Blue Jays 3, White Sox 1: Eighth Inning Still Not Kind To White Sox

After the burly big-guy pitcher’s duel on Monday between Lance Lynn and Alek Manoah, Wednesday’s matchup featuring Lucas Giolito and Robbie Ray on paper looked to be another low-scoring affair. Ray struck out 13 White Sox hitters earlier this season, but the Blue Jays lost 6-1 as the bullpen failed them. According to Baseball-Reference, Ray already reached the 5.0 WAR tier thanks to an impressive 2.79 ERA and 178 strikeouts to just 36 walks.

Giolito has found his groove thanks to the slider taking a big step forward in development. Since the All-Star Break, Giolito has been one of the best starting pitchers in the American League.

It was a rapid first two innings. Giolito allowed a ground-rule double to Marcus Semien but stranded him at third base in the first inning. Ray saw Luis Robert hit a deep fly ball to left field, but it died on the warning track. Leury Garcia hit a leadoff single against Ray in the third inning and had to get himself to third base with stolen bases. Both Seby Zavala and Tim Anderson struck out, leaving it up to Yoan Moncada with two outs.

On a 2-2 inside fastball, Moncada was strong enough to hit a flare single to right field. Garcia scored, and the White Sox struck first, leading 1-0.

That lead held up until the fourth inning. Vlad Guerrero Jr. singled, and with two outs, Corey Dickerson jumped on a first-pitch slider. Guerrero Jr. scored from first base on Dickerson’s RBI triple. Giolito stranded Dickerson at third, and after four innings, both teams had one run on three hits.

White Sox had an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth inning. Ray issued the first walk by giving Jose Abreu a free pass. Next was Eloy Jimenez, and Ray hit him in the toe on a slider. A painful way to reach, but two runners were on for Robert. Ray got Robert to whiff on a low slider after fouling off a couple of pitches up in the zone. After six innings, Ray had a dozen strikeouts while only allowing three hits, one walk, and one hit by pitch.

Giolito also faced a similar situation that Ray did in the bottom half. Against Guerrero Jr., Giolito issued his first walk. Dickerson reached on an infield single that Cesar Hernandez could make a sliding stop but opted to make a toss to second base instead of first base. The toss was late, and Giolito had runners on first and second with two outs. Alejandro Kirk was next to bat and hit a screaming line drive at Anderson, who couldn’t handle it. However, Kirk thought Anderson made the catch and didn’t run out of the box immediately. Anderson made the throw to Abreu at first base, who applied the tag on Kirk to end the jam.

After six innings, both Ray and Giolito threw 93 pitches. Ray had 63 strikes that resulted in 12 strikeouts. Giolito had 61 strikes with six strikeouts.

Ray went out for the seventh inning, and again, the White Sox were able to get two runners on base. Hernandez reached on an infield single, and Garcia picked up his second hit with a single to right field. As the pitch count was well above 100, Ray punched out Zavala and threw three sliders to Anderson for his 14th strikeout. On 111 pitches, Ray went 7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 14 K 1 HBP. A type of performance to solidify Ray’s standing in the AL Cy Young race.

Meanwhile, Giolito’s night was done as Tony La Russa went to Ryan Tepera in the seventh inning. Giolito’s final line was 6 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K as his season ERA drops to 3.68. Tepera racked up two strikeouts but got into a good battle with Bo Bichette after walking Santiago Espinal. On his 20th pitch and sixth of the at-bat, Tepera got Bichette to hit a harmless infield pop out.

Tim Mayza entered the game for Toronto in the eighth. First to face Mayza was Moncada, but on an 0-1 pitch, the White Sox third baseman winced in pain, fouling off a fastball. Mayza would punch out Moncada looking on the very next pitch. Abreu didn’t fare better. After missing on a center-cut fastball, Abreu also struck out looking. Only Jimenez put a ball in play against Mayza, but it was a broken-bat ground out to the shortstop.

With Semien, Guerrero Jr., and Teoscar Hernandez due to bat, La Russa tasked Aaron Bummer with the eighth inning. After getting ahead 0-2, Bummer threw three straight balls to Semien before the Blue Jays second baseman whiffed on a lower sinker. Then Bummer was a benefactor of a call going his way. On his 3-1 sinker, it appeared to drop low out of the zone, and Guerrero Jr. flipped his bat thinking he drew a walk. Instead, it was called a strike, and after fouling off a pitch, Guerrero Jr. struck out looking on an inside sinker.

Just like with Semien and Guerrero Jr., Bummer got into a full count against Hernandez. Hernandez went to right field on a middle-middle sinker for a single that Garcia scooped on one bounce. On replay, it appeared that Garcia was thinking about diving to make the catch but changed his mind and could still field it. A risky play as if the ball bounced past Garcia, Hernandez would have stretched the hit to extra bases, if not an inside-the-park home run.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo pinch-hit Dickerson for Breyvic Valera, who singled to right field, putting additional pressure on Bummer. After getting two tough outs, Bummer allowed two singles. To complete the “Aaron Bummer Experience,” Kirk followed up with a single to center field driving in the go-ahead run.

For some reason, Jose Ruiz replaced Bummer. Now, Ruiz should have gotten out of the inning when Lourdes Gurriel’s grounder went under Moncada’s glove. Anderson saved the play, preventing another run from scoring, but the costly error loaded the bases. Next was Randal Grichuk, and Ruiz proceeded to walk him on four straight pitches. Another run and the Blue Jays were up 3-1.

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano took the ball in the ninth inning and was greeted by a leadoff single from Robert. With Vaughn at the plate, Romano often struggled with his command missing up and out of the zone. Up 3-1 in the count, Vaughn chased a high fastball that would have been Ball 4. Then he fouled off an outside fastball that would have been Ball 4. On a center-cut fastball, Vaughn fouled that pitch off to the backstop. Romano finally went to the slider, and Vaughn was grounded into the 6-4-3 double play.

Hernandez flew out to the center field, ending the game. A terrific pitcher’s duel decided on the White Sox issues in the eighth inning. Again.

Game Notes:

  • Yoan Moncada’s hitting streak is now at 12 games
  • Every White Sox hitter struck out at least once

Box Score: 73-55 | Box Score | StatCast

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Shingos Cheeseburgers

Shout out to the Twins, Tigers, Royals, and Indians for making sure that games like this one don’t really matter too much.

ForsterFTOG

It was amusing to see our shortstop mumble to the pitcher about his on field celebrating.

To Err is Herrmann

Are we taking Luis Robert for granted? He misses months of the season due to a serious injury. The day he left he was batting .316. A few weeks back, he’s batting .336.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I know they’ve played lackluster at times against mediocre pitching, but most teams are going to get shut down by a guy like Ray the way he pitched tonight. So this game wasn’t in the same category as not scoring against guys with an ERA of 5 like they have.

But Bummer has been probably the biggest disappointment of all their relievers. He’s looking like someone they can’t count on or expect that much from, realistically.

burning-phoneix

When Bummer was signed to that five year 16 million USD contract, I thought it was a massive underpay for a potential future lockdown closer. Boy was I wrong.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I’m sure he will pitch in the postseason, but he is behind Liam, Kimbrel, Tepera, Kopech, Crochet in the pecking order. I sure hope he doesn’t pitch much.

The positive of the past 2 days is Giolito and Cease looked really good against a great offense. If they can get their starters to go deep in games and rely on their best relievers so that guys like Bummer and Ruiz don’t need to pitch, that is their best hope. Only negative is that Crochet is pretty much their only good lefty out of the pen. I think a lefty reliever has to be on their offseason wish list, somewhere at least.

As Cirensica

Bummer has been incredibly unlucky this year. Bummer’s xERA is 2.89, and his FIP is 2.98. After allowing low BABIPs in Bummers previous 2 years, his 2021 BABIP just skyrocketed more than 100 pts. He has been throwing well. He’s been just too unlucky, and positive regression should come at some point.

Last edited 1 year ago by As Cirensica
jhomeslice

I don’t buy it. Sorry. He’s been very mediocre way too often. A season ERA of almost 4.5 cannot be chalked up to bad luck, even if you want to make the case he is a little less bad. He has most certainly not been good with any consistency.

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice
texag10

What are you even talking about? He’s a reliever, of course his ERA can be attributed to bad luck. He’s given up 21 earned runs this year. Cut that to 17 and his ERA drops to 3.53. That’s how small sample sizes work.

jhomeslice

Right. There is no discernible difference between how he has pitched this year and 2019/2020 when he had an ERA of about 2. All luck. My mistake.

texag10

I mean, you’re being an ahole but that’s exactly what xERA, FIP, and xFIP, SIERA, FIP-, xFIP- are all saying. So yeah, a pitcher that is heavily dependent on ground balls that has a very high BABIP which is very luck dependent is going to have an ERA that is more luck dependent than someone like Hendriks who lives off of strikeouts and balls in the air. Weird how this simple concept is so difficult for you to grasp but go off I guess.

jhomeslice

He’s walked 1 less guy in 44 innings this year compared to 77 innings in 2019/20. It’s obvious to anyone that his control and location aren’t the same, hence the results. Yet you’ll probably blame the umps for that, and resort to name calling.

texag10

“Name calling” says the guy who responds to facts and statistics with sarcasm instead of a real argument. Grow up and take the L.

jhomeslice

Yeah, noting that he’s walked as many guys this year as the prior two in 60 percent as many innings isn’t a fact or statistic. GFY.

texag10

Your entire argument is that he is not the victim of bad luck. There is plenty of evidence that is easily googleable and presented here that says that yes, he has been unlucky because of how dependent he is on ground balls and defensive positioning. You bringing up the walks doesn’t matter because, surprise, FIP takes walks into account. It still thinks he’s having a good year. But sure, I’m the one that’s being obstinate and childish here.

calcetinesblancos

No need to get mad. It does seem like you enjoy being an asshole on here but can’t take even a fraction of what you dish, however. Anyway, I’ll let Führer Tony know that even though we all think Bummer looks like shit every time he pitches, his FIP is good.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

People will find statistics to support whatever they want to be true.

Everybody wants Bummer to do well. It’s just obvious he is not having a good year, and it is to their detriment. Arguing and rationalizing won’t change losses, blown saves, or a high number of baserunners.

a-t

His control has suffered so the walk rate is high, but that’s okay for a reliever so long as he gets a lot of grounders and/or strikeouts. Which Bummer does both of. Personally I think much of the issue lies with the defensive shifts behind him— or rather the lack thereof. The worst thing about TLR is how little he has the infield shifting, compared to Renteria or the rest of the league. That makes Bummer (and Keuchel) much more vulnerable due to their grounder reliance.

burning-phoneix

I agree he has been unlucky but the issue is that his walk rate is elevated. Relying on groundballs like Bummer will see lucky groundballs squeak past the infield from time to time, sure. But because Bummer is loading up the bases with his highest walk rate since his rookie season, those lucky hits hurt him (and my blood pressure) a lot more.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Call it luck or whatever you will, Bummer is pretty low on the list of guys I would want to bet the outcome of an important playoff game on based on what we have seen from him this year.

ThisReallySox

Why not pinch hit for Zavala with 2 on and 1 out. TLR, not a fan

dsbatt

Zavala is terrible. Collins is terrible. How did Hahn not acquire a credible back up catcher given Grandal’s injury issues.

knoxfire30

Bummer had absolutely nothing last night. Semien swung at ball 4, and the ump blew a call on Guerrero Jr that was also a ball 4 then he gave up some hits…. his velocity didnt seem great and he had almost no command of his slider which wasnt doing much either…. not good and has me thinking he may have an arm issue….

mrridgman

I had similar thoughts watching him. The slider break is about half of what I remember, and the sinker doesn’t sink as much.

texag10

He clearly didn’t have a feel for his slider but his sinker was perfectly in line with what it has been all year which is the same as what it was last year.

burning-phoneix

His Sinker AND slider break are the best they’ve ever been actually. His Slider in particular is doing good work.

The issue is that he: A) Can’t locate his sinker anymore and B)No longer throws his cutter or 4 seam fastball that he did in previous season, which means opposing batters can sit on his poorly located sinkers without fearing a cutter coming their way.

texag10

Can we talk about Beckham’s weird rant against robo umps from the game? No? Okay, probably for the best…

mrridgman

Yeah, his concept is that pitchers would figure out a way to contort a pitch so that it only touches a corner of the plate (I wish we had guys with THIS kind of control), thus a strike. I believe this would also be a strike (if called) under today’s rules.

texag10

Yeah. The whole “pitchers will figure out how to throw a pitch that will just barely graze the zone and it’ll be called a strike even if it isn’t” thing was really strange. Like, A) that would be the best pitcher ever if someone could do that at will, and B) it’s a strike now even if it isn’t always called that way because umpires a fallible beings.

Jim Margalus

I like that he’s been ranting against shifting, positioning and metrics when bad positioning was a big reason why his metrics were ugly. He could’ve used help.

Esteban

30% of WSox losses have been in shutouts or games scoring one run. They have a scoring party once or twice a week, the rest of the time silent i.e. hitless. Starters are doing well, but BP and offensive not enough. Bummer, Ruiz, César Hernández, Kimbrel, no suitable DH. No doubt WSox will win the weakest AL división, but at failure in the play off, if it happens there won t be any Renteria to blame.

soxygen

I want to be very careful about how I say this…

The tone of comments this year is generally less pleasant and respectful in years past. I don’t think it is just the winning, but the hot take : total takes ratio has gone way up, and the responses have been less restrained.

I know we live in a society in which all opinions, even if recently developed and not well-researched, are strongly held. But the Sox Machine comment field doesn’t have to follow suit. We could just be fans of the same team discussing baseball and sharing our thoughts. And given that the stakes of the comment thread discussions are really really low, it should be possible.

calcetinesblancos

I prefer my takes lukewarm.