Twins 2, White Sox 1: Throwing it away

Tim Anderson was the main culprit in the White Sox’s miserable defensive series in Cleveland, but José Abreu wasn’t far behind. Anderson committed five errors in two games, and while Abreu came away from the series with his fielding percentage intact, he contributed a key scoop not made, and a key line drive not caught.

The change in scenery didn’t help. Anderson’s struggles continued, and Abreu’s no longer fielding 1.000, either.

Anderson and Abreu committed a pair of throwing errors on a Carlos Correa grounder with two outs in the eighth inning. Anderson’s allowed the tying run to cross the plate, and Abreu’s unnecessarily panicked throw home yielded the go-ahead run.

To cap off the frustration, the White Sox had the tying run on third with one out in the bottom of the ninth after Eloy Jiménez’s leadoff double, but despite bringing four batters to the plate against Emilio Pagán, nobody could get him home. Pagán walked AJ Pollock and Andrew Vaughn, but got Reese McGuire to pop out before freezing Jake Burger with a perfect 3-2 fastball on the low-inside corner.

The White Sox have now lost five straight.

Of course, the defense is only half the problem. The White Sox’s problems against command-oriented right-handed pitchers also followed them north, as Bailey Ober limited the White Sox offense to an Andrew Vaughn solo shot and four other hits over five innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey also kept the Sox hitless from the sixth through eighth innings.

Vaughn had nice at-bats all night in his quest for everyday playing time, and Gavin Sheets continued to provide a welcome left-handed antidote with a pair of hits, but the rest of the order was kept in check. Leury García contributed a first-inning single, but then he struck out in his subsequent three trips, and almost contributed another throwing error to the cause.

White Sox pitching was stout enough to mask a couple of mistakes. Michael Kopech rode his riding fastball to five shutout innings, striking out seven against just four baserunners. José Ruiz bolstered his claim to more important situations with a perfect sixth, and while Aaron Bummer contributed his customary senseless walk, he also got a pair of grounders, including one where José Abreu opted against eliminating the lead runner while pursuing a tough 3-6 double play.

But while Kendall Graveman was able to strand Bummer’s runner in the seventh, he couldn’t keep his own runners off the board in the eighth. He retired the first two batters without incident before Ryan Jeffers roped a hanging slider to the left-center gap for an automatic double. A wild pitch moved Jeffers to third during an plate appearance that resulted in a walk to Luis Arraez.

That brought Carlos Correa to the plate, and on a 1-0 count, he hit a firm, 98-mph grounder toward the hole on the left side. Anderson made a nice effort to glove it, and while it would’ve been a terrific play had he completed it, he collected the ball with time to get a throw across the diamond.

Except he couldn’t find the ears on it, and by the time he did, the throw was even longer. It was also later, and up the first base line. Abreu tried to collect it while holding the bag, but he lost his mitt when Correa’s leg knocked it off him.

Abreu’s loss of equipment was inconsequential because the tying run already scored, and Arraez was taking third regardless. But maybe Abreu running with both hands bare made him feel like the play was spiraling out of control, and Abreu contributed to the chaos. He collected the ball, whirled around and fired a wide throw home that skipped by McGuire and Graveman, who didn’t or couldn’t correct for the unanticipated angle in backing up the play.

That’s when Arraez broke for home and scored, Correa took second, and two runs scored on the two-error play. Were it one error, it might have only been one run, and given the state of both offenses, they still might be playing.

Bullet points:

*McGuire had blocked an errant throw earlier in the game, as he threw his body between García’s wild attempt to turn a double play and the entrance to the Minnesota dugout, saving a base.

*Kopech threw fastballs for 65 of his 83 pitches, and that’s where all 10 of his swinging strikes came from. He once again started wobbly, but corrected with extreme prejudice.

*Anderson played in this one because he appealed his one-game suspension for flipping off the crowd in Cleveland. Perhaps he should be persuaded to drop it, even if that would most likely result in another García start. Six errors in three games is … yikes.

*Pollock went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in his return to the lineup.

*Tony La Russa told a conflicting tale of urgency with his substitutions. Adam Haseley pinch-ran for Jiménez in the ninth, and Adam Engel entered as a defensive replacement for Gavin Sheets in the sixth, but McGuire hit for himself instead of Yasmani Grandal coming off the bench with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth.

Record: 6-7 | 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.

Articles: 3388
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Shingos Cheeseburgers

No one overreact or panic, they’re not even 10% of the way through the season.

There’s no way this is the funniest loss of the season with so far to go.

PauliePaulie

I’m currently a little upset with our manager.

Augusto Barojas

La Russa is having a mental melt down. At his age and with his mental issues, is he perhaps the worst manager in MLB history? I think he might be pretty close. There is no evidence to suggest even Bevington would hit Leury 2/3 for several games.

2022 TLR is the worst I’ve ever seen, at any rate.

Last edited 2 months ago by Augusto Barojas
Foulkelore

TLR might be a few days away from getting confused about fair/foul and which side of the argument he’s on.

Marty34

More than a little ageism in this comment.

Until a manager of any Rick Hahn team meets or exceeds the lofty expectations Hahn has put on this rebuild the problem is Hahn, not the manager.

roke1960

But I don’t think this one is Hahn’s call. This hire came from Jerry. Hahn has 3 options:

  1. Continue the status quo
  2. Tell Jerry that he wants to fire LaRussa and then Jerry will probably fire him.
  3. Resign because he is not allowed to make decisions on the manager of his team.

I’m pretty certain he will continue to choose option 1.

Marty34

How ever bad you think TLR is at his job, Hahn is worse at his and that is the real issue with this org.

roke1960

I was one of the few that was ok with the hiring of LaRussa. He was a fantastic manager of the Sox in the 70s and 80s- probably the best of my lifetime. But his decision making this year has been horrendous, and the team has absolutely no life. His stubborn move to keep a well-below average hitter at the top of the order for three straight games is inexcusable. This team is equipped to win the World Series. Yes, Hahn should never have survived the rebuild, but he has put together a formidable squad this year. It just seems like LaRussa is not all there anymore. It’s time for someone to inject some life into this team. He’s not the one that will do it.

Marty34

I think the job Hahn has done stocking this organization with talent during the rebuild is not satisfactory given the resources he had to work with.

TLR is the best manager of a 162 game season I have ever seen. They will win the division.

Foulkelore

Hi, Tony. Where are you are batting Leury in the lineup today?

chipporter

If TA serves his suspension, he’ll lead off. Unless you can hit higher than leadoff.

roke1960

I agree they will win the division. They have way too much talent. Tony used to be the best manager of a 162-game season I have ever seen. He is not any more.

Marty34

He was pretty good last year.

roke1960

Pretty good is not the best I’ve ever seen.

Marty34

It’s also not what ails this team.

roke1960

Having a player with a career OPS around .700 and who is hitting under .100 this year batting 2nd/3rd for 3 straight games is as bad a managerial move as I’ve seen.

roke1960

All that being said, I think they will win this division handily, unless they have way too many injuries to key players. Their depth is better than last year, and none of the other teams in the division seem to be significantly better.

Marty34

It’s a three game stretch. TLR over a 162 game schedule will get it right.

The bigger problem with Leury is he was given $15M,

Last edited 2 months ago by Marty34
roke1960

But a good manager would not get it that wrong for even a 3-game stretch. I agree it was a big problem to give Leury $16M. Don’t you think Tony had some influence on making that happen?

Marty34

For arguments sake, I’ll give you that TLR saddled the Sox with Garcia. Imagine how much better of a manager TLR would be though if Hahn didn’t trade Tatis, Jr.

roke1960

I’m not here to defend Hahn. His 7-year losing streak speaks for itself. Believe me, I wanted him gone years ago. But where we currently are is the White Sox have a championship-caliber team. And it seems Tony is not the manager he was when he was part of 3 World Champions. Can they still win with him? Absolutely. He just doesn’t seem to have the sharpness he had in the past. He’s made too many mistakes that he would not have made in his first run of managerial success.

mrridgman

You mean other than the second half fade and playoff success? I think you are a minority of one here, Marty, and that’s OK.

Marty34

162 games doesn’t include the playoffs.

chipporter

I would say that you’ve taken one too many hits on the hopium pipe. The team underachieved last year and crapped the bed in the playoffs. Decisions like pitching Lynn twice against great FB hitting teams jumps to mind.

Joliet Orange Sox

I do not remember TLR as being fantastic as Sox manager the first time around. His teams put up a 0.506 winning percentage in over 1000 games in 8 seasons. I’m not sure how that qualifies as fantastic. He was also already the arrogant killer of all joy back then.

I didn’t like him then and I don’t like him now.

Marty34

Never been a fan of the style of baseball TLR’s teams have tended to play (his teams games have always taken forever for whatever reason), but his record is what it is.

metasox

Grandal hasn’t looked great so I can understand hesitation in bringing him off the bench. But, if so, I might have expected him in place of Burger who has also struggled more against righties this season, though small sample. I believe Mendick would still have been available for defense.

Last edited 2 months ago by metasox
Right Size Wrong Shape

One small point of contention, Anderson’s error didn’t allow the tying run to cross the plate. It was an ill advised throw, but the run was scoring regardless because there was no chance he was going to throw out Correa. Anderson’s error only allowed the runner to advance.

HallofFrank

The ball beat Correa there. It was a difficult play, no doubt. But if the throw is on target, or if he plants and throws, Correa is probably out.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I went back and watched it again, and I’m still not convinced. I think it’s too hard to tell with so many variables. If he did this, if he did that.

ForsterFTOG

Making a good, solid throw is a variable?

Foulkelore

You are both right. HallofFrank is right that an on target throw gets Correa, but based on the positioning and throw required to Anderson’s right, the proper scoring is an RBI single for Correa, Anderson error allowed the runner to advance to third, Abreu error allowed the second runner to score and Correa to advance to 2nd base.

a-t

the new baseball + humidors in every park has league offensive output suppressed to a historic degree so far. if that even partially holds, one-run games are going to be a lot more common; this team has the staff and bullpen to succeed in that environment, but playing defense this badly with an apparently senile manager is gonna sink em fast

ParisSox

Two theories

A) Anderson and Abreu are on a party binge and can’t concentrate on baseball

B) point A is ridiculous and they are trying to get TLR fired.

Other than that, I can’t figure out why good players suddenly are bad at baseball.

Last edited 2 months ago by ParisSox
Augusto Barojas

TLR is as bad as any player who is a clubhouse cancer. He is a vibe and mojo killer. Every player on their team may wind up doing worse than they would under anybody else because of the terrible energy he brings, and creates.

gibby32

I agree, but it’s not only that. Players are not stupid. When LaRussa posts a lineup with Leury batting second or third, the players, probably including Leury, are saying WTF. He leaves Grandal on the bench in the ninth in a game-critical situation in favor of McGuire, and they’re saying WTF. If a manager consistently fails to put the team in the best situation to win, the players notice and it is depressing to them.

Marty34

As you say players are not stupid, it had to be quite the kick in the teeth when they saw the front office let Rodon walk away.

Last edited 2 months ago by Marty34
gibby32

I like Rodon and I wanted them to try to sign him. But 44M for potentially one season (if he gets hurt) is a bridge too far. The decision on Rodon was correct as it played out. I would like to know, however, what trade package would have netted them Manaea.

rugbysox

In the good news department, Andrew Vaughn always had scouted power but that dead center home run (vs a righty!) checked a box. He deserves to be in the lineup every day. Sheets deserves the same, as the aging curve is on his side and his approach is sound. Late game defensive subs may be necessary with leads in the 8th/9th, but TLR is overcooking it. The supposed point of the world’s best bullpen is that you don’t need to gut your lineup to support them.

Marty34

Another sort of bright spot about this road trip it looks like they found their 2B. Unfortunately, It’s Anderson.

jhomeslice

This team has scored 25 runs now in 10 games, and TLR put a guy carrying a sub-.300 OPS at 2nd or 3rd in the lineup for 3 straight games. I know Leury is better than that, but he’s got a career sub .700 OPS. He has never, ever been good enough to hit 2nd or 3rd, come on. TLR is just a childish, selfish moron.

We can blame TLR but at this point, it’s on Hahn and/or Reinsdorf to intervene. And sports writers of major newspapers to call this bullshit out in scathing and unforgiving ways. This is utterly ridiculous.

As Cirensica

I know the White Sox are scoring few runs, but this is a league wide problem. The Astros and the White Sox have scored both 44 runs. The leaders are the Guardians and Texas with 69 runs. And somehow Texas is dead last in its division.

Right_Engel

I understand not PH’ing Grandal for McGuire but think he definitely should’ve hit for Burger:

–With the bases loaded, it was important that Grandal got to bat but not as critical whether that came with one out or two. He’s become a ~50% bet for one of the three true outcomes, and the only moderately likely outcome for him that’d favor one out over two would be a sac fly.

–Although McGuire could’ve grounded into a game-ending DP, he’d looked pretty good at the plate last night (2B, two flyouts, good zone judgment), had a platoon advantage, and Pagan is an extreme flyball pitcher (only 9 DP induced in 162 career DP opps, or 6%). He wound up having a quality 9-pitch PA that unfortunately didn’t end better (the umpire contributed to that).

–If the Sox could reasonably expect to get two bites at the apple, I’d much prefer McGuire+Grandal to Grandal+Burger. With Pagan battling his control and the bases full, Grandal’s platoon advantage and very discerning eye would’ve been a massive upgrade over Burger.

After the game, TLR said he stuck with McGuire because of the quality of his earlier at-bats (fair enough) rather than bring in Grandal cold (eh, not like he’s struggled as a PH) and risk a DP (come on, McGuire’s a comparable risk and, even then, Pagan mitigates that). He said he didn’t consider Grandal for Burger because he’s really liked Burger’s at-bats. Seriously? I’m rooting for Burger, but there are virtually no circumstances – especially last night’s – where he makes sense over Grandal. That’s terrible.

calcetinesblancos

I’ve been really impressed with McGuire. He’s definitely a better defensive catcher than Grandal but his at-bats have also been really good.

gibby32

I like McGuire but he was not acquired to be in a game-critical offensive position, no matter how good his at-bats had been. Grandal was.

metasox

Burger wasn’t either. If Grandal ends up getting meaningful time at DH, that means McGuire will need to do a fair amount of heavy lifting. He won’t be bailed out late in games but will need to take some tough at bats with no replacement available. May as well see what he can do

Last edited 2 months ago by metasox
gibby32

I don’t mean to pick on you solely because I have heard many use the same rationale, but “may as well see what he can do” is one of my least favorite justifications for a baseball decision. The manager should know what the odds of any particular decision are. If you make the wrong call based on the odds, it’s still the wrong call even if it works. Also, even if the player succeeds, it does not tell you much about the future.

calcetinesblancos

I won’t beat the other points to death, but what a lame ass way to end the game. That was a great at-bat by Burger and that last pitch was low (there’s a reason the catcher pulled it up). To give a pitcher like that with seemingly no control the benefit if the doubt was bullshit. You could argue it was too close to take but who knows with the zone that guy was calling.

roke1960

Yes, the 3-2 pitch to Burger was perfect. It was a strike. But the 1-0 pitch to McGuire was clearly low. That would have made it 2-0 with a guy really struggling with his command. It changed the entire at bat.

Joliet Orange Sox

Matt Davidson was called up by Arizona after hitting 8 homers in the first weeks of the AAA season and hit a homer in his first game back in the big leagues on Thursday.

Not related to the current Sox situation but perhaps related to the universal DH.

Last edited 2 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
roke1960

Vaughn hitting 2nd, Leury hitting 7th. Finally!!!

Augusto Barojas

Better! Yet it would take the grace of God for a lineup without Leury at all. Harrison has looked terrible so far, it seems likely they will have a barely major league level 2b all year.

tommytwonines

After the miserable double-header I’ve been watching the team with one eye or not at all. It seemed like as big funk was coming. Maybe Giolito snaps it tomorrow, but VV going today, oh boy ;(

roke1960

Once they start hitting, they’ll be fine. There is just too much talent on this team to stay down long.