White Sox 17, Cubs 13: Yasmani Grandal makes presence felt

In his first game back from the injured list, Yasmani Grandal had a chance to put an immediate stamp on the proceedings when he came to the plate in the first inning with the bases loaded, one out and the White Sox trailing 6-1. Alas, he popped out, César Hernández struck out on a foul tip, and the White Sox failed to capitalize in a momentous way.

But because the Cubs are the Cubs, Grandal got another chance for a dramatic homer. And another chance. And another chance.

He went 3-for-4 in that regard, and 4-for-6 en route to a two-homer, eight-RBI night. And the Sox basically needed all of it despite great nights up and down the lineup, because around Reynaldo López’s five perfect innings lay chaos.

Grandal technically batted sixth, but he encountered plenty of cleanup work because José Abreu, Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada reached base 10 times in front of him, with the latter two combining for five walks.

While Grandal missed out on his first chance, his second such swing swung the game. He strode up to the plate with two on and nobody out after Luis Robert and Abreu doubled, Andrew Romine committed the less hilarious of his two errors in the inning on Jiménez’s grounder, and Moncada singled Abreu home.

Grandal came up to the plate ready to attack, swinging at three strikes and looking at three out of the zone over the course of Adrian Sampson’s first six pitches. Sampson came inside on his seventh pitch, and had he induced a popup with his pitch off the plate, it would’ve looked like fine execution.

Instead, Grandal cleared his hips and let it rip, launching a bomb that didn’t qualify as a no-doubter only because it seemed like it could’ve hooked foul for a second. It stayed well fair and landed in the Goose Island to tie the game at 6. The Sox tacked on three more runs before the close of the inning because Andrew Romine dropped Luis Robert’s routine popup with two outs, which allowed Andrew Vaughn to score, and afforded Jiménez to drive in two with a single before Sampson could get the third/fourth out.

The Sox never trailed again, although four of the five Sox’s pitchers tried their damndest. Dallas Keuchel made the scoreboard match his jersey by it showing “6-0” after the top of the first. He walked Michael Hermosillo to start the game, gave up a punched single by Frank Schwindel, then hung a cutter that Patrick Wisdom socked into the left-field seats for an immediate three-run lead. Just when it seemed like Keuchel rebounded with a routine flyout and a called third strike, he gave up a shanked single on another outside sinker, a Robinson Chirinos RBI double, a shanked infield single to Jason Heyward (maybe Hernández should’ve tried bare-handing it), then a solid single by Andrew Romine.

The sixth run scored because Hernánez definitely committed an error, firing over the head of Grandal on a pickoff with runners on the corners that should’ve ended the inning. Instead, Hermosillo flied out to left in his second at-bat of the game. Only half the margin was due to poor execution, but because Keuchel doesn’t miss bats, this is the kind of inning that can happen.

When Keuchel gave up a single to Schwindel to start the second, La Russa gave him the hook.

OK, that’s not quite true. La Russa allowed Keuchel to throw one pitch to Wisdom, a changeup that generated a swinging strike. After a pickoff throw, La Russa determined that everybody had bought enough time to López to come into the game, and Keuchel departed mid-batter.

Based on López’s results, he can’t complain. López stranded his runner and went 15 up, 15 down, including seven strikeouts on just 60 pitches. It was more than enough for López to be proud of himself, but it wasn’t the overkill performance it seemed while the Sox rattled off 13 unanswered runs.

It was one thing when Mike Wright allowed a two-out solo shot to Hermosillo because it was his job to throw strikes at that juncture. It only made the score 13-7, and the Sox got it back with an Andrew Vaughn RBI single. But Wright didn’t do his job when he walked Wisdom to open the eighth, and La Russa lifted him for Garrett Crochet after a Matt Duffy single.

Ian Happ then greeted Crochet with yet another unimposing Cub hit to right field, an RBI double past Abreu. Jason Heyward then hit a harder grounder in Abreu’s direction, and it ramped off him for a two-run double and a 14-7 game.

Of course, the White Sox had an answer for those three runs as well, courtesy of Grandal’s second three-run blast. That margin made it impossible for the Sox to reproduce whatever the Cubs could come up with in the top of the ninth, which was just as well since Craig Kimbrel allowed a pair of homers in the top of the ninth after retiring the first two batters. Wisdom took him deep, followed by a Duffy walk and an opposite-field blast by Happ that drew the game within a slam. Kimbrel put the game to rest by striking out Austin Romine, but the damage (to his reputation) had been done.

Figuring out whether Kimbrel is any good remains a delicate task, but it should’ve overshadow a crazy night from a White Sox lineup that only struck out twice over the course of 52 batters. Meanwhile, they reached base on 15 hits, nine walks, two HBPs and two errors.

Tim Anderson doubled twice, drew his first walk in 123 plate appearances and scored three runs out of the leadoff spot, and he’s not even one of the three stars of the game. Robert, Abreu and Jiménez also scored three runs, with Robert and Abreu coming up with three hits, and Jiménez drawing three walks around his RBI single.

And then there’s Grandal, who hit two three-run homers, along with a two-run double that accounted for the latter half of a four-run fifth. The three hitters behind him went 1-for-13 with two walks, but perhaps they just realized that Grandal left little meaningful work for them.

Bullet points:

*Tonight was the highest-scoring game of the year for the White Sox, whether in terms of total, runs scored or runs allowed.

*At 4:09, it was also their longest nine-inning game of the year.

*Grandal hiked his average above .200 (2.03), which was enough to offset Keuchel’s ERA reaching five.

*López improved to 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA after a rare sort of relief dominance.

*Cleveland lost, so the White Sox are back to leading the division by double digits.

*The Crosstown Cup is no more. The Crosstown Obelisk is here.

Record: 75-55 | 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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itaita

Was watching with a cubs fan tonight and when Romine dropped the fly ball he just loudly muttered “2016” a few times before watching the rest of the game. Which is a feeling i think we’re all familiar with when those teams from the 2010’s were flopping about.

Joliet Orange Sox

17-13 is perhaps the most football-like score I’ve ever seen a baseball game have.

Last edited 10 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
soxexile

Around the 5th inning, my son turned and said “Well, we needed to spot the Cubs 6 runs just to make it competitive. Either that, or let them hit off a tee.”

GrinnellSteve

I like your son.

Jason

I want to say tonight Yaz showed how much more dangerous our lineup is replacing an almost guaranteed out. But 13 runs to a AAA lineup? This team will not let you feel good in August (Corn game followed by merciful off day, not withstanding).

Trooper Galactus

I don’t really give a rip about Kimbrel right now, but he better fix whatever’s broken before the postseason or this could become another James Shields level of disaster.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Reynaldo – 5 IP, 14 batters faced (technically)
Everyone else – 4 IP, 28 batters faced

A really ugly 1st and 9th add to the data points heading in the wrong direction for a couple of marquee acquisitions

asinwreck

around Reynaldo López’s five perfect innings lay chaos

Whose preseason prediction could have possibly accounted for this?

md03

Not even preseason, in-season the guy looked like he was going to be on the street in no time. His minor league numbers were pretty rough up until they were going to bring him up so this guy is really coming out of nowhere in a season of a ton of guys coming out of nowhere. Been great to see it finally happening that way, I can barely remember in my lifetime a season where we got this much from minor league call up support.

Last edited 10 months ago by md03
Brett R. Bobysud

Off topic:

I’m in Cleveland this weekend to pick up ballpark #12 and the fact that Karinchak blew the game for the soon-to-be Guardians last night made the night even better.

soxygen

Just checked in on Codi Heuer. Looks like he has given up only 7 H and 2 ER in 13.1 IP since the trade.

Kimbrel, in contrast, has given up 12 H and 9 ER in 11.1 IP.

Sometimes trades just don’t work out the way you want them to work out. This one could end up really being a stinker for the Sox.

tommytwonines

Sometimes it’s nice not being on a contender – get the ball and throw, what does it matter?

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

I didn’t follow closely, but wasn’t Kimbrel pretty rough with the Cubs at the beginning before settling down to what we would expect? Five weeks to get it figured out, otherwise we are going to need to channel 2005 and have all our starters pitch complete games in the playoffs.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Last night should be enough evidence to replace Keuchel in the rotation with Lopez. What more would TLR need to see?

LamarHoyt_oncrack

True. But in games like last night when Keuchel starts, Lopez may wind up pitching anyway like he did. With playoff seeding relevant, seems pretty backwards to keep giving Keuchel starts.

Seems logical to give Lopez the rotation spot, limit him to 5 innings or whatever, and can still use him out of the pen in October. But that’s just me. If not Lopez, who else?

soxygen

I like seeing the Sox piggyback Lopez with a left-handed starter. I think it plays well to his strengths and weaknesses.

I don’t like seeing Keuchel unable to get through 2 innings…In case there was any doubt… But if we are going to keep a lefty in the back of the rotation then having Lopez available to give us multiple innings on those days seems like a pretty reasonable plan.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Why spot the other team 3-6 runs when Keuchel starts if Lopez is going to pitch 5 innings anyway? They aren’t going to win some of those games, and would be better off if Lopez starts without runs on the board.

I don’t see another decent starter to piggyback Lopez with, and Keuchel right now isn’t decent.

soxfan

Does this game finally put to rest the trope that Kimbrel can only pitch in the 9th?

joewho112

He can only pitch is 3 out save situations

soxfan

At night, on the road, when facing the bottom of the order, on days ending in y but not starting with a T or an F…probably.

jhomeslice

Obviously he has not looked good, but it is also quite odd to bring him in with a 7 run lead after he got a save the night before.

Now Liam has pitched only once in the past 8 days and we’ve seen where that often leads. I think TLR’s bullpen management has been close to complete crap in the 2nd half.

soxygen

Doesn’t it seem more likely that Kimbrel just isn’t pitching well right now for other reasons though? Like that his HR/FB rate at the time of trade was 3.6% (about one third of his career rate) and therefore this is just plain and simple regression? Or that he is having a mechanical problem? Or that the death in his family is a distraction? Or just that he is tired because it is August? Or tipping his pitches? Or he is an older guy who could put together a solid half season before falling back to his 2019-2020 trajectory?

Last edited 10 months ago by soxygen
vince

I was thinking what the Venn diagram of “Sox fans saying Hendriks should be used in non-save situations more” and “Sox fans saying Kimbrel should only be used in save situations” would look like.

Last edited 10 months ago by vince
670WMAQtheElder

My wife and I were at the game. It was stiffingly hot and humid. And it dragged on….so I think towards the end of it the Sox lost a bit of focus in the field. Abreu was not his usual sharp self on those two doubles; was he day dreaming a bit at that point? Plus I thought Vanover was crowding him a bit on plays to his left. ‘Nuff said by others about Dallas. As for Kimbrel I think TLR put him in to see how he’d do two days in a row. Not so hot, but would Kimbrel have made the same pitches with a one run lead instead of seven? Net, net, it was a win, and the Sox made lots of money selling beer because it took more than three hours to get to the eighth! Put it in the free agent budget for the off season.

vince

The Crosstown Cup is no more. The Crosstown Obelisk is here

It’ll always be the Crosstown Sears Tower to me.

tommytwonines

Reynaldo should be in that photo with the starting lineup.

Esteban

Any good pitcher is good in a inning. Kimbrel is demonstrated that he has some problems and is not the inning he pitches. Keuchel is a piece for a trade next season. The hero of Guira de Melena, Yasmani, came back very aggressive with hus bats, while the Guantanamo s son Luis Robert is a top player.