Astros 10, White Sox 1: Season ends with thorough thrashing

In the end, all the flaws of the 2021 White Sox came back to put one more stamp on the season, turning an elimination game into a thorough eradication. You can evaluate a bunch of individual decisions and performances, but in the end, the Astros undressed the White Sox so thoroughly that it’s hard to think home-field advantage would have mattered.

Carlos Rodón had his best velocity in weeks, which allowed him to stand alone as the only White Sox starter to throw two scoreless innings. But he didn’t have a slider, and the Astros learned how to rule it out the second time through.

Michael Kopech relieved him a batter too late, but he also didn’t have a slider, and he ran into the same results as his appearance two days before.

The White Sox grounded into two double plays, which matched their number of extra-base hits. Gavin Sheets had both, providing a second-inning homer and a fourth-inning double, which unfortunately followed one of the double plays.

The Astros stole four bases on the Sox with ease, took another on a wild pitch, and Jose Altuve also stole 90 feet on a Tim Anderson throwing error that didn’t escape Jose Altuve by that much.

Aaron Bummer got BABIP’d. Craig Kimbrel threw barely half of his 30 pitches for strikes in the eighth. Liam Hendriks didn’t pitch a meaningful inning all series, but gave up a three-run homer to Jose Altuve that put the Astros in double digits.

All of these things hurt. None of them can be singled out as the reason the White Sox lost the game. It was a total team effort. The White Sox had a good season, but the Astros showed that they have some roster knots to resolve over the winter. It ought to be a fascinating one.

Bullet points:

*Jose Abreu got drilled in the shoulder in his final plate appearance of 2021, which is a fitting way to go out. Tony La Russa protested the warnings, but Rodón did drill Altuve in the arm to raucous applause even though it wasn’t intentional, so that scoreboard said 1-1.

*The White Sox were outhit 14-7, and only had two at-bats with runners in scoring position, while Houston went 6-for-19.

*Ryan Tepera’s comments might’ve inspired Houston to pile it on in the eighth and ninth innings. They ran the bases like they wanted to run up the score, and they achieved that goal.

Houston wins 3-1 | Box score | Statcast

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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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vince

Sox were outclassed top to bottom, they did nothing better than the Astros.

dwjm3

I touched on this last Saturday.

We sit here today 15th in payroll even though we have the third highest television contract in the sport (Fangraphs and Allen & Co analysis)

We now had over 1.5 million people show up to the regular season games plus two games of playoff revenue.

The revenue is there I guess we shall see how badly Jerry wants to win. I don’t want to hear from Hahn how much Jerry wants to win. I want to see actual money thrown at the problem.

Last edited 9 months ago by dwjm3
billyok

Hello bagface my old friend.

metasox

It was a total team effort. The White Sox had a good season, but the Astros showed that they have some roster knots to resolve over the winter. It ought to be a fascinating one.

Last post-season, management could push the narrative the team came close to winning a series and thus competing for a champion. Can’t do that this time. Everyone can see they have a lot of work ahead

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Is anyone more confident now in the rebuild than they were 19 months ago?

billyok

Are you referring to the recent rebuild or the one we’re starting in 13 months?

vince

Easily.

Obviously we can’t compete (yet) with the AL elite, but we won the division running away, with many key contributors missing serious time. The prospects of winning the division next year look pretty good as well.

That’s still progress as much as this thorough undressing in the playoffs hurts. Sox need to do more, but the 2021 team was better than 2020, and 2019.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Were they better than the 2020 version that finished third (in an abbreviated season) where two other teams were competing? They cakewalked this year but with literally no competitors.

They looked bad all year against good teams and looked bad in the playoffs based on their clearly known deficiencies.

The roster as constructed is a high 80s win team in an average division and doesn’t do any of the small stuff right. They sleepwalked for three months at the end of the season and stayed asleep.

Last edited 9 months ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers
texag10

I absolutely hate this take. The Sox were 27-29 against teams over .500. Tampa Bay had the best record in baseball playing in the AL East and finished 48-42 against teams over .500. The only teams that really beat the crap out of “good teams” were the Astros and Mariners but that is partly a product of getting to play Oakland who was an abysmal 30-51 against teams better than .500.

As for vince’s “AL Elite” comment, I’m going to be real curious to see if there is really a group of “Elite” teams or if its just the Astros. We were competitive against the AL outside of the Astros, Yankees, and weirdly Angels.

mikeyb

But 48-42 is way better than 27-29. Based on winning percentage, that’s an 8 game advantage over a full season.

texag10

But we have no idea what our record would have been with another 34 games because we don’t know who the opponents would have been. More games against Houston and our record gets worse. More games against non-New York AL East teams and we might end up over .500. Its not enough of a difference for me to say we are clearly in the 2nd tier in a world where Houston is probably in a Tier 0.

670WMAQtheElder

I watched the Sox play Boston and Tampa. There were two teams really bad for the Sox and they were Houston and NYY. I really believe that if we had faced Tampa, Boston, Oakland, Seattle or Toronto in a best 3/5 we could have advanced. And I think the two AL West teams would have been tougher for us than the 3 AL East teams.

dwjm3

I’m neutral on Hahn’s aspect of it. The playoffs didn’t make me more bullish or bearish.

I’m waiting to see if Jerry spends. I think winning a championship is completely predicated on Jerry spending.

Augusto Barojas

Completely agree. There is no guarantee spending will work, not every FA pans out. But if they don’t even try and are mired with a payroll in the middle, then their rebuild will be a quagmire that won’t go any farther than disappointments in October annually.

ParisSox

#Twins

jorgefabregas

Yes. Before 2020 we thought they probably would be good. Robert hadn’t played in the major leagues. Now they actually are good and Robert is great when healthy.

HallofFrank

Absolutely yes. Robert looks like a budding superstar. If Vaughn is even a decent hitter, a healthy white Sox 2022 lineup very well may be the best in baseball.

My Astros fan friends agree. They said, “2015 Astros vibes,” seeing it all come together. With more aggressive spending it could have happened earlier. But this team is set up to succeed for a long time.

calcetinesblancos

More? No. Is it painfully obvious these days what holes we need to fill? Yes.

I’m actually LESS confident in the rebuild than I was 19 months ago. I just see outside of Robert and Hendricks, a bunch of B+ players across the team. A lot of the prospects panned out good, not great. A lot of 3 WAR players scattered about the team. We have holes in RF and 2B but I honestly do not see how they can be filled, next year’s option for RF narrows down to Nick Castellanos and Starling Marte. 2B? No one to be seen.

soxygen

No. I’m about where I was 19 months ago. This team is more or less what I expected – a team that looks well positioned for playoff runs in 2022-2024.

We can feel more confident in Robert and Cease than last year. I think we have reasons to be more concerned about Moncada’s offense than we probably were going into this year, and ditto for Grandal’s defense. There is still a ton of uncertainty around guys like Kopech and Vaughn. There are a lot of health & performance questions about guys like Eloy & Engel & Crochet. But overall I think it balances out.

I’d say now we probably need a back-end starter, a RF, backup catcher, and a long-term solution at 2B. Last year we needed a RF, mid-rotation starter, backup catcher, and a short term solution at DH. Again, slightly different than last year but the differences are more in kind than in degree.

itaita

Makes me glad i turned the game off when TLR brought Kopech in. No idea why he picked him in that situation.

hitlesswonder

It was a really good season and a fun team. They got a win, but weren’t as good as the Astros.

Just to continue the optimism, I have to think that the hiring of TLR makes it more likely the Sox will spend this off-season. Heres hoping.

GrinnellSteve

I thought that last winter…

670WMAQtheElder

Tepera’s comments had nothing to do with this. He pitched well. The rest of the staff didn’t.

The season was a success. The team overcame lots of injuries, replacement guys produced, and it won the AL Central. The ALDS gave the organization and the players a taste of the playoffs’ intensity. And the Astros are a good benchmark.

There will be a lot of difficult performance reviews in a few weeks, but the biggest thing over the last 10 weeks has been how the starting pitching faded, and collapsed in the ALDS. Was it all injuries? Did the league catchup? I think Katz has to be held to account, not just TLR to figure out what happened.

The CBA hangs over the offseason. But assuming a normal offseason, the team’s priorities have to be SP, 2B, RF and C. I love Leury but he should not be the starting RF in a playoff series. We also have to rebuild the upper level of the minor leagues.

soxygen

Agree with so much of that, but I’d quibble with holding Katz responsible for the starters fading. Good teams have pitching depth that we didn’t have.

Cease was a year ahead of schedule. Keuchel is 33.Whatever we got from Rodon – who the Sox didn’t like enough to tender a 1-yr $4.5M contract – was a gift.

I wouldn’t be too hard on the pitching coach – his staff performed well, got good results, and was healthier than most.

670WMAQtheElder

When I wrote “held to account” I wasn’t concluding he was responsible for the collapse. Here’s my point: in all the discussion about TLR we can’t overlook how the coaching staff performed or not. Or the training staff. And the goal is not to punish, but figure out how to get better.

Yolmer's gatorade

Moving on from Frank Menechino would be my biggest coaching staff move. He’s done an ok job, bit this team should be getting more extra base hits. They seemed to have a lot of hard contact on the ground or for singles in this series and all year.

Last edited 9 months ago by Yolmer's gatorade
LamarHoyt_oncrack

It would be totally wrong to pin much on TLR, clearly they have several roster holes. But it is still reasonable to reflect and ask if he is the right manager.

It’s not just about tactical decision making, which he did not excel at anyway, but energy, vitality, motivational skills, leadership, and vibe. Those things matter and influence things, and I don’t think TLR is a plus when it comes to any of them. This team played dull and lifeless much of the 2nd half, which matches his personality and energy quite well. He is at an age where many people decline in terms of energy and mental acumen, and has alcohol issues on top of that. All else equal he seems like a depressed guy who wouldn’t be great to be around, or a great motivator. Managing an mlb team is a tough and stressful job, and I don’t think TLR showed that he is well suited to it any longer.

I wish him well, he’s a human being, and I don’t say anything to blame him unfairly. He isn’t why they lost this series. But I do hope he quits if they don’t fire him. It would simply be to their benefit to get someone younger, sharper, and with better energy and personality skills that fits this team a lot better.

calcetinesblancos

I really can’t believe I’m saying this because he really burned his bridge with me by the way he left, but I believe Ozzie would me a massive improvement over TLR. And I’ve never wanted Ozzie back for even a second.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

It’s a tiny thing but watching the introductions on Sunday they introduce about 30 non-players. Trainers, staff, etc. Every player and coach went to start of the line and fist bumped/high fived/whatever the entire staff, except one. That’s quite the message he’s sending if Tony can’t be bothered to offer a teensy gesture of thanks to other people on his own team.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

That they hired TLR last year only because of Reinsdorf was such a pitifully stupid thing to begin with. This team won one playoff game last year, and then again this year. Sox fans deserve better, and this team needs a manager that isn’t devoid of positive energy and life.

But even with a better manager, either “the money will be spent” is actualized, or they will continue to be an overrated team in a weak division that never wins a playoff series, or wins one at best if they get lucky. DWJM said it very well, for this team to take any steps forward it will be about whether they spend the money or not.

Greg Nix

As much as I think La Russa cost the Sox with several bad decisions, the Astros proved to be better too to bottom. The years of playoff experience probably helps a lot.

Some of y’all are too dour. This team was clearly the best since 2005, even while missing Robert for half the year and a proper version of Jimenez for just about all of it. Lynn was great. Cease improved massively. Sheets wildly exceeded expectations. Robert looked like a top 10 player when healthy. Just about everyone else of future consequence was at least solid.

They need to improve, but they need to improve A LOT LESS than any offseason in recent memory.

HallofFrank

Yes. Frustrating end, but I’m very optimistic about 2022. I’m expecting big things from a Robert and Vaughn, in particular.

calcetinesblancos

I’m dour about the Russa because I can’t stand him and think he’s full of shit. The team I love.

soxygen

I am with you, though I’d say that while the team is closer than other teams in recent memory, we still have many of the holes we had entering last season (we still need a SP, and a LH RF would be good, and backup catcher) though now we also need a 2B….Let’s see if the front office gets us those things or, as was the case this year, gets more relief pitching instead.

As Cirensica

This pretty much is my own thoughts as well on this season. The White Sox are a good team, and they will keep coming into the post season for a few years with this core.

What failed vs the Astros? Pitching, and hitting. But specially pitching. The team rested the starters in the end with low work loads, and yet they came in and couldn’t last 4 innings. Some didn’t even make it past 2 innings. They made it look like the Astros have the best hitters on the planet (they don’t), and there was no way to get pass this. Here is where I believe inexperience cost us.

Willardmarshall

We’ll always have Sunday.

Joliet Orange Sox

The list of seasons that this one was better than is a very, very long list. No one wants to go back to October/November of 2016 (the darkest days of my baseball fandom) for example. I enjoy every season but this was good one in terms of my enjoyment.

That said, even when a team wins it all they need to make changes to compete and that is more true for the Sox who have obvious holes. However, I think talking about how to fill those holes right after the disappointment of being ousted is something I’ll take a pass on. Right now I’m thinking emotionally and my brain makes better decisions than my feelings.

soxygen

It’s hard (emotionally) for me to compare this to 93-94 because I try so hard to forget. That was a really good core and it never turned in to sustained success because strike, trade, Jerry’s a cheap bastard, etc…. But I’d slot this group in between 05 and 08 on my list of favorite Sox teams.

xubrent

I’m disappointed in the way it ended but it doesn’t take away for the joy of the last 6 months. Even with all the injuries early, they kept their foot on the gas and pretty much forced the rest of the division to concede by mid July. No question there are serious deficiencies and the trade deadline moves didn’t work except Tepera. But I think this was a year of progress and having been lived in Houston from 2013-2016, I concur with the ‘2015-Astros vibes’. But the 2015 Astros followed it up by bringing in Verlander and veteran presence like Brian McCann and JJ Redick who played a significant role in their success. Let’s see if the Sox leadership realizes the urgency. I’m just not sure if they do.

calcetinesblancos

Rue the Russa.

Jason

Well, I hope we as fans did enough to keep the players hungry all offseason, so they’re ready to get after it next year.

Foulkelore

This offseason will be a major inflection point in the success of this window. They’ve built a very good team. The core is solid, and it’s going to make a few more playoff runs. However, for the first year of this window, there’s very little internal help to provide additional hope. The team was mostly healthy for the postseason (sans Rodon). A few players still have room to grow, but most everybody is here. There’s no wondering whether Madrigal can come back and be a 4-5 WAR player to help get to the next level. They have to spend money and make some smart acquisitions to get to the next level. Furthermore, it sounds silly to say they need to build against a non-division opponent, but Houston has been in the ALCS for 5 straight years. Do they, for example, look to find an anti-Lynn for an additional starting pitcher: a guy who is normally an average starting pitcher but matches up well with Houston? I have no idea if that player exists, but Lynn, Giolito, and Cease were all very good pitchers this year, and Houston handled them all. Out of that trio, it’s only reasonable to expect Cease to make any significant improvement to potentially change that for next year. Oh, and Kopech is likely to be SP4, and Houston handled him with no problem either. I don’t know. This is going to be very interesting.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

They’re at the point of having to assume they’ll be in the playoffs and build the roster with that in mind. 2022 will be year SEVEN of the rebuild. At some point they need to prove they can compete and aren’t just playoff filler.

soxygen

I hope the CBA gets done with a minimum of drama & delay…

Because it is time to get down to the important business of the off-season plan.

First, lock Jerry in the basement for a while. With a glass of water though because we’re not mean, just big baseball fans.

Then sign Semien and Conforto and lock down some rotation help like Pineda or DeSclafani.

roke1960

Thank you White Sox, for the most enjoyable summer of baseball in many, many years. Though they fell short of reaching the WS, they provided us with a lot of memorable moments this year. This reminds me of the late 80s Bulls and the late 2000s Hawks. Both teams suffered a few years of losing in the playoffs to superior opponents, but that just set them up for sustained success. Hopefully Jerry spends with the big boys this year to fill the few holes that they have, and the Sox should have a long run of success with the core locked up. GO SOX!!!

Jason

We need our Marian Hossa this offseason.

Root Cause

Once the sting fades, I would like to see a compilation of 2021 highlights. There were many unexpected plays from unassuming players and young players are becoming stars in their own right. 2021 was a fun year and I greatly appreciate the daily distraction from a challenging year that the White Sox and the Sox Machine provided. And thanks to everyone here who frequently participated even though some of you were wrong 🙂

lifelongjd

Not understanding the negative comments. This was a very successful season, one that we all would have signed up for in 2018-19.

I do agree with the significance of this off-season. I think the Sox are a couple pieces away from being elite. They have a couple of really good prospects that flashed that could be used for trades for a top of the rotation starter or right fielder. They also need to be a player in free agency. Either way, they just went up against a really good measuring stick and need to figure out what it will take to beat them.

Thanks to Jim, Josh, Greg, et al for another outstanding season. This is one of my favorite sites to read and the only one I comment on because the writing is so good and the readers are so passionate and educated about the Sox. Here’s to 2022!!

lifelongjd

Not understanding the negative comments. This was a very successful season, one that we all would have signed up for in 2018-19.

I do agree with the significance of this off-season. I think the Sox are a couple pieces away from being elite. They have a couple of really good prospects that flashed that could be used for trades for a top of the rotation starter or right fieldery. They also need to be a player in free agency. Either way, they just went up against a really good measuring stick and need to figure out what it will take to beat them.

Thanks to Jim, Josh, Greg, et al for another outstanding season. This is one of my favorite sites to read and the only one I comment on because the writing is so good and the readers are so passionate and educated about the Sox. Here’s to 2022!!

Joliet Orange Sox

I liked this post because this lifelongjd makes so much more sense than the other lifelongjd who posted just above.

lifelongjd

Sorry about that…..not even sure how I did thay. Also not sure why the first post received more upvotes than the second?

HouseOfTheRisingSox

It was a little redundant

asinwreck

The flaws evident seven months ago all manifested, and few of the men brought into the organization since October 1, 2020 did anything to help the 2021 team’s postseason chances.

On the other hand, there’s a lot of good, young talent under long-term contract in a way this organization has not seen in the free-agency era. There’s a chance that this talent is like the 1980 team – a strong nucleus that the next owner builds effectively around.

Joliet Orange Sox

The phrase “next owner” made me sigh wistfully.