Lucas Giolito takes White Sox fans to the Show in players-only video game competition

Practice makes perfect: in his Friday night practice session, White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito asks fans for setting advice during a Twitch stream. Not a fan of pulse pitching myself. Meter all the way. (

With the delay of the baseball season throwing many fans in the doldrums, a hero has risen to pull us out of our Springtime funk: the Sony PlayStation game, MLB The Show 20. The game was released on March 17, days after MLB announced the suspension of all spring training games due to the Coronavirus pandemic. MLB would later announce the ultimate delay of the 2020 season, and with many variables and questions still in the air can we forecast when the season will begin? Will we see any season at all?

While far from a viable replacement for IRL baseball, the Show has already been used creatively to get us through flattening the curve; NBC Sports Chicago hosts a simulated stream of the game, called by none other than Jason Benetti and Chuck Garfien.

If you’ve been grasping for any drops of baseball lately, fret no more: the MLB Players League begins Friday and runs through April 28, with a postseason to follow. All 30 teams will duke it out online in a 29-game regular season, represented by one ballplayer-gamer of choice. Each player will receive a $5,000 donation to go to a Boys and Girls Club affiliate; the winner will receive an additional $25,000 donation.

Your Chicago White Sox will be represented by none other than the club ace, Lucas Giolito. Giolito is an avid gamer; he’s a seasoned Rocket League player, has admitted he has an affinity for Animal Crossing, and while there’s no baseball on the horizon, he’ll occasionally stream Call of Duty: Warzone sessions with teammates Carlos Rodón and Dallas Keuchel. 

Though you can watch the Player’s League streams for free, fans interested in investing in Giolito’s gaming journey can subscribe to his new Twitch channel for a fee of $4.99. A subscription, as opposed to a follow, gives you a fancy subscriber badge, ad-free viewing, as well as an exclusive chat just for subscribers. 

Giolito said during his practice stream on Friday night that he will be pocketing no revenue he receives from his Twitch channel; instead he plans on finding a charity and donating accordingly. “It’s all about interacting with the fans,” Giolito said. “And just having fun gaming.” 

Gaming for good. We at SSHP can get behind that. 

Check out Lucas Giolito’s first game, against Luke Jackson of the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, April 12, at 8 p.m. CST by dropping by Giolito’s Twitch channel — again, that’s

Let’s go, Lucas!


Look, it’s spring training, OK? White Sox fall to Padres, 3-1

Mark Buehrle, is that you? Don Cooper looks on as Dallas Keuchel readies himself for his first appearance of the spring. Also, that glove. I need that glove. Dallas, care to help another lefty out? (Janice Scurio/South Side Hit Pen)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Hey, look, it’s spring training.

What else do you need to hear? We saw a solid, four-inning start from seafoam-green glove owner Dallas Keuchel, who gave up one run on six hits, striking out one and walking one. However, the White Sox fell to the San Diego Padres at Camelback Ranch on Monday afternoon, 3-1.

Though yours truly is especially guilty for being over-excited by the lineup announcement — what, Moncada and Anderson as a 1-2 punch? Abreu batting third? Honestly, I’m still biting my fist — the offensive production seemed to take Monday off. No one seemed to be able to figure out Padres starter Chris Paddack.

Yeah, it’s spring training, and it’s probably not too ideal to unpack a game like this, but, heck, let’s do it anyway.

Chris Paddack happened, OK?

What was Paddack’s deal anyway? If I can be any clearer on this, well, he might be good. Paddack is carrying over a 2.9 bWAR from his rookie season last year, where he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA — and a 0.981 WHIP. This afternoon, Paddack did not fall behind in the count at all; he seemed to stay ahead of hitters consistently and especially took advantage of notoriously impatient hitters, namely Tim Anderson early in the first inning.


Though I was hoping to see some reprieve once Paddack was removed, the Padres bullpen didn’t waver, holding the Good Guys to one solitary earned run off of five hits. Eloy Jiménez accounted for 28% of hit production for the White Sox, going 2-for-3.

Because I’m legally required to talk about Yermín Mercedes in anything I write now, I must mention that Mercedes legged out an incredible infield single in the eighth.

The ninth inning offered some classic RBDQ dramatics as Adam Engel reached on a wild pitch third strike, advancing to second on the play.Luis González singled, scoring Engel, accounting for the solitary White Sox run, but the rally was unfortunately stifled when Danny Mendick grounded into a double play, ending the game.

Some good things did, in fact, happen

We got to see some flashy defense by Anderson, Leury García, and Daniel Palka. Anderson especially helped Keuchel get some of his nine ground ball outs with some fantastic defensive work. I think this is a bright spot worth pointing out, given Anderson is frequently criticized for his defense, which he’s intended to improve over the offseason. This second inning play by Palka had me especially rolling:

James McCann might be better at framing? I caught him doing this exercise before game time, and he might have pulled a strike or two back into the zone:

We also saw a handful of solid outings from the pen: Aaron Bummer, Steve Cishek, and Kelvin Herrera gave up no hits in their respective one-inning performances.

Keuchel was fine, honestly

Though the first inning might have been worrisome, Keuchel had an overall solid outing. He’s continuously said that he feels like he’s ahead of schedule, and gave us four decent innings and could have probably eaten more if this was a regular season game, like he’s wont to do. He held the Padres lineup to soft contact; nothing was really hit hard from my casual observation sitting in Section 117 at Camelback Ranch.

It’s good to remember to never fall out of love with a veteran during spring training.

Other sundry items

I was able to catch a little bit of the B game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday morning, where I saw Kodi Medeiros throw a few innings to Seby Zavala, who airmailed a throw late in the game, failing to throw a baserunner out. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Blake Rutherford and Luis Basabe were able to get some work in, while Brewers pitchers Adrian Houser and J.P. Feyereisen attempted to do the same. The White Sox dropped that game to the Brewers, 2-0.

It’s spring training, y’all.

The spring fun continues at Camelback Ranch tomorrow. This time, the White Sox send Reynaldo López up against the Oakland Athletics; they’ll be sending Chris Bassitt our way. The game is scheduled for a 2:05 CST start, and Darren Black has the SSHP coverage.

So, you’ve decided to become a White Sox fan …

Welcome, friend: Sitaspell. Take your shoes off. Let’s learn how to root for the White Sox … together.

Congratulations on taking the first step towards what might be a long and arduous journey through our humble fandom! Or maybe you’ll only be with us for a short time. Hey, this guide isn’t here to judge.

That’s your decision; this is, after all, at-will employment. 

Allow me to introduce myself; I’m a hereditary White Sox fan, and if you’ve seen that movie, having the fan run through your family can certainly feel like you’ve inherited something sinister. Due to budget cuts, I am both the resident IT person and HR generalist of the White Sox fandom. I’ll email you a link with your email and password, and make sure it’s a secure one, (nothing obvious like IL0v3Y@sm@niGr@nd@l!), but we’ll figure all that out at the end of this orientation. 

Whatever length your tenure figures to be with our beloved South Siders, this guide is here to serve as your New Fan Orientation packet, and to let you know what exactly you are getting yourself into.

So sit back, relax, and strap it down. And on behalf of everyone at South Side Hit Pen, home of innovative crowdfunded grassroots coverage of your new favorite team, welcome to the madness that is White Sox baseball!

Why are you here?

Let’s get this one out of the way: Let the homers call you a bandwagoner in the pejorative. Fandom is a choice, it’s not something that’s earned. Even if you’re like me, where your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, third cousin once removed or whatever, cheered for one team, truthfully, you’re still free to cheer for another. 

Casual, intermediate, advanced. We welcome all levels of fan. You can name only one or two players? Have the birth charts of the whole pitching staff saved on your phone? (By the way, oddly enough, stacked with Capricorns.) Got Baseball-Reference bookmarked so you can fire off stats on some plebeian who thinks Yasmani Grandal can’t be a leadoff hitter because his batting average was .170 batting first? 

The only gatekeeping at Sox Park you’ll see is performed by the security guard who wouldn’t let me in with a sealed bottle of vitamin water a few years back.

Maybe you’re here because your favorite player was acquired in a gustatory offseason free agent signing.

(We see you, Brewers fans.) 

Or perhaps you found yourself telling your friends and family that while you and your team love each other very much, that you’re taking a much-needed break and have decided to see other teams.

We see you … Astros fans? (Hey, again, no judgments here.) 

Or you maybe you are a recovering Cubs fan, upset at how the R*cketts family is spending their money, namely, not on players. We see you, too.

Let’s not forget those who are new to baseball altogether; perhaps you are finally buying into the hype via your friends, who won’t shut up about 108-ing, legend statue selfies, five-inning complete game shutouts, bat flips, or some guy who just seems to like to say hi to his own mom. 

You are seen. 

No one else can tell you how to fan but you, and we embrace that philosophy here on the South Side.

It all boils down to this: you cheer for the White Sox? We do, too. We have so much in common already!

The basics: Who’s Who

Screenshot 2020-02-21 at 9.53.00 PM

Rick Hahn

Our fearless GM, who makes calls and starts moves, namely as soon as he’s able to, the day after the World Series. Rick was first out of the gates and acquired the likes of Yasmani Grandal when other GMs were sleeping off their hangovers, and gifted Dallas Keuchel and Edwin Encarnación to the fandom right before December 25. 

Ricky Renteria 

The man making the lineups. Though he was the subject of scrutiny for being very experimental with the batting order last season, Ricky’s approval rating is high — especially now that he should have plenty of offensive flexibility with this offseason’s acquisitions. (We acquired a switch-hitting catcher who draws walks? Incredible!) Not to mention through testimonial, Ricky’s personable, positive, and respected by his players — a proven leader. 

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone 

We’re blessed by the baseball gods to have this dynamic announcing duo — Benetti, especially, is a gift with his wry insight and humor. Also, #SoxMath anyone? Steve Stone is the perfect comedic foil to Benetti, especially if you follow either of them on Twitter.


The fuzzy green dude is the working class hero we’ve been needing. Whether he’s at your wedding, corporate event, or goofing off with your kids at a game, Southpaw’s always down to entertain. But … why isn’t he left-handed?

Some other good names to know

Nick Madrigal, our hopeful second baseman on Opening Day.
Michael Kopech, a top prospect who just shaved his head for charity.
Luis Robert, a center fielder whom you’ve probably seen hit some sort of ridiculous home run video on social media.

These guys are the future of the organization, and we’re so excited to see them in 2020. 

The basics: What’s What

Screenshot 2020-02-21 at 9.55.22 PM

The 2005 World Series 

Yeah, it happened. 

So much magic. Scott Podsednik with the walk-off homer — his second postseason homer —  in Game 2, despite hitting no home runs during the 2005 season. Small ball, long ball, the 2005 White Sox did it all. A powerful lineup that hit 200 home runs in the regular season. A ridiculous starting rotation including Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland and Freddy García. Heck, the pitching staff’s entire ERA was 2.63. 

The legacy of 2005 is still felt to this day. Manager Ozzie Guillén continues to offer, um, insight from time to time. Every White Sox dad has that one jacket with the cream leather sleeves, the ’05 World Series patch on the sleeve. Any given bar on the South Side has that one neon World Series Champs Miller Lite sign, and chances are it’s rarely been turned off since.


What exactly is 108ing? Chances are, you’ve done it already. Not limited to the confines of the scenic view of the right field foul pole, any given time is probably an appropriate time for a beverage. On your way to a court appearance for a parking ticket? (Probably not then, honestly. HR is not responsible for any 108-related citations.) Waiting for medical test results? Generally thinking about the insurmountable weight of human existence? Time to 108. 


Sox Park is surrounded by vast parking lots, ideal for the ancient tradition of consuming self-prepared food and assorted beverages out the backside of your vehicle. 


Tim Anderson is changing the game, namely by unapologetically being himself and not giving a rat’s ass about whose feathers are ruffled by his incredulous bat flips. Timmy’s about having fun playing baseball, not this AcT liKe YoU’ve BeEn tHeRe bEfoRe crap. We love him so much that we built a whole-ass marketing campaign around the reigning AL batting champ.


Sox Park (anyone calling it Guaranteed Rate Field is doing that because they have some legal obligation to) is home to some of the best ballpark food you’ll find. Anyway: fries topped with gyro fixins or buffalo chicken, helmet nachos, elotes, churros, an entire goddamn BBQ loaded baked potato. We’ve got it all. Come hungry; you will eat well at the ballpark.

Admit it: you’d buy this candle

A final note

With spring training just getting underway, there’s so much excitement in the fandom that hasn’t been seen in years. PECOTA? We don’t know her. The White Sox are projected to win 80-something games, but from the early player interviews, it sounds like winning is, well, a priority; the rebuild is complete.

However you choose to ride with us, you’ve made the decision to do so, since the other option was to, well, get run over. 

At any other orientation, an HR person would have you fill out a few forms, present a form of identification, maybe a check to jump-start your direct deposit, so you’d get paid.

As a White Sox fan, remember, you will pay. We’re not sure how yet, but you’ll certainly pay. 

Parrot Power: Edwin Encarnación officially signs with the White Sox

Boom, Clap: Home runs, anyone? Edwin Encarnación looks to add some offensive power to the White Sox lineup. (@MLB)

After passing today’s physical, Edwin Encarnación’s one year, $12 million deal became official. The deal also includes a $12 million club option for 2021, with no buyout. Kodi Medeiros was outrighted from the 40-man roster to make room for Encarnación.

So what can we expect from this acquisition? First of all: dingers. 

“Edwin is a professional hitter, someone who makes each and every at-bat count,” says GM Rick Hahn in today’s press release. “His long track record of power is impressive and as a veteran run producer, Edwin adds another threatening bat to our lineup, lengthening our batting order and increasing Rick Renteria’s offensive options on any given night.”

Though Encarnación just turned 37, his offensive production has certainly not slowed: For Seattle and New York last year, the January 7 birthday boy hit 34 home runs in 418 at-bats. His ISO was also at a career high, at .287. Between 2012 and 2019, Encarnación has amassed multiple 30-plus home run seasons, hitting 42 for Toronto in both 2012 and 2016. Encarnación has also started 723 games at DH; the position should be familiar to him as he settles in on the South Side.

Another area that Encarnación can potentially also help the White Sox in is walks, an area they were dead last in the AL in 2019. According to his Baseball Savant page, Encarnación’s 2017 BB% was at a career high of 15.5%, which placed him at the top 3% in the league. In 2019, his BB% dropped off a little bit, to 11.9%; however, the MLB average was at 8.8%. Encarnación joins fellow patient hitter Yasmani Grandal, whose 2019 BB% was at 17.2%.

Here’s to a season full of the long ball, and busting out the parrot emoji with reckless abandon. 

Hit Parade: White Sox clobber Cleveland, 8-3

Today’s lesson: We learned that Tim Anderson, José Abreu, Daniel Palka, and Welington Castillo, are in fact, NOT Beliebers.

Did I ever give you any indication that Tim Anderson is chasing a batting title?

No? Well, let me tell you about it. Tonight, after a spectacular 4-for-5 performance, Anderson’s batting average sits at a lofty .339, 11 points ahead of Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu. Anderson’s four hits contributed to a 14-hit game for the Chicago White Sox, as they go up against all odds to get at Shane Bieber early, defeating the Cleveland Indians, 8-3.

The hit parade began nearly immediately when Leury García crushed a Bieber fastball to left field, on the second pitch.

Legends hit dingers — 380 ft. dingers, to be precise.

As if you thought the top of the lineup was finished; Anderson and José Abreu hit flashy back to back singles.

Bieber fell behind to Yoán Moncada almost immediately, and I know I talk a lot about how Moncada has Bieber’s number, but it’s important to point out that touting a 3-0 count after giving up three consecutive hits is a tell-tale sign … Bieber probably won’t have his best stuff tonight.

What do you mean? (These will be the only Justin Bieber references you’ll read tonight. Sorry.) Moncada grounded out, which advanced Anderson and Abreu. Zack Collins reached on a fielder’s choice, and WHEW, this error by Carlos Santana, lemme tell you –

“Santana threw it to Elk Grove Village!” – Jason Benetti

Timmy and José scored on the error – Sox strike in the first, and they struck hard, 3-0.

Ross Detwiler threw a few innings of solid ball. His control decided to show up tonight – and that’s evident with the 0 walks under his belt. Detwiler, in fact, didn’t let Cleveland score until the third inning; a leadoff single by apparent karaoke star Franmil Reyes is bookmarked by an incredible defensive play by Moncada.

oof, that cross into foul territory! fistbite dot gif.

Moncada robbed Roberto Perez of what could have been an extra base hit, but Michael Freeman singled after that play, scoring Reyes. Cleveland’s on the board now, but the Good Guys still lead, 3-1.

The Sox half of the third saw Tim Anderson with another gustatory leadoff single; José Abreu slapped a single to center field to follow. Yolmer Sánchez joins the hit party with another single, scoring Timmy, driving in Yolmer’s 42nd RBI. How about that? It’s 4-1, Sox.

While Big Boss Ross has a pretty tight lid on this Cleveland lineup, the Sox offense continued to produce. Daniel Palka – yes, that’s right, Daniel Palka – singled off Bieber. A single to center field by Tim Anderson advanced Palka to 2nd. (And for those of you keeping score at home, that’s TA’s third hit of the night.)

And I can tell you right now that if your number two and three hitters are both having multi-hit games – things are probably looking pretty swell. Abreu singled, scoring Palka, for Abreu’s American League-leading 122nd RBI of the season. 5-1, Sox.

In the fifth inning, Cleveland’s offense began to show finally show some fight. José Ramirez took Detwiler deep, and how.

Third homer in two days? I suppose that’s impressive.

Franmil Reyes must have been eager to fill out a song request slip, because he singled next. Roberto Perez singled too, moving Reyes to third. Freeman stopped the momentum by grounding out into a double play, but it scores Reyes anyway. 5-3, Sox.

Is it getting a little warm in here, or is it the karaoke fog machine?

The sixth inning brought Tim Anderson’s fourth hit of the night. Can we take a moment to appreciate the greatness, thanks to this montage put together by our friends over at

We stan.

Moncada doubled, and Sanchez slapped a ground ball single.

But the White Sox are still hungry. And what do you do when you’re hungry?

Order the beef, of course.

Welington Castillo’s three run bomb put the Sox up, 8-3. You love to see it.

Some other tidbits from this game: Aaron Bummer got out of a jam in the seventh by making Francisco Lindor chase a naaaasty pitch.

I miss Lindor’s blue hair, to be quite honest, but I understand the maintenance is hard.

Lindor also falls victim in the ninth inning, when Alex Colome works out of a bases-loaded jam, notching the save:

Cleveland’s loss tonight further dims their playoff chances. with the Tampa Bay Rays beating the Yankees tonight, Cleveland’s now a game and a half back in their push for the AL Wild Card. Their elimination number is now at three.

We saw a solid start from Ross Detwiler. He threw five innings of ball, giving up three runs, all earned, off five hits. He walked none and struck out one. Big Boss Ross improves to 3-5.

Cleveland really needed Shane Bieber to show up tonight. I … almost feel bad. Bieber went 5 2/3rds, giving up five runs, three of them earned. He gave up 10 hits, which is a LOT for him. He struck out seven, as he is a strikeout pitcher, and walked one. His record falls to a still-respectable 15-8.

Other tidbits: Leury Garcia left the game in the fifth, due to an injured shoulder. Matt Skole also left today’s game with right abdominal tightness. Both are day-to-day, according to the White Sox Twitter account.

Also, the Minnesota Twins have clinched the AL Central. Good for them, or whatever.

The Milwaukee Brewers also punched their ticket to the postseason, and I might have had to re-watch a good portion of this game so I could celebrate my Yelich-less National League team appropriately. Both Steve Stone and Jason Benetti had cordial things to say about the Brew Crew’s September resurgence.

Tomorrow’s 7:10 CST game finds Dylan Cease (4-7, 5.79) taking the hill opposite Aaron Civale (3-3, 1.82). Catch this game televised on NBC Sports Chicago; the radio’s got you at WGN 720. For your SSHP coverage, Leigh Allan has your back.

If there’s one last thing to make you smile tonight, let it be this.

Gamethread: Cleveland at White Sox

So Majestic: This view is worth the trek to the 500 level. Man, I’m going to miss this place. (Clinton Cole / South Side Hit Pen)

Can we talk a little more about last night’s spectacular seventh inning alley-oop play between Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson? Because that’s maybe one of the few noteworthy things from last night’s game, where the Cleveland [REDACTED]s certainly did not have a wayward early-inning slugfest, resulting in an 11-0 loss for the Chicago White Sox. 

Nope, that didn’t happen.

That play certainly did, though.

Just for the heck of it, with bonus Jimmy Biceps, let’s watch it again. 

In the spirit of being a reluctant optimist, I must remind you, in your best interest and mine, that there is, in fact, another game today. Pitching for Cleveland is Shane Bieber (15-7, 3.23 ERA). At 252 strikeouts, he’s third in the American League in this category. He’s also third in the American League in WHIP at 1.030. The Biebs has had a solid September: he’s won 3 out of his last 4 decisions, striking out 28 and only walking 3. 

Pitching for the White Sox is Ross Detwiler (2-5, 6.98 ERA). In 10 starts, Big Boss Ross carries a 6.17 ERA. His last start against Cleveland was … not great. In 2.2 innings, he gave up four runs on four hits, four of them earned, walking six.

Here are the lineups:

Some fun things to note: the 2019 season may be winding down for the Good Guys, but Tim Anderson, as of last night with 503 plate appearances, officially qualifies for the American League Batting Title. (502 plate appearances are required, in a 162 game season.) 

Timmy actually leads all of baseball in average right now, at .334.

Leading the National League at .329 is none other than My Other Fave, Christian Yelich. Excuse me while I go off to cry for a little while.

José Abreu also still leads the American League in RBI, so we have that going for us, which is nice. At 121, he’s three behind Anthony Rendon to lead all of baseball.

You can catch tonight’s 7:10 CST matchup on NBC Sports Chicago; if radio’s more your thing, tune into WGN 720. 

Ohtani’d: White Sox obliterated by Angels, 8-7

José hits back: Abreu’s thrilling 7th inning home run after being plunked all night was poetic justice, but not enough to rally back from what was a five run deficit

Shohei it ain’t so? A rocky start from Dylan Covey, some continued rockiness from the bullpen, and an offensive onslaught by Shohei Ohtani and *squints* … Kevan Smith? The Chicago White Sox fell to the initially Mike Trout-less Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field, 8-7.

The first inning kicked off with back-to-back leadoff singles from David Fletcher and Brian Goodwin. Here, Ohtani gave us a brief demonstration on how he’d hurt us later by smacking a line-drive double to left field. Goodwin and Fletcher both scored; and a throwing error by Tim Anderson allowed Ohtani to jump on over to third to make it 2-0, Angels.

In the Sox’s half of the first, they bit back against Angels starter Andrew Heaney. TA redeemed himself for that first-inning error with a leadoff single. I’d like to officially introduce the TA Batting Title Watch: After today’s game, his average currently sits at a league-leading .333 and just one point off of leading all of baseball!

So why was Luis Rengifo playing to the left of second base? That’s what Anderson was wondering, at least. Yoán Moncada singled to right; with a gustatory headfirst slide, Anderson found himself at third, some great baserunning on his part. José Abreu tapped a sac fly, scoring TA, and giving Abreu a career-high 108 RBIs.

Is this … what they call … small ball?

Moncada stealthily swiped a bag under the watch of Kevan Smith; not quite done with the inning yet, James McCann smacked a double off Heaney to the gap, tying it up, 2-2.

The tie game would prove to be ephemeral; in the third, Goodwin coaxed a dreaded leadoff walk, then advanced on a wild pitch from Covey. A single from Upton pushed Goodwin to third … and …

Oh. Hey, Shohei.

Shotoshop? How the hell did I not come up with that? Covey left a pitch high and over the plate, and Shohei Ohtani Adobe Acrobated it the hell to opposite.

We saw a single from Albert Pujols (wait, that guy?) and Rengifo walked; and that’s when the Dylan Covey experiment ended, and the Carson Fulmer era began. Fulmer’s control was … not there … from the get-go. He issued a walk to Smith, loading the bases. Did I mention Fulmer had no control? He issued another walk to Fletcher, pushing home Pujols to make it 6-2, Angels.

If Fulmer’s ability to throw strikes was completely eviscerated by clicking the “decline” button on a Creative Cloud software licensing agreement, we saw it tonight. Another wild pitch scored Rengifo, and the game seemed out of reach at 7-2.

Though it’s irrelevant to the eventual outcome of the game, I’d like to mention that Abreu was hit with a pitch in the bottom of the third. Why that’s important? You’ll see.

The White Sox finally show some life in the bottom of the fifth; Ryan Cordell hit a stand-up double on a Heaney slider and scooted over to third on a wild pitch, as there were many of them tonight! And in accordance to the TA Batting Title Watch, I’m required by the law I just made up to tell you about his RBI DOUBLE! Now with multiple hits in 21 oh his last 34 games.

So. Much. Swag.

The inning ain’t over yet; that sweet 1-2-3 of today’s Sox lineup finally gets to Heaney as Moncada singles, scoring Anderson and trimming the deficit to 7-4.

(Oh yeah. Before the end of the inning, Abreu gets hit with a pitch again, this time square on the knee. What the hell. Anyway, I swear to GOD this will be relevant later.)

In the seventh, we saw this cool play by José Ruiz, who gets the glove side of an Ohtani line drive:


It’s here in my notes where I wrote something along the lines of “Ruiz is cruising,” which is hilarious since that evaporated as fast as #OldFriend Kevan (why not Kevyn or Kehvyn?) Smith could spank a single shot on a high fastball. It was only his fourth of the year, believe it or not, even though you’d be under the impression he’s … contending for a batting title, he’s such a Sox killer.

Whoever runs this Angels twitter account is a person after my own heart

So this was the Kevan Smith revenge game apparently? Nah, I think this is the Kevan Smith revenge revenge game. Why is that? The Sox half of the seventh starts off with Ryan Goins reaching on an errant throw by Mr. Sox Killer himself. That’s right. E2. Take THAT.

Moncada grabbed himself another multi-hit game, singling after taking a foul ball right off of his foot. Ouch. Goins moves on over to third. (Those errors will haunt you, Kevan.)

So I’ve been talking throughout this recap about José Abreu’s HBPs and why they matter.

Here’s why. Abreu finds his pitch, and he finally HITS THE F**K BACK. He finds a Luis Garcia fastball and absolutely crushes this pitch to left field.

The score’s now 8-7, and this game … is within reach.

Sort of.

There are more ninth inning dramatics, and not exactly the kind you’d want. Simmons singled on one out; Kelvin Herrera balked Simmons to second. His toe must be feeling better, because Mike Trout entered the chat in a pinch-hit appearance, only to be issued an intentional walk. Unfortunately, an unintentional walk likewise is issued to David Fletcher.

With the bases loaded, Herrera managed to get out of the jam with no further damage, which was cool to see.

The White Sox bottom of the ninth failed to yield any run production. And despite Abreu avenging himself and Kevan Smith’s Revenge-Revenge defensive errors sort of costing him, the Sox take a big ol’ L. They’ve now lost the last 10 of their last 12 games, and I honestly can’t even remember the last time I’ve recapped a win. The precarious fifth starter situation was never meant to be a long-term solution, and that proved to be the case tonight, especially against a fantastic hitting Angels lineup.

Dylan Covey went 2 2/3, giving up seven hits and five runs, all earned. He walked two and struck out four, falling to 1-8.

Even though this was another disappointing loss, some cool things to come out of this game: Abreu is at 30 home runs for the season, for the fourth time in his career. He also leads the AL in RBIs, with 111. Anderson still sits atop the American League in batting average. Also, Kevan Smith’s defensive error. Did I mention that?

Heaney went six innings, giving up six hits and four runs, all earned. He struck out eight, and improved to 4-4.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll see the Kevan Smith Revenge-Revenge-Revenge game, where he gets revenge for the revenge he revenged in the first place. Wait no, that would be bad. Revenge-revenge-revenge-revenge is way more like it.

Yeah, there we go.

Tomorrow Dylan Cease, (3-7, 6.75) squares up against Jaime Barria (4-7, 6.27). For your SSHP coverage, look no further than the analytical Joe Resis. Catch the 1:10 CST conclusion of this series televised on WGN; to bring it into your ear holes, dial into WGN 720.

Gamethread: Angels at White Sox

Off the chain: Tonight, Dylan Covey takes Ross Detwiler’s rotation spot. I’d make some joke metaphor linking this with tonight’s giveaway and the real home run chain, but that would be both inaccurate and not funny (Ashley Sanders)

So about last night. We saw yet another brilliant performance from Lucas Giolito, notching a quality start after going seven innings and giving up only two runs. Tim Anderson is also well on his way to a batting title with a 2-for-4 evening; his average stands currently at .333, a whole four points ahead of Yankees infielder and pain in the ass du jour, DJ LeMahieu.

NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED! Aaron Bummer totally DIDN’T give up a two-run blast to Brian Goodwin. The Sox TOTALLY didn’t lose to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Greater Southern California Area, 5-4.

Now that we’re happily in complete and utter denial of reality, let’s talk about today’s pitching matchup! On the bump for us is Dylan Covey, who’s 1-7 on the year so far, with a 6.88 ERA. If there’s anything vaguely comforting to report, Covey’s FIP is at 6.10. I can’t imagine Covey eating many innings tonight, so we may even see Ross Detwiler later, whose spot in the rotation Covey’s usurped.

On the bump for them is Andrew Heaney. The lefty pitcher is 3-4 with a 4.16 ERA. If that name’s fresh in your memory, it’s because Heaney faced the Pale Hose on August 15 where he notched the W, going seven innings and giving up three runs, all earned, on four hits, striking out six. Heaney’s had an impressive August, carrying a 1.82 ERA and striking out 34; he’s at 92 strikeouts for the season.

The lineups:

No Mike Trout tonight; he’s been listed as day-to-day with right toe discomfort, according to James Fegan.

Tim Anderson, will hopefully further push his campaign for the AL batting title: he’s slashing .333/.333/.333 lifetime against Heaney. Against lefties in general, he’s at .317/.339/.472. This is only his third game leading off.

Because pimpin’, in fact, ain’t easy at all, watch tonight’s 6:10 CST matchup on NBC Sports Chicago. If radio is more your thing, dial into WGN 720.

Will it Roll? Nah. Sox steamed by Cleveland, 8-6

Watch me crank it, watch me roll: Tim Anderson has a three-hit night including a two-run blast in the ninth inning for added theatrics, (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

In something that’s highly relatable as someone who didn’t grow up with siblings, on Wednesday night Jason Benetti and Steve Stone made up a game called “Will it Roll?” which features watching baseballs roll errantly off the netting at Progressive Field. This game offered a healthy distraction in-between innings to the mind-numbing ennui that usually accompanies watching Chicago play a team like Cleveland — especially when the White Sox lose, as they did tonight, 8-6.

The game itself featured plenty of strange plays, including a bizarre fielder’s choice, and some baserunning gaffes, resulting in rundowns. Benetti described tonight’s events as “bordering on the occult.” In a start that echoed much like his last, Iván Nova only lasted 4 ⅓ innings. Neither Nova nor Cleveland starter Justin Bieber really had their stuff early tonight; we saw a what could have been the start of a pitcher’s duel, but not necessarily the fun kind.

Finally, any hopes for a storybook ninth-inning rally were otherwise lambasted by a stellar catch, courtesy of Oscar Mercado.

In the bottom of the first, leadoff menace Francisco Lindor singled; Mercado then smacked a double, pushing the speedy Lindor to third. Up walked notorious bat-licker Yasiel Puig; he grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Mercado was caught in a rundown (the first of a few in this game) by Tim Anderson, scoring Lindor. 1-0, Cleveland. Yeah, already.

The Sox would strike in the second inning, starting with the leadoff walk to James McCann. Eloy Jiménez then destroyed a knuckle-curve from Bieber with some solid contact, pushing McCann to third. Yolmer Sánchez kept the party going with a sac fly, scoring McCann and pushing Jiménez to third. Yolmer’s 35th RBI of the year knotted the game, 1-1. 

However, the tie wasn’t enough for Zack Collins, who has shown up this Cleveland series, hopefully earning him more playing time! (Pretty please?) Collins singled, and Eloy ran home. The Good Guys led (wow, it feels great to say that), 2-1. 

Cleveland’s half of the second began with a leadoff double from Franmil Reyes, who apparently hit the ball so hard, Leury García seemed to lose sight of it. Nova’s control turned a little slippery and Jake Bauers walked, and when the speedy Reyes saw an opportunity to steal third, he did. Roberto Perez grounded into a DP, which got Nova some outs but unfortunately tied the game, as Reyes scored. 

Ugh. Small ball. What’s that, anyway?

The third inning brought more woes for Nova, who was picked apart by this Cleveland lineup. Mercado, who will prove to be a major pain in the ass later, singled; a line drive double to center by Carlos Santana followed that, scoring Wheels Mercado and making it 3-2, Cleveland.

We finally saw Not-Justin’s first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, while Nova’s fourth would not go nearly as well. Perez singled, and it’s deflected by García. Yu Cheng then singled to left, Perez scooting on over to second. Mercado hit one to the gap between a scrambling García and Daniel Palka, and Perez scored. At this point, Mercado’s 3-for-3, and I’m sick of him already

Yeah, it’s now 4-2, Cleveland, or something. 

Some weird stuff happened in the fifth, which I guess is a good time for weird stuff to happen. Thematically, it would set us up for the rest of the story, right? We see some weird shit, go to a denouement, then we’re given the conclusion? Yeah, I took maybe one film class. 

Zack Collins walked, and then on a grounder, García beat the throw to first to avoid the double play. Tim Anderson doubled to the opposite field, specifically to Puig. Nick Capra gave García the red light, because there’s no way in hell you run home on Puig. 

José Abreu then reached on a weeeeird fielder’s choice, 5-2-5-1. Aaaand then Leury’s caught in a rundown, but at least Timmy’s on third! But Yoán Moncada strikes out. WEIRD.

We’re given a little break from the weird in the bottom of the fifth; Puig singles on a shaaaarp line drive to left field. And then Reyes decides to make things a little less weird, and a little less fun, too. 

It’s 6-2, Cleveland. Meh.

Nothing happens for a few innings, which is great, but I’d like to mention that Bieber eventually found his stuff and was cruising. 

Josh Osich, however, not so much. *That part* of the Cleveland lineup found him, and quickly. A walk was issued to Reyes; then 2019 White Sox killer Jordan Luplow singled on a grounder to left field, moving Reyes to third. And that’s when Chang did something very Luplow-like and also singled to left field, scoring two. Chang also did something very Leury García-like, and got caught in a rundown.

At 8-2, Cleveland, this game is still in reach, right? RIGHT?!

In the top of the 8th, Tim Anderson singled. He was having a great night, by the way (and it may even get better, foreshadowing!)

Next, in a great, patient at-bat, Abreu hit his 29th homer of the season off of Nick Goody, who had just replaced Shane Bieber (and thank GOD or whomever, by the way). José adjusted a bit and pulled an inside pitch and BOOM, he launched it the heck outta here. And just like that, the lead is cut significantly, to 8-4, Cleveland.

Oh, but we ain’t done yet. Fast forward to the top of the ninth, where we see Danny Mendick’s first major league at-bat! And it ended as quickly as it started, as he struck out swinging. 

As anticlimactic as that was, García hit a single next (a 2-for-5 night!). And that’s when Anderson finds a Brad Hand high fastball and … and … and ….

That, my friends, is a three-hit night for Mr. Stick Talk himself. And his 15th homer. And we’ve got ourselves a ballgame, 8-6 Cleveland, with the Pale Hose knocking. 

And here come in the theatrics.

You can say Brad nearly … handed … us the game. (Full joke credit goes to LWilz on this one.) Abreu kept the momentum going with a line drive single; Moncada then walked. And by now, my dog’s pissed at me for paying too much attention to this game so she starts putting her head on my computer’s keyboard, as James McCann singled, loading the bases! 

Are you screaming yet? You will be. Here comes dat Eloy!

Oh. Um. 





Cleveland found that elusive third out in the ninth inning, by getting pinch-hitter Ryan Goins to strike out swinging.

Like I mentioned earlier, Nova’s start was … not great, and he looked very similar to his Atlanta outing, where he barely even made it four innings before being pulled. Nova gave up 11 hits; he’s prone to give up hits, however, as he is second in the AL in this statistic. The Cleveland lineup made solid contact with his fastball-cutter-change combo, and they made him pay dearly. Nova gave up six runs, all earned, walking two and striking out one, falling to 9-12 on the season.

Justin … err … I mean, Shane Bieber did not really have the cooking gas either to begin with, but later found his stuff, enough to go seven innings, giving up six hits and two earned. He walked two, but struck out nine, improving to 13-7.

Are you still watching that Mercado catch video? Don’t worry. I kind of am, too. Feel better about yourself soon, and bounce back for tomorrow’s matchup, which features the plucky Reynaldo López (8-12, 5.41) against Zach Plesac (7-5, 3.61). 

Turn on incognito mode on your Google Chrome at work and find tomorrow’s 12:10 CST game on NBC Sports Chicago; if the radio works out better for you, set your dial to WGN 720. For your SSHP coverage, look no further than the affable Lauren Wilz.

BONUS CONTENT: (Was I being too hard on Leury here? He did make this excellent grab in the third. I try not to be too mean. Sometimes.)

Gamethread: White Sox at Cleveland

Bossa Nova: The righty enters September, hoping to continue a jazzy second half . (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

Last night, Eloy Jiménez said hello to Cleveland with a two-home run game, catapulting the Chicago White Sox to a thrilling 6-5 victory at Progressive Field. Dylan Cease struck out 11 to complement the offense, resulting in the sweet release from a seven-game losing streak. 

Tonight, the White Sox look to create another type of streak, by potentially winning two games consecutively. To help this effort, Chicago sends Iván Nova to the mound. Nova wasn’t super in his last start, which was against Atlanta on August 30th: In four innings pitched, he gave up eight hits and five runs (four of them earned), striking out none. However, his August overall was stellar, with a 1.95 ERA in 37 innings pitched. 

Nova’s Cleveland counterpart is Shane Bieber. The 24-year-old All-Star righty has a respectable 12-7 record, 4.2 WAR, and 3.27 ERA. He also carries an impressive 1.007 WHIP and 224 strikeouts into tonight’s game, placing him third in the American League in both of those categories. Interesting to note: Yoán Moncada, batting cleanup tonight, is slashing .556/.600/1.333 in 10 plate appearances vs. Bieber.

Speaking of lineups …

A streak has to start somewhere, right? Catch tonight’s 6:10 p.m. CST start televised on NBC Sports Chicago; for a more auditory experience, tune into WGN 720.