Gamethread: Tigers at White Sox

Bittersweet: The end of a season is never easy, but time to recharge, revise, and regroup is a necessity. (@WhiteSox)

Game No. 161

The Chicago White Sox are 71-89 and will be desperately trying to earn their 72nd win over their 90th loss. It’s Game 161 of the season, and José Abreu leads the American League in RBIs. Tim Anderson is about to clinch the AL and MLB batting title, and Yoán Moncada will try to hold his place in the top-three of the leading AL batting averages.

Let’s not forget my guy, Yolmer Sánchez, who is in the running for a Gold Glove award!

Although the season was disappointing in more ways than not, there was a lot of sunshine to be cherished during the past seven months. Lucas Giolito had a complete turnaround, Aaron Bummer was a star reliever, James McCann was a revelation, and the emergence of Eloy Jiménez. The list can go on. I know there is a lot of work to be done in the offseason, but I’m going to enjoy these accomplishments as the final out of today’s ballgame is made.

Before the final out will be made, Ross Detwiler is the man in charge of securing the 72nd win of a one-game shortened season. The Southpaw owns a 3-5 record and a 6.85 ERA in 17 games this season. It has been a rollercoaster for the veteran reliever, so let’s hope this ride ends with a win in the bag.

Spencer Turnbull will take the mound on the behalf of the Detroit Tigers. The righty is 3-16 with a 4.59 ERA in 29 games played this season. The Good Guys saw Turnbull for the first and only time on August 5. The South Siders snagged two runs off of two hits and three walks in a three-inning outing by Turnbull. I anticpate more of the same this afternoon.

The end-of-the-season lineups:

Yolmer “Carlos” “Homer” “Ashley’s Favorite Player” Sánchez bats leadoff, and the MLB batting title leader and AL RBI leader follow.

Last night’s hero, Victor Reyes, bats leadoff for the Tigers; the future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera bats third.

It’s a 2:10 CT start; NBC Sports Chicago has the broadcast, and WGN-AM has the radio. @jresis, @lwilz17, and I will be battling it out for the #SoxMath semifinals!

Good luck to the competitors; a stacked SSHP final would definitely be awesome!

Ultimately, I would love nothing more than to debut the sunglasses emoji for an exciting 2019 finish and to foreshadow a hopeful 2020 playoff team. Let’s go and get it, White Sox!


Gamethread: Tigers at White Sox (Doubleheader)

On a mission: Tim Anderson‘s quest for the batting title continues against Detroit today. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

After weather did not allow the White Sox and Tigers to complete any games, there will be a doubleheader today. The second game of yesterday’s scheduled doubleheader will not be made up, so these two teams are scheduled to have only three more games to finish with 161 on the season.

Baseball-Reference estimates that a team of replacement level players would finish a 162-game season with a 48-114 record. The Tigers (46-112) are essentially right in line with that. There just isn’t much talent on this roster, especially on the offensive side. The Tigers have the lowest OBP in the majors (.294), and in a year where home runs are way up, the Tigers have failed to follow that trend.

Fortunately, the White Sox (70-88) have taken advantage of the Tigers’ weak points, as they are 10-5 against them. Reynaldo López will pitch for the White Sox. López got off to an excellent start to the second half of the season, but he has cooled off lately. López has a 5.57 ERA, 5.14 FIP, and 5.39 xFIP. His fWAR (based on FIP) is 2.0, which seems generous. According to FanGraphs, if you base his WAR on RA9, his value drops to 0.2 wins above replacement.

Here are this afternoon’s starting lineups:

This game will be televised on WGN, WGN 720 will have the radio coverage, and it will begin at 2:40 CST. Let’s get our 71st victory.

Gamethread: Tigers at White Sox (Doubleheader)

I had something thoroughly fabulous in mind for today, but this lousy, rainy, horrible day is putting a severe ass-kicking on me. So, here are the weird lineups on this weird day.

This straight doubleheader purportedly will begin at 3:50 Central per the White Sox, NBCSCH and WGN-AM.

Gamethread: Cleveland at White Sox

Edward Lear – author, poet, artist and renowned baseball analyst

Because the Tigers are coming in for the final weekend, tonight is the last time the White Sox will be facing a major league team this year. Add to that the fact they can get a dribble of fun out of the miserable season by reducing their opponent’s chances of making the playoffs from 13% to win-the-lottery range, and it’s a special occasion.

Given that, I invited a special guest to tonight’s Gamethread to discuss the status of the Sox, noted baseball analyst Edward Lear.

Welcome to South Side Hit Pen, Eddie. I’m thrilled to have you as a guest, because I’ve been a fan ever since you wrote that immortal line, “There once was a team from Nantucket.”

Thanks, Leigh, a pleasure to be here. Always enjoy a good ball chat, especially about the Sox.

Let’s start with the big picture. What’s your take on the White Sox at this point?

There once was a team called the Sox, see?
Stuck in a blah orthodoxy,
A seven-year blight
With no end in sight,
Giving their fans apoploxy.

Hard to disagree with that. Let’s break it down, starting at the top.

There once was an owner named Jerry,
Who thought wins came from the tooth fairy,
The crafty old miser
Knew fans none the wiser,
And grabbed all the loot he could carry.

Harsh, but fair. Let’s move on down.

There once was a pair, Ken and Rick,
The two of them equally thick,
They promise to you
In a decade or two,
They’ll really get something to click.

I’m not sure they’ve put off success for more than one decade more, but who knows? What about the honchos wearing funny outfits?

Some say as the world’s end approaches,
The last things alive will be roaches,
But Sox fans all know
That just isn’t so –
They’ll never outlast old Sox coaches.

Guess that’s what they mean by “working the bugs out.” What about players? Let’s start with the offense.

The Sox have a handful of batters
Who can smash a baseball to tatters,
They would be good if
They didn’t so often whiff,
And hit the damned ball when it matters.

The whiffing is a problem, all right.

There are games we’re all left in a daze
Of more double-digit Sox K’s,
And yet they all balk
At the thought of a walk,
Though getting on base really pays.

It sure seems like an institutional problem, but, then, so does playing defense.

Yolmer’s really good, Yoan is okay,
James and Adam sure know how to play,
The rest are so porous
A lame stegosaurus
Could lumber right through them all day.

Which gets us to pitching.

It certainly would be neat-o
To have more than Giolito,
But all of the rest
Are an unproven mess,
For whom the best grade’s “incompelete-o.”

Pleasure though this chat has been, we better move on to tonight’s game. It’s a big one for Cleveland, if not the Sox.

The White Sox are hosting the Tribe,
Whose hopes are still barely alive,
This game is a must
Or their season’s a bust,
With Chicago a cause to ascribe.

Time to get to the lineups. Can you take it player by player?

That might be a little space and time consuming. Besides, I have no rhymes for Palka.

How about just our starting pitcher?

On the mound for the Sox is D. Cease,
And one hopes that his skills will increase,
But his name is so punnable
Even bad games are funnable,
Since you’ve got such a humor release.

Why don’t you just do that picture thingy for the rest.

Okay. Here it is. Eloy out again.

Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease is 4-7 with a 5.79 ERA. In his only appearance against the Indians he struck out 11 in 6 2/3, but gave up four earned and got no decision. His last outing was against Detroit, so that doesn’t count.

The Indians counter with rookie righty Aaron Civale, 3-3 with a 1.82 ERA (that’s not a typo). One of those wins was over the Sox September 2, when he got the win, giving up three runs – just one earned. His last outing was against Detroit, so that doesn’t count.

As for the Tribe lineup:

  1. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
  2. Oscar Mercado (R) CF
  3. Carlos Santana (S) 1B
  4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
  5. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
  6. Franmil Reyes (R) DH
  7. Mike Freeman (L) 2B
  8. Roberto Perez (R) C
  9. Greg Allen (S) LF

Thanks again Eddie. Want to do the technical points?

Thanks again for having me.

Gametime is at seven ten,
Radio is WGN
The TV cohorts
Are on NBC sports,
And the weather looks perfect again.

Any last word?


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. 

Gamethread: Cleveland at White Sox

Our guys: Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson hope to lead the White Sox bats again tonight.

Time: 7:10 p.m. CST


Radio: WGN-720

  • Hector Santiago was supposed to get the start for the White Sox tonight, but Carson Fulmer will serve as the opener. Fulmer has pitched well in his last two appearances, not giving up a run in his 3 1/3 innings pitched. Tonight will be Santiago’s 18th appearance this season when he relieves Fulmer. He is 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in his two starts.
  • Mike Clevinger gets the start for the Indians. Clevinger does not get much national attention, but he is one of the better pitchers in the American League. He owns a 2.54 ERA with 155 strikeouts in his injury-ridden season.


Gamethread: White Sox at Tigers

On a roll: Tim Anderson has a nine-game hitting streak, and his .335 batting average leads the majors. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

The White Sox (68-86) will try to sweep the hapless Tigers (45-109) this afternoon in Detroit. The White Sox’s final seven games are in Chicago, so this is their final road game of the season. Like most teams, the White Sox have done well against the Tigers, as their record in head-to-head matchups is 10-4.

Reynaldo López will start for the White Sox. López has a 5.44 ERA, 4.98 FIP, 5.36 xFIP, and 2.3 fWAR in 172 innings this season. In his last start, the Twins had his number, as López allowed five runs (all earned) in five and one-third innings. López walked two and had only two strikeouts. That game ended in a 5-3 Twins victory.

28-year-old lefty Matthew Boyd will pitch for the Tigers. Boyd has a 4.54 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, and 3.0 fWAR in 176 1/3 innings. Boyd is excellent at missing bats, as his K/9 rate of 11.64 is No. 5 in the majors. On the other hand, when Boyd allows contact, it often goes a long way. Boyd has allowed 38 home runs this season, which puts him behind only Mike Leake of the D’Backs. According to both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, Boyd is the most valuable player on the Tigers in terms of wins above replacement. Mainly because Boyd is pitching, the odds for this game are nearly split, with FiveThirtyEight giving the White Sox a slight edge, at 54%.

Here are today’s starting lineups:

The first pitch will be at 12:10 CST, WGN will televise it, and WGN 720 will have your radio coverage. Let’s get this sweep to end the final road trip.

Gamethread: White Sox at Tigers

The future:Two reasons to watch a Sox game in September, no matter how meaningless. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

It would be easy to wonder why you, Reader, are watching a meaningless Chicago White Sox game vs. the Detroit Tigers in late September on a Saturday evening. Surely you have something, anything, better to do.

But we know why: soon, there will be no more baseball, only winter and snow and polar vortices, and we will all miss baseball, no matter now meaningless. So we may as well watch while we can.

Is it me, or does 2-6 almost look like a real, honest-to-goodness, professional lineup? Nice work, Ricky:

Meanwhile, the Tigers are trotting out something less encouraging for their fans:

Gamethread: White Sox at Tigers

Back on the bump: In his last start, Dylan Cease allowed only one run in five innings against the Mariners. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

The White Sox (66-86) are in Detroit to take on the Tigers (45-107, mercy). This three-game series will be the White Sox’s final road series of 2019. For tank enthusiasts, if the season ended today, the White Sox would have the ninth overall pick in the 2020 draft, while the Tigers would have the first pick for the second time in three years.

Dylan Cease will be starting for the White Sox tonight. In 67 major league innings, Cease has a 6.18 ERA, 5.51 FIP, 4.62 xFIP, and 0.4 fWAR. In Cease’s last start, he lasted five innings and only allowed one run against the Mariners. While that performance lowered his ERA, he was fortunate to escape with that final line. As usual, Cease’s control was an issue, as he walked three in those five innings, though he pitched around those walks. Cease’s walk rate is 4.43 BB/9, which is a number he will have to lower.

Jordan Zimmermann, a 33-year-old veteran with 25.4 fWAR, will face the White Sox. Zimmermann enters with a 6.32 ERA, but he has been unlucky, as his FIP and xFIP are much lower (4.75 and 4.89, respectively). As a result, Zimmermann has been worth 1.3 fWAR. Zimmermann has pitched against the White Sox once this season, and that was back on April 19, when he allowed five runs (all earned) in six and one-third innings.

Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

First pitch will be at 6:10 CST, NBC Sports Chicago will televise it, and WGN 720 will have your radio coverage. The White Sox have already won four more games than they did last year. Let’s make it five.

Gamethread: Smelly Hobo Sox at Twins

Smelly hobo (?) socks, courtesy of the author.

First, about last night. I got my little guy to sleep and decided to finish watching the end of the White Sox game. Watched a couple of fruitless extra innings, and after Minny failed to win it in the 11th, I made the responsible decision not to stay up for three-plus hours waiting for the Twins to just win already, so I went up to bed.

Because I hate myself and I clearly have a problem, I said oh, I’ll just put on my MLB AtBat Radio feed of Ed and DJ on and I’ll just fall asleep anyways. So, Ryan Cordell did this:

[Lee Corso voice]: NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!

Which, as we all learned from that one episode of Futurama, the White Sox Media Account people were “… technically correct. The best kind of correct.” Anyway, I went to bed seemingly assured the Sox couldn’t possibly biff this one up.



Jesus Christo on a cracker … the Tank is officially on.

This sums it up, I think:

Indeed Wilzy…White Sox Baseball: Wut Is U Doin?


I guess I should finally discuss this upcoming game. So [Professor Farnsworth voice] GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!

Iván Nova will get the unheard of (for these parts) One-Inning Opener start! My how time flies when you are crashing and burning!

The Sox Lineup:

The flies are the bullpen. (

For the Twins:

Ah who cares, these fictional Twins could probably Run Around Sue Ricky just as easily:

The actors that portrayed Billy Heywood’s starting 9 could probably handle the Sox as easily as this montage indicates.

Gametime is at the very odd 6:40 p.m. CST. It’ll be on NBC Sports Chicago, which evidently might be leaving ATT U-Verse thanks to a helpful blurb that crawled across the screen last night. Unless I decide to cut the cord finally, WGN 720 AM is likely where I will be listening to next season. I’ll be back with a non sitcom-themed recap tonight, because frankly this squad don’t recognize or deserve genius.