White Sox 7, Royals 4: Salvaging a series win

The White Sox entered this game 0-3 in games where they faced Carlos Hernández, but this version of Hernández is, to put it bluntly, awful. He came into this one 0-3 with a 9.11 ERA and 15 walks to 13 strikeouts over 26⅔ innings. The White Sox can’t hit right-handed pitching and all, sure, but facing Hernández at this point was having the opportunity in taking a remedial course in how to build innings.

I’m relieved to tell you they passed. They could’ve won by more, but any game in which they score more than three runs is a blessing, and after grunting out small rallies here and there over the course of the afternoon, Luis Robert was able to land the kill shot, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning that cemented the game.

The White Sox battled their worst impulses against Hernández, and they largely emerged victorious. Hernández only lasted three innings, as the White Sox made him throw 77 pitches via five hits and five walks. Tim Anderson did what he could to set the tone, reaching base four times on a pair of walks, then a pair of singles. He also stole bases and drove in two.

Yet all his activity only resulted in one run scored himself, because the hitters behind him took a while to get it going. Robert cashed him in with a two-out single, but the Sox left the bases loaded. An inning later, Anderson came up to the plate after the Sox notched three singles off Hernández to load the bases, and Anderson drove two home himself to narrow KC’s lead to 4-3. Again, the Sox stranded the bases loaded when José Abreu struck out and AJ Pollock grounded out.

The Sox threatened to squander another rally in the sixth, but Luis Robert came through with an RBI single after Yoán Moncada struck out with runners on the corners to tie the game at 4. Alas, when Abreu came to the plate with runners on the corners, his blistered ground ball was merely good for a 4-6-3 double play.

An inning later, the Sox pushed across another run despite shaky managerial work by Tony La Russa. After Pollock led off with a single, Gavin Sheets batted for himself against a lefty and struck out. Andrew Vaughn then singled Pollock to third. Adam Engel then entered the game for Reese McGuire and singled home Pollock to give the Sox the lead.

That call was fine, but if McGuire was going to exit, there was no reason why Yasmani Grandal or Engel could’ve hit for Sheets in the same situation, since Grandal had to play regardless. Then La Russa compounded matters by calling for a hit-and-run with Josh Harrison at the plate, and Engel got hung out to dry on a ball outside the zone for a pointless second out.

Catharsis finally arrived in the eighth, when Moncada, mired in a 1-for-18 slump in the series, lined a single to right. Up came Robert, who clobbered a homer to left to finally give the Sox a cushion. It came in handy when Liam Hendriks gave up a couple singles that brought the tying run to the plate with one out, but Hendriks recorded the save with no actual damage.

Bennett Sousa got the win, as he started the first of four scoreless relief innings by four differnet relievers, even though none of them had a perfect inning. Vince Velasquez was … fine. He dug a hole early once again, but he figured it out well enough to throw five innings and left with a tie game, and that’s basically all anybody should hope for him every time out.

Bullet points:

*The Sox went 5-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and the 16 is the important part.

*Pollock continued to point his arrow upward with a single, walk and a leaping catch at the wall.

*Amir Garrett was ejected in the ninth inning after making his displeasure about a balk call known following the third out.

*Anderson is now hitting .346, but more importantly, his OBP is .386.

*Robert took over the team lead in RBIs with 17 after driving in four.

Record: 19-19 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
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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a-t

Series win is good and all but taking four of five would’ve been much nicer, given the rather unattractive second date with the Yankees (beginning with Cortes again) looming

Yolmer's gatorade

No more VV. Cueto and Davis Martin pitched better against an awful Royals offense. Time to cut bait.

calcetinesblancos

If injuries open something up later in the season, Martin needs to come back up.

lifelongjd

At this point LaRussa reminds me of Mr Burns taking Darryl Strawberry out for Homer Simpson to take advantage of the lefty-right matchup

jorgefabregas

My kid made this video about the 10th inning win from earlier this series. Thought y’all might enjoy putting yourself in the mindset of an 11 year-old with real enthusiasm for this team. https://streamable.com/u2jqt6

chipporter

I know I’m in the minority regarding Moncada, but this is who he is. He disappears for long stretches both playing and then injuries. When he’s on he’s good, but it’s not matched the hype and generally not in pressure situations.

Really good players can stretch out their success and carry teams through lower production times, albeit, not by themselves solely, I just don’t see Moncada being that guy. JMHO, lite the bbq.

Joliet Orange Sox

I think the hype is irrelevant. Jurickson Profar was the number one prospect on every list before the 2013 season. Top prospects becoming good major league players is never a sure thing till it happens.

Moncada has played 9 games this year after being hurt.

Moncada averages 3.8 bWAR per 162 which is very good. His games played since he broke camp with Sox in 2018 are 149 in 2018, 132 in 2019, 52 in 2020, and 144 in 2021.

If Moncada is just a guy who plays 140 games a year and produces 3.3 bWAR in those 140 games, I’ll take it.

a-t

Take out his 2018 and start from the 2019 breakout, and he’s at 4.8 bWAR/162, which is a perennial all-star (though not superstar) level of play. At 140 games that 4.2 WAR. That’s an average but not starting all-star’s production.

gibby32

Sure. But the team hoped that it was getting so much more. I believe that part of the negative reaction to Moncada is that he frequently just looks listless. Particularly, in contrast to Tim, it is striking. To some extent, however it probably is unfair, since different players have different affects. Moncada needs to show that he cares. I saw something on twitter yesterday: “Ricky’s boys don’t quit; Tony’s boys don’t care.” It may not be true, but the appearance is pretty damning.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m going to choose to not go down the road of evaluating players by who looks like they care more. It seems like there might be better evaluation tools out there.

gibby32

Sure; you’re right in the abstract. But lethargy is contagious. After the game yesterday, Frank Thomas said guys were not even hustling to first base. Given the tape, there is a likelihood that he was talking about Moncada. Ozzie said something similarly critical of the team (I’ve gone blank on the details). I like Moncada and have defended him. But, as I’ve said, he is falling short of the player the team thought it was getting, while being paid almost 14M this year, 18M next, 25M in 2024.. To be worth that money, he needs to be a difference maker, not a flat 4 WAR player..

Joliet Orange Sox

The going rate for 1 WAR of production varies year to year according to Fangraphs but Moncada projects to be a bargain this year and next and paid the going rate in 2024.

gibby32

The so-called going rate for WAR has always been a pet peeve of mine. Identify for me the 1 WAR player that you would pay 8.5M? At the 2022 rate, Leury Garcia was a 15M+ player in 2021. Apparently his 3 year deal is a bargain. It is absolute nonsense. Having said that, I like Moncada and I am rooting for him. I hope he becomes that difference maker that the team thought that it was getting. I am simply noting that time is running short for that and that we may have to settle for less.

Nellie Fox

Moncada must have leg issues as he never hustles on ground outs and on Robert’s home run, he was close to getting run over at the plate by Robert. He needs to have a cattle prod therapy or send him down to let somebody else play who will run .

gibby32

Not sure. I believe that the team is telling players that on normal ground outs, they should not bust ass since there is no difference between being thrown out by three steps and being thrown out by one step. Both Robert and Eloy have suffered leg injuries by busting ass down the line and hitting the base awkwardly. If the infielder bobbles, the runner likely can step it up and still be safe.

a-t

This is rather a harsh assessment of a dude who has quietly been a top-tier 3B for a good few years now. Much of that value is defensive for him, which is quite consistent. He’s not nearly as injury-prone as some other guys on the roster, too.

Anyways, let’s check in on him in a month. 43 PA is statistically nothing, he could go 3 for 4 tomorrow and raise his wRC+ by thirty points with ease.

BenwithVen

He played through Long COVID. He’ll always have my respect for that alone.

calcetinesblancos

I’ve said this a lot, but don’t forget what 3B was like before Moncada got there.

funkerdan

I would like to forget

metasox

Moncada is fine, but the option yrs get very expensive. So I expect this conversation will continue

gibby32

They are not option years in 2022 and 23. He gets the money.

gibby32

And the team gets his production.

calcetinesblancos

The Russa is one of those guys that makes you yearn for the boring manager who does all the obvious things by the book.

As Cirensica

In baseball, a good manager is generally a boring manager. Robin Ventura being an exception.

Last edited 4 months ago by As Cirensica
funkerdan

I was hoping they would have made the right decision with Ventura… Terry Francona was available (at least not managing) in 2012 and that should have been the choice for the White Sox.. let’s say he didn’t want to come back until 2013.. Punt Ventura after 2012 and overpay for Francona.. Clear choice.

calcetinesblancos

It’s kind of hilarious that Francona started managing in the Sox organization.

funkerdan

We bring everyone else back who used to be a part of this organization but missed on that one.

Last edited 4 months ago by funkerdan
Nellie Fox

Moncada is a liability offensively. Put a guy in scoring position and he fails every time. Drop him to 7 or 8 get Vaughn in the 2 spot and this will add 2-3 runs per game. Trade would work too, maybe with Boston soon.

Joliet Orange Sox

Did you laugh because you think the estimate of 2-3 runs per game is ridiculously high or ridiculously low?