White Sox Filleted by Braves, 10-7

Beef au jus: The catcher launched a pinch-hit home run in the seventh, giving many of us temporary hope. (@WhiteSox)

It’s no chef’s secret that the Braves have been cooking in the NL East, as they now hold a 5 1/2-game lead over the Washington Nationals. And it’s no surprise that Atlanta starter Max Fried reduced the Chicago into a multi-course meal in Friday’s 10-7 White Sox loss.

Iván Nova, who came in with a 1.99 lifetime ERA pitching against the Braves, unfortunately no longer holds that accord. Early errant control, Nova’s bread-and-butter cutter/slide combo not filling, and the Braves lineup just generally being packed with great hitters resulted in Nova being placed on the menu.

The Braves got in line at the buffet table in the second inning, as Josh Donaldson walked; Matt Joyce singled on a bunt to Yoán Moncada, advancing Donaldson, and Dansby Swanson handed out plates as he singled, scoring Donaldson to put the Braves up, 1-0.

Next, #OldFriend Tyler Flowers touched all the cutlery, smacking one right on out of here, touching all the bases for a three-run home run.

In the third, Nova got himself into a pickle, walking Donaldson (again), Joyce following with a single (AGAIN, what is this, Master Chef reruns?) and Swanson, this time, getting beaned.

Nova managed to strawberry out of this jam, but would find himself somewhat pickled in the fourth: A two-out single by Ozzie Albies begat a Freddie Freeman double after the Braves challenged — and won — a White Sox tag-out. (What’s it like to win one of those, anyway?) Albies scored, making it 5-0, Braves, and making it the last batter faced by Nova, as Jace Fry flies out of the pan and into the fire the next inning.

But before that, the postgame show finally was cancelled in the fifth, when Eloy Jiménez singled to third, Donaldson just barely snagging the ball. James McCann artfully drew a walk, and Adam Engel got the Sox on the board with a sharp line drive to right field, scoring Jiménez, trimming the deficit to 5-1.

Our #OldFriend Flowers returned in the sixth and smacked a double, moving to third on a Fried bunt. Kelvin Hererra tagged in for Fry, and backstabbed the southpaw by allowing an Albies infield single, scoring Flowers.

The seventh found the Sox finally coming home from the grocery store. Jiménez started things with a sharp, line-drive single; McCann was then hit by Fried. Yolmer Sánchez reached on an error by Freddie Freeman, scoring Jiménez and advancing McCann to second. The Sox were down four, and it was time for a … pinch-hitter?

Wait, who ordered the Beef?

Welington understood the importance of the culinary arts, and National League pitcher-sub baseball, with a three-run blast that trimmed the lead to 6-5, Braves. RBDQ!

In the Braves half of the seventh, Aaron Bummer took the carving knife from Herrera but dropped it on the floor, walking both Donaldson (yes, again), and Joyce. #OldFriend walks, too. What gives? Surrender your chef’s coat, Aaron, Evan Marshall is going to rescue your meal. If only; Adeiny Hechevarria singled to center, scoring Donaldson and Joyce.

While Marshall meditated on his knife skills, in true RBDQ fashion Ricky started beefing with umpire Brian Knight on a two-strike count. Some rather strong words were said, and Knight tipped with Renteria’s 26th career ejection.

Do we really have to talk about the eighth? I mean, it IS Friday night and I’ve been talking about food throughout this whole recap, how about we just get outta here and grab a burger and milkshake to distract us from the impending ennui? Yeah, that’s it, let’s get a big ol’ milkshake and forget about this inning.

Ozzie “The Booger” Albies doubled (icing his fifth career four-hit game). From there Freeman noticed Leury García misreading a ball and charged towards third for a Little League triple, scoring Albies and making it 9-5, Braves.

That’s when Donaldson gets mowed in a rundown, but no one’s covering second, so José Abreu made a jumping tag for the second out of the eigth inning — yeah, that was only the second out — and thankfully, Abreu’s OK after pulling that stunt. Freeman already knows what’s up; tagging from third to score.

RBDQ doesn’t die when Ricky’s ejected, or when it’s 10-5 in the ninth. Hell, it might just get stronger. Sánchez walked, then took second on “defensive indifference” (a great metaphor for tonight’s White Sox defense!) That’s when Ryan Goins singled, moving Sánchez to third. With two out, García singled in both, redeeming himself for his earlier fielding gaffe. However, any attempts at true RBDQ are deflated as Tim Anderson strikes out on a knuckle curve from Mark Melancon.

Nova was not in his usual second-half form. His final line? Four innings pitched, eight hits, five earned. Two walks, and no strikeouts. Nova is notorious for giving up many hits, and the Braves certainly capitalized early on this. Worse, Nova fell behind in the count constantly, especially while throwing to Donaldson, who found himself on base, often. Nova’s record fell to 9-11.

Max Fried started strong, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. Despite having one inning where he made some mistakes, his offense rallied behind him. Fried went six innings, gave up four hits, four runs (three earned), one walk and 11 strikeouts. He improves to 15-4.

Tomorrow’s 6:20 CST matchup features the resilient Reynaldo López (11-8, 5.08 ERA) facing Dallas Keuchel (5-5, 3.78 ERA). Wait, who? Ashley Sanders will try to break into the SSHP win column with your Saturday coverage. Tune in on your fancy televisions on NBC Sports Chicago; if you’ve got one of them newfangled radios, set your dial to WGN 720.

Gamethread: White Sox at Braves

Interleague interstellar: In case you were wondering, Iván Nova’s career slash line is .041/.041./.041 (@WhiteSox)


Prepare for a trip through the Interleague Cosmos: it’s Super Nova day, my friends. 

In the opener of this three-game set, the Chicago White Sox head to an area of the galaxy they haven’t visited since 2016: Atlanta. With their 81-54 record, the Braves sit atop the NL East. What’s even more out of this world is that the Braves are 14-6 in their last 20 games, blasting off towards yet another postseason. 

While the Braves seem as insurmountable as the Sun inevitably turning into a red giant and swallowing the Earth whole, remember that Iván Nova is rocketeering for the Good Guys today. Nova started August with a 3-1 record and a 1.09 ERA, allowing only four earned runs over 33 innings. Nova especially pitches well against National League teams; in his last five games vs. Atlanta, he’s 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 27 innings pitched. Against National League teams in 2019, he’s 2-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 24 innings.

On the hill for the Braves is the lefty, Max Fried. He’s 14-4 with a 4.03 ERA. Fried is a slight ground ball pitcher, but has been known to pile on strikeouts every now and then. In his last five starts, he has 31 punch outs in 27 innings pitched; he struck out 10 batters in an August 7 matchup against the Minnesota Twins. 

And now, the lineups:

Brian Snitker’s lineup is below:

Now that you’re thinking about the Sun expanding to the point where it either engulfs the Earth or just boils the oceans ceasing all life as we know it either way, view today’s televised 6:20 CST game on NBC Sports Chicago. For the radio broadcast, set your phasers to WGN 720.

I mean, we have five billion years, right?

Agony in Anaheim: Angels aerate Sox, 8-7

Wheels” McCann: A ninth-inning triple from the catcher sparked some late-game excitement. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

It was certainly a night for the long ball; plenty of them rained upon the rocks in center field at Angel Stadium. José Abreu had a two-homer night, we were treated to some fantastic defense on the part of Tim Anderson, as well as an exciting ninth-inning rally, but it still was not enough to overcome the calculating Angels.

Human cheat code Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox, 8-7.

Angels starter Andrew Heaney retired the first 10 batters he saw, and was looking incredibly locked in; his stuff was rather fire, as Jason Benetti mentioned a 93 mph sinker with a high spin rate, which results in some late movement.

In the first inning, your little sibling’s MLB the Show Create-A-Player, Mike Trout, was limited to an infield single, off a nice stop by Yolmer Sánchez —that play might have saved some extra bases. Shohei Ohtani sent a double off the wall, pushing Trout to third.

A spectacular defensive play by Tim Anderson certainly saved some runs; Leury García cut right in front of Anderson as the ball reached his glove but not even missing a beat, Anderson launched the ball to first, nabbing the speedy Justin Upton. Trout came home on the groundout, 1-0, Angels.

Up came the third inning; so how do you pitch to Mike Trout, anyway? Very carefully.

As a Lizzo fan, I gotta say, that’s pretty clever, Angels. They led, 2-0.

To round out the third inning, we were treated to more spectacular defense from Anderson.

WOWZA!

In the fourth inning, Anderson canceled the postgame show with a single to left, with one out. Then a wild José Abreu appeared.

The White Sox tie it! 2-2.

Around came the dreaded 5th inning. Do I really have to talk about the fifth inning? Brian Goodwin walked; Trout only singled this time around, Goodwin moving to third. Reynaldo López walked Upton, packing the sacks with Angels. David Fletcher then smacked a single to shallow left, driving in two, 4-2, Angels. To add insult to injury, Luis Rengifo singled, scoring Upton.

In the sixth inning, Trout once again singled, because he’s Mike Trout, now 4-for-4 at this point. Ohtani reached on an error by Sánchez; and this time, it was Upton’s turn to rain down (Rains of Castamere, anyone?) on Sox pitching, namely Josh Osich. A big crooked number went up, stretching the lead to 8-2, Angels.

The White Sox were not about to go quietly into that good night, however; Abreu homered to deep left on a solo shot, trimming the lead to 8-3.

So admittedly, this was the part of the game where I started checking my group texts and twitter notifications, maybe look at my tracking numbers to see if the stuff I bought last week is anywhere closer to arriving at my house. I even put my laundry away. This was incredibly productive for me, because the White Sox bullpen was nice enough to keep the Angels from scoring in the seventh and eigtth innings.

The ninth is when I had to stop folding my pants and pay attention again —Heaney was replaced in the game by Trevor Cahill, and all hell broke loose. Anderson reached on an error by Max Stassi, immediately followed by a triple by none other but James “Wheels” McCann, scoring Timmy.

Eloy Jiménez then entered the chat with a single, scoring McCann, and the Sox inched closer to the Angels, 8-5.

So you thought the White Sox were done? You thought this game was over? What’s a bedtime? Well, Welington Castillo doesn’t care about your sleep habits. He clubbed a two-run blast off Hansel Robles, bringing the White Sox within one run, at 8-7.

Sánchez continued the rally with a single off Robles, but the rally is qualmed when Robles struck out Ryan Goins to notch the save.

With the biggest gold “You Tried” sticker, the White Sox offense woke up late against Angels pitching. López did not have his best stuff tonight. I’ve said before that he’s most effective when his curve and slider are popping, and he’s throwing a lot less of the curve than usual. He went 5 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and five earned. He walked two and struck out six, dropping his record to 7-10. His opponent, Heaney, went seven innings, giving up four hits and three earned. He walked none and struck out six.

Tomorrow, Lucas Giolito (12-6, 3.42) goes after lucky win number 13 in his homecoming game. He’ll face off against Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 5.59), who will only be making his second career start.

Catch the action at 8:07 p.m. CST on NBC Sports Chicago; if radio’s more your thing, tune into WGN 720, but then, you’d miss Color Commentator for a Day Bill Walton spiking the broadcast booth coffee pot with acid. The mathematical Joe Resis has your SSHP coverage, and you better believe he’s bringing his TI-83.

Gamethread: White Sox at Angels

TA at No. 2 today: Anderson is warming up nicely in August. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

On behalf of all of us from the Hit Pen, I’m excited to procure the inaugural SSHP Gamethread, along with my esteemed colleagues — we’re psyched to bring you the finest in Chicago White Sox coverage. For your White Sox news served with a piping-hot side of snark, look no further than the ‘pen. 

In the most recent manifestation of the Baseball is Nuts phenomenon, the Chicago White Sox managed to edge out the Houston Astros in dramatic fashion yesterday evening, catapulted to a win by a James McCann grand slam, extra cheese, but hold the toast, 13-9. We saw yet another stellar performance by Iván Nova as he continues to dazzle in the second half. 

Bust out your protractors and fill up on the diner coffee, because the White Sox head to Southern California to begin a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, their first series all season, with a 9:07 p.m. start.  

On the hill for the Good Guys is another starter having a mathematically great second half: Reynaldo López. López is 7-9 this season, with a 5.16 ERA. Since July 4, ReyLo’s dropped his ERA from 6.34 to 5.16; his ERA for the second half is an acute 2.13. 

Calculating on the vertex for Los Angeles is the lefty, Andrew Heaney. He’s 1-3, with a 4.89 ERA. Heaney hasn’t won a decision since June 25, mostly due to being out with shoulder inflammation. Tim Anderson is a player to watch against Heaney. Tim’s slashing .393/.414/.554 in August; versus lefty starters, he’s .369/.534/.903. Against Heaney himself, he’s .333/.333/.333 lifetime, but in three plate appearances.

The Lineups:

Looks like the White Sox social media person knows about the power of 24-hour diner coffee, too:

Find Brad Ausmus’s lineup below:

Tonight’s 9:07 p.m. CST start can be found on television on NBC Sports Chicago; for a more audial experience, tune into WGN 720. 

In plane geometry, an angle is formed by two rays. Don’t think it works that way in baseball.