Cubs 7, White Sox 3: Contreras gets best of Giolito

With another cold front bringing more precipitation to Chicago, the White Sox and Cubs didn’t have the same ideal playing conditions as they had last night. It appeared the weather would play in favor for Lucas Giolito and Jon Lester as the over/under line was set at seven runs total for the game.

The offenses had a different idea. On the very first pitch of the game, Leury Garcia took Lester deep for a 429-foot home run giving the Sox an early 1-0 lead.

On Giolito’s first pitch, Kyle Schwarber hit a line drive off the ivy in right field for a double. Then problems continued for Giolito walking Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez to load the bases. James McCann tried to get Giolito back on track after a mound visit, but on a 1-2 changeup that caught way too much of the plate, Willson Contreras smashed it for a Grand Slam.

Giolito would strikeout David Bote and Lester looking to end the first inning, but 34 pitches and a crooked number on the scoreboard put the White Sox in a deep hole. There was a chance for Giolito to help himself after Yolmer Sanchez hit his first triple in 2019 with two outs, but Lester threw a curve on a 1-2 count that Giolito swung through ending the second inning.

After a scoreless second inning, it appeared that Giolito was back on track with two outs in the third inning, but Contreras tagged him again for his second home run of the night to make it 5-1.

The Sox would mount a rally to start the fourth inning. James McCann hit his seventh home run of 2019 to lead it off making it 5-2. Eloy Jimenez worked a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch for Yoan Moncada. After not swinging right-handed yesterday, Moncada’s back was alright enough to hit a double down the left field line scoring Jimenez and making it a 5-3 game.

With one out, Sanchez hit a dribbler down to the third base in which Kris Bryant fielded in front of the bag. What made this play odd is Moncada was running towards third which Bryant could have just tagged him for the second out and an embarrassing TOOTBLAN. Instead, Bryant threw across the diamond, but Sanchez beat it out for an infield single. Sanchez would get himself to second base swiping his third base in 2019.

Giolito showed bunt but didn’t put the ball in play striking out for the second time, leaving it up to Garcia with two outs to tie the game. In another bizarre ruling from the home plate umpire, Garcia hit a chopper in front of the plate that hit him in the chest. On television replay, Garcia did not leave the batter’s box yet so the ruling should have been a foul ball. However, home plate umpire Corey Blaser decided that Garcia was out of the batter’s box and called Garcia out.

Sure enough, in the Cubs half, David Bote tacked on the Cubs third home run of the night to make it 6-3. Giolito would come back to strike out the side again without any more damage, but the Cubs were in control halfway through the game.

Leaving in the fifth inning, Giolito had a weird pitching line of 4.1 IP 7 H 6 ER 3 BB 9 K with Contreras doing the majority of the damage.

Once the bullpens got involved the runs stopped. Josh Osisch, Juan Minaya, and Kelvin Herrera combined to throw 2.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and only two hits allowed. Cubs relievers Kyle Ryan, Brad Brach, and Mike Montgomery almost matched those numbers pitching 2.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and two hits allowed.

One of those hits was by Moncada batting left-handed with a triple down the right-field line against Brach, but he was stranded there as pinch-hitter Charlie Tilson could only muster a weak chopper back to the mound for a 1-3 groundout.

Cubs tacked on another run in the eighth inning when Schwarber hit a sharp double the right-field line off Jose Ruiz. Addison Russell scored all the way from first base, but the inning ended when Abreu cut off Tilson’s throw to nail Schwarber on his way to third base.

In the ninth inning, Zack Collins made his MLB debut facing Steve Cishek. Working the count to full, Collins watched a 90-mph fastball rise out of the zone to draw a walk. He’ll need to wait for his first official at-bat in Texas as Cishek struck out Garcia and got Anderson to fly out to center field closing the game.

Game Notes:

  • Yoan Moncada went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, and Yolmer Sanchez had a great night going 3-for-4.
  • Tim Anderson made a poor decision on the basepaths. Leading off the fifth inning with a double, Anderson tried to steal third base off Lester. Getting a good jump didn’t matter much as Contreras made a perfect throw to nail Anderson for the first out with Abreu, McCann, and Jimenez coming up to bat.

Record: 35-37 | Box Score | Highlights

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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

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Josh, I’m guessing from your recap you don’t think Blaser’s strike zone was a factor? I wasn’t able to watch the game, but both the radio call and comments I read brought it up quite a bit.


Can someone post those graphics or a link to where I could see them?


On that page, are the strikes called strikes and swinging strikes? I know it’s not your job to help me understand their graphics but thanks.

karkovice squad

Use the dropdown to change from Balls & Strikes to Pitch Description.




OK, now we get to see how Giolito adjusts after this career-best streak of dominance has ended. I am optimistic that his next start will be a good one.


I’m not worried at all. He struck out 9/23 batters faced. If he gets even a couple of those borderline calls his night would have looked a whole lot different. That’s what I’m telling him if I’m Coop.

It’s hard to argue balls-strikes since they are by nature subjective. I usually couldn’t care less about bad umpiring because it’s fair both ways more often then not. But you can’t have watched that whole game and not say that the calls given to Lester and taken away from Gio affected the way they approached subsequent batters and therefore the game.

Gio has generally been getting good zones all season but I guess you don’t always get lucky.


I’m not worried either. He was due for a clunker. He’s walked 7 in his last 10 1/3 so that’s bitten him but plenty of swing and miss and I can’t remember what game it was, but a few starts ago the opponent was looking change up and he didn’t throw one for like 3 innings. He has enough plus pitches to keep scouting reports honest.

karkovice squad

That played a role, too, but he wasn’t hitting his spots, either. Lester got friendly calls when he missed the zone near Contreras’ target. Giolito was putting the ball within a similar margin of the zone’s edge but by way of being across the zone from McCann’s glove.

karkovice squad

We shouldn’t really be surprised his command’s fallen off at the end of his career’s heaviest workload to date.

Still something to keep an eye on through his next couple starts since 88 pitches in 4.1 IP isn’t that much of a reprieve.


Would you have an issue with him making 33 starts + All Star game and approaching 200IP this year, karko?

karkovice squad

Those are reasonable goals in the abstract. I’m not opposed to a full season, ace-caliber workload on principle. Starts, IP, and pitch counts are only rough proxies for fatigue and injury risk. So it depends on how he’d reach those benchmarks.

I’m skeptical that Sox game usage is properly matched to offseason training and in-season maintenance programs.


Man, lots of Leury hate on Sox twitter. Yeah tonight’s read in center was bad. Or it’s hammy. Maybe both. But he’s played better in center this year than his prior history. And while not patient, he’s got some homers, some steals, hitting around .280 and he’s not Adam Engel. So I don’t mind him leading off right now until Jay arrives.

Tim Anderson by the way has not walked since May 23.


For me, it’s not just last night’s bad read. IMO, Leury has had many bad reads, doesn’t take charge with other converging fielders, throws to home plate seem inaccurate, yadda, yadda. Engel and Cordell are miles ahead of him defensively. Tilson also and I suspect Robert and Jay would also be rated ahead of Garcia with the glove. CF is a position that requires a solid if not a stud defender. If Ricky R absolutely needs Garcia in the line-up, let him fill in at 3rd for Moncada instead of Rondon. Sox pitchers need all the help defensively that they can get. As it is, too many nights the opponents get 28, 29, 30 outs and that always bites you in the a**. Much is made of Eloy or Abreu’s defense or Timmy’s errors, but IMO, Garcia’s shortcomings hurt the most. He looks like he’s ailing and if that’s true, get him off the field and bring up Jay until Robert’s ready. Leury is a 25th man at best and if he doesn’t have his wheels, he’s not even that.


Tim A doesn’t seem as dangerous at the plate, seems shakier in the field, base-running decisions are becoming more questionable, and he doesn’t seem to have that ‘joy’ he had in April and May. Let’s hope it’s just temporary and he can find that game-changer mentality he had earlier in the season. I hope it’s not as shallow as something like Giolito and Eloy getting all the press that TA was getting…
Whatever the reason, I’d love to see him snap out of it.


denbum, agree with you on both Leury and Timmy. Timmy broke a cardinal rule- don’t make the first or last out of an inning at 3rd. That changed that whole inning, and advancing 90 feet at that point was unnecessary with the middle of the order up. And yes, he doesn’t look the same as he did early on.
A lot of Leury’s game is predicated on speed. He just doesn’t have that now. He’s done enough in the first 2 1/2 months to secure his spot on the roster. Shutting him down for a few weeks when Jay comes up would help. I think he’s played adequate cf- but it’s really glaring now that he doesn’t have that 2nd gear to get to balls he normally would get to.
Giolito didn’t seem to have the feel for his changeup. And Stone was right- they were looking for his change on 2 strikes. He will be fine. With the squeezed strike zone and the fact that the Cubs didn’t miss when he made a mistake, he still had 9 Ks in 5 innings.
And that was the most one-sided home plate umpiring I’ve seen in a long time. His calling out Cordell in the 4th was huge. It really stunted a big inning. So far 3-3 in this tough patch of schedule is a good start though. Don’t stop now boys!


Did anyone ask Renteria if the steal was called from the bench?
He was asked last week about Anderson stealing as a smarter call than bunt attempts. He’s a bad enough manager for this to be his reaction.


If it was called from the bench then Ricky’s an even bigger moron than I thought. Advancing from 2nd to 3rd with no out and Abreu, McCann and Eloy coming up is not worth the risk involved.


Watched that whole Anderson thing develop, he was scared to get the lead he needed. No one was holding him on in any meaningful way and he knew it which prompted him to want to steal, but he could have gotten almost halfway on lester and instead his lead was relatively short making getting a good jump moot