Cubs 10, White Sox 8: Late rally can’t change postseason picture

The White Sox went from being the first American League team to clinch to stumbling into the seventh seed, but at least they showed some signs that they aren’t entirely backing into the postseason.

The White Sox trailed 10-1 through seven, but they narrowed the score to 10-6 after eight, and a two-run shot by Yasmani Grandal made it a two-run game. A two-out single by Luis Robert even brought the tying run to the plate, but because Angel Hernandez’s awful umpiring crew hadn’t really reared its ugly head today, Will Little rung up Nomar Mazara on a pitch outside the zone to end the game.

It was nice to see Robert resuscitate his season line with a three-hit game, for Engel to hit an opposite-field blast with Eloy Jiménez still ailing, and an effective 1⅔ innings from Carlos Rodón out of the pen. But it didn’t help that the White Sox offense was kept in check by the Cubs’ better arms through the first seven innings. Engel’s solo shot off Adbert Alzolay was the only run they could muster through seven, with even Jose Quintana holding down the fort from the left side.

Meanwhile, Reynaldo López recorded a 1-2-3 first, but only one out during a six-run second. He gave up four hits and three walks over the course of eight batters, including two homers. The early hole compelled Rick Renteria to use his lesser relievers to get through the game, but that plan crumbled when Gio González left the seventh inning with an apparent elbow injury, forcing Codi Heuer and Matt Foster to handle the rest. (Update: The White Sox say it’s a shoulder issue.)

The White Sox’s loss, paired with a Cleveland victory over Pittsburgh and a Minnesota loss to Cincinnati, means they’re heading to Oakland for their first journey outside the Central divisions all season.

Bullet points:

*Edwin Encarnación finished his season below the Dunn line, falling to .157 after an 0-for-4, three-strikeout game.

*Jimmy Cordero made one fantastic play, eliminating the lead runner at third with a great throw while falling down. He stranded the inherited runners, but as has happened a few times this season, it all fell apart when he returned for a fresh inning, including his own throwing error.

*The Cubs retain possession of the Crosstown Cup by splitting the series.

Record: 35-25 | 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

Since this season is all house money, I’m not going to get too down on late stumbles.

In some ways the expanded playoff format makes it sound worse than it really is – they tumbled all the way to tied for the 4th best record in the league. 1 game separates being the 4th seed or being the 7th seed.

Foulkelore

Yep, as I said in the First Pitch, they still make the playoffs if the traditional playoff format was being used this year. New York, Toronto, and Houston are the extra teams.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Congrats to White Sox on winning the first Wild Card berth in franchise history!

Shingos Cheeseburgers

I’m very curious as to what time and channel Sox-A’s is gonna get buried on. My guess is early afternoon West Coast time.

NDSox12

I would guess it will be the very late game on Tuesday. Only West Coast game that day. I agree that afternoon games are likely on Wednesday and Thursday though.

NDSox12

And I guessed wrong…

White Sox playing at 2 p.m CT Tuesday on ESPN

— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) September 28, 2020

asinwreck

On MLB Network just now, Amsinger, Plesac, and Reynolds all picked the Sox as a low-seeded team that could go deep in the postseason. This dialogue actually happened:

PLESAC: Lucas Giolito game one! Dallas Keuchel game two!

AMSINGER: Who starts game three?

PLESAC: Doesn’t matter.

AMSINGER: Doesn’t matter?

PLESAC: Doesn’t matter.

burning-phoneix

It’s time to unleash Garret Crotchet if it reaches Game 3. Just say to hell with the minor leagues and UNLEASH THE BEAST.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

I think I said before the season if they finish behind Cleveland and Minnesota but showed improvement from the core that would be a good year. The way they did it sucked but I think you can say it was a successful year even if it involved a massive choke.

That being said I still don’t see anything that indicates they’re capable of filling the obvious holes in the roster (still). Going into the year it was obvious that DH, RF, and rotation depth were iffy and all of those flopped. They somehow got worse at DH this year after putting up a 64 wRC+ in 2019. The decision making is still flawed but at least the players on the field are better than the 2010s squads.

soxexile

In a weird way, I’m almost glad that this last week happened. It clearly exposed the lack of starting pitching after Giolito and Keuchel, the Sox’ weakness against right handers, and their inability to perform against teams with a winning record. I’m not discounting their 5 week run of good baseball, but the team’s strengths and weaknesses are both on clear display as we approach the 2020-21 offseason. They’ve improved enough to beat up on weak teams, but aren’t ready to hold their own with strong ones. Hopefully the whole organization can learn from the experience and make the necessary improvements.

GrinnellSteve

But any lessons learned about this team’s weaknesses and strengths will be unlearned if they go 13-2 from here on out. And then they’ll be doomed to repeat all the mistakes of last offseason and this season. Just sayin’.

ParisSox

if they do that, i will care a lot less that those go unlearned

Shingos Cheeseburgers

That explains pretty much exactly where they were 4-5 years ago. The baseline talent level is higher now but there are still glaring issues. Here’s to hoping the same decision makers get it right the second time around.

joewho112

I need some good news. Someone tell me all of the A’s starters are left-handed

Amar

Brad Pitt is in the dugout right now telling Philip Seymour Hoffman to start Bassitt in both games 1 and 2, and game 3 if necessary

burning-phoneix

Game 1 starter is likely gonna be Sean Maneae(sp?) who is indeed left handed. Chris Bassit is both a former White Sox and Right Handed so Karma tells us we’re gonna lose Game 2 if he starts (He started on Saturday so he’s not in line for Game 1)

Shingos Cheeseburgers

In the 13 playoff series in franchise history the Sox will have played 13 different opponents

Olssox

Which means Twins will beat Astros if Sox advance past A’s.

Joliet Orange Sox

If this is a Law of the Universe (to be included in the updated Principia), then after beating the A’s and Twins, the Sox would then have to face Cleveland or the Yankees. In the World Series, the Sox would have to play the Brewers, Padres, Cardinals, or Braves. The Sox have to keep winning now if for no other reason than to test this hypothesis.

Olssox

Love it!

vanillablue

I live in the Bay Area, so of course my first opportunity to actually see a Sox playoff game happens when there are no fans allowed.

Anyway, this still counts as a successful season despite the slide at the end. Sounds like they will be facing old friend Chris Bassitt, and could face two lefties in Sean Manaea and Jesus Luzardo. Here’s hoping Robert is back on track and Encarnacion gets benched.

And congratulations to the zero of you who correctly predicted that Madrigal would finish with a higher OPS than Robert!

burning-phoneix

Imagine if we have 5 starters that can give up less than 6 runs a start, we’d be 60-0 right now.