White Sox 7, Nationals 5: A win’s a win against Washington

Through one half-inning — or more specifically, 35 grueling Manny Bañuelos pitches — tonight’s game appeared to be one more slog to fittingly cap off what had been a brutal season series against the Washington Nationals.

If you had to judge this game by another half-inning, Aaron Bummer had a hellish eighth. He retired just one of the five batters he faced, plunking two of them. Two runs scored on his watch, and he left two more runners for the next man in.

And even with these sizable obstacles, the White Sox won this game and made it pretty fun, even if they almost squandered a five-run lead against the Nats for the second time this year.

Granted, this one didn’t leave the greatest of aftertastes. Alex Colomé had to bail out bummer one out into the eighth, then gave up his first run with an Anthony Rendon solo shot in the ninth, followed by a walk that brought the tying run to the plate. He needed 39 pitches to get it done, but at least there’s an off day tomorrow.

If you can set that aside, there was a lot else to like. Let’s take inventory:

No. 1: The White Sox stormed back immediately with the kind of two-out rally we’ve seen Bañuelos allow. After Corbin retired his first two batters of the game, Jose Abreu ripped a double off the left-field wall, followed by walks to James McCann and Eloy Jiménez. Up came Welington Castillo, who took advantage of a tight strike zone for his own 2-0 count. Corbin threw a fastball that Castillo on the outer half, Castillo extended, and he crushed the ball over the center-field wall for the Sox’ third grand slam of the year.

No. 2: Bañuelos didn’t allow any of those rallies himself. He allowed just a pair of singles from the second through fourth innings, and when Bañuelos missed with two chances to close out the fifth, Rick Renteria didn’t try to force a pitcher win out of it. He went to Evan Marshall, who got a lineout to end the inning, then pitched a scoreless sixth. He got the win instead.

No. 3: Eloy Jiménez hit his first homer in front of his fans, and he seemed like he wanted to make it memorable. He hit a 461-foot blast into Thome Territory over the batter’s eye, bouncing off the concourse and careening up the steps. As Grant Brisbee pointed out years ago, it’s damned hard to make a homer at Guaranteed Rate Field look dramatic, but outside of nailing a goose between the eyes, that might be as good as it gets.

No. 4: Jose Rondón and Jose Abreu teamed up for one of the plays of the year.

Tim Anderson also made an incredible ranging play in the seventh that was overturned by a challenge but still awesome, and Jiménez even found a way to lower the tension with a sliding catch after Colomé entered with two on in the eighth.

No. 5: Speaking of Jiménez, he played a part in the last three runs. Besides the monster shot in the fourth, he smashed a grounder through a drawn-in infield to make it 6-2, then stretched it into a double before scoring on Yolmer Sánchez’s single.

No. 6: Rick Renteria managed the game well. He didn’t stick with Bañuelos any longer than he had to, and he took advantage of tomorrow’s off day to use Colomé for the five-out save.

It could’ve been better, I suppose, but after three tough losses and a lopsided pitching matchup, I wouldn’t get greedy.

Bullet points:

*Ryan Cordell whacked home plate umpire Chad Whitson with his backswing. Whitson stayed in the game once the bleeding stopped.

*Rondón played for Yoan Moncada, who was scratched after the back spasm that took him out of Monday’s game.

Record: 32-34 | 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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iowasox1971

Any time you can win with Banuelos facing a starting pitcher who just got a six-year, $140 million contract, it’s a good victory. Washington has been a hot team lately, so it’s very difficult to rout them right now. Great to see Jimenez starting to live up to the hype with a very good all-around game for him.

5742mail

Washington gives you SOTO and ROBLES, why can’t we have JIMENEZ and Robert. Why can’t Robert continue his learning in the majors. Cease also. Time to make that run for 2020. What position player have any trade value that’s not apart of the rebuild. Garcia and maybe Sanchez, buyers or sellers?

roke1960

At least get Robert up to AAA. And does anyone beside Rick Hahn think Cease should still be in Charlotte? This is getting ridiculous. What will he learn in a league with a juiced ball that he couldn’t learn in the majors?

dansomeone

Not Keith Law. On a recent FutureSox podcast, he said he has no idea why Cease is still in the minors.

gibby32

Is it possible that you don’t understand that some development needs to take place in the minors? Robles stayed in the minors for most of last year, while some Nats fans were clamoring for him to be brought up. And, by the way, he is struggling offensively even now. Robert is close; there is no need to rush him.

roke1960

Rush what? What’s he going to learn in AA that he can’t learn in AAA or with the Sox? What’s he learning by continuing to crush AA pitching? And so what if he struggles? He seems like an extremely confident player. A little struggle now is better that a little struggle in 2020 when we’re trying to win. Let’s face it. He’s probably by far the best center fielder in the organization. He should be at least at AAA if not with the Sox. Same goes for Cease. What advantage is there for keeping him in the minors now? Name me one.

roke1960

So you referenced Robles, and that would be a good reason to keep him down. How about Juan Soto, who they “rushed” to the majors straight from AA? He seems to be doing fine. In Washington’s case, they were better served by rushing a guy than taking the slow approach. And yes, every guy is different. But for the last few years, the Sox have had the same approach to everyone one of the prospects, and they all struggled when they came up. Maybe it’s time to try something new- but that would mean thinking on Hahn’s part, so it probably won’t happen.

asindc

Hmmm… trying something new. In the case of the Sox, wouldn’t that be not rushing prospects to the majors (just ask Gordon Beckham)?

roke1960

Gordon Beckham was 10 years ago. It’s like they are afraid to rush anyone because he failed. Maybe try a player-by-player approach instead of treating everyone the same. Any moron could do that. And on the flip side, how about Chris Sale? He was rushed and he turned out ok.

asindc

Buddy Bell once said that he liked to push prospects quickly through the minors to see how they handled the pressure. Very few prospects under his watch became MLB regulars. Not promoting Robert before they think he is ready is the very definition of “trying something new.”

roke1960

That’s because the Sox had very few prospects under his watch capable of becoming regulars. Their farm system was a mess.

Trooper Galactus

If the Sox take the same approach with every prospect regardless of results or advancements, that’s kinda dumb.

asindc

The advantage is the same as it has always been with every player who goes to the minors before going to the majors: Development among his peers.

roke1960

I would have to say that some of the slugs that the Sox have at AA are not Robert’s “peers”.

asindc

As is the case with all elite prospects.

Lurker Laura

Because Robert is so far above his peers, he’s getting away with swinging at everything. Vizquel specifically mentioned that they’re working with him to be more selective. That’s a legitimate thing to spend minor league time on, not major league time. That being said, he should probably be doing it In AAA.

roke1960

If he’s swinging at everything, than he isn’t going to learn anything down there. At least get him to AAA- the pitchers are craftier there and will give him different challenges.

Lurker Laura

Agreed. I doubt he’ll be in AA much longer.