Royals 3, White Sox 2 (10 innings): Falling off the tightrope

There are a lot of individuals who could deserve blame for tonight’s fall-from-ahead loss.

On the pitching side, there’s Liam Hendriks, who might have to wear a “Property of Salvador Perez” shirt underneath his jersey after giving up a no-doubt fountain shot that tied the game at 2 in the ninth. Perez is now 8-for-11 off Hendriks lifetime, although this was his first homer.

There’s also Ryan Burr, who almost stranded the winning run at third base in the bottom of the 10th after a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to third. The subsequent rundown — which ended when Seby Zavala applied a tag on Andrew Benintendi that Kerwin Danley first missed — allowed Hunter Dozier to take second. Burr still got ahead of Michael A. Taylor 0-2, but his third cutter split the plate, and Taylor bisected the infield to score Dozier for the walk-off hit.

You could blame Leury García, who whiffed on Perez’s opposite-field fly to the right field corner to open the seventh inning. The leadoff “double” that came around to score on Jorge Soler’s double that cut the White Sox’s lead to 2-1, and that ended Lucas Giolito’s night after six innings plus two batters.

But you’re probably better off focusing on an entire unit. That would be the offense, which only scored two runs, and one was a gift. Andrew Vaughn, García and Mendick led off the fifth with three straight singles up the middle off Kris Bubic. Two runs came around to score on Mendick’s base hit, because when Perez took the throw home well in front of it to redirect the ball toward second, he didn’t cover the plate, and Whit Merrifield didn’t even look home while chasing Mendick back to first. García scored on brain fart for a 2-0 lead, and based on the way the offense executed the rest of the way, one can’t guarantee that he would’ve scored without Mendick’s scramble.

The White Sox offense managed just two hits around that flurry, even with an extra inning. Speaking of which, Gavin Sheets opened the 10th as the Manfred Man, but moved no further than second base. Yoán Moncada struck out, as did Billy Hamilton, who replaced Vaughn for defense in the ninth. Brian Goodwin came off the bench for Mendick and gave it a ride, but Taylor flagged it down on the warning track in left center for the final out.

The two people you can’t blame are Giolito, who threw six strong innings, allowing just four hits, a walk and a run that should’ve been unearned while striking out seven. He racked up 18 swinging strikes on just 80 pitches, including 12 on the slider.

And then there’s Aaron Bummer, who flashed a glimpse of an in-house upgrade. He entered the game with the tying run on third and nobody out after Soler doubled and advanced 90 feet when Tim Anderson’s attempt to cut off Vaughn’s throw glanced off his glove (Vaughn was charged with the error). He struck out Benintendi and Hanser Alberto, the latter requiring Seby Zavala to make a beautiful throw to first base after the slider escaped him. With two outs, Dozier grounded to short to preserve the 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, Hendriks couldn’t do the same when it was his turn, so here we are.

Bullet points:

*Vaughn made one great catch in left, running into the chain-link fence after securing the ball. He also alligator-armed another ball on the warning track, then was charged with the throwing error that might’ve been Anderson’s fault. It hasn’t been his best work the last couple nights, which is why Tony La Russa called for Hamilton.

*Sheets made the final out in the ninth pinch-hitting for Eloy Jiménez, who went 0-for-3 with a strikeout before leaving the game with right groin tightness. The Sox called it precautionary.

*Moncada was cut down at second by Perez after García swung and missed for strike three to end the seventh inning, nullifying his leadoff walk.

*The big-picture issue:

Record: 60-42 | 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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Shingos Cheeseburgers

I would appreciate it if Hendriks would knock off the whole ‘tripling his HR/9 since leaving Oakland’ thing

Brett R. Bobysud

If only Seby could hit worth a lick.

Brett R. Bobysud

Still, based on albeit limited data this far, I think it’s becoming more and more likely that Seby ends up being the backup catcher on a postseason roster behind Grandal (assuming the latter is healthy).

knoxfire30

Sigh, not a great night

Giolito did have a nice game though the slider is really starting to work for him. It might be the first time this year where the top 3 starters for a playoff series are really starting to take shape in Lynn Rodon and Giolito.

Still waiting on deadline news, as now 4 AL contenders have made big moves… the gallo trade was probably out of the sox comfort range but its hard to believe they couldnt have matched the escobar deal.

burning-phoneix

but its hard to believe they couldnt have matched the escobar deal.

Cooper Hummel probably would be the best outfield prospect in the Sox system if he was with us lol. Like Yermin that can play outfield.

knoxfire30

He is almost 27, with no real position and no mlb track record… thats not some whirlwind pickup they didnt even protect him from the rule 5 draft. The other kid sounds like a gladney/bailey type player.

dwjm3

Hopefully Eloy or somebody else can provide a spark for this team as they look exhausted right now

Last edited 1 year ago by dwjm3
polishwith

Tim, Yoan and Jose are 7-77 in last 6 games. That is awful from the offensive core.

joewho112

I don’t know if the data bears it out, but all three have always felt like very streaky hitters. They are either hitting over .400 or under .200. Given that they are the three best hitters, it is really killer when all three struggle at once.

texag10

Soooo….Trevor Story?

knoxfire30

A Story and Bard package would be ideal, then another bullpen arm like say the rumored Tepera from the cubs and that would be a heck of a deadline.

jhomeslice

Now the rumor is Story. Hard do get excited about a guy with a .180 avg and .630 OPS away from Coors. He’s a big name who has been great in the past but is having a largely miserable year. 2b not his natural position either. Not worth trading a lot for, any trade should be based on 2021, not his past.

About the best you could say is that he would be better than what they have, and since he is only 28, he might be rejuvenated by the energy of this team and hit better. Not that far fetched, but that’s wishing and hoping.

The Astros added not one but two good relievers. That’s exactly what the Sox need to do. If they don’t, getting Story would not matter one bit.

Last edited 1 year ago by jhomeslice
dwjm3

He is on a 2.4 f/war pace that isn’t miserable. It just isn’t at the level of his past performance.

Also what more exciting option is there out there? Escobar isn’t exciting…neither is Schoop

jhomeslice

Escobar is gone. Story is better than nothing but his home/road splits are not meaningless. Unlikely to come here and light it up, anyway. But 2b is the least of their problems compared to the pen.

soxygen

I think most projection systems peg Story as a 3.5 to 4.0 win player, and it looks like Zips expects him to produce 1.5 wins above replacement in the remaining 60-ish games this year (about equivalent to what he has produced so far through 100-ish games).

This year, Story’s expected slash lines to date are not much that lower than his career slash lines, and he’s had some bad batted ball luck (his BABIP is about 50 points below his career average). It is hard to see much in his numbers that would clearly indicate decline for a guy who is 28 (rather than, say, just a bad start to the year). The most concerning thing is that it looks like he is pulling the ball a lot more, which is resulting in rolling over on a lot more ground balls. I’m not a hitting coach, but that seems fixable and not necessarily a sign of irreversible decline.

Otherwise, for almost every negative you can find a positive: his hard hit rate has gone down but on the other hand his barrel rate has increased; his home rate has gone down, but so has his infield fly ball rate, etc.

Long and the short of it is that he is better than anything we have now at second base, and there isn’t any reason to necessarily assume that his second half will mirror his first half.

All of that said, I don’t think the Sox will be able to swing a Trevor Story trade. Just like everyone else, I’ll keep my eye out for well-sourced rumors on MLBTR and hope for the best.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen
jhomeslice

I just hope they do something. All their potential playoff opponents have gotten significantly better. Cruz to the Rays, Marte/Chafin to the A’s, Graveman/Garcia to the Astros. I don’t think Story improves the Sox close to as much as any of those other teams have. He would be a start, if it’s not the only move they make.

Their bullpen situation is pretty much a make or break. Can only hope Tepera is headed here at a minimum. I’m not sure by himself he is enough.

soxygen

Totally agree that a bullpen arm or two would help. And Tepera is a good suggestion – he’s near the intersection of “plausible” and “good enough to be helpful.”

On a related note, I’d like to see the Sox use an opener here or there in the second half and bring Cease and/or Keuchel out in relief…Just so that we can all see it, and so that they can try it now before the playoffs start.