White Sox 3, Athletics 2: Walk-off #WILDPITCHOFFENSE

The White Sox snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, which would feel better if the way they fell behind didn’t feel so predictable.

Nevertheless, Gavin Sheets singlehandedly dragged the Sox back into the game. He hit a game-tying two-run shot in the seventh, then followed with a leadoff double that turned into the game-winning run via wild pitch two innings later. The White Sox are back to .500 at the 100-game mark by that unlikely series of events, which feels like the kind that the phrase “any means necessary” is intended to cover.

The White Sox trailed this one 2-0 because Johnny Cueto had the nerve to give up a pair of solo shots over seven innings, while another ordinary righty in Paul Blackburn proved uncrackable to the White Sox offense.

Fortunately, the White Sox were able to crack the scoreboard against righty Austin Pruitt in the seventh. He plunked Andrew Vaughn with a 2-2 fastball to put the leadoff man on board, and when he started Sheets with a grooved fastball, Sheets deposited it over the visiting bullpen in right to make it a 2-2 game.

In the ninth, Sheets came out on top of another lefty-righty matchup when he greeted Zach Jackson with a double sliced to left field. Adam Engel pinch-ran for him, and then Josh Harrison bunted him over to third. Tim Anderson came to the plate, and while Anderson had an ugly at-bat with runners in scoring position earlier in the game, he managed to lay off a pair of low curves to get ahead 2-0. Jackson pumped a fastball past him for a 2-1 count, but his third and final attempt to get him to swing over a breaking ball bounced well in front of home plate, and deflected off Sean Murphy toward the third-base dugout. Engel scored easily, and now the White Sox have a rubber match on Sunday.

It shouldn’t have been that hard, but based on the way the White Sox struggle against right-handed starters, it was eminently predictable.

Paul Blackburn opened the game with five scoreless innings against the Sox, short-circuiting a couple rallies along the way. In the fourth, he got Yasmani Grandal to hit a firm grounder into a 6-4-3 double play, which negated a pair of one-out singles. In the fifth, Eloy Jiménez smoked a single off the wall to right, and Andrew Vaughn hit a double off third base to put runners on second and third with nobody out.

Then, three bad at-bats. Sheets fell behind 0-2, then popped out to second. Harrison got ahead 0-2, then swung through three straight pitches, two of them thigh-high. Anderson swung at the three pitches he saw, fouling off two before chasing a slider out of the zone to kill the threat.

Meanwhile, Cueto gave up a couple of no-doubt homers — a first-inning blast to Murphy, and a third-inning moon shot to Seth Brown. Both came with nobody on base, but even though Cueto scattered four singles and a walk over the rest of his seven innings, the Sox trailed the entire time he was out there.

The Sox did tie it up before Jimmy Lambert took over, which at least got Cueto off the hook. Lambert pitched around a one-out double for a scoreless eighth, and then Liam Hendriks did the same in the ninth for his first scoreless outing in four tries in the second half. It was good enough for the win.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while the A’s were 0-for-7.

*José Abreu had a good game at first base, making a tough catch near the netting earlier in the game, then smothering a grounder down the line with two outs in the eighth to help strand Lambert’s runner.

*Minnesota won and Cleveland lost, so the White Sox still trail the Twins by three games, but are now only a game behind the Guardians.

Record: 50-50 | 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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KaiserSouszay

A win is a win, not scoring a run with runners on 2nd and 3rd nobody out is just bad, bad fundamental baseball again. Happy to see Sheets go and totally redeem himself and Harrison with the bunt.

Anyone else see the reaction after the wild pitch scored the run, lots of guys happy and celebrating a much needed break for a win. Anderson looked off, don’t know if it means anything, just sayin.

ParisSox

I got the impression that they were confused about who to jump on to celebrate.

mikeschach

To paraphrase someone… everybody goes 50 and 50. It’s what you do in the other 62 games that determines the season.

I guess we’re about to find out.

Let’s go White Sox!

soxygen

I think the applicable corollary is that once you have gone 50-50, the default expectation for performance over the final 62 games should probably be 31-31…

Last edited 10 days ago by soxygen
ParisSox

This is the epitome of a .500 team. While we believe they should be better, they are who they are. Better coaching all around would probably have them at least tied with Minnesota if not running away with the division.

I question who is responsible for these plate approaches. Why does patience go out the window with runners on base? That is the time when your approach should be rock solid to wait for your pitch I would think.

a-t

damn the coaching, a competent goddamn training staff has em running away w the divison

ChiSoxND12

Just wanted to point out that it took Tony 19 full seconds to get to Tim yesterday during his incident with Mahrley. TA lost his shit and jeopardized his availability and it was bad. That said, our manager literally proved that he’s physically incapable of the job tasked to him. And even when he sauntered out there late he showed no urgency in getting between his star SS and the umpire. This type of stuff is galling and beyond the point of defensible in the slightest

Last edited 10 days ago by ChiSoxND12
Root Cause

You are giving ‘sauntered’ a bad name. Perhaps ‘crab crawl’ would be more appropriate.

mrridgman

TLR had one job there, to get Tim away from the home plate ump and minimize the damage; he didn’t. Finally another ump (apparently smarter than TLR) did Tony’s job.

Nellie Fox

Hard to have urgency when he is telling players not to play hard.

ChiSoxND12

One should at least prevent them from arguing (too) hard!

peanutsNcrackerjack

At the game last night, the boos after not scoring with 2nd and 3rd and no outs were deafening.
On another note, it has become clear that Moncada is basically a glove-first 3rd baseman whose once-a-week offense is all that should be expected any more.

Nellie Fox

I have noticed if there is a runner on second and moncada comes to the plate, there is a 98% possibility that he will strike out.

soxygen

In 2022 with runners in scoring position he is hitting .333/.410/.648. So, actually he is hitting very well with RISP (wRC+ of 196).

His problem is actually when the bases are empty – under those circumstances he is batting .137/.179/.171 (wRC+ of -2).

Last edited 10 days ago by soxygen
jhomeslice

Maybe Moncada is going well with RISP, and he can still field. But overall a sub-.600 OPS is miserable production for a guy they will be paying 40+M the next two years.

He has been better in July but a 0.3 WAR can’t be glossed over, his season has been ugly.

Last edited 10 days ago by jhomeslice
soxygen

I agree that his season has been very disappointing. I was responding to a specific assertion with some relevant specific facts, not responding to or disagreeing with an unstated concern that he won’t be worth his salaries over the remainder of his contract.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Moncada, or the shape of his production overall. That said, he has a guaranteed contract so he’s probably our guy there for the foreseeable future.

Last edited 10 days ago by soxygen
jhomeslice

True. He was the top prospect in baseball at the time the Sox traded for him. Just rotten luck that they did not ask for Devers instead, I am sure Boston would have agreed. That guy can hit, and is a lefty with an OPS over 1 vs RHP.

As it is, they got the guy who used to eat 80 twinkies a week. Kind of a red flag in itself if you asked me.

Last edited 10 days ago by jhomeslice
peanutsNcrackerjack

Not commenting on his salary, prior prospect ranking, simply stating we should not be expecting much in the form of offense. Gets a hit 2 out of every ten ABs, hits very few HR’s, doesn’t steal bases. Just saying, if he doesn’t field his position well–which he does– he is not in the big leagues under most circumstances. Glove-first 3rd baseman. Drop him in the order like most glove-first players reside.

texag10

Hes been an above average hitter the past month and a half but I’m sure your eye test is more valid.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Check his full year stats and measure them up against Josh Harrison.

Augusto Barojas

I mean people wonder why this team has been such a disappointment. Of course Tony is part, but on the field stuff starts with Eloy and Moncada. A combined WAR of 0.1 from two of their “core” players.

upnorthsox

He’s been a .226 hitter since June 17th and a .196 hitter from June 17th to July 12th. How is that above average?
He’s hit .255 since the 12th which is average but that’s 2 weeks not a month and a half.

jhomeslice

All Yoan has done is raise his game from basically league worst, completely awful to mediocre.

Qubort

The 2010 As and 2011 Jays both played 33 games while at 500. I think we’re at 20 thus far? We have a real chance to match those teams. We all hoped this year would be historic after all.

soxygen

Nice legwork, Qubort

Foulkelore

Especially impressive legwork considering Qubort can only move diagonally.

StockroomSnail

#NoFunOffense

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