Lenyn Sosa’s swings were as pleasing as Leury García’s were painful

A full 162-game baseball schedule takes more than 4,400 hours to complete, but if you were to slice the last 24 hours from the body of work, the result would be a rather comprehensive representation of the season to date.

Tuesday contained:

A serious injury: Tim Anderson is projected to be out for six weeks after tearing the sagittal band on his left hand.

A flat performance to open a series: The White Sox can handle a sinker. The White Sox can handle a slider. The White Sox can not handle both a sinker and a slider.

A mediocre showing in a win: The White Sox faced Jonathan Heaseley and his 5.82 ERA. They won, but only 3-2, and mostly because Davis Martin fared better than Lance Lynn in Game 1.

Too much Leury García: And finally, this question is more about his own good than ours.

Starting at shortstop as Anderson’s injury-related absence officially began (he missed the last two games with a suspension), Garcia played both games in the doubleheader and went 0-for-7 with an HBP and three strikeouts.

It’s not that he went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts, but how. During his first plate appearance of Game 2, he seemed to tweak his right knee or calf, and he spent the remainder of the game flailing at pitches with no lower-body engagement.

Fun fact: MLB.com’s video compiler limits collections to 10 videos, so this leaves out García’s last three swings of the game. To his credit, he was able to upper-body a fly ball to deepish left in his last trip.

This feels like the perfect distillation of a 4½-month-long problem. Tony La Russa kept sending García to plate despite the mounting video evidence demanding another course of action. García saw 15 pitches over four trips and swung at 13 of them, including five pitches out of the zone, even though his body wanted him to take three every time up.

Thankfully, Lenyn Sosa picked a great time for his best game yet. His first three plate appearances were all successes:

  1. A 106.1 mph home run to left.
  2. A 102.8 mph single through the middle.
  3. A 95.8 mph lineout to right, featuring a great catch in right.

Here’s how they looked:

Sosa struck out on an 100.6 mph Josh Staumont fastball his last time up, which is one of those occasions where you can actually say, “He probably didn’t see many of those in the minors.” But otherwise, he made a fine second impression on Tony La Russa.

“Anyone who hits a home run and gets a hit injects energy to our club; we’re looking for runs,” La Russa said. “He gets called up and produces. That’s more impressive.”

But its impact could be minimal:

La Russa said Sosa might play shortstop Wednesday and could play second base or third Thursday afternoon.

On one hand, I can appreciate the limited road map. Heaseley was the Royals’ 27th man, so Sosa benefited from a favorable reintroduction by facing the kind of pitcher he’d seen at Charlotte. The task gets gradually tougher against Kris Bubic and Zack Greinke over the next two days, so it’s worth reserving enthusiasm for one day at a time.

On the other hand, I’d really like to know what what was up with García’s swings on Tuesday. He hasn’t been playable when perfectly healthy this season, so starting him should be a nonstarter when he looks as bad as he feels. Yet García hit for himself against Amir Garrett with two on and two out in the sixth inning on Tuesday, and he struck out on four pitches, swinging helplessly at all of them.

Maybe Josh Harrison was banged up from the pitch he took to the elbow in Game 1, and either choice for the middle infield wasn’t going to swing the bat in a convincing fashion. OK, but that only extends to an in-game excuse. When planning out series and weeks, the White Sox need to make sure whatever options they roll out in Anderson’s place are fully functional.

After all, when Anderson suffered his first significant injury of the season back in May, García offered little over the following three weeks. He hit .200/.213/.222 over 13 games. Instead, Danny Mendick stepped up in a way that nobody expected. He reversed a multi-year trend of diminishing returns by hitting .311/.363/.446 in his last 20 games of the season, and he played a respectable shortstop as well.

It’s hard to believe that Mendick could be missed so much, which is a testament both to how well he played and how he briefly prevented everything coming back to García. It’d be nice to give Sosa that kind of run, especially if the choice simply boils down to Health Guy vs. Hobbled Guy. La Russa presented the choice simply

“The more you do, the more you play,” La Russa said.

… but we know by now that La Russa can only be judged by his actions, and those actions have resulted in 281 plate appearances for García this season. It’s one thing if García is swinging the bat with his usual aplomb, because he’s shown the ability to get hot. On Tuesday night, he labored to simply go through the motion in the batter’s box. It’s either a painfully temporary situation like a charley horse, or it’s the loudest cry for help in a season full of them.

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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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chipporter

All paths, including outfielders, lead through Leury…The Russa

dongutteridge
  1. Both TLR and Leury need to be DFA’d at season’s end.
  2. Sign Abreu and Cueto to 2 year deals.
  3. Sign Conforto to a 1 year deal.
  4. Sign Xander Bogaerts for 2B.
  5. Sign Willson Contreras.

They have to spend more money because they’re never gonna upgrade enough through trades. They can trade Sheets, Burger and a few others but it won’t bring back much.

Colas looks good enough to be the RF in 2024 and beyond. They should hold onto Montgomery and he might be ready when Anderson’s deal is done.

Fortunately, their pitching is pretty well set up for next year with Crochet coming back at some point, too.

a-t

I don’t think signing Contreras would be worth it. He’s going to get a very large contract, and we already saw what can happen to aging catchers… he’d be yet another candidate for righty DH PAs. Makes more sense to see if Grandal rebounds with a normal offseason. Worst case, Zavala and Perez should be sufficient to keep C from being a *total* black hole, especially since Zavala’s framing has improved dramatically.

I’m scared of Conforto although I like the idea of a 1 year flier/pillow contract. Serious shoulder injuries are really scary for hitters— Bellinger for instance went from MVP to underwater. The rest of it I like a lot.

Last edited 1 month ago by a-t
Mobi

We probably need to DFA Jerry to make 1, 4,5 happen. Unfortunately, there is no MLB rules allowing you to do that.

lifelongjd

Losing Mendick was such a blow, especially how he was lost. Romy Gonzalez having an injury/sickness plagues year also is really bad luck as he would have been next guy up (and maybe still is?), which we would have been fine with.

Maybe the Sox can call up Yolbert Sanchez or Popeye to fill in. I think either would be on par with what Leury has been giving us offensively.

The more cromulent option is probably bringing Burger back and potentially have him sub at second or move Yoan back. I’m sure his body language will perk right up with the move back to 2b.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think the next call-up would be Romy. He’s back in Charlotte and already on the 40-man roster.

calcetinesblancos

“The more you do, the more you play,” La Russa said.

Classic gaslighting.

Augusto Barojas

— “Anyone who hits a home run and gets a hit injects energy to our club; we’re looking for runs,” La Russa said. “He gets called up and produces. That’s more impressive.” —

You know he’s really thinking “If anybody tells me to play Sosa instead of Garcia, fuck them. It’s MY team and I’ll run it into the ground if I feel like it.”

Root Cause

Give TLR a break.

It’s hard to sit down the person you insisted was worth 15 million bucks.

And it just isn’t Garcia’s ‘approach’ at the plate that makes him worth all that. Look at all the time off the stars have had to soak up the sun watching him work.

Hell, they may be giving him extra just to have a good seat at the game while cashing checks.

jorgefabregas

dwjm3

One of the few GMs in baseball who is worse than Hahn is now gone. The Ilitch family won’t mess around. They don’t tolerate failure like Jerry.

jorgefabregas

Just imagine comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by jorgefabregas
calcetinesblancos

Assumed this was coming since that Baez signing lol.

As Cirensica

That Baez contract…wow. Maybe Baez will opt-out in 2024.

calcetinesblancos

Why, because he hates money? Lol.

As Cirensica

My sarcasm was too subtle

soxfan

The White Sox-est way to end the season would be to sneak into the playoffs with 84 wins because the Twins and Guardians stumble and then go on an absolute heater in the playoffs with Garcia getting a couple of game-winning hits on the way to a championship and having Hahn and La Russa feel validated via the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

Augusto Barojas

It would be hard to root for a team put together by Jerry, Hahn, and Tony to do really well and validate that trio of assclowns. I mean they run things in such a blatantly cheap and shabby way, I can’t say I hope they win a playoff series and get any praise for that. They deserve zero.

We’re more likely to see changes and a better team next year if they don’t do well, I think. That, or we won’t see positive changes no matter what.

a-t

Cutting off your nose to spite your face here, bucko. The whole point is to win, to get into the playoffs, win playoff series, and hopefully a championship. Our complaints about the triumvirate derive almost solely from their incompetence at delivering those wins.

Also, they’re running a $196M payroll, 7th in the league between Boston and Houston. I think that’s about where they should be. I don’t expect spending on the scale of NYY/LAD/NYM, but they should be solidly in that second tier of teams, ~$50M clear of any division competitors.

Augusto Barojas

Bucko… are you supposed to be Ron Howard or something? You defend and defend a team with the 9th best record in the AL and league worst defense, and an ownership that gave us the likes of Harrison, Kelly, Garcia, Eaton, and La Russa the past two offseasons, rather than Springer, Semien, or any high functioning adult as manager. I seriously don’t get it, or how anybody could be content with or support how this team has operated the past two winters.

Their lack of wins are not by accident, it’s because they haven’t signed a free agent during the entire rebuild with a contract value of even half what the Cubs signed Jon Lester for nearly a decade ago.

Last edited 1 month ago by Augusto Barojas
#3 for HOF

I agree with you, but I would take that right now if the man upstairs offered it.

Soxfan2

What would it take to get Daulton Varsho from the Dbacks? He’d be a perfect fit for the White Sox. He hits righties well and can play RF and C. I’m assuming talks would center around Kopech but his shine has worn off a little.

a-t

Arizona probably doesn’t want to trade him. They haven’t wanted to trade Ketel Marte for a while now, and they have their core rebuild prospects nearing readiness. With 4 years of control remaining they probably want to keep Varsho around as a superutility guy.

madridsox

Anyone knows why is Sheets playing against the lefty Bubic? Is Pollock injured from the foul ball yesterday?

Foulkelore

I’m guessing because Bubic has done worse against lefties, both this year and in his career:

Career:
Lefties hit: .295/.404/.551
Righties hit: .250/.328/.417

This Year:
Lefties hit: .352/.460/.634
Righties hit: .246/.315/.383

a-t

Huh, weird. But also yeah giving Pollock a day off after that foul ball off his foot is normal

Foulkelore

Please let Sosa look passable at SS, please let Sosa look passable at SS, …

palkadance

Ok, I did not have opportunity to watch the game yesterday, and had not seen this footage of Garcia until here. I mean, I am going to lose my mind. Who the fuck leaves ANYONE out there looking like that at the plate, over and over, let alone someone who offers nothing to begin with, as Garcia does? Someone from the training staff would have jumped up and visited the batter’s box after almost every one of those cuts, in a normal and routine situation.

This whole thing with TLR and Leury has completely run off the rails into the absurd. Not even Kirk Gibson would have been allowed multiple at-bats looking like he was re-blowing-out his knee every time he swung.

I’m so tired of this. All of it.

#3 for HOF

If Luery really is hurt, and LaRussa actually left him out there for 2 gamesyesterday then that is mind bogglingly stupid. LaRussa is not doing any favors to Luery by leaving him out there or continuing to over expose him.

I have a feeling Luery got a 3 year contract because is coincides with the length that LaRussa has left on his deal. 3 years for a 30+ year old utility infielder is just stupid, especially when Hahn had other guys coming up through the system that could do what Luery does for far less money.

Right Size Wrong Shape

This is a really special lineup tonight. Adam Engel must really be in the doghouse.