White Sox 11, Twins 0: First half ends with a bang

Bullet-point recap, as I got home from Minneapolis around the fourth inning:

*The White Sox held a big advantage on paper, and it played out to a huge advantage in practice. Dylan Cease finished the half by allowing just one hit and two walks over seven innings, and his eight strikeouts are enough for him to hold the league lead in that category at the All-Star break.

*On the other side, the White Sox couldn’t figure out Chris Archer until the fifth inning, but once the Sox started hitting him, they couldn’t stop no matter who was on the mound.

*Archer retired the first two batters of the fifth inning on two pitches, but when he walked Seby Zavala on four pitches to extend the inning, the flood gates opened. Adam Engel, Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada and Andrew Vaughn all followed with line drives. Anderson’s and Vaughn’s were good for two runs apiece, and Vaughn’s was off Tyler Duffey, the first Twins reliever of the game.

*The White Sox smoked the third Twins reliever of the game, pounding Joe Smith for three homers over the first third of the seventh inning. After an Engel single and an Anderson groundout, Moncada catapulted a center-cut first-pitch sinker 437 feet out to dead center. Vaughn needed to see five pitches, but when Smith rolled a slider, Vaughn hoisted it out just above the wall to left to go back-to-back.

*Smith couldn’t put anybody away. After Vaughn’s hit on 2-2, José Abreu singled on 0-2, and Gavin Sheets walked on seven pitches. Then Josh Harrison homered on a 1-2 slider in a fashion similar to Vaughn’s shot, and the rout reached double digits.

*The Sox scored their 11th run in the ninth on three straight hits, with Engel slicing a double inside the right-field line to cap off his excellent weekend replacing Luis Robert. He went 7-for-13 with a homer, a double, four RBIs and three runs scored over the four games.

*Engel also made a great sliding catch in center field in the bottom of the first as part of a good day of defense from the outfield that allowed Cease to have dreams of a no-hitter for the first half of the game.

*The no-hit bid died when Alex Kiriloff followed a Jorge Polanco walk with a single to left that put Cease in his only jam of the day. Then he simply decided to strike out Jose Miranda and Nick Gordon to eradicate the drama, and he finished his afternoon retiring the final eight he faced.

*Cease got a whopping 21 swinging strikes on just 94 pitches, including six on his fastball, so his slider didn’t do all of the lifting.

*Zavala also helped, erasing the other Cease walk in the second inning with an inning-ending SHOTHO.

*García also made a sliding catch in left, but he committed a couple of errors at shortstop over the last two innings that jeopardized the shutout. As the score above proves, Joe Kelly and José Ruiz pitched around them.

*Sheets was the only member of the lineup who didn’t get a hit. The guy had a rough series, going 1-for-13 with 13 stranded.

*The White Sox did not have a rough series. They outscored the Twins 32-10 and now are only three games out of first after taking three of four.

Record: 46-46 | 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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dongutteridge

It was a great series for the Sox. Fun for the fans and Rick is gonna be a buyer now.

soxfan

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. The biggest holes (C, 3B, and 2B) are have already improved or are due for an improvement. The OF can use some two-way help, but it’s require moving on from a guy that’s a significant investment (Eloy or Pollock) and I’m not sure the org has the appetite for that.

I’d like to see some starting pitching depth to give Lynn and Kopech time to work through whatever’s going on, but I doubt there’ll be a big acquisition at the deadline. I think we’ll hear things like “Grandal coming back is as good as a trade.”

denman

If Grandal really comes back then there’s something to such talk. Having Grandal, Moncada, and Eloy playing as they can gives this team’s offense a very different look for the second half, especially against right-handed pitching.

Yolmer's gatorade

Left handed outfielder and bullpen help are the biggest needs I think. I’m all for raiding the Cubs bullpen again, but I don’t know if the lefty outfielder options are worth it.

vanillablue

Pros: actual enjoyable baseball, beat up on the Twins, Cease keeps dominating
Con: probably saved TLR’s job

Joliet Orange Sox

I can’t imagine Jerry allowing a mid-season firing of TLR no matter how bad things got and I don’t TLR would resign mid-season.

Qubort

TLR job was safe even is the Sox were swept.

ParisSox

Great win today! Yes!

denman

I’m sure the Sox were motivated to assuage their guilt at disappointing the108/Sox machine fans who were at yesterday’s game.

HallofFrank

I wonder how many times a guy has lead his league in Ks and been top 3 in ERA at the AS Break—but wasn’t named an All-Star? That’s gotta be a first, right?

hitlesswonder

Engel should play more…ideally instead of Leury. I’m fact, with Harrison playing well the only thing Leury should do is back up Tim.

Root Cause

The era of Bobby Knight-type coaching is long gone. I think TLR used Garcia because his other coaching tools are outdated. His recent comments about his “approach being more important than a hit” I think was a swipe at the other talent going through the motions. I also think that this created the divide in the clubhouse.

TLR needs to stop using Garcia as a means to punish the rest if that is what he’s doing. The team needs to just get past TLR in general. Maybe that is happening at long last.

lifelongjd

The only real needs I see are 2b and a LH relief. I don’t see them out laying any assets to get SP or OF help

upnorthsox

LHH power bat, doesn’t really matter where they play but the preference would be not 1B/DH or C. Even then it doesn’t matter much as there are no realistic IFers available so it’s pretty much OFers anyhow and even then it slim pickings. From non-contenders there’s Kole Calhoun and David Peralta and from contenders its Gallo. Calhoun and Peralta are going to start with Jimmy Lambert and add from there. Gallo I think could be had for Seby or McGuire but might need a sweetener added. It sucks to be in the LHH power bat market right now especially with the expanded playoffs.

Willardmarshall

I’m not recalling a day of better Sox outfielding….

GrinnellSteve

DeWayne Wise in Buehrle’s perfect game was just 1 catch, but what a catch and what a moment.

Qubort

It’ll be interesting if the Blue Jays stay in the playoff picture up to the trade deadline. The Royals have numerous guys to trade but AL teams aren’t going to give up full value for guys that can only play half a playoff round.

Just John

Some time ago on the podcast a question was posed: if you could give any one tool to any Sox player, what would it be and to whom would you give it? And Jim answered the hit tool to Engel.
I really liked that answer and I always think of it after weeks like this. And then we always remember it was just a wish a week later.
Well he’s gonna be just fine for the next week, so.. Go Engel!

Papa Giorgio

#leury-error #leury-gem in the same post

funkerdan

If I am reading this correctly, Cease reached 500 strikeouts in 399.1 innings (beating out Sale for the White Sox record). This also is the fastest for any Starting pitcher, no? Jose Fernandez got his 500th in 400 innings (previous record held by Yu Darvish, and Kerry Wood before that). Has there been someone faster that I’m missing?