Diamondbacks 3, White Sox 2: A Dylan Cease gem wasted

Dylan Cease and Kendall Graveman held the Diamondbacks to just three hits this afternoon.

Somehow, all three of those hits scored runs. Cease gave up a pair of solo homers over eight innings — including a game-tying shot in the eighth — while Graveman walked a pair of batters before an RBI double that decided the game in the ninth.

The White Sox were held to a two-run sixth, after doing nothing against Kyle Davies for five innings. José Abreu singled with one out, Andrew Vaughn doubled him to third, and the White Sox actually got both runners home. Gavin Sheets hit a deep sac fly that advanced both runners, and AJ Pollock’s comebacker deflected off Davies into no-man’s land on the right side for a go-ahead infield single.

The offense had nothing else going for it before or after, leaving Cease and whoever succeeded him to keep the Diamondbacks scoreless the rest of the way. Alas, Cease tried to bust Sergio Alcantara with an 0-2 fastball on the inside corner at 98 mph with one out in the eighth, and even though it looked like he hit his spot, it still cost him the victory. Alcantara whipped the bat around and lofted it into the Miller Lite Landing to tie the game at 2.

Cease only threw 81 pitches through seven innings, so it wasn’t a bad call to stick with him. Also, Graveman would’ve been the guy for the eighth inning, and he opened the ninth by walking two of the first three batters before Jake McCarthy delivered the go-ahead double with two outs. Josh Rojas tried to make it 4-2 on a classic aggressive two-out send, but a competent relay cut him down without him even touching the plate.

Still, White Sox pitchers should be allowed to yield three hits and win a game. The White Sox shot themselves in the feet with a couple of double plays, and their best contact went off the base of the left field wall.

Tony La Russa’s choices in the bottom of the ninth inning didn’t help. After Elvis Andrus hit one of the wall balls for a one-out double, La Russa called for Eloy Jiménez to hit for Adam Engel. That was fine, except it created an obvious pitch-around situation for Ian Kennedy, what with Seby Zavala and Romy González coming up behind him.

Sure enough, Kennedy walked Jiménez on four outside pitches, and it created a situation where La Russa could manage against himself. With runners on first and second, it created an opportunity for a double play, which is why La Russa chose Leury García to hit for Zavala, even though García:

  1. might be still injured
  2. has worse splits against righties than Zavala
  3. was facing a righty who was worse against righties by a considerable amount.

La Russa, who had cited a hitter’s performance in 1-2 counts as a reason to call for the intentional walk despite the pitcher holding the upper hand, ignored the mountain of evidence and rolled with García.

García struck out, and so did González. The White Sox are now two games under .500. That’s still good enough to be just five games back of first-place Cleveland in this cursed AL Central, but that’s all it’s good for.

Record: 63-65 | Box score | Statcast

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jim Margalus
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.

Articles: 3699
24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Qubort

How were Eloy and Robert available to play and sit on the bench? Just sit them the rest of the fucking year then. Bring everyone up from Birmingham and have the spring training at the pro level. This season is over and might as well see how close the “stars” of rebuild number 3 are. Hahn can buy out their arbitration years now and splurge the rest on bullpen arms.

Nellie Fox

Agree, here is a good one…. Eloy pinch hits for Engle in the ninth, walks on 4 pitches ( no surprise) Robert pinch runs , next two have a chance to tie the game. Say one of them did, who plays center field?

upnorthsox

Pollock

gibby32

or Garcia.

gibby32

or Robert.

PauliePaulie

I’m approaching Quintana levels of pity for Cease right now.

GrinnellSteve

Can the Sox hold off the Royals? It’s only an 11-1/2 game lead.

Augusto Barojas

To be honest I’m actually more encouraged for 2023 than I was a couple weeks ago after they won the first two against the Astros. I think it is enormously more likely that they will make some changes, including hiring a new manager, than if they had managed to win an awful division, which looks increasingly unlikely.

At least now the writing is on the wall for everyone to see, fans with “sell the team” and “fire Tony” signs, etc. Maybe nothing will happen, but I would not want Reinsdorf and Tony to get the satisfaction of this clown show making it to the playoffs. Hopefully some positive changes will be forthcoming in a few months. Maybe.

As Cirensica

Some people are noticing

GrinnellSteve

Please. This isn’t the answer to all our woes, but it would be an easy and excellent start.

itaita

A manager who knows what hes doing has this team in the Division lead. You do have to remember that even next year the AL Central probably wont be any better.

Augusto Barojas

We could almost be thankful for Tony then, in a way. I don’t want them to get by and reap playoff revenue with a roster that is barely good enough to win the AL Central. I am not one of those who believes that because the Braves won last year without a juggernaut team, that literally any team can win if they just make the post season. No team with close to league worst defense has won a title in the last 20 years. The Braves of last year could field quite well, and surely couldn’t be shut down easily by any average right handed starter. The NL East isn’t as hapless as the AL Central. The Braves would absolutely kill this team.

StockroomSnail

I have no hope of anything besides a reshuffling of the deck chairs.

soxygen

Not only were the splits in favor of Seby (.304 vs RHP, compared to .211 for Leury vs RHP this year), but the situation was as well.

Obviously, with 1 out the double play was a concern. But this year Leury grounded into 6 of those (18 over the last two years) compared to just 1 this year for Seby (5 over the last two years). Of course Leury is faster, but he is a ground ball hitter and Seby is not. To wit, this year Seby has a 30.9% ground ball rate and Leury has a 49.8% ground ball rate.

mrridgman

Don’t confuse Tony with these silly statistics, he knows right vs left and left vs right.

calcetinesblancos

It’s really funny how every fan that knows this team instantly thought that was a dumb decision before even knowing all the specific stats. And now that we know them it seems even more absurd.

I bet Seby was steaming. I don’t blame him if he was.

As Cirensica

2 more years of Leury left which could be OK with a different manager

soxygen

BTW, re-watching the 9th it seemed like the wheels were turning slowly and there was a late decision to put Robert in. I wouldn’t have noticed it but for Jim’s recent piece on the topic.

calcetinesblancos

Robert should be on the IL. I don’t like the idea of him sliding on the bases.

calcetinesblancos

It must be so weird managing against The Russa and seeing him constantly make dumb moves that make your job easier.

dwjm3

That presumes intelligence on the part of the other manager. A lot of the other managers aren’t all that swift themselves.

calcetinesblancos

I’m not sure you have to be intelligent to know how stupid many TLR moves are.

shaggy65

Reminds me of that famous baseball poem–Leury at the Bat

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Me waiting on how the Sox are going to ‘fix’ the rebuild in the off-season:

Last edited 26 days ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers