White Sox 9, Yankees 8: Iowa hell on Liam Hendriks, heaven for Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson said he had never been to Iowa before today, and he said he still hasn’t seen “Field of Dreams.”

And after tonight, what’s the point? He just made his own version.

Liam Hendriks blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning by surrendering homers to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but it merely set the stage for Anderson’s moment. After Seby Zavala drew a one-out walk from Zack Britton, Anderson, in his trademarked fashion, pounced on the first pitch he saw. A sinker on the outside corner didn’t sink low enough, and Anderson launched it into the corn in right field to walk off the Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, Iowa.

Cue the orchestra.

If Major League Baseball wanted a showcase of its best talent in its showcase event, it couldn’t have drawn it up much differently. Anderson homered. Stanton homered. Judge hit two. Eloy Jiménez went deep, as did José Abreu.

Maybe it was more rock-em, sock-em baseball than you’d want with how much the White Sox have invested in the bullpen, but the White Sox earned their first victory over the Yankees this year. Combine it with Oakland’s 17-0 humiliation of Cleveland earlier today, and the White Sox extended their margin in the AL Central to a season-high 11½ games.

It’s hard to know how much of this game to take seriously given the unique setting, both geographically and emotionally. The ball acted like it hit different. Not only did Anderson, Judge, and Jiménez combine for four opposite-field homers between them, but Seby Zavala also went deep the other way, and all of them had room to spare.

Hendriks would prefer to write it off, because he was the weak link. Lance Lynn had to grind through five-plus, but he outdueled Andrew Heaney, whose home-run problems followed him to Iowa. The White Sox led 7-3 through five, and while Lynn gave up a solo shot to Brett Gardner in the sixth and left two more runners for Michael Kopech, Kopech shut the door with an impressive inning. When a strike call didn’t go his way before a walk in the seventh, Aaron Bummer helped him out. Craig Kimbrel handled the eighth himself, giving Hendriks a cushion.

And Hendriks blew through it. While Tyler Wade led off with a single, Hendriks came back to strike out the next two to get him one out away from a save with the tying run on deck. That tying run came to the plate when Judge poked a fastball out to right to make it 7-6. Hendriks then walked Joey Gallo on five pitches to bring the go-ahead run to the plate in Stanton, who converted himself by ripping a first-pitch slider over the wall in left. Perhaps a better leap gets the job done, but Leury García bonked his head on the wall trying to get lift.

That gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead and Hendriks the blown save, but thanks to baseball’s scoring rules, he’ll now leave with a win.

Bullet points:

*You could tell Miguel Cairo managed this game because he lifted García for a pinch hitter in the ninth, even though that pinch hitter was Danny Mendick (he grounded out).

*Adam Engel left the game early with a right groin strain. He’s supposedly day-to-day.

*Zavala has a .779 OPS, which is crazy.

Record: 68-48 | Box score

(Photo by Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

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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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Right Size Wrong Shape

I wonder if Mendick pinch-hitting had anything to do with Leury hitting his head on the wall.

Steve

I’m more concerned Engel leaving. Replacing Engel with Garcia doesn’t seem like an upgrade.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I’m guessing he hurt it on the grounder that he tried to beat out. Seems like he is prone to leg injuries this year, and would be best not running at 110 percent. Nobody can help them win if they can’t play.

Last edited 11 months ago by LamarHoyt_oncrack
GrinnellSteve

That was the best way for Eaton to help…

jhomeslice

You’ve had some excellent posts on here recently.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Maybe. In any case the game would not have been complete without an at bat by Mendick.

jhomeslice

I’m just glad Eloy was not in left for the 9th. He might have crashed through the fence into the cornfields on Stanton’s homer.

calcetinesblancos

I bet he would have made that play.

Steve

I was waiting for a complete review of the Apple Pie Dog, but I was left disappointed. I guess I’ll have to give it a try myself this weekend.

jhomeslice

Jim I recall you writing a couple times before that you were not sure just how good Liam is. Has that changed?

metasox

Four days he didn’t pitch. We know he isn’t sharp when he doesn’t pitch enough. Could chalk it up to that. Though he is HR prone
edit: check that, hadn’t pitched since the 6th, so 5 days off

Last edited 11 months ago by metasox
jhomeslice

I’d like to think that. He also now holds the league lead in blown saves. I think he is good, but not great.

phillyd

He also leads the league in converted saves.

jhomeslice

But not percentage of converted saves. I still think he is good, but is nothing special. Way too many homers.

jose robcada

I would take last nights pitching results with a grain of salt. That ball was clearly juiced whether it be 2019 ball or something new. And I’m not mad at that because it made for a great game for game the mlb needed the game to be great. But ya there is no way that was same ball they’ve been playing with all year

joewho112

Wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if they broke out the Super Bouncy ball for national TV

As Cirensica

Hendriks is 10th per Fangraphs on WAR among relievers. I don’t know what “special” means for you, but Liam has been more than worth the money he is getting paid.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Perhaps can chalk it up to the extra days off. He’ll have some save opportunities against good teams over the next 2 weeks to prove that out. The dude seems to give up a lot of homers though.

TA7’s moment was so epic that maybe in the end was better than if Hendricks had a 1-2-3 9th.

mikeyb

I’m not a big fan of Liam doing the in game interviews. He was saying the other day that his wife told him he needed to be angrier and more focused on dominating guys; after that, he came out and pitched great. Then last night he has to sit and make goofy chit chat with Joe Buck in the middle of the game? I enjoy him immensely, but I’d prefer we get those interviews from Liam after the game, rather than in the middle of it. Just seems like maybe he loses his focus and intensity a little (or maybe I’m just making up an excuse for a guy who had an off day).

Last edited 11 months ago by mikeyb
Joliet Orange Sox

I thought this was a very exciting game that filled me with joy in the end. I’m not sure many conclusions can be drawn about much because the park seemed to play like Truist Field.

I do want to repost something I said at the end of the gamethread:

I think an overlooked positive of recent Sox play is Bummer has now pitched well for many outings in a row (since he was a disaster in Milwaukee shortly after being knocked around by the Astros). Even if pitching well, Hendriks, Kimbrel,and Kopech won’t be able to cover all the bullpen innings in the post-season and Bummer pitching well could be a huge help in covering the rest of those innings.

I think a post-season team can never have too many bullpen arms. Last year was an odd year with the expanded rosters but the Dodgers had 11 different pitchers enter in relief for a total of 27 relief appearances over the 6 games of the 2020 World Series. (This was partly due to using Gonsolin as an opener twice.)

AshnodsCoupon

Yeah all the commentary seems to assume that Kopech is their third-best reliever and that seems, maybe not wrong, but at least questionable.

To Err is Herrmann

Before the game began, as they were announcing the White Sox lineup, I was struck by what a great team this is, not only in talent, but in personality and exuberance. There are so many characters on this team, and they really are a team. Having been a Sox fan since the blue pinstripes turned red, this 2021 team is something very special, a once-in-a-lifetime team. Tim Anderson’s storybook ending was just the icing on the cake. I would like to think this game made a new baseball fan out there somewhere.

calculatedsleaze

We live in almost Iowa (20 mins from the border, and the river. I like the river better.) Anyways, tonight made 3 new fans: my daughters. They grew up in Konerko jerseys (1 shared amongst them as they grew). But tonight they asked if they could get TA jerseys – 1 each. Sure, yes. For sure. I will! 🙂 Great game.

ParisSox

Yeah I saw that in the introductions. The Yankees were quite “professional”. The White Sox were joking and laughing the whole time. Fun team.

Also watching this game and the talent on both sides, it’s nice to be able to say the White Sox are better than the Yankees. And may be the best in the AL. We’ll see in October.

Magic number 37. 🙂

Last edited 11 months ago by ParisSox
MileHiJoe

What a blast to watch, but an underlying problem was obvious in this game. I’m hoping TLR is more flexible with his bullpen usage come playoff time. I think using Hendricks in high leverage situations in middle innings followed by kopech/bummer as the bridge to Kimbrel could be the most valuable deployment.

itaita

As another person that didn’t care much about the movie crossover stuff it still made for some pretty neat visuals as the sun went down. I also liked that Fox toned the extra fluff down on the broadcast with no strikezone thing on screen and whatnot. It really did kind of lead to letting the game itself provide the entertainment. I do think baseball pulled out the HR derby balls for the event so i wont get too hung up on the pitchers having a problem.

And the other cool this is no matter how many times MLB returns and beats the specialness into the ground, the Sox won the first one and Timmy’s HR will be replayed every time, so thats pretty neat. Finally, it adds a poetic moment in a way for him in that he said that the movie “didn’t apply to him.” in the lead up to the game. So the fact he got to apply his own stamp on the setting is pretty great as well.

dongutteridge

Hendricks is overrated. He was bad in last year’s playoffs. His pitches don’t have enough movement.

He’s good but Kimbrel is better and should be the Sox closer. Especially, in the playoffs!

HallofFrank

The 42% of batters that strike out vs. Hendriks would surely disagree with you that his pitches don’t have enough movement. He is homer prone, but i don’t think it’s because his pitches lack movement. Sometimes, it seems like the slider location isn’t there (like last night) and guys can just look fastball and that causes problems.

jhomeslice

I remember vs the Sox in last year’s playoffs seeing him pitch, and was like “we can beat this guy”. He was bad in one game, but shut us down the next. Agree, would like to see Kimbrel close.

Last edited 11 months ago by jhomeslice
calcetinesblancos

It’s always irritating when a reliver gives up big homers and walks just enough people in front of them to blow the game.

Root Cause

Maybe the first time ever that a sequel was better than the original. Go Tim!

joewho112

Godfather, Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, the third Thor and Iron Man movies…

Amar

Lol, Eloy’s ISO (0.449) is in god mode

Josh Nelson

TOTALLY SUSTAINABLE

Amar

IT IS, IT REALLY IS

calcetinesblancos

Before TA cracked that bomb, I was scared the only thing I was going to want to remember from this game was Costner saying “shit” live in TV.

joewho112

Zavala’s bat will clearly play. Hopefully his glove holds up

calcetinesblancos

I’ve rooted for Collins in the past and still do, but I would be pretty surprised if he doesn’t get sent down when Grandal comes back. If that’s the case maybe they can include him in a trade package for a young RF in the offseason.

AshnodsCoupon

His bat only “clearly plays” if you pay more attention to his 64 2021 MLB PAs than to his 600 AAA PAs where he was a below-average AAA hitter.

joewho112

Twas a joke, friendo

GrinnellSteve

I don’t recall ever being so upset over a ballgame as I was when Stanton hit the homer. I wanted the win so badly. I hate the Yankees. I wanted them to lose so humiliatingly that MLB would have been forced to contract the franchise and turn Yankee Stadium into public housing. I wanted the Sox to announce emphatically on national TV that they are for real and worth watching every time out. I wanted Iowa to showcase its charm for all the world to see. I wanted everyone to understand how magical the Field of Dreams truly is. All of that was dashed in a few soul-crushing minutes.

Then seeing Danny stinking Mendick ground out feebly followed by Seby and his nearly 40% K rate, I was dying. But Seby drew that improbable walk and Timmy walked on water up to the plate for the most improbable ending I have ever seen.

12 hours later I still can’t believe what I witnessed.

dwjm3

I was actually happy to see Mendick at the plate. It demonstrated that Cairo isn’t blindly loyal to Leury in the same strange way LaRussa is.

joewho112

Jake Lamb exists

calcetinesblancos

Wouldn’t happen against Britton.

joewho112

Mendick against LHP: 54 wRC+
Lamb against LHP: 59 wRC+ (career. It’s 117 this year but small sample)

jhomeslice

If Chapman was available, I might not have stuck around for the bottom of the 9th. I felt pretty deflated too. But knowing that the Yankees had no closer, I had to watch. Was thinking when TA came up that I hope he crushes the first pitch. Indeed he did. I’ll bet Liam was so relieved!

mrridgman

I blinked twice when I realized Mendick was at the plate, I didn’t know he was on the roster. I agree Leury should not be playing very much, but batting right-handed he’s actually near average; left-handed he’s not good. Mendick is simply not good at the plate.

jhomeslice

You have to wonder if Leury got hurt on Stanton’s homer as someone suggested. That makes more sense than Mendick as a pinch hitter.

calcetinesblancos

I had the same reaction. When did that happen?

lastof12

Agreed. Great theater! I was very unhappy with the blown save, but what a Hollywood ending. I enjoyed Kevin Costner very much too.

dwjm3

That article is a nice read…You can sense his joy that Iowa was showcased in front of the whole country. Good for him..Good for Iowa

Joliet Orange Sox

The beautiful thing about the Sox leading the division by enough to be almost certain of a playoff spot is that I can see that Chris Bassitt is 12-3 with a 3.06 ERA while leading the AL in IP and just think “Good for him.”

Last edited 11 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
NDSox12

Sox playoff odds reached the full 100.0% after last night’s game, according to FanGraphs. Probably safe for me to stop sweating out games like I did last night.

GrinnellSteve

Except now you’re playing for home field advantage. Indians and Tigers don’t matter, but Astros, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and Blue Jays do.