Cleveland 5, White Sox 0: Luis Robert’s injury casts a pall

In better times, Yermín Mercedes’ late scratch would’ve been the center of a recap of a disappointing showing against Cleveland. Mercedes was in the original lineup at DH, but Tony La Russa replaced him with Jake Lamb, and not for the first time this season.

Alas, a more dispiriting story quickly took its place. Luis Robert’s right leg failed him as he ran out an infield single in the first inning. He managed to step on the bag for the base hit, and didn’t take another step on that foot for the rest of his time on the field. He decelerated on one leg to the ground, holding the front of his right hip as he writhed on the ground. When James Kruk helped him to his feet, his left leg still did all the work, as tests of his right side were met with immediate pain. Kruk and Daryl Boston had to escort him to the dugout.

The White Sox called it a strained hip flexor and said x-rays were negative, but you’ll have to hold your breath until Monday. The day after is when the other shoe dropped for Eloy Jiménez and his ruptured pectoral tendon, and all La Russa could say is that Robert’s injury wouldn’t be as bad as Jimenez’s four-to-five-month absence.

The White Sox played as though they were in mourning. They tallied just four singles off Zach Plesac and had just four at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Plesac only truly struggled in the third inning, when Adam Eaton, Yoán Moncada and José Abreu loaded the bases without a hit. They drew two walks and an HBP, making Plesac throw 22 pitches in the process, along with an errant pickoff throw to an unoccupied base on a full count.

As it customary when the White Sox have a pitcher on the ropes, it brought a controversial starter to the plate. This one was Lamb, who promptly struck out on three pitches to end the threat.

Lucas Giolito pitched decently, allowing just one earned run over 5⅓ innings in the form of a wind-blown Cesar Hernandez homer to center. He also allowed a second run in the fourth, but it was unearned thanks to an embarrassing error on the left side.

Amed Rosario generated a threat with a one-out triple, but Giolito had a chance to strand him when he got Jake Bauers to pop up to the left side. Tim Anderson was camped under it, but Yoán Moncada drifted into him. Whether neither player called for it or neither player could be called off, neither player caught it, and Rosario scored to make it a 2-0 game.

Giolito survived hard contact early as he continues to work out a return to form in the aftermath of his disastrous Patriots Day. He still succeeded largely with his fastball-changeup combo, but teams are now respecting his offspeed stuff enough to make him throw better ones, which he eventually did. The slider was better for foul balls than swinging strikes.

Speaking of changeups, that might be Codi Heuer’s best pitch now. That’s not great, because he gave up four hits in the seventh inning alone, including three on his previously dominant sinker. José Ramírez turned one into a no-doubt two-run shot that put the game away.

Bullet points:

*The middle of the White Sox order had a strange line: 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts, two walks and an HBP.

*Matt Foster plunked his first career batter, and it happened to be Ramírez with one out and nobody on in the ninth inning after Abreu was drilled for the second consecutive game. It drew no particular suspicion or uproar, and Foster erased him with a double play.

*La Russa said Mercedes’ late showing was explainable:

Mercedes also showed up late on Opening Day, which is the kind of thing that’s cost him opportunities with other organizations. It looks like La Russa is trying to walk the line between letting it slide and overreacting.

Record: 15-12 | 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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knoxfire30

Have the whitesox in a game they have lost, scored on the other teams bullpen…. I know its hyperbole but it legit feels like they havent.

Mercedes needs to be a lot more professional, and someone needs to be assigned to him asap its ridiculous that he has already been late 2 times in basically a month on the job.

Over Under on Robert… Im thinking 6 weeks, hope its better news but got a bad feeling. Whats the latest on Engel cause now he seems more important then ever????

Sox being a few games over given the schedule they have played and the injuries they have already been bitten by is actually kind of impressive. Regular season is a grind just gotta hope they keep plugging thru and if the stars align late and they get healthy they are gonna be a tougher team for having gone thru this.

tommytwonines

Six weeks? Not great, but I’d take it – he’s back before July!

Just John

I’d take it too!
Hard to say until we know if surgery is involved. If not, I’d think 6-8 weeks. Surgery needed? Eeek! 3-6 months. (Albeit, from a pretty quick google search for athlete injuries)

Foulkelore

This week is really bad timing for Mercedes. The Sox are off Monday and Thursday and are playing in an NL park Tuesday and Wednesday. So after a bad game Saturday, he probably won’t start again until next Friday, at the earliest.

HallofFrank

Sorry, Leury is starting at DH on Friday.

ParisSox

besides all this dour, I’m logged in to the site and still seeing ads. happy fricking Monday, y’all.

mikeyb

Also seeing ads while logged in FYI.

mikeyb

This ended up being an issue with my Patreon account (my credit card company blocked this month’s charge as fraudulent for some reason). Once I got that updated, ads went away.

Stephen

My cc did the same and I had no idea what the $2 charge for “COO MID #10685” was so I said that I did not recognize the declined charge. I now realize what the charge was, but too late. My replacement credit card should be delivered this week…

So if anyone else gets a similar note from their bank with that odd looking charge name, it is Patreon.

mikeyb

I’ve complained about La Russa, so I’ll give him props for this one. I think he handled the Mercedes situation perfectly. Doesn’t need to publicly call him out, but I’m guessing he didn’t just decided to switch the lineup last minute for no reason. By pulling Yermin, he sent him a message, while not making it a huge deal in the media. In my view, that’s well-handled by La Russa (even if I wish Yermin had been batting with runners on instead of Lamb).

palmettoman

I get LaRussa holding his players accountable for being professional enough to show up to work on time, and if he thinks sitting Mercedes will win more ball games over the long haul, then that’s his decision to make. But just because he pencils Lamb in as the DH, doesn’t mean Lamb has to be hitting 5th. There’s no rule that the DH has to hit in the “typical” DH spot. Lamb’s one of the team’s worst hitters right now and should have been slotted 8 or 9. That should have been Vaughn coming to bat with the bases loaded.

mikeyb

Fair, I would definitely prefer Vaughn to Lamb.

texag10

Fun fact: Vaughn is now 93rd percentile in average EV, 79th in max EV, and 88th in hard hit % but thanks to a 4.1 degree launch angle, is 38th percentile in xBA.

HallofFrank

Since April 6th, Vaughn’s EV is 95. Only three players are better: Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Vlad Jr.