he’d be a plane ride and a 40-man roster spot away. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

upnorthsox

As a followup, he has 2 BB since April 10th, that’s 2 BB in his last 124 PAs. That’s another obvious problem. Start there with setting a goal of 5 BB in his next 10 games. That’s not a big ask, if he can’t do that then he deserves losing more playing time.

andflywrite

It’s not just Benintendi shenanigans…also Fletcher he won’t play, the weird handling of Ramos too, and when Colas was brought up this year he didn’t get one AB.

It seems there’s a tussle ongoing between Getz bringing guys up, and Grifool figuring out ways to keep them from playing much or at all. Some similar WTF moves with pitchers as well.

Grifool knows he can’t be fired, so why do what Getz wants?

Trooper Galactus

Schultz, Nastrini, Eder, Montgomery, Ramos, and Quero could all hit on their 80th percentile projections and the team will still probably suck in 2026.

As Cirensica

LMAO. We are so fucked with this manager. This guy cannot be here when prospects arrive.

knoxfire30

100%, thats why I cant stand hearing from people the “it doesnt matter who the manager is, the team isnt good anyways blah blah blah”… BULL , every manager at every time for every game matters, and they especially matter when you start introducing key components to the roster who may be apart of the next team that hopes to contend.

katiesphil

I have to assume/hope that when people make that comment they’re making their own assumption that “who the manager is” is someone with at least minimal competence, akin to maintaining that “even John McGraw or Connie Mack couldn’t win with these guys.” And in that sense, they would be right. But no one saying this is taking actual Grifol into account.

Adam

What’s really sad is the actual pillar we had in the lineup…Kevin Pillar has accumulated 1.1 war in 13 games in LA going .442 with 3 homers and 16 rbis

Foulkelore

The use of pillar for Benintendi is quite accurate. Some may think of a pillar as foundational/important, but a pillar can also be an obstruction (think obstructed views at certain stadiums). So, yes, Pedro, Benintendi is quite the pillar.

mrridgman

In addition, maybe Pedro was being really sly with his description – after all, Beni has been CONSISTENT this year, just consistently bad.