White Sox 9, Tigers 5: José Abreu’s blasts build buffer for bare-bones bullpen

The White Sox generated plenty of offense, and Tony La Russa successfully avoided his high-leverage relievers.

These two items aren’t necessarily connected. José Abreu hit a pair of two-run homers, but the second one pushed the game out of save-situation range in the top of the ninth. In the prior innings, Bennett Sousa and Tanner Banks survived a succession of hard contact during the seventh and eighth innings.

Either way, a win’s a win, especially since it could’ve been uglier. Lance Lynn’s 2022 debut got off to the worst possible start, and while he saved face by pitching in to the fifth inning, he got into Joe McEwing’s face after the second.

If the White Sox lost the game, you could easily imagine it symbolizing the capsizing of the season, especially since Jake Burger left the game with a pitch that might’ve broken a finger. As it stands, Lynn backed up his intensity by keeping the Tigers off the board the rest of the way, albeit with an assist from Kyle Crick. (And apparently the x-rays of Burger’s hand were negative, and he’s day-to-day.)

Abreu spotted Lynn a 2-0 lead with a homer off Rony Garcia, picking up Andrew Vaughn (who TOOTBLAN’d) and Luis Robert (who popped out) by converting AJ Pollock’s leadoff single into a pair of runs.

But Willi Castro turned Lynn’s first pitch of the 2022 season into a solo shot that ended the Tigers’ eight-game homerless streak, the first of 10 hits Lynn allowed over 4⅓ innings. Two more led to a second Detroit run, and he gave up a third single before the inning closed.

Three more singles turned into a third Detroit run in the second inning, and the positioning on one ground-ball single apparently drew Lynn’s ire, as he had it out with Joe McEwing in the dugout after the inning.

But Lynn responded with a 1-2-3 third that put him back on track to get the game closer to halfway, and thus was able to buy the White Sox offense enough time to put another dent in Detroit’s pitching.

Reese McGuire, who is taking over the primary catching duties with Yasmani Grandal going to the IL, made himself involved in the next two waves.

In the fifth, he led off with a double, then scored on Danny Mendick’s single to tie the game at three. AJ Pollock kept it going with a single, and while it set up a double play off the bat off Vaughn, Robert came through with an RBI single that put the Sox ahead.

After Crick stranded an Austin Meadows one-out double that ended Lynn’s night in the bottom of the fifth, the Sox struck for three more. Yoán Moncada and Leury García singled, after which Reese McGuire dropped a bunt toward the third-base side of the mound. Andrew Chafin tried to get the force at third, but his forced throw bounced into foul territory, and Moncada cleared through a fake tag to score, with García hot on his heels.

McGuire took second on the play, and while Danny Mendick lined out and Pollock struck out, Vaughn atoned for his earlier mistake with a single through the left side to score McGuire for a 7-3 lead.

The insurance runs mattered, because La Russa intended to go no higher up the leverage ladder than Crick, Sousa and Banks before acting closer Kendall Graveman (Liam Hendriks is still out with arm stiffness).

Perhaps it could have all collapsed on them some other night. Crick issued a pair of one-out walks in the sixth before getting Castro to ground into a fielder’s choice at second. With runners on the corners and a lefty in Harold Castro coming to the plate, in came Bennett Sousa, whose .389 average allowed to left-handed hitters briefly rose after a Meadows nubber toward third base that counted as an RBI infield single.

Miguel Cabrera followed with a palpable hit through the right side that made it a 7-5 game, Up came another lefty in Meadows, and after tussling to a full countr, Meadows’ hot one-hop shot found Mendick’s glove on the other side of second, and he completed the 6-3 to stop the bleeding and (justify Lynn’s bullying of McEwing).

Sousa endured three lineouts during a 1-2-3 seventh, and Banks watched Willi Castro’s deep drive to left die in Pollock’s glove in front of the left-field wall to end the eighth. The resolution of the batted balls during those innings made Abreu’s wind-conquering two-run shot to center even more impressive. It found the shrubbery over Comerica Park’s distant center field wall, meaning that no other park in baseball would contain it.

Bullet points:

*Lynn’s final line: 4.1 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 52 of 88 pitches for strikes.

*Sousa improved to 3-0 despite an 8.41 ERA and both inherited runners scoring on his watch tonight, which isn’t fair.

*Abreu now has 27 homers against the Tigers, tying the Twins for the most against a single opponent. However, Abreu’s 111 RBIs against the Tigers (over just 132 games) are far and away his biggest total against any one team (he has 99 against Minnesota).

Record: 28-31 | 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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Shingos Cheeseburgers

Burger bonked but bravely battled. But Burger’s bravery belied budding bruises before backup. Burger bereavement brewing?

ForsterFTOG

Badass bloviation, bub.

knoxfire30

Not that it shouldn’t be expected but Lynn seemed to be down a few ticks on the fastball, probably not something to worry about as his arm builds up but gotta keep an eye on it, if you are only gonna throw fastballs even a 2 or 3 mph dip could be a disaster for him. 10 hits in 4 innings means a lot of guys were getting good rips in.

Abreus blast to center was super impressive that ball was absolutely juiced.

Any updates on how TA7’s groin is doing HEYOOO

soxygen

The most important thing about Sousa is that he isn’t good. Second is that he is a lefty who seems to have trouble with lefties.

I would appreciate it ifsomeone could pass this message along to Tony.

Augusto Barojas

You think you know something that the greatest manager of all time does not know? Do you know who he is?

As Cirensica

With so many games with few days off, the White Sox might need to be creative. I can’t believe I am gonna say this, but I am glad that Vince Velasquez is about to be activated. I don’t think I can stomach more Sousa’s innings. Curiously, Grandal’s placement into the IL was described as “lower back spasm”. I thought it was his legs not functioning.

Is Moncada fully healthy is a lingering question. Yesterday he had a hit, but there was a K in his last at-bat where he looked really bad. What is worse, he looked bored as if he can’t wait until the season is over to go back to his other hobbies (music or whatever). This concerns me a bit and I hope he finds his rhythm soon because there are 2 very expensive years in his contract left.

knoxfire30

Lower back pain/spasms and hamstring tightness can very much go hand in hand.

joewho112

Spoken like someone over 40

knoxfire30

almost 39, two herniated discs that will need a little operation down the road 😉

joewho112

I celebrated turning 40 by hurting my back straightening a bath mat.

texag10

I’m 33 and I’ve known this for a decade now.

metasox

I believe VV is scheduled for the Wed start. But it will be good to get him into the bullpen to eat some innings. I knew the Sox starters had not covered enough innings but was suprised to see just how bad it has been. Bullpen has really been worked.

shaggy65

Moncada has been looking fine batting right-handed. That at least represents progress, and hopefully it’s a stepping stone toward getting his LH swing back.

Don’t look now, but the rest of the lineup is starting to put it together!

soxygen

Moncada struck out looking again in his first at bat (from the left side) on a pitch that he should have tried to fight off. It was too close to take, and he gets paid to play baseball not to watch it.

texag10

I mean, you say that but he’s swinging more than he ever has in his career. He’s just making absolutely terrible contact when he does with his lowest EV of his career.

Joliet Orange Sox

@ascirensica said

What is worse, he looked bored as if he can’t wait until the season is over to go back to his other hobbies (music or whatever).

Is this based on some evidence beyond your ability to read the minds of people you see on television?

BenwithVen

Baseball players aren’t allowed to have outside interests, duh!

I do find it funny that the music video thing keeps being brought up now even though he made it over 2 years ago.

Last edited 19 days ago by BenwithVen
Right Size Wrong Shape

Why can’t he emote more like Adam Eaton?

BenwithVen

Well, the podcast did ask where the HRs from Abreu were…

chipporter

Although concerned, I thought Lynn turned out ok. BP the first 2 but after that, he managed. 0 Walks was an indicator that he’s got enough control, especially after some 3-2 counts. He’s going to get the hell beat out of him by the Astros though, but that’s expected.