Diamondbacks 7, White Sox 2: A rare stumble for Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto was due to have an off night, but it would’ve been nice if his entire team didn’t join him.

The White Sox resumed their habit of awful series openers at home. Elvis Night went off the rails when Cueto was shelled for six runs in the second innings, and the offense could only respond with one run when it mattered against rookie Tommy Henry. (You could say they remembered the reason for the season by making fans want to shoot their television.)

Cueto was shelled for six runs in the second innings, and it was a stuff issue. The command wasn’t its usual self, but he was also lacking two ticks. His fastball averaged 89 mph, and even his best one only got up to 91.6. The combination proved fatal in the second inning, especially after a two-out walk to light-hitting Geraldo Peromo reloaded the bases for the top of the order.

The Sox were only trailing 1-0 after Eloy Jiménez flagged down Alek Thomas’ fly in the corner for a sac fly, but Josh Rojas didn’t have as much hang time on his drive to the same spot, and it rattled off the sidewall and toward the bullpen, allowing all three runs to score. Emmanuel Rivera then followed with a two-run shot that made it a 6-0 game, and the night became mainly about turning the page afterward.

Cueto did his part in that regard by sticking around through five, and Tanner Banks provided three scoreless innings to spare the bullpen further.

The offense also did its part, scoring just two runs on six hits and three walks, and AJ Pollock’s solo shot came in the ninth inning with the Sox down six.

Pollock opened the game with one of the worst at-bats, following Eloy Jiménez’s seven-pitch walk by swinging at a first-pitch slider below the zone and grounding into a routine 6-4-3 double play.

It didn’t help that the Diamondbacks outfield defense came to play. Dalton Varsho might’ve robbed Romy González of an opposite-field homer, and Alek Thomas — son of former White Sox strength and conditioning coordinator Allen Thomas — made two diving catches. The first made up for a poor route and took a double away from Adam Engel, but the second was a lunging catch that required a great route and every step to steal at least two bases from José Abreu.

Had the game come down to those plays, then you’d have to tip your hat at the effort. The White Sox were thoroughly beaten before then, and at the end, boos bid them farewell.

Bullet points:

*Eloy Jiménez had another hamstring episode running out an infield single, but he’s supposedly fine. He reached base all three times up, drawing two walks.

*Carlos Pérez pinch-hit for his spot in the order and popped out to short in his first plate appearance.

*Seby Zavala went 2-for-3 from the bottom of the order, and his bat is why Pérez hadn’t played until now. Alas, the three hitters in front of him went 0-for-10.

*Cueto downplayed any velocity concerns, or the 113-pitch outing that preceded this one.

Record: 63-63 | Box score | Statcast

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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.

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DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

Spent 2.5 hrs driving 25 miles to this park. Spent another hour trying to get into stadium. Another 30 mins to get food. Sit down and it’s 4th inning and game is already over.

I didn’t realize Elvis was so popular. 33k people showing up for this garbage fire against the dbacks was so unexpected.

Oh well, jerry at least is happy tonight.

Craft cave eased the pain.

Best part of the night by far were the parachute dudes. I’d rather watch that for 9 innings.

StockroomSnail

I had 2 hours to make a one hour drive into the stadium earlier this year and missed innings too, the experience is abysmal.

Last edited 27 days ago by StockroomSnail
SocksO’Graham

C’est la vie say the old folks goes to show you never can tell

ChiSoxND12

I bet you Elvis wishes he was still ab Oakland A

dsbatt

I wish he were too. He has been awful at least offensively. Id rather see Sosa be awful.

ParisSox

Take out that 6 run inning and the Sox win 2-1

itaita

Whats nice about the predictability of the Sox anemic offense is when they fall behind 6-0 you can turn the game off and watch something else since you know they wont come back anyway.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

The pessimist would look at the 63 games the Sox have lost. The optimist would look at the 63 games they have won. It’s all how you look at it.

ActiveAndUnavailable

If we played by the Banana Ball rules, it would have been a tie game! Maybe that’s what this team needs? Or maybe it’s what they think they’re doing?

I can honestly say that I didn’t watch a minute of this game.(Thanks for recap, Jim!) But the lineup made me go “huh?” Which is not a new occurrence this year, but really just more of the continued mismanaged roster. Robert being Active and Unavailable (yes my namesake) makes me believe that they’re waiting for Leury to be healthy to do the old swap. However, I am to the point where I would like to see Colas, Cespedes, etc. get some ABs while they shut some players down for the year (Grandal, Robert, Eloy). There was zero point in playing Robert where he could literally only swing the bat with one hand, and he outright admitted it being hurt but that he wouldn’t take himself out. It’s leadership’s job to prevent these issues and to make sure players are playing 100% (Robert and Kopech specifically this time, but there are others over the year… Leury, Eloy, Giolito pitching sick). The hope is that there isn’t more longer term damage done by having those walking wounded continue to show up in games.

Last edited 28 days ago by ActiveAndUnavailable
Canyonero

Dear White Sox, I can’t do this anymore. Maybe we can make it work in the future when we both know what we want. It’s not you; it’s me. On second thought, it is you.

roke1960

This is a serious question. Why would anyone go see this team play now? This is starting to look like a team that is just preparing to mail it in for the rest of the season. With Yoan and Robert hurt, the talent level is way down. Players playing out of position, coaches who are clueless, good defenders dropping easy fly balls, almost nothing but singles on a team of slow, big guys. And I could go on and on. These last 6 weeks could be extremely ugly.

ChiSoxND12

Engel is awesome at robbing home runs. Good arm. Great range, turns doubles into singles. But I think our overall miserable defense has sort of convinced everyone he’s better than he is. He’s never been good at coming in on balls. He gambles and loses fairly frequently too.

ActiveAndUnavailable

I’ve been saying for a month or so that the only thing at this point that might force a change is an empty ballpark. Knowing that tickets have been bought (season tickets or otherwise), they already have your money. So, don’t spend a dime in the parking lot. Tailgate, drink and eat in the lots of at home. Jerry clearly hasn’t heard the “Fire Tony” chants at home, and the Social Media teams don’t share the “GFY” and the “sell the team” responses on every post. He also clearly doesnt watch ESPN or the Post Game shows because they have been a league wide laughing stock at times. The only thing that would impact the ownership at this point is the almighty dollar.

If this team made the playoffs (big if aka not gonna happen), the loudest thing we could do is literally not show up to a home playoff game, and for the stadium to be 2020 Pandemic Empty

As Cirensica

At this stage, I would like the White Sox to start playing the kids. Carlos Perez, Lenyn Sosa, etc. But there is no room in the roster, and we have an idiot managing. Thus, the status quo will slowly kill whatever joy is left. The only guys that appear not to realize this season is lost are La Clown, Hahn, and the rest of the coaches and FO officials.

Let’s do some math:

  • If the White Sox were to win the division with 86 wins, rest of the season must go at .639 winning
  • If the White Sox were to win the division with 85 wins, rest of the season must go at .611 winning
  • If the White Sox were to win the division with 84 wins, rest of the season must go at .583 winning

The first two scenarios are very unlikely because if there is something this team has shown is to be around .500 pace. Getting into a greater than .600 pace seems impossible.

The bad news is that the Guardians will need to collapse to lose the division with the White Sox winning 84 games and go 17 – 21 for the remaining of the season.

If the Guardians play .500 all the way until the end of the season, they will win 85 games, which force the White Sox to the first scenario (above) and its impossible .639 winning % for the remaining of the season.

The White Sox are in a bad place even though we are only 3 games behind in the win column. Too many injuries. Too much fragility. Not to mention the worst coaching staff I have ever witnessed in my life as a fan of this team. I mean, I’d take Robin Ventura in a heartbeat over Tony.

Athleticism in this team is a major issue. Many of our players seem to be on the verge to break down. I was watching yesterday’s game, and Eloy looks like he is about to have a season ending injury at any moment. Eloy is the oldest 25 yo player in the Majors. Moncada breaks easy. Anderson rarely plays a full season. Engel breaks easy. Robert breaks easy. Kopech breaks easy. All these players under 31. Good God, how is this possible? When you add the old ones that break easy (Grandal, Lynn, Hendriks, Pollock), then we end up with a the least athletic team you can ever watch.

In an ideal world, the offseason top priorities for the White Sox should be:

  1. Fire Hahn & Kenny
  2. Fire Tony La Russa and all his staff (no exceptions)
  3. Design a post season physical conditioning strategy/plan to increase the chances players return in good shape.
  4. Trade Eloy Jimenez for whatever. Yea yeah yeah…he is Eloy bla bla. He does not fit in this team near future plan. He is always broken so we never see his potential. Can’t field.
  5. Either retain Abreu and trade Vaughn or let Abreu walk away and keep Vaughn. We can’t have both. It is dysfunctional. Vaughn should never wear an outfielder globe.
  6. Try (very difficult), but try to trade Yasmani Grandal.
  7. Trade Liam Hendriks to free up money
  8. Trade Gavin Sheets for whatever. Maybe a reliever. Replace him with Oscar Colas.
  9. Let Adam Engel go.
  10. Get more athletic and younger. Give Sosa 2B. We have a plethora of infielders in the minors. Play them. Forget the Harrisons and the Leurys.
  11. Sign/Trade for a REAL Right Fielder for once in your life. This should be the only major off-season acquisition

That would be a good start.

GrinnellSteve

This is brilliant. My minor quibbles…

  1. I’d keep Katz and let the new manager decide if he wanted to retain him. I’d keep Billy Russo. It says a lot when you want to keep the interpreter more than the coaches. Purge the rest of the bums.
  2. I’d keep Eloy and make him the full-time DH. We can reassess his fragility and value after getting him off the field.
  3. You didn’t discuss it, but I’d trade Timmy. You’d get back a pretty good haul, and you have his replacement ready to go in 2024. A stopgap (one of the minor leaguers, a good-fielding veteran) until then.
As Cirensica

If you keep Eloy for DH, then what would you do with Vaughn and Abreu?

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’d be shocked if Abreu isn’t back next year. In that case, he and Vaughn should split DH / 1B and Eloy should play LF. I know he’s not good, but as DJ explained a few weeks ago, he’s not slow and he does have outfielder instincts since he’s played there his whole life. If they acquire a good right fielder I think you can live with Eloy’s defense. As for the injury stuff, Idunno.

As Cirensica

Quite frankly, Eloy’s production is easy to replace. At best, I think he will be a 2-3 WAR player. That’s it. Eloy subtract flexibility to this team.

Once his legs start barking, and believe me, that will happen, then we are back to the current mess: Vaughn/Abreu/Eloy, but only 2 spots at DH/1B. I don’t think we can afford to have the three of them. Grandal is probably untradeable, so we might have Grandal/Abreu/Vaughn/Eloy fighting for 2 spots.

This team needs more athleticism. Fewer 1B/DH type. I don’t see what we are losing with trading Eloy. His groundout rate is going in the wrong direction. He is a health liability, and it will get worst with the years. Jake Burger has more homers than Eloy with fewer PAs. You say Eloy is fast? Eloy only has 6 doubles. Slow McGuire has more doubles.

I just don’t see a lot of value with Eloy. The “when healthy” premise is past due. The White Sox should minimize their risk. If Eloy goes down, and he will, we have nothing. Next year we should roll with Pollock / Robert / Colas / RF acquisition in the outfield. Ship Eloy away.

Last edited 27 days ago by As Cirensica
GrinnellSteve

Per your #5, one of them plays first. The other plays first for a different team. My choice is to let Abreu walk. I’ll be surprised if the Sox do that, though.

With Eloy at DH, you need 2 outfielders. One is Colas, the other a quality free agent.

As Cirensica

You forgot we still have Pollock. He can be a bench rotating OF with Leury, and I am fine with that.

GrinnellSteve

I did forget him. I suppose he takes Engel’s spot unless he can be moved.

ActiveAndUnavailable

I think you can keep Abreu and Vaughn on the same Roster in ’23. But that comes with major gotcha’s that include a Sheets trade, a Grandal trade (or release), and an Eloy trade. They have 5 DH first players at this point, and a couple LF first players. They’ve built a beer league softball team that can’t mash.

Which that fact is probably the biggest thing that needs to be addressed in the off-season. Leading the league in batting average but coming in towards the bottom in slugging and runs scored is like the definition of baseball hell. Where has the power gone. Eloy, Robert, Abreu should all be looking at 30 HR/100 RBI seasons every year, but this year? This year Sox fans will be lucky to have someone hit 20. 2021 was a down year off the 2020 pace as well… This needs to be addressed over everything. If they can figure out the power outage, 2022 repeats itself.

calcetinesblancos

Vaughn has to play every day and getting him in the lineup has to be a priority. He doesn’t have to play the field every day, but he needs to be hitting. If that means Abreu walks so be it, but Vaughn is too good for them to do the Kopech-style bullshit where they baby his ass for his entire Sox tenure.

This team has to get more athletic or get in better shape. That probably involves getting younger. And I agree completely about getting rid of all these old bad hitting utility players that mgmt and the Russa have the neverending hardon for. If you’re gonna live with that shitty offensive production, at least let it be from a young developing player who might not be garbage later.

Last edited 27 days ago by calcetinesblancos
gibby32

I would do some different things, but, frankly, this team has caused me not to want to think about it.

HallofFrank

So basically what I’m reading is this years team minus Eloy, Abreu, Grandal, Hendriks, Sheets, Engel, and Harrison and adding “a real RF.” That sounds… much much worse.

All the suggestions I see from Sox fans are so weird. They are all “trade this guy away” but I see few suggestions additions. I even see several people suggesting they trade Tim.

I’ll be interested to see how these OPPs shake out. Because the proposals I see in the comments sound terrible to me. I like #1-3 and #11. That’s about it.

As Cirensica

Yes, I think it will ve better. Added flexibility. And more athleticism. I will add suggestions in the OPP time if I do one. One thing I am certain. The current team is dysfunctional and it’s no working. Do you suggest we try again next year with this team?

HallofFrank

I wouldn’t say you just run the same team back. And I agree that this team needs to move from the glut (1B/DH) to get more athletic.

But I think most fans are overreacting a bit. The way to get better is keeping good players (Eloy, Abreu, and TA) and adding different good players. I’m up for some shake up trades. I just think starting from the place of “these guys need to go” is a bad start. I’d rather run it back than move half the team for worse players.

And I do think a lot of OPPs will trade guys like Grandal, but that seems pointless to me. He’ll return nothing of value and the Sox will have to eat most of his contract. I’d much rather just see what he can do. I don’t think he’s completely underwater like others do.

As Cirensica

I am suggesting to trade Eloy not because he is a bad player but because he does not fit in this team the way it is constructed

HallofFrank

Eloy fits just fine in LF. He’s been adequate out there. I get wanting to move on from him because of the injury concerns. But they should only do it if they get fair value.

upnorthsox

Because I have tickets, because I’ve been a fan of this team for 60 years and they’ve only had 8 winning seasons in that time and one of those seasons was canceled by this point and another was only 60 games long and we couldn’t even go to those games anyhow. If I was going to be so fickle I guess I wouldn’t even be able to call myself a fan. Nope, I’ll go to tonights game, get my commemorative hat, and hope they win just like I always do.

soxygen

Like you, I’m loyal to the Sox even when they don’t deserve it, and sometimes only out of habit. It’s a “til death do us part” thing.

That said, I do express my frustration sometimes. For example, I wear my Portland Sea Dogs cap more than my Sox cap this year.

Last edited 27 days ago by soxygen
Joliet Orange Sox

I follow the Portland Sea Dogs because one of their coaches, Chris Hess, is a cousin.

soxygen

I’m planning to see the
Sea Dogs face off against the Hartford Yard Goats tomorrow. I’ll keep an eye out for him!

calcetinesblancos

I see no reason that Romy Gonzalez shouldn’t play every day on this team. The other middle infield offensive options are bad.