White Sox 12, Orioles 1: Patience pays, then pays more

The White Sox offense needed just about one turn through the lineup to get their bearings, so they just needed Dallas Keuchel to hold the line until the bats synced up.

Both delivered. Keuchel threw seven innings of one-run ball, while a lineup piled on the runs starting in the middle innings. The results was an 11-run margin that was tied for the third-most lopsided victory of the year.

Keuchel allowed just a Ramón Urías second-inning solo shot, although Anthony Santander came a couple millimeters away from a second homer in the fourth. The top of the right-center wall rejected his drive with enough force that the second-base umpire’s initial call of a double was overruled by home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, only to be overturned by a replay that showed the ball never cleared the wall.

Keuchel bore down and induced a pair of groundouts and a lineout to the left side to escape the inning, and that was characteristic of his effort. He scattered seven hits and a walk while striking out only three, but two of those three strikeouts stranded a runner generated by a Leury García error in the sixth. The guy with eight unearned tabs on his 2021 record avoided another slide, and then he closed out his night with a nine-pitch seventh.

Keuchel would’ve needed a calamity to blow the lead the White Sox eventually provided him. The White Sox generated 24 baserunners over nine innings — 15 hits, eight walks and an HBP. Every starter hit safely, and seven of the nine reached at least twice. It’s the kind of game where nobody minded the Sox stranding 13 runners, because chances are a third out was going to be recorded with traffic.

Seven of those hits went for extra bases, and homers by Gavin Sheets and Adam Engel didn’t show up until the game was already in hand. The Sox had already induced plenty of mistakes from the Baltimore pitchers by steady pressure.

A two-out double by Brian Goodwin tied the game in the third, and an RBI single by José Abreu put the Sox ahead in the fifth inning, with Tim Anderson scoring both times. But the Sox secured the game in the sixth without doing much on their part. Andrew Vaughn and Sheets started the inning with walks to prompt Orioles manager Brandon Hyde to pull Cole Sulser from the game, and Dillon Tate wasn’t any better. Seby Zavala spotted him an out by bunting the runners up a base, but Tate gave up a two-run double to Anderson, then issued three consecutive walks to force another runner home. Engel then cashed in another run with a sac fly that made it a 6-1 game, and everybody could breathe easier.

The rest of the game was reserved for stat padding. Sheets homered in front of family and friends in the seventh, followed by Zavala sneaking a double inside third base for his first hit of the year. Yoán Moncada drew a walk, and Abreu drove them both in with a double. Engel then added one more kick by belting a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth.

Bullet points:

*Keuchel closes out the first half 7-3 with a 4.25 ERA, which is fine, even with the unearned runs.

*Anderson scored three runs from the leadoff spot, while Engel drove in four runs, and Abreu added three RBIs himself.

*Michael Kopech pitched the eighth to get some work, and he completed overmatched the Orioles with three strikeouts on 15 pitches, 12 for strikes.

*Zavala struck out three times, but he got a hit, bunted successfully when asked, and caught a good performance, which is about all one could want from his starts. Keuchel offered encouraging words:

Record: 52-35 | 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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calcetinesblancos

I love the new attitude of giving the young players a chance.

GoGoSoxFan

Isn’t there an unwritten rule about hitting homeruns in the ninth inning of a blow out?

MasGarcias

I was shocked to see TLR put Kopech in the game during the blowout garbage time.
Putting the best reliever in to mow down the Os? TLR certainly did Not respect the opponent there, and did not respect the game of baseball.

ParisSox

I love that Seby us being asked to bunt and executing. Whether or not it matters for run expectancy traditionally, it seems there something to be said that it’s a good use case to increase run expectancy for such a bad hitter. The likely outcomes if he swings away in those situations seem worse.

Ok nerds, prove me wrong with your “stats”. ????

Trooper Galactus

Given how notoriously poor a hitter Zavala is, never mind that he might have an actual talent for bunting more than swinging the bat, it might be the rare case of bunting not being a statistically bad idea.

metasox

It presumably makes sense for pitchers in NL parks. Just think of him that way.

Curious about the “talkative to the umpire” comment from Keuchel. Have never heard much about what goes on in that regard. So something else that “stats” don’t capture. He survived several years on the roster so the Sox must like some things he does.

soxygen

Of course, historically NL teams have not fared well in AL parks so I don’t know if this is actually comforting. To win in the AL it usually helps to have a pretty deep lineup.

Also, pitchers in NL parks get lifted for pinch hitters. With a catcher, that is not likely to happen unless the team is carrying a third catcher. I don’t mind carrying a light-hitting catcher on the roster per se, but if we’re going to do that we probably need a 3rd catcher more than we need a Matt Foster.

Infield Grass

Yeah, but that’s because most NL teams aren’t carrying a DH quality hitter so that’s a true disparity. There’s plenty of AL catchers who are mostly hopeless at the plate like Houston is winning with a starting cather with an OPS well under .600.

soxygen

I don’t think it matters which position a mostly helpless bat plays. And a helpless bat when you can’t pinch hit for them creates some late inning problems. And I think part of the problem this team is going to have against teams that aren’t awful is that we already have a lot of weak spots in the lineup. I mean, how long do you think we can go with Leury/Mendick, Sheets/Burger, Engel/Hamilton, and Collins/Seby?

Big picture, I think it’s great that he is good at D. I’ll check back in with everyone in a few weeks. My guess is that having a black hole in a lineup that is held together by bubble gum and duct tape will stop being fun before we get to the end of July.

Last edited 1 year ago by soxygen
ParisSox

Probably compliments the umpire a lot.

calcetinesblancos

Yes it’s only “nerds” who think Tony the Russa bunting in situations like Hamilton on second with no outs is stupid. No objective person could ever see the lack of logic in that genius baseball play lol.

My biggest beef with the bunting is that you could be killing a string of hits, and when it’s early in the game it’s especially irritating. Regardless, it would probably be a good idea for someone to tell Seby “look, you are not Grandal and you don’t have to be. You don’t have to work counts. Look for a pitch to hit and try to put the bat on the ball.” Keep it simple. I’d have him looking first pitch fastball every at bat.

In his brief MLB career to date, Zavala has struck out in well over half of his plate appearances. Putting the bat on the ball is a tall ask for him.

Amar

Sheets + ? for Adam Frazier

Last edited 1 year ago by Amar
As Cirensica

No

calcetinesblancos

I’m over it.

soxygen

Seby might be acceptable when the offense is scoring 12 runs and the team is beating up on the O’s. That said, I don’t know if the D & bunting are enough when Tim+Jose+ The 7 Scrubs have trouble scoring runs for a few games. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching the D and keep my thoughts on the bunting to myself given that this is a family website and all…

Red_Hair_White_Sox

Keuchel’s content is very interesting. The complete aversion of the imported veterans to Collins catching is palpable. Which is really something, since it means that we have a righty-mashing catcher who doesn’t always get a chance to mash righties, even as the starting catcher

calcetinesblancos

Complimenting one person doesn’t mean you’re trashing another.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

No, but it’s pretty easy to read between the lines. Collins has caught Lynn 2 times this season. Collins has caught Keuchal exactly 1 time this season.

For comparison he has caught 6 Cease starts, 14 Giolito, and 12 for Rodon.

Collins is a well above league average hitter against RHP (131 wRC+) and horrible against LBP (39 wRC+) yet works mainly Gio and Rodon starts regardless of pitcher handedness.

There is clearly something there.

calcetinesblancos

I’m genuinely confused; what point are you trying to make? Keuchel has been meh this season, but you’re saying he’s only thrown to Collins once as if that is some kind of “aha!” discovery. But how is that a knock on Collins? You’re saying he’s a bad at catcher, but is also bad when someone else is catching?

Also, since when does Tony care about platoon splits? Not sure why catcher would be any different.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

The point is that a traditional split of playing time between the two catchers would have Collins starting ~40% of the games, almost entirely against Righties. But that is not what has happened, the fact that he has only caught Keuchel 1 time this season, even with Yaz being banged up most of the year, suggests that Keuchel does not want to be caught by him.

The Sox have played two games since Seby was called up, both were against RHP. Collins received 0 plate appearances in those two games. They were started by Lynn and Keuchel. Both pitchers went out of their way to talk about how comfortable they are pitching to Zavala. You can read that as propping up a rookie, but when combined with all of the other points, I choose to understand it this way.

I might be off the mark, but there is a ton of smoke here

Infield Grass

Prior to this point though the assumption everyone has been pushing is that Collins is catching Giolito because Giolito doesn’t want throw to Grandal and wants a personal catcher? And that guys like Lynn and Kuechel don’t have Giolito’s hangups where everything has to be to his likely.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

And I’m saying that I don’t think that was the correct assumption. My reading is that Lynn and Keuchel – being more control oriented – don’t want a catcher who hemorrhages strikes, which defaulted Collins to Giolito and Rodon and 50-50 with Cease.

The assumption that Gio doesn’t like throwing to Yaz seems faulty, being more of a by-product of having an insane connection with McCann last year than an aversion to Yaz. Gio has had more games caught by Grandal than either Keuchel or Lynn have with Collins.

dwjm3

Tim to the All star game

Last edited 1 year ago by dwjm3
jhomeslice

Are they pretty much resigned to Kopech being a short inning reliever all year? Seems to me he might be their 2nd or 3rd best starter if they chose to stretch him out and get him ready for the playoffs. He is nearly 3 years removed from his TJ surgery and has thrown only 35 innings. Time on the DL contributed to the number being that low, but still the way they have used him he wouldn’t have that many more even without that.

I know he has value out of the pen even in the playoffs esp with their lack of bullpen depth, but not as much as a starter. I have a lot more confidence in Kopech being able to shut down a playoff opponent than Giolito, Keuchel, or Cease right now. Guys routinely throw a pretty a decent number of innings coming back from TJ surgery a year sooner than he did, it would seem overly cautious if his innings count for the year is well under 100 and they don’t even consider how much he could impact a playoff series as a starter. He could certainly be stretched out to be used for 3-4 innings of relief for a meaningful playoff game as well.

Trooper Galactus

The plan was to ramp up his workload slowly over the course of the season. His time on the IL set that back, so given how important he is to the team, never mind their general lack of good right-handed options in the pen, I think they’re good with keeping him there for now and continuing with multiple inning appearances when they can.