White Sox 3, Twins 1: Resilience from the bullpen

You’d never know from the result of this game that the White Sox had a pitching emergency on their hands.

You’d also never know from the result of this game that the White Sox have never had an interest in the opener.

While it was a bullpen game by definition, it was the club’s closest flirtation with the opener to date — one inning of Iván Nova on his bullpen day, followed by a lefty going more than inning — and it worked better than any of their planned pitching performances this road trip. Eight White Sox pitchers combined to hold the Twins to one run on three hits and five walks.

Nova pitched around two walks for a scoreless inning, and he, Jace Fry and Carson Fulmer kept the Twins hitless through five.

The Twins finally canceled the postgame show when Jorge Polanco singled off Josh Osich with one out in the sixth. Jimmy Cordero couldn’t strand him, as Polanco moved to second on a walk when Eddie Rosario’s single shot off the glove of a diving Yolmer Sánchez. Cordero ended up loading the bases, but got a groundout to end the inning, and resumed the scorelessness by getting the first two outs of the seventh. The high-leverage guys — Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Alex Colome — survived hard contact and faced the minimum to close it out.

The White Sox never trailed thanks to an offense that did enough.

The team’s hottest hitters put the first two on the board. In the second, Eloy Jiménez followed Yoan Moncada’s double off Jake Odorizzi with an RBI single for the 1-0 lead. In the sixth, Moncada’s second double of the game scored Tim Anderson from first, which came in handy when Cordero stumbled in the bottom of the inning.

Zack Collins then provided insurance with a solo shot off Brusdar Graterol just over the wall in center for his second homer in as many days.

Bullet points:

*The defense showed up for Marshall after he entered with one out in the eighth. Anderson made a nice pick backing up on a sharp one-hopper by Nelson Cruz for a key out in the eighth. When Rosario followed with a deep drive that bounced off the wall despite Leury García’s best effort, Adam Engel was there to back him up and made an on-target throw to Moncada, who completed the tremendous assist with a diving tag.

*Collins let a couple of catchable pitches get past him — a Nóva sinker in the dirt for a not-wild wild pitch, and a Jimmy Cordero outfield fastball for a passed ball. That said, he framed OK, which is no small feat in a game featuring eight White Sox pitchers.

*Daniel Palka went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but he did pull a ball in the air for the first time since March.

*The White Sox won the game without winning the strike zone. Twins pitchers struck out 14 against one walk, while White Sox pitchers had five apiece.

*The Sox wrapped up the season series with Minnesota 6-13. It could’ve been worse.

Record: 66-86 | Box score | Highlights

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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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misoxfan

“It could have been worse”

Get that one off to the folks in marketing right away. I smell a 2020 slogan.

Joliet Orange Sox

It’s already the 2019 slogan!

As Cirensica

It’s emblazoned in White Sox coat of arms since the beginning of time

Trooper Galactus

Collins looked terrible back there. Hope the bat comes through because he’s gonna need it.

iowasox1971

Part of the problem tonight might have been that Collins hasn’t caught some of these guys much. Still, you have to give him credit for calling a good game. We only allowed one run against a powerful lineup, so he must have been doing something right back there.

Also, he made up for the run we gave up by hitting the insurance home run in the ninth.

Collins has to catch as much as possible in these final 10 games.

roke1960

That was a gutsy win. The Sox really battled this series, even though they are so shorthanded (How can you be shorthanded with a 40-man roster?). They outhomered the Twins, and easily could have won 2 out of 3 against a team trying to wrap up the division.

If I were Rocco Baldelli, I’d have a serious talk with Eddie Rosario about his baserunning. It is atrocious. He trots out of the box on everything- on a couple of ground balls this series which could have been close he just jogged down the line. Then watching his ball off the bat in the 8th yesterday and trying to make up for it by trying for 3 and making the third out of the inning at 3rd- inexcusable. Sano was next- no reason for him to try for third.

As much as I’ve been critical of Adam Engel in the past, he has had a really good last month. There may be a spot for him as the 26th man next year.

Keep playing hard boys! Finish the season strong.

knoxfire30

Hard pass on Engel, this team desperately needs more power not less. If Robert’s defense matches what it looks like on the highlight reels it makes Engels roster spot that much more useless. 26th man should be something that helps with the sox many shortcomings not a pinch runner.

roke1960

I tend to agree, but if we are going to have Eloy in left and another defensively challenged guy in right (Castellanos?), we’re definitely going to need a late inning replacement. But Leury could probably fill that role.

roke1960

In his last 15 games, Engel has 4 homers and an .830 OPS. (Wow, I can’t believe I’m defending Adam Engel. I need help!)

knoxfire30

You do haha

Yea I would be fine with Leury being the 4th outfielder utility infielder role who can come in late to play defense.

I think the sox end up utilizing the 26th man as an outside the box way to help with obp, power, left handedness. I still think some type of grandal, abreu, collins, mccann scenario at dh, 1b, c, rotating around is their best bet. Grandal and Collins are passable at 1b, Grandal and McCann actually form a very good catching dual, you know abreu will want to play 1st a lot… collins could be semi protected from catching and vs most left handed pitchers.

roke1960

You just used “White Sox” and “out of the box” in the same sentence. I’m not sure Hahn is capable of thinking outside of the box!

roke1960

But you’re absolutely right. That would be the best way to use that 26th man. In that case it would probably be Collins.

knoxfire30

I do agree most of the time, but I think Renteria showed a big time willingness this year to use his backup C as a DH when needed. Most teams dont do that. So if the sox choose to build on that Grandal provides the best bet as a front line C, lefty (switch) middle order high obp bat they need.

roke1960

Yes, that would allow Collins to DH and still have McCann as the backup.

texag10

The DHydra lives!

Neat_on_the_rocks

I would just be prepared for Adam Engel to start the year on the 26 man roster, assuming Robert and Madrigal start the year in Charlotte. Even with some good free agent additions, I think its likely there is space on the roster for Engel until Robert gets here.

burning-phoneix

Engel’s defense is legit gold glove caliber whenever he plays. He’s already at 16th in the MLB in Outs Above Average, which is a counting statistic so he’s provided more value than 80% of the league in defense despite playing only 80 games. Cordell is good defender too but out of the duo of him and Engel? I’ll pick Adam every time.

I think a guy like that is useful to have on a major league bench as a defensive sub.

knoxfire30

Roberts defense is likely as good.

So Engel’s usage on the 2020 sox probably becomes extremely limited. How much value will high end corner outfield defense for 1 or 2 innings a couple times a week have, vs a guy who maybe can DH a bunch of games, provide depth at harder to fill positions, and pinch hit late in games he isnt being a dh.

Engel’s talents fit other teams much better then the presently constructed whitesox.

Neat_on_the_rocks

Roberts defense is likely as good.

No, not a chance. And thats not a slight on Robert. There is more to defense than pure athletic ability. Adam Engel is an athletic freak but also does all the non athletic things right. His reads and angles are absolutley perfection. He is a legit top 3 defensive outfielder in baseball, without question>

To think Robert’s defense is “just as good” is just not fair to Robert, way too high expectations. He should be fine but he wont be Engel

knoxfire30

He is faster and has a better arm, I will bet on Robert being elite defensively. Its not a slight to Engel who is great defensively but the bats arent comparable so you arent gonna pull Robert for defense and he isnt the one that will shift to RF. You probably wont ever remove Eloys bat from a close game either. Thus Engel is pigeon holed as a defensive replacement right fielder with no bat. That isnt worth a roster spot on this team IMO.

The argument isnt Engels defensive ability. Its how valuable is that lone ability when it will only be used in RF, in some games late and the occasional spot start in CF…. VS the roster spot going elsewhere.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Engel is very good in CF, no doubt, but let’s not get carried away. He has a weak arm, and he does make bad reads occasionally. He’s not Willie Mays.

roke1960

It looks like the Sox are fighting with 5 other teams for the 6th-11th spots in next year’s draft. The Sox have by far the easiest schedule of those 6.
Angels 69-83, 3 games ahead of Sox- games left- Yankees, Astros (6), A’s (3)
Mariners 66-86, 2 GB Sox, Pirates, Orioles (3), Astros (3), A’s (3)
Pirates 65-87, 1 GB Sox, Mariners, Brewers (3), Cubs (3), Reds (3)
Padres 69-83, 3 ahead of Sox, Brewers, Dbacks (6), Dodgers (3)
Rockies 66-87, 1/2 GB Sox, Dodgers (3), Giants (3), Brewers (3).

The Sox will likely be picking 8th-9th, but with the tough schedule for the Angels, could fall as far as 10th.

texag10

I know we said that Anderson’s .390 BABIP was unsustainable but it’s now up to .399. Additionally, Moncada’s is at .403! and Bryan Reynolds for the Pirates is at .396. Last year, the highest BABIP on the year was JD Martinez at .375. I”m starting to think there might be something different about the ball guys.

Amar

Im sure folks here have read this already

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/in-2019-the-white-sox-struck-gold-on-their-most-important-players/

No disagreement with Dan on any points, but damn reading this should have made me feel the least bit hopeful about the future and it didnt.

But thats on the FO, not on me

knoxfire30

Maybe im being a debbie downer today but this reads to me as sox back right where they started with some great cost controlled stars and now its up to the front office to not only spend but spend wisely, and the organization to draft and develop well.

Remind me again why the 2009-2016 sox teams failed???

roke1960

Yep, you’re right. It’s up to the front office to surround these guys with quality major league talent.

Uh-oh, we’re in trouble.

texag10

I think we are in a slightly better position this time (not that it matters).
By fWAR:
Giolito is essentially White Sox Chris Sale
Moncada is better than Quintana
Anderson is pushing into CF Adam Eaton
Madrigal can easily be non-rookie Gordon Beckham (hopefully more)
Robert should be really good (we’ll have to see).

So the rebuild actually has us in a better spot in that instead of 4ish really good players, we have 5!

roke1960

But that’s still not close to enough to be championship contenders. Winning one or two division titles wasn’t the point of the rebuild. We need to add at least two quality pitchers and 2-3 quality bats to be a World Series contender. Can Rick do that?

Amar

Pretty sure texag10 was using the sarcasm font towards the end there

Amar

Yes this what i was thinking when I read Dan’s post