Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Lucas Giolito slammed; three players exit early

In another game, were Lucas Giolito to approach his problematic 75-pitch mark with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Tony La Russa might’ve been inspired to have the bullpen ready to enter. There’s also a chance that he would’ve stood pat because some starters he believe should go five innings regardless, but Giolito’s body of work this season shows a guy who struggles early and late.

But today’s game was a quick turnaround after a 12-inning game the night before, the White Sox already trailed 2-0 on a pair of Alejandro Kirk run-scoring hits, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. made it 3-0 with a one-out RBI single in the fourth. Chasing a low-probability win with two-thirds of a game to cover seemed like it could’ve done more harm than good, so after two more singles loaded the bases, it was Ethan Katz who came out for a visit instead of La Russa.

Giolito then fell behind Bo Bichette 2-0 with a fastball and a slider. He tried to get back into the count with a changeup. Bichette anticipated the correct pitch and launched it over the White Sox bullpen for a game-breaking grand slam.

And Giolito might be the least of the White Sox’s problems. Danny Mendick left the game barely putting weight on his right knee after colliding with Adam Haseley in foul territory along the left-field line, Adam Engel departed with a hamstring issue, and Luis Robert left with what La Russa called “leg soreness” after jogging out a single that would’ve been an easy double when Gurriel missed on his diving-catch attempt. And José Abreu still can’t run, either.

The White Sox were able to make the score closer than it seemed. They actually exceeded the Blue Jays in baserunners, matching them with 13 hits, drawing one more walk and reaching on an error.

The problem was that 12 of those 13 hits were singles, and two were erased by double plays. Balls that were hit well enough for extra bases were limited to one (besides Robert’s jogging single, Andrew Vaughn smoked two wall balls that came right back to Gurriel).

The Sox also needed Toronto’s help in their three scoring innings. Josh Harrison scored from first in the sixth inning because of Gurriel’s missed dive, Jake Burger led off the seventh with a “triple” that Bradley Zimmer should’ve caught in deep center, and while they kept the line moving in the eighth inning on their own, Santiago Espinal mishandled a flip attempt on an Adam Haseley grounder to give the Sox an extra out while bringing the tying run to the plate. Harrison couldn’t repeat his heroics from Tuesday (popped out), and Leury García grounded out.

The Sox weren’t sharp on defense themselves. One batter before Haseley collided with Mendick, he was slow in returning Gabriel Moreno’s grounder to the infield, allowing Moreno to stretch it into the double. AJ Pollock also airmailed a throw home, although the Blue Jays were kind enough to not advance.

It wasn’t great, but after Giolito dug such a big hole, the margin was too large for such marginal plays to factor in. By the end of it, three-quarters of the lineup was playing out of position, with Seby Zavala at first, Vaughn at second and Harrison at short. Vaughn nearly overthrew Zavala on a routine groundout to end the eighth inning, but his fielding percentage remains 1.000.

Bullet points:

*Matt Foster and Tanner Banks handled the final four innings between them, with Foster giving up a two-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez in his return from the bereavement list.

*Toronto hitting coach Guillermo Martinez was ejected during the pregame lineup exchange, presumably bringing up Doug Eddings’ avant-garde strike zone from the night before.

Record: 33-34 | 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

I can’t think of a more injury-prone Sox team in my lifetime. Even the replacements are getting injured now.

Maybe they should pair Giolito with an opener until he gets his mojo back.

As Cirensica

I think it’s worth looking into the ground keeping strategy. I know we all love Bossards, but amount of leg injuries isn’t normal or bad luck. I play soccer and we play in 2 fields, one is fine but when I play in the other one, I leave the game limping.

metasox

Either that or the field is built on an ancient burial ground. Or their conditioning consists of playing a game of Twister. It is one of those.

soxygen

This was basically “the season in a game.”

Right Size Wrong Shape

Is Seby playing first really considered out of position anymore? Seemed like he played there a lot in Charlotte this year.

tommytwonines

Friggin TLR

metasox

Could not hear clearly but it sounded like La Russa said Engel had something bothering him for a while. His hitting has looked off for a while, at least until last night.

itaita

This years Sox team is full of guys who aren’t going to win the Royal Rumble, they get to do all their signature stuff and look good then get tossed out. Harrison better wrap himself in bubble wrap.

MrStealYoBase

My question is where is Brian Goodwin? Or, maybe, where are the Brian Goodwin-like guys for this years team?

The injuries are what they are. I don’t think they are going to be able to pinpoint anything in their training that will all of a sudden fix it.

The underperforming players are what they are. They’re either going to figure it out or not.

But those things don’t explain why this team consistently fields short handed squads. There’s zero excuse for coming into a game with only 2 guys available out of the bullpen. Or to have two (or fewer) players available off the bench. What on earth are Rick Hahn and the rest of the front office doing? You can’t have the team effectively forfeit every third game because the roster can’t handle fielding a competitive lineup every day and expect to wake up at the trade deadline fully healthy and in a competitive position.

The injuries and TLR’s ineptitude have masked the complete apathy of the front office so far. If the high minors depth sucks, find some waiver wire guys, sign some mediocre veterans, or make some trades for out of options guys. For the love of god do something. They might have to DFA some guys they’d rather not but if a guy is on the 40-man and not contributing in any meaningful way in the near future, that’s a luxury they can’t afford right now.

Tony has been bad but he’s also been given a short hand to work with for months now. The roster management is atrocious.

P.S I realize this is a better comment for this mornings article but I missed the boat on that.

Last edited 3 days ago by MrStealYoBase
soxygen

In 4 decades of closely following the Sox, I have never seen such horrible management of the active roster. There have been years when the front office did a poor job managing the 40-man roster, but this mismanagement of the active roster is unlike anything I have ever seen.

Last edited 3 days ago by soxygen
670WMAQtheElder

I think TLR is the de facto GM, not Hahn, not Williams. TLR is Jerry’s hire, and he has got Jerry’s ear. There is no chain of command for TLR. TLR loves Leury, ergo, Leury gets a three year contract. TLR loves to play with his roster. Ergo, lots of middling veterans and relief pitchers like Joe Kelly. I remember how TLR puts the Diamondbacks in a train wreck when he and Dave Stewart were in their front office.

mrridgman

This. Their organizational hierarchy is confusing at best, dysfunctional at worst. TLR is the favored child who was handed the keys to the Corvette; unfortunately Dad didn’t include the normal proviso, “don’t wreck it”.

King Joffrey

I hope this game puts to bed the phrase ‘won the series’. Forever.

HallofFrank

I hope I hear the phrase several more times this year, actually.

670WMAQtheElder

A couple of questions for the group. The Sox players in the pregame do these exercises with big rubber bands. The player runs and a conditioning coach holds them to create resistance. I’ve assumed the exercise is to warm up the hamstring, but with all these leg injuries, is this the best warm up exercise? Does anyone know the theory behind the big rubber bands. I noticed on Tuesday the Blue Jays run pregame. No rubber bands.

Second question: I think I read that this year, for the first time, the players acquire their own shoes. It is their choice, not a team choice. Could some of these leg injuries be a result of them wearing bad shoes?

Last thing: despite Giolito’s statements that he feels good, he has not been a good pitcher since he got Covid. Nor has Moncada been the same player he was in 2019 since he got Covid. There has been more medical research that some people remain debilitated after “recovering” from Covid. It would be interesting to cross check MLB players who got Covid with their before/after statistics. Maybe a project for Fangraphs.

mrridgman

Several times during the 3 Toronto broadcasts Stoney noted that the BJ players flew out of the box on singles, always looking for a possible extra base. He also suggested that Toronto advance scouts may have seen a little jogging for singles happening in the area of center field, and reacted accordingly. If you listened carefully, you could tell the wistful tone in his remarks.
I don’t know the injury history this year for the Jays, maybe it’s as bad as the Sox (but I doubt it). Something’s really off with Sox leg injuries/soreness. I have not commented this year regarding this phenomenon, considering the possibility that it’s just a bad luck year. We’re now past that.
Players are regularly jogging to first base. Players (some) are jogging after batted balls, some that had the potential to be caught, some the potential to be singles rather than doubles. Is it relly poossible that the staff is advising them to jog? If yes, then they have more than one problem on their hands.
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I could suggest the possibility of a group protest jog.

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