Red Sox 9, White Sox 4: Lucas Giolito is great, but the bullpen…

Strong starting pitching continues, but most of the relief work remains a minefield

Not that tanking is really the talk of the day anymore, but this had everything you wanted from a late-August loss.

Lucas Giolito pitched brilliantly, and the bullpen validated the timing of my post about it.

(OK, so maybe this is more of what I wanted from a late-August loss.)

Rick Renteria avoided using the right-handed relievers who weren’t Juan Minaya and Dylan Covey. Jeanmar Gomez looked bad, Thyago Vieira looked worse, and the Red Sox scored the last nine runs of this game as a result.

Only Ryan Burr came out unscathed, and perhaps it would’ve been a better call for the first man after Giolito, who pitched brilliantly.

Giolito departed with a 4-0 lead after giving up a one-out walk on his 113th pitch of the game. Said lead didn’t last the inning. Gomez gave up two singles, a sac fly, and then grooved a 1-1 fastball that Mookie Betts deposited into left field for a game-tying homer.

Burr survived a warning-track flyout by J.D. Martinez to throw a scoreless inning, but Vieira … did not. He didn’t even get through the ninth, giving up five runs on four hits and two walks over 40 pitches. One of those hits was Martinez’s 39th homer of the year, and the Red Sox wouldn’t even need their closer.

White Sox fans will have to settle for a satisfying first two-thirds of the game. Giolito was fantastic. He erased a leadoff walk to Betts by picking him off, and he was off to a strong night. He didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, which was his only stressful frame.

Xander Bogaerts reached leading off when Yolmer Sanchez couldn’t find the handle on a chopper and fired high. Giolito got a groundout and a strikeout to get back on track, but Ian Kinsler won an eight-pitch battle for a single and Sandy Leon put his hand in the path of a fastball over the plate to load the bases. Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a hot smash, but Matt Davidson got his body in front of it and collected it for the 3-unassisted putout.

Giolito ended up allowing just the one run that scored on Gomez’s watch. He allowed a pair of singles and a pair of walks while striking out eight. He got 14 swinging strikes, including eight on changeups, but he also froze Andrew Benintendi for backwards K’s on two-seamers that found the inside corner.

It looked like he received enough support early, as the White Sox struck against Rick Porcello before he could settle in. Avisail Garcia hit a mammoth blast out to right center for a two-run shot, and it didn’t kill the rally. Daniel Palka blooped a single, Yoan Moncada shot a base hit through the right side, and Matt Davidson’s bouncer up the middle sneaked past Bogaerts for an RBI single and a 3-0 lead.

In the second, Sanchez singled and Nicky Delmonico doubled to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Garcia lifted a sac fly to center for one, with Sanchez scoring before Delmonico was called out trying to tag up to third. The ball beat Delmonico, but the tag missed him, and a review called him safe, but it wasn’t a risk worth taking.

The White Sox didn’t score again, and didn’t have much in the way of quality chances. Their best shot was probably in the bottom of the seventh, when Delmonico missed a two-run homer to right by a matter of feet.

Bullet points:

*Kevan Smith had a night to forget, going 0-for-4 with five stranded and two double plays.

*Sanchez slid in safely for his 12th stolen base, and got a glove to the groin for his troubles.

*Perhaps the White Sox shouldn’t lead AL East teams 4-0 anymore.

Record: 53-81 | Box score

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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.

Articles: 3565
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PauliePaulie

Very good performances from Gio and Burr, with not bad ones from Anderson and Moncada.
An easy loss to stomach.

Patrick Nolan

The White Sox got Renteria’d tonight. That is all.

MrStealYoBase

Off with his head!!

ndsoxfan

Meh,  could’ve gone with Burr after Giolito but then what?

Flitcraft

Matt Davidson for the multi-inning save.

NorthSideSouthSider

I think Ian Hamilton could have done the job. Caleb Frare could have been useful too. 

roke1960

If either of the Ricks’s were doing their job, we could have gone to Burr, Frare and Hamilton for the last 3 innings. Then even if we lose, they could have gained some valuable late inning experience against the best team in baseball. Again, Jim’s article from yesterday was spot on.

Patrick Nolan

Let’s see here.

Well, obviously, from a “trying to win” perspective we want no part in Vieira in that situation, but at the very least you could make the case that it’s a “teaching” moment. Hector Santiago, when looking solely at his stats out of the pen, has been better than Gomez.

And those are just the BAD alternatives.

He had eight outs to cover and could have used any of Fry, Minaya, Covey, Burr, and Cedeno to cover those eight outs. I don’t think Renteria wanted to use Fry since he pitched the previous two days. So we’ve got four more valid options.

Burr is the obvious choice. He had pitched only once in eight games and has looked great. He could even eat up a portion of the 8th if the 7th goes smoothly. Minaya and Cedeno have both been better. Covey’s introduction to the pen hasn’t been great so far, but you’re trying to build something there to see if he can work out.

Jeanmar Gomez is a bad pitcher who will be a free agent at the end of the year. He offers no trade value, no upside, nothing to be gained from getting him “experience”. His job, if he even has one, is to pitch in blowout games or games where the Sox are already trailing by a few runs. There was simply no reason for him to come into the game, and other than arguably Fry, he was the absolute last pitcher that Renteria should have used in that spot.

roke1960

Spot on, Patrick. Why lose a game with someone who will definitely not be part of any future with the Sox, when reasonable options are available. It is not a stretch to say that the Sox would be 4-0 this week with someone who has a clue on how to manage a bullpen.

ndsoxfan

Minaya sucks and just lost us the game two days ago,  Cedeno pitched in 2 of the previous 3 games, and Covey has also sucked.  If you want to argue he should have better choices ie Hamilton or Frare etc., then sure.  But right now he has a bunch of garbage to pick from

Patrick Nolan

Minaya and Covey could actually have value beyond 2018, and you’re being more than a little liberal with your definition of “suck” (or at minimum, showing no nuance with regards to degrees of “suck”)

ndsoxfan

Ok let me put it this way for you.  Minaya and Covey teamed up to lose the game against the Yankees on Tuesday.  Therefore, I do not blame our manager for not turning to them in a nearly identical situation yesterday.  Jim has said on the podcast that Renteria has had relatively traditional bullpen usage when he had a major league bullpen.  When he doesn’t it gets a little funky.  I agree with Jim.  I made no judgement about their future value although I don’t believe it is high.  Not sure the term suck needs to be nuanced.

roke1960

There are several problems with the way Renteria has handled his bullpen this week. First, he did not pitch Burr for 7 consecutive days before yesterday. If he isn’t/wasn’t going to use him, why was he brought up before Charlotte’s season ended? Second, with an 8-man bullpen at his disposal, why was his second man out of the pen (Minaya), a guy who threw 23 pitches the day before? Third, why was it Gomez that was brought into the first high leverage situation yesterday? Where was Minaya? If he used him a day after 23 pitches, then why wouldn’t he use him in a very similar situation after a day off? There is no rhyme or reason to Ricky’s bullpen management- it surely seems like a random thought process that goes on. And this week is not the worst of it- he has been awful all year. Yes, he hasn’t had the best pitchers to work with, but his decisions are so very inconsistent. I wouldn’t trust him with a good pen. And I’m certainly not alone in that assessment.

sgp2204

“Yes, he hasn’t had the best pitchers to work with, but his decisions are so very inconsistent.”

Have you ever thought that maybe part 2 of that sentence is BECAUSE of part 1? It’s hard to formulate a consistent plan when you have such shitty options. Even if/when he makes the “right” call, there’s a pretty good chance it won’t work out – due to the aforementioned lack of talent.

I’m not saying I trust him with a good bullpen going forward, but I’m certainly not going to use this year’s team to make any final judgements. I’m assuming Frare is on his way to Chicago now, and hopefully Hamilton won’t be too far behind. Once he gets some legitimate talent in the pen, then I’m cool with criticizing all his decisions. 

roke1960

That’s a good point, but it doesn’t explain why he didn’t pitch Burr for 7 days.

The Wimperoo

I called for them to bring up Gomez to see what he had. The answer was…not much. I’ll have wear that one.

roke1960

I agree completely. And we’re supposed to trust this guy with a good team?

OJ the Bouvier

DFA candidates from the current pen:
Gomez
Covey
Minaya
Santiago
Vieira

And to think some are worried about the “40 man roster crunch”…

knoxfire30

The first 4 I would say sure, but not Vieira there is a live arm to work with there still.

Brett R. Bobysud

Giolito officially has a positive WAR on fangraphs!!!

sgp2204

His stats for the year are going to look like absolute trash to any outsider looking in, but man, I’m surprisingly encouraged.