Spring training’s in full swing with split-squad games — and the White Sox split them

Predicting the future: The two games today seemed to be an indication of what the major league and Triple-A lineups could look like. (@WhiteSox)


Cleveland Indians 10, Charlotte White Sox 2

Luis Basabe: 1-for-3, 0 BB, 1 K
Danny Mendick: 1-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K
Zack Collins: 0-for-2, 1 BB, 0 K
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Andrew Vaughn: 0-for-1, 0 BB, 0 K
Micker Adolfo: 0-for-1, 1 BB, 1 K
Yermín Mercedes: 0-for-1, 1 BB, 1 K
Luis González: 0-for-3 0 BB, 0 K
Bernardo Flores Jr.: 1 IP, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 K

If you needed any more proof that this was the Triple-A team (well, besides the lineup), all you had to do was check in on the first inning. Cheslor Cuthbert, a utility infielder who may see some time in Chicago, committed two fielding errors at third base. Those led to three unearned runs for Bernardo Flores Jr., who was out of the game shortly after those two errors. At least the talent difference between Charlotte and White Sox players is growing at this point in the rebuild.

This game was only on radio so there is no video, so just play along in your head. Though the Triple-A team was on display for the White Sox, Cleveland had their star guys out there and seemed to almost have the everyday MLB lineup out there to start the game. On the pitching side, only the first two innings saw majors-level pitching, though, as Shane Bieber and Brad Hand are two of Cleveland’s best.

Unsurprisingly, they recorded outs on six of the seven batters they faced. On the plus side, it was Gavin Sheets who was able to force a walk from Hand; Sheets is a lefty, so a walk off of Hand is pretty impressive. It would not get much better for the Sox, though some fun names did appear, so let’s focus on that because nobody could actually see the game.

From the starting lineup, AAAA players shined: Danny Mendick, Zack Collins, Luis Basabe, Micker Adolfo, and Yermín Mercedes, all of whom are on the 40-man roster, started today. So, this is the lineup of players that need to do the best this spring to make the team. Mendick and Collins are probably the closest to the majors, but it might be significant that Madrigal was back at Camelback Ranch in the other game featuring more of the eventual 26-man roster. Each of those five  players reached base at least once over the course of the game.

The next step below are upper-minor league mainstays. Sheets and Luis González should be in Charlotte to start the year. After the walk, Sheets singled, then scored later on in the game, while González went 0-for-3. Three other guys appeared in the game, though they did not get an at-bat: Andrew Vaughn, Blake Rutherford, and Laz Rivera.

To round out some names for the prospect buffs, Lency Delgado and Lenyn Sosa, both just 20 years old, also appeared at Goodyear Ballpark, though they too did not bat.

The pitching, well, was not pretty overall, but also had a big variety of MiLB levels on display. Flores Jr., Caleb Frare, and Kodi Mederios seem destined for Charlotte, which will give the Knights a pretty good lefty trio. Flores Jr. and Frare did not do well, at all, as both saw three runs cross the plate.

Again, for the prospect buffs, Vince Arobio (who had a breakout season from the bullpen in 2019) and Kade McClure made appearances. Arobio did allow a run, and McClure came in for two batters. It was their first appearances in a competitive (I guess it’s relative) game this spring. It’s early, guys, but at least the White Sox picked the right game to put on TV.


Chicago White Sox 4, San Francisco Giants 3

Tim Anderson: 1-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K
Yoán Moncada: 0-for-2, 1 BB, 0 K
José Abreu: 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Edwin Encarnación: 0-for-3, 0 BB, 1 K
Eloy Jiménez: 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K
Nomar Mazara: 0 -for-3, 0 BB, 0 K
Luis Robert: 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K
James McCann: 0-for-2, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K
Leury García: 0-for-2, 0 BB, 1 K
Nick Madrigal: 0-for-1, 0 BB, 0 K
Kelvin Herrera: 1 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Steve Cishek: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Aaron Bummer: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Jimmy Cordero: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Zack Burdi: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Before we get started on this game, look who made it on the field… for the other team.

While one Gold Glover is gone from the team, will there be a new one from the outfield?

Yeah, that is Eloy Jiménez doing things in the outfield, and guess what, he didn’t hurt himself! All around, that was a pretty good play, but then again he set a low bar in the outfield last year. Jiménez also worked the opposing pitcher to a full count and walked. In his next at-bat, he took advantage of a Giants error and drove in a run with a single roped up the middle. All in all, a nice February appearance from Eloy, but we can’t draw any conclusions … yet.

On the other end of the spectrum, Luis Robert showed his youth and inexperience early. He struggled with some little things, but what else is spring training for than to be extremely critical about little things? In the bottom of the second, Robert rolled over on a pitch away instead of trying to go the other way with it or just laying off. In the next inning, as Kelvin Herrera had a hard go of things (three runs allowed), Robert took a bad route to a ball in the gap and seemingly allowed an extra man to score. Robert also ended his day with a bad at-bat with a swinging strike on a breaking ball low and away. These are just little things, but they will mean more if they continue into the summer, when the impatient fans might start criticizing over Robert in his rookie season.

On the other hand, if Robert just does this all the time it won’t matter.

(do not slide head first in February, please!)

or this:

The winners of the day for the White Sox came from the bullpen, though the team win would come later. First and foremost, Zack Burdi pitched and looked like a typical pitcher coming back for the first time. He got hit hard, battled back from a 3-0 count, and it all ended with for a 1-2-3 inning. Now, say what you will about the reliability of velocity from spring training, but that velocity looks fine. It is February, so hopefully that fastball gets up into the upper 90s regularly.

Meanwhile, Aaron Bummer (and his new money) and Jimmy Cordero looked like they were ready for the regular season. They combined for five strikeouts in two perfect innings, and both look like mainstays in the bullpen for 2020. In fact, Bummer could see himself become the closer if Alex Colomé falters this year. Both Bummer and Cordero kept the Giants lead at one run while the Sox tried to avoid the loss or a second straight tie.

In the ninth inning, two players trying to make the team delivered in the clutch. First, Adam Engel doubled to right field to tie the game. Though it would have been fun to tie, again, Seby Zavala put that story to an end. He shot one back up the middle to center field and Engel sprinted and dove home, in February … to win this critical preseason game. Did somebody else dump Gatorade on themselves?

Mercedes homers, White Sox rally late to force tie

Power surge: 2019 first round pick Andrew Vaughn hit a double off the wall to raise his way-too-early spring average to .500 and his way-too-early spring OPS to 1.750. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


Offensive highlights were hard to come by this afternoon, as the White Sox tied their Camelback Ranch buddies by a score of 2-2. A decent chunk of the offensive highlights we did see came courtesy of Nicky Delmonico, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Unfortunately, nobody was able to drive Delmonico home. Delmonico did not get a fourth plate appearance, as he was pulled for a pinch-runner in the sixth (Jaycob Brugman).

The pitching staff managed to hold the Dodgers off the board for most of the afternoon, as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth. 26-year-old righty Alex McRae started on the mound for the White Sox, and he threw two innings and set down all six batters he faced. Adalberto Mejía contributed two scoreless innings of his own, and Evan Marshall added a scoreless fifth. Marshall would not have escaped unscathed, however, if not for this excellent defense by Danny Mendick.

The first run for either side crossed the plate when right-hander Ian Hamilton allowed a solo home run to Cody Thomas. Three batters later, Omar Estevez followed with another solo shot off Hamilton. As a result, the Dodgers led by a score of 2-0 after six.

Although Delmonico had nearly half of the White Sox’s hits, the loudest hit was a seventh inning blast by Yermín Mercedes, which cut the deficit in half. Did I mention this thing was crushed? Because, seriously, it was. Have a look. Hopefully, you will enjoy this as much as I did:

 

Whether or not the White Sox will have room for Mercedes on the 26-man roster remains to be seen. However, today was certainly a step in the right direction for him. The next batter, Andrew Vaughn, nearly followed with a solo blast of his own. Instead, Vaughn settled for a double off the top of the wall. Last year’s third overall pick finished 1-for-2.

In his only other plate appearance, Mercedes led off the top of the ninth inning with a single. That turned out to be a big hit, as the lead runner came around to score on a Matt Skole double to tie the game.

In the latter innings, Codi Heuer, Jacob Lindgren, and Will Kincanon all pitched admirably, as each threw a scoreless inning to make the offense’s job easier. As a result, the Skole RBI double was the last time either team scored, as this game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Nick Madrigal was the center of attention for White Sox Twitter this morning. This was because for the second straight season, Keith Law decided not to include him on his Top 100 Prospects list. As a result, I wanted Madrigal to succeed even more than usual today. Though Madrigal did not strike out (of course), he did not reach base, either, finishing 0-for-3. You win this small battle, Keith, but Madrigal will win the war.

With the tie, the White Sox’s record stands at 1-0-1 this spring. Tomorrow will be a split-squad day, as there will be a pair of White Sox games, both at 2:05 CST. One will be a road game at Goodyear Ballpark against Cleveland. Left-hander Bernardo Flores Jr. is set to take the mound for the Sox, while Shane Bieber is Cleveland’s probable starter. In the other matchup, a home game, Drew Anderson will take the mound for the White Sox against Kevin Gausman of the Giants. The latter game will be streaming on whitesox.com.

Subs provide spark, pitching shuts down Reds in 7-2 win

Young blood: Yermín Mercedes, Luis Basabe, and Micker Adolfo all contributed to a key ninth-inning rally this afternoon. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


GOODYEAR, ARIZ. — After yesterday’s game was cancelled, the White Sox were able to squeeze in their first Cactus League matchup this afternoon, as they traveled to Goodyear to take on the Reds. The lineup was stacked, giving White Sox fans a look at most of the guys that will be playing regularly once the season starts on March 26.

However, it wasn’t the starting lineup that was the story of the day, but the subs who came in and helped seal a 7-2 victory.

Dylan Cease took the mound this afternoon for his first Cactus League start and came out of the gates firing, hitting 99 and 98 mph consecutively to start his day. Cease went for two innings, which is the norm for starters at the early stages of spring training. He allowed at least two batters to reach base in each inning, but they never amounted to anything thanks to his defense and three strikeouts.

All things considered, Cease’s command was pretty good for his first outing. There were moments where he struggled to find the strike zone, but those moments never hurt him — and for his first in-game action in months, his performance could’ve been a lot worse.

As for the rest of the White Sox starters, it was a very quiet day. At the start of spring training, it’s common for pitchers to be ahead of hitters, and that was evident this afternoon. Tim Anderson had an infield single in his first at-bat, but that was the only hit among starters until James McCann had a double to lead things off in the top of the fifth. Yoán Moncada, Eloy Jiménez, José Abreu, and Luis Robert all went a combined 0-for-11 on the day. Moncada, Abreu, and Robert each hit the ball hard on different occasions, but they have nothing to show for it.

But even though most of the starters struggled, they managed to give the White Sox 2-0 lead thanks to some timely hitting in the top of the fifth.

After Carson Fulmer put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, Matt Foster entered the game in a tough situation. However, Foster would rise to the occasion. He generated a weak fly ball and a grounder to quickly get two outs after facing just two batters. McCann helped get Foster completely out of the jam by gunning down Shogo Akiyama trying to steal, for the third and final out. Foster went on to pitch in the following inning, where he once again shut down the Reds and didn’t allow a run.

At this point in the game, there were all new faces in the field for the White Sox — and when the fun began. Seby Zavala took over for McCann and blasted an opposite-field, solo home run to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh. A lot of hitters were aggressive today, wanting to make a statement early. Seby, however, was not. He was patient at the plate, wasn’t fooled by junk outside of the zone, and once he got his pitch he deposited over the wall in the right, center gap.

Zavala wasn’t the only sub who would come through for the White Sox this afternoon. After the Reds made it a 3-2 game in the bottom half of the eighth, the White Sox were looking to add insurance runs in the ninth and they would do just that.

Micker Adolfo got the rally started with a double, and would later come around to score on an error, the first of two unearned runs in the inning.

Nick Madrigal would also join the party by scorching a RBI single to left field. Madrigal made a few mistakes in the field this afternoon, but he made up for it with this RBI. All told, the White Sox plated four runs on four hits in the ninth and put the game out of reach for the Reds.

Tyler Johnson finished this one off with a 1-2-3 inning where he picked up two strikeouts and was sitting in the upper-90’s with his fastball.

The White Sox will be back in action tomorrow as they take on the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM CT, with Alex McRae taking the bump. This is the first of six games televised by NBC Sports this spring, so don’t miss it.

South Side Hit Pen’s Best of the 2010s

Three generations: One indelible memory. (Leonard Gore)


That last Christmas gift under the tree? Yep, it’s from your friends at South Side Hit Pen.

After we delivered our take on the very, very best and beyond, beyond worst games of 2019 last month, we decided to wrap up an extra-special treat, as we wrap up 2019 and the Teens to boot.

An octo-rama of the best and brightest SSHP writers present to you our Best of the 2010s — please enjoy.


Orlando Hudson leads off in what would quickly become a season finale onslaught.
Sure, it was a meaningless game, but it was also the last time the White Sox ended a season with a record better than .500. That wasn’t particularly inspiring at the time, because the White Sox had led the division until a week before, but looking back, a mere September collapse was the best of times. Plus, the score was significant — 9-0 being the official score of a baseball forfeit, given that the Sox would as good as forfeit the rest of the decade. The game itself had its moments – Gavin Floyd pitched seven innings of three-hit ball for his 12th victory of the season; Paulie and Dayan Viciedo hit dingers; the immortal Dan Johnson slammed three homers and picked up five RBIs, bringing his season total to six; and Adam Dunn improved the game significantly by not playing. (Yeah, yeah, that was his 41-homer year. So what?) — Leigh Allan

White Sox 9, Braves 6
June 22, 2010
There were two games that immediately jumped to mind, one sad, another happy. The sad one came in September 2011 in Kansas City, when manager Ozzie Guillén and I, both of us sensing it would be our last days together before setting off into other endeavors beyond the White Sox, sat alone and commiserated over our fates and futures for about 20 minutes in the visiting manager’s office of Kauffman Stadium. But I’m choosing the happier one, instead. And that game is a June win in Chicago, my first game on the White Sox beat. I was a week or so from riding in the Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade, finishing up my one-and-done year on that beat before jumping right into the White Sox job for CSN Chicago. I’d covered the White Sox before, but never as a permanent job, and after writing stories for the beat-less Comcast during the Hawks playoff run — some even on a Blackberry after my netbook exploded in San Jose — I sort of forced my way into a dream job on the White Sox beat. It was the start of a two-year run with the team that was hard as hell, but a glorious and lucky time for me. I recall no details of the game beyond an early offensive assault and the win pushing the team over .500, but I hopped on the beat with the White Sox in the midst of a six-game winning streak, and from there my pugnacious prose helped compel the club to jump from third to first place during a 14-5 run (20 of 25 wins overall) that made me think, briefly, that after a first Stanley Cup in 49 years and now a 20-5 run with my new Chicago team, I was some sort of lucky charm. Of course, I was proven wrong by September 2010, but this season — and this game — will always be a magical memory for me. — Brett Ballantini

White Sox 4, Tigers 3
July 23, 2016
It was a day that was supposed to feature a cool retro jersey: the 1976 navy pajama top. Me and a group of friends normally went to the cool promotional games — the Hawaiian shirt games, jersey giveaways, steins, etc. — because the promotions have been the best thing about the Sox the past decade. If it is a cool promotion, we will be there. So, we mainly went to that game in July for the giveaway, but with the trade deadline nearing, we also understood it could be Chris Sale’s last game at Sox Park. While we were in line waiting to get into the park among what was a pretty good crowd, we all got phone alerts via Twitter, multiple reports coming in that Sale would not be starting the game. Immediately, we all turned to each other and asked if he was traded. As the line got moving, more and more fans were looking at their phones and turning to their group, all equally confused.

Now, my friends and I wanted a rebuild (and still support it), so we were giddy that a potential trade was in the works. A pitcher scratched from a start in late July surely made it seem like a trade was imminent. As confusion permeated the lines and the stadium, we collected our retro jerseys at the turnstiles and went upstairs to our seats. Looking back now, we should have noticed something obvious: The Sox were not wearing the 1976 jerseys, they instead were in the 1983s. But we did not think anything of it at the time (you can say we were stupid, and I will admit we were/are). As game time grew closer, the story became clear: Chris Sale was not traded; he threw a temper tantrum. He cut up the jerseys the Sox were supposed to wear on that day.

Once that information found its way to our laps, we all just laughed and laughed. In the same year where the Sox had the Drake Laroche debacle, another White Sox childish display was the talk of baseball. Because Sale did not start, Robin Ventura had to go to an impromptu bullpen day, and the bullpen did very well: Matt Albers, Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle, Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson went all-out to get through the day and on to the next. The Tigers were able to put up three runs in eight innings, including a blown save by Jones. Meanwhile, the Sox offense did just enough. Avisaíl García drove in two runs through the first eight innings, with a home run. Dioner Navarro doubled in another run. It was a rainy day by the end of the game, so we left before the game was suspended after the eighth inning, and we did not go back for the ninth the next day, when Adam Eaton ended the game with an RBI single.

But the game was really a second act on the day: The real story was Sale’s. He ended up being suspended for five games, missing one turn in the rotation. But looking back now, that day must have made it much easier for the front office to trade him in the upcoming offseason. For me and my friends, we do not remember much about the game, but we all have vivid memories of the shock we all had once the true story came out, punctuated by the team wearing 1983s instead of 1976s.

The 2016 team was not all that bad, but it was the most embarrassing season to be a Sox fan in recent memory. This game was the exclamation point. — Darren Black


The youngest Gore scored his first-ever White Sox game at the tail end of 2019. (Leonard Gore)
White Sox 5, Angels 1
Sept. 8, 2019
Since nothing of any baseball importance happened during the seven years of the decade a White Sox fan was the POTUS, I’ll go with a personal choice that just snuck in under the wire. Sept. 8, 2019 was a completely forgettable and insignificant Sox 5-1 win over a Trout-less Angels team.  José Abreu homered; Danny Mendick homered (the first of his career!); Dylan Cease was wild (of course); and every starter got a hit except for Adam Engel (of course-of course).
But what made it most memorable for me was the fact that it was my son’s first ever White Sox game! And frankly, I didn’t spend much time watching this game because I was happy to have him with me. We watched a couple of innings, met Ron Kittle outside the park (of course-of course-of-course), and spent most of the game in the Fundamentals Kids Zone in left field doing all the baseball activities over and over. My dad and brother also were there, so it was three generations of Gore boys to enjoy a day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. — Leonard Gore

Royals 4, White Sox 1
Sept. 29, 2013

White Sox 9, Rays 6
April 25, 2014
Looking for the best White Sox game of the decade was no easy task. But after digging through the dumpster fire of the last decade that was White Sox baseball, I stumbled across April 25, 2014, an evening affair against the Rays that produced some nice fireworks.

Cut to the top of the ninth at U.S. Cellular Field, as Evan Longoria smashed a two-run dinger off of Matt Lindstrom to straightaway center field, breaking a 4-4 tie. Things were looking grim for the Sox, but they got through the rest of the inning unscathed. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with two on and one out, Paul Konerko walked to load the bases. Adam Eaton was up next, and narrowly avoided hitting into a double play to end the game, just beating out the throw at first as a run scored. Grant Balfour then walked Marcus Semien to load the bases once again, setting the stage for José Abreu.

Abreu did not disappoint, smashing a walk-off grand slam into the bullpen in right center field, his second dinger of the game. Ballgame!!! This game set the stage for six years of heroics from José, as he’s been the star who has shined the brightest during that time for the White Sox. — Scott Reichard (guitarsox)


Image result for White Sox 9, Mariners 8 Aug. 24, 2012
The Tank and The Donkey, celebrating the moments of their lives.
The White Sox were fresh off a sweep of the mighty New York Yankees, who finished the season with the best record in the American League. So things were looking up for the White Sox, who held a two-game lead in the AL Central. The mediocre Mariners visited The Cell, and the White Sox broke through early and often against starter Jason Vargas. Even free agent bust Adam Dunn went deep, as the White Sox chased Vargas from the game after only four innings, leading 6-2 when Vargas departed. The White Sox tacked on one more against the bullpen to take a 7-2 lead.
Meanwhile, Jake Peavy settled in nicely, allowing only two runs in seven innings. Matt Thornton took care of business in a drama-free eighth inning, and it appeared the Mariners would go down quietly. However, the ninth inning was far from drama-free. Robin Ventura made an odd decision to have Philip Humber start the ninth inning. Though Humber had thrown a perfect game a few months earlier, his performance between the perfect game and this outing was rough: a 6.67 ERA and  .284/.363/.518 slash against him. Ventura’s strange decision did not pay off on this warm, August night, as Humber’s struggles continued: a leadoff home run and walk before departing with one out. In to pitch stepped Donnie Veal, who allowed a double to the first and only batter he faced.
But, it was OK, as the White Sox still led 7-3, and Seattle’s tying run was still on deck. Addison Reed, who came in to pitch after Veal, had room for error. Unfortunately, Reed could not get the job done, allowing four of his first five hitters to reach base safely, and the final hit was costly. John Jaso’s single gave the Mariners an 8-7 lead and took the wind out of many fans’ sails.
Luckily, the White Sox offense woke back up, as they solved Seattle’s Tom Wilhelmsen. Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI single to tie the game, and Paul Konerko won it with a base hit into right-center to score Dewayne Wise. This was the wildest game I have ever seen in person, and I am thankful that I was able to attend. In the bottom of the eighth, one of my friends was wondering aloud if we should take off early and beat the traffic. Mercy, I sure am glad that we did not listen. — Joe Resis

OK, so this clip doesn’t feature the Yolmer Homer, but it does include a Yolmer two-bagger and a cameo from our own traveling win streak, Ashley Sanders.
White Sox 9, Rays 2
July 19, 2019
Although it has been a very disappointing decade for the Chicago White Sox, there have been many games worth celebrating. For my favorite game of the 2010s, like many of us I’m picking among games I attended. Of those 29 games, July 19, 2019 in St. Pete against the Tampa Bay Rays is my reigning favorite. A 9-2 squelching of Tampa Bay included a Yolmer Homer — and those are legendary! Reynaldo López pitched seven innings, the Sox tallied 17 hits, and it was an electric victory that ended a seven-game losing streak. Whenever the pitching and hitting are so in sync, it creates an all-around fantastic game! — Ashley Sanders

The worst White Sox games of 2019

Walk-off walk? Oh, you betcha, we got all kinds of ugly here for you.


We started to get into on Monday, when LennyG opened our bests and worsts with a delightful dip into both flavors. On Wednesday, it was a peaceful stroll through a whole batch of top contests courtesy of the SSHP staff.

Today, it gets a little ugly: here, in chronological order, are the worst of our worst.


March 28 — Royals 5, White Sox 3

The season was over before it started, thanks to the front office’s offseason additions. Let’s take a look at some highlights from Ricky’s 2019 Opening Day lineup: Yonder Alonso at cleanup, Daniel Palka in the six-hole and Tim Anderson batting seventh. Seventh! But let’s not bury the lede here. Jon Jay would have been the Opening Day leadoff hitter if it weren’t for the injury no one really knew he had or how or when he suffered it. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t see Machado’s pet goldfish anywhere in the March 28 lineup. For the record, Nate Jones and Dylan Covey came on in relief, too. Aside from all the brutal headlines off the field going into the season, we still had to watch the Sox take on the lowly Royals on that brisk, foggy Kansas City afternoon.

Now, I always get excited for Opening Day, regardless of how embarrassing of an offseason my team executes. But the 2019 first game excitement slowly dwindled after Eloy’s first at-bat. Jiménez, in his big league debut, was in his swing-at-everything phase and could not handle Brad Keller’s off-speed pitches. He was also sandwiched between Alonso and Palka (a combined 0-for-6 that day), which is something that should just make you laugh, really. Carlos Rodón (remember him?) was good, not great. The Royals scored three runs off Rodón, and only two of those were earned thanks in part to the three errors his team committed behind him. The Sox were down 5-0 heading to the top of the ninth. Happy Opening Day! Granted, the Sox scored three and had the bases loaded with two outs, but even that situation made this game the worst of the year. The last batter was Yolmer Sánchez, who would not have even been in the lineup if it weren’t for the failure to sign Machado in the offseason. (Yes, Machado did not have a great year, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’d rather have him up than Sánchez with the bases loaded). Sánchez hit a lazy fly ball to end the first game. So, yeah, Opening Day is my choice as worst game of 2019. (Mike Gasick)


May 4 — Red Sox 15, White Sox 2

The White Sox got on the board in the first inning, grabbing a 1-0 lead on a single by José Abreu. Unfortunately, that was as good as things got for the White Sox. After retiring the first eight batters he faced, White Sox starter Manny Bañuelos did the impossible and surrendered 10 consecutive hits with two outs. Carson Fulmer, who came on in mop-up duty, also imploded, allowing five runs (three earned) while only recording one out. The Red Sox ran the score up to 15-1 by the fifth inning. I won SoxMath that day, but it kind of felt like I didn’t. (Joe Resis)


June 15 — Yankees 8, White Sox 4

Decimated by the dreaded Yankees 8-4, the White Sox only scored when it was all but over in the eighth, three on a James McCann dinger. The Yankees actually used an opener, which apparently mystified Sox hitters, and the home team should have done the same, because Reynaldo López got blasted for five runs in six innings. The Sox demonstrated very strongly why they’re a bad team, reverting to form against a mish-mash of Yankee pitchers by drawing no walks and striking out 16 – count ’em, 16 – times, with every starter contributing at least one whiffaroony. Bye-bye .500, never to be seen again, though the Sox flirted with achieving mediocrity a few times before indulging in a nice long losing streak that left it out of reach. And did I mention this humiliation was against the hated Yankees? (Leigh Allan)


July 12 — A’s 5, White Sox 1

There wasn’t anything particularly memorable about this 5-1 loss, but it was a microcosm the White Sox struggles in the second half of the 2019 season. The White Sox managed 10 hits in the game (good), but all 10 hits were singles (bad), and only led to one run. Hitting singles wasn’t a problem for the 2019 White Sox, but other types of hits and scoring runs were. Mike Fiers pitched to the tune of 7 ⅔ innings, one run on eight hits, a walk, and four Ks. Producing runs was a big problem for the Sox all year, and especially in the second half. Iván Nova pitched six innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits, which isn’t good, but isn’t a disaster either. But for the 2019 White Sox, that type of performance gets you beat. The Sox went 30-45 in the second half of the season after going 42-44 in the first half, and July 12 was a sign of things to come. (GuitarSox)

July 16: Royals 11, White Sox 0

What does it say that when given this “Best and Worst” assignment, I chose to complete this writeup first? Cleansing, I guess, or just so very Sox fan. Anyway, the White Sox had a miserable July, going 4-15 after the All Star Break. After predictably getting swept by the A’s in three games, the Sox went to Kansas City, where surely they’d right themselves. Wrong! They preceded to lose all four games to the freaking Royals, with this stinker epitomizing the entire lousy month. Glenn Sparkman pitched a complete game …wait, who’s Glenn Sparkman? That would be the same guy who finished the season 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA, a 1.507 WHIP, and a measly 5.4 K/9. The White Sox burnished all of those numbers with eight strikeouts and a lowly five hits (two of them coming off the bat of A.J. Reed, so, yeah, that was pointless). The White Sox pitching trio of Dylans Cease and Covey, and Josh Osich, meanwhile, gave up 14 hits, including an inside-the-park home run to Whit Merrifield. Osich had a particularly terrible eighth inning, with a walk, three hits, and four earned runs. Yuck, all of it, just … yuck. The Sox would finish the season 9-10 against a Royals team that lost 103 games. Yuck. (Lurker Laura)


September 15 — Mariners 11, White Sox 10

In the middle of September during the 2019 White Sox season, one would not expect to find the most frustrating game in an almost pointless season, but that’s where it is. Iván Nova started the game and looked fine through three innings while the Sox offense was, of course, being shut out. Then the fourth inning happened. Nova was only able to get one out, while allowing five runs. Oddly enough, none of them came via homer, but it was just an onslaught from Seattle hitters as one after another got a hit. However, the Sox actually showed some resiliency the very next half-inning. They scored eight runs, as home runs from Adam Engel and Welington Castillo accounted for seven of them. Sure it was a fun inning, but the highlights were from Engel and Castillo; by this time in the season, it was nothing to be excited about. The Sox did extend their lead to five, and things did seem to be lining up for a win, but it started to fall apart quickly from there.

Hector Santiago, who was doing well for his outing, finally broke in the eighth. He allowed three runs and it was the late-inning bullpen to the rescue. Kelvin Herrera came in, almost immediately allowed a homer, and was pulled. Jace Fry then came in and walked a batter on four pitches, and was pulled. Then Jimmy Cordero came in and actually did some good, striking out the only batter he faced, but again after just one batter, he was pulled. Finally, Josh Osich came in and got out of the inning, but of course before he did, that runner Fry allowed on base scored to tie the game 10-10.

The Sox did not do anything in the top of the ninth, but José Ruiz came in for the ninth inning to keep the tie intact. Normally, it would have been Alex Colomé; however, he allowed a walk-off homer to none other than Omar Narváez in the previous game, so it was somebody else’s turn to lose the game in dramatic fashion. Ruiz proceeded to load the bases with just one out, so he really needed a ground ball or a strikeout; he induced neither. With the count 1-2, Ruiz threw three straight balls to walk home the winning run, a truly pitiful performance as tens of people watched in Chicago. (Darren Black)


[poll id=”12″]

The best White Sox games of 2019

Delightful drenching: His first White Sox home run was going to be magical no matter what, but Eloy Jiménez hitting two in the rain to down the Yankees was extra special. (@ChicagoSports)


We started to get into on Monday, when LennyG opened our bests and worsts with a delightful dip into both flavors.

So here, in chronological order, are the rest of our best.


April 12: White Sox 9, Yankees 6 (rain-shortened to seven innings)

The game of the year happened back in April. It was before Lucas Giolito was good, James McCann really got on his run, and Sox fans wanted Yonder Alonso to pack his bags and never return. It was in New York, when Sox fans already had lost any hope, but Eloy Jiménez gave us something to look forward to. In the rain-shortened game, Eloy hit his first two home runs at Yankee Stadium. The first, a two-run shot to straightaway center, gave the Sox the lead as the rain was already coming down pretty hard. Eloy was not done yet, though. In what ended up being the last inning of the game (the seventh), he clobbered a baseball to left field to put the Sox up two and salting away the game. It was a night that no Sox fan should forget. The top prospect coming up and hitting his first two home runs in Yankee Stadium is no small feat.

This game had some other significance though: McCann also hit the first home run of his All-Star season. And Giolito soon would start his amazing run of starts; after his performance here in New York, he didn’t allow four runs or more in a game until June 19. It was also Nate Jones’ lone save of the year, and possibly the last one of his career. So as Jones and Alonso had their last gasps, Eloy, Giolito, and McCann took this game in stride for the rest of the way. (Darren Black)

April 17: Royals 4, White Sox 3 

Although the South Siders lost the game, the spark that came from Tim Anderson’s notorious bat flip was a monumental victory. After he crushed a 3-2 pitch to left field, TA7 gave the White Sox an early 2-0 home lead in the fourth inning against the Royals. However, Brad Keller — who threw that fateful pitch — went on to hit Anderson in his next at-bat. As a result, the benches cleared; unexpectedly, TA was ejected from the game, as a bystander to the brawl. The consequence of the one-game suspension that followed the ejection? The initiation of the “Let the Kids Play” movement, where Tim was supported by *most* of MLB. This bat flip created an unexplainable energy for the Sox, Tim coined STICK TALK, and the bat flips never stopped coming. Here’s to many more! (Ashley Sanders)

April 26: White Sox 12, Tigers 11

Things were looking grim for the White Sox, as they fell into a large deficit early on. The Tigers teed off on White Sox starter Carlos Rodón, who allowed eight runs (all earned) in only three-plus innings. When Rodón departed, the White Sox trailed 8-1, with no outs in the top of the fourth. After a solo homer by Jacoby Jones, the Tigers led 9-2 in the fifth, and the White Sox had a 2% win probability. But the White Sox clawed their way back into it by scoring two in the fifth and five in the sixth to reduce the deficit to 9-8. The White Sox took their first lead of the game on a bizarre two-run single by José Abreu, which would have been a three-run homer if Abreu did not pass Tim Anderson on the basepath. After the Tigers rallied to tie it back up 11-11, the White Sox finally prevailed in the bottom of the ninth in dramatic fashion. Anderson, the center of attention after his bat flip incident the previous week, wrapped it up with a walk-off home run. (Joe Resis)

May 23: White Sox 4, Astros 0

Two words: Lucas Giolito. This four-hit gem cemented Giolito’s Player of the Month Award for May and, arguably more importantly, undying love from certain Sox fans (ahem). It capped off a four-game streak in which Gio gave up a total of 14 hits and two runs. That he did it against a Houston team that was 33-18 at the time was extra gratifying. And all of the other players we hope to be showing our undying love for in the future provided the offense: Yoán with an RBI double, TA with an RBI single, and Eloy with a home run. What more could a Bitmoji — er, fan base — ask for? This wasn’t a fluke Charlie Tilson grand slam-win (which, while also extremely fun in the moment, does nothing to provide hope for the future). When we think about 2020 and beyond, this game will be our template. (Lurker Laura)

June 14: White Sox 10, Yankees 2

Decimation of the Yankees! We Sox fans may hate That Other Team in Town and have an unfavorite among division rivals, but everybody hates the Yankees, and on this magic day, the Sox crushed the Bronx Bombasts, 10-2. Lucas Giolito won his ninth straight, giving up one run in six innings. Eloy Jiménez had a career day, with two — count ’em, two — three-run homers. Amazingly, the Sox walked four times (normally the norm for a fortnight) and struck out only five (damn near the norm for an inning). The win lifted the White Sox record to 34-34, the first time at the magic .500 mark since the blizzards of early April. And did I mention it was against the Damn Yankees? (Leigh Allan)

July 3: White Sox 9, Tigers 6 (12 innings)

My favorite White Sox game in 2019 was on July 3, in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Detroit. It was the Yoán Moncada game, but there were other notable, fun things about it too. Ryan Cordell had the best game he will ever have in major league baseball. (I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m confident that he won’t top two dingers, and two great catches in center field, but who knows? I’ve been wrong before.) And José Abreu had an awesome, walk-off three-run dinger to end the game. But make no mistake, this is the game where Yoyo arrived. One of Moncada’s positive developments in 2019 was his improvement as a right-handed hitter, and in the first inning, he hit one of his most impressive home runs from that side of the plate that I’ve seen. He also tied the game with a sac fly in the bottom of the seventh. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Yoán entered the pantheon of Impressive Homers I’ve Seen in Person with an absolute blast to right center to tie the game.

Now, I saw Frank Thomas hit one over all the seats in left-center, one-hopping into the men’s room off of Johan Santana in 2003. I saw prime-roids Barry Bonds hit a ball out of the atmosphere, that reentered with icicles, that landed on the concourse in center in the early 2000s. But Yoyo’s ninth-inning blast was right there with ’em. Also, to put a cherry on top, in the top of the 10th, John Hicks untied a 5-5 game with a single to left. Eloy made a bad throw to the infield, and Yoyo made a ridiculous cutoff and throw to third to stop the bleeding and end the inning. It was a heads-up, athletic play, and it set the stage for José to be the walk-off hero. Fun game! (Guitar Sox)

August 21: White Sox 4, Twins 0

Everyone can agree that 2018 was a rough year for Lucas Giolito, so I’m not going to bother rehashing the worst-to-ace transition and his new set of award nods. Rewind a couple of months from here, Giolito threw a set of compete games in May and then progressively showcased the reasons why the Nationals drafted him immediately out of high school. There’s always those naysayers, though, and the moment he faltered just a little bit, the cries of “OH NO, 2018 GIOLITO! HE BLOWS IT UNDER PRESSURE” returned. This last complete game in Minnesota effectively silenced it. The White Sox were long out of the possibility of a Wild Card as they limped towards season’s end, but no one told Giolito. He came out and killed it — throwing his final complete game of 2019 against the AL Central leaders. Did Minnesota figure him out a little, in time for his next start? Yes — it’s called scouting reports. But that final complete game gave a good hard look at what we should see for years to come from Giolito and (hopefully) the pair of Giolito and McCann. (ColleenS)

September 5: White Sox 7, Cleveland 1

ReyLo’s one-hit wonder was easily my favorite game to watch. López pitched a complete game one-hitter, Danny Mendick got his first big league hit, Welington Castillo didn’t strike out once, and even Yolmer got a hit. The team looked like a real, grown-up, professional baseball team, and by not needing the bullpen, there was no opportunity for some crappy reliever to blow the game. The White Sox executed a perfect bunt, moved runners along instead of their usual M.O. of stranding them at second and third, beat up on a division rival and ACTUALLY WON A GAME. More like this, please. (LWilz)


[poll id=”11″]

 

 

The best and blurst games of the 2019 White Sox

(Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


This kicks off a mini-burst of bests and blursts this week at South Side Hit Pen. Today, Lenny G gets things going with his highly-entertaining look at his most and least favorite games of 2019.

Tomorrow, the rest of us take a stab at the best games of the year, and Wednesday presents the saddest chapter of this trilogy, the blurst of the year.

So, before the Hot Stove heats up and spring training looms, let’s join LG as he spins a little yarn about the best and worst blurst of the season!


“He’s your hero tonight … thanks Cubs!”

Oftentimes in sports, whenever a player returns to face an organization that traded him or her, it’s now referred as “[Insert Player’s Name] Revenge Game!”

And it makes sense right? One team, drafting you into their organization, grooming you, pouring millions of dollars into developing you so that one day you’ll bring glory and championships to their city … and then poof, you find out from your agent you’ve been shipped to Pittsburgh or Kansas City or … the South Side of Chicago. I mean, it’s literally a rejection of that player in the purest sense. Despite all that time and effort, they still think someone else is worth more to them than you. So yes, revenge must be a part of it. (To be fair, anybody and everyone seems to get a revenge game moniker nowadays … I mean, Bobby Freaking Portis got one for leading the bum-ass Knicks in a comeback against the Bulls …)

But if there ever was a textbook example of a Revenge Game, June 18, 2019, White Sox at Cubs in Wrigley Field is hands-down the best one I’ve seen in my 35 years on Earth.

But let’s set the scene. I’m not going to recap the trade and all the drama behind his non call-up the year before. All that you need to know was this was the first game that Eloy Jiménez played at Wrigley Field as a professional ballplayer. Now, had he played a few years as a Cub (shudder), then later showed on the White Sox, it probably would not have been as impactful, even if the results were exactly the same.

The game couldn’t have started more ominously for Eloy and the Sox. With the bases loaded and one out, Eloy came to the plate in his first ever at-bat at Wrigley. A grand slam would likely have caused mass suicides in the Cubs front office and the bleachers. But it wasn’t Eloy’s time yet, as the rook hit into an inning-ending double play.

Naturally, Iván Nova, a pitcher who never met a bat he didn’t want to make contact with, grooved the first pitch to Cubs leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarbabyer and gave up a leadoff home run. Ugh.

Fast forward to the ninth inning … you didn’t miss much. The White Sox had tied it in the sixth thanks to 2020 The Show cover boy Javier Baez, with Little Bam Bam’s Homer still the only run for the North Siders.

James McCann led off with a single, and up comes dat boi Eloy. Pedro Strop, the reason Theo decided to throw $45M at the dumpster fire that was Craig Kimbrel, threw a 1-0 fastball in on the hands of Eloy. Hands pulled in, the bat connected with the ball, the sound of the crack of the bat was clear even through the speakers of my television, and … well, let’s run that shit:

The BESS Returns!

Nothing. And I mean nothing, more important happened for the White Sox in 2019 than this moment. Right here. We had instant, indisputable proof that Eloy was and is THE GUY. In a big time moment, in the stadium of the team he originally signed with because he liked their fucking uniform colors, Eloy hit a ball 400-plus feet on a pitch that shattered his bat. Oh, man. I’d have to imagine that’s what sex feels like … (uh … wait … I mean, I know … um …)

Anyway, in the immortal words of Jason Benetti, “Thanks, Cubs!”


Colomé? More like Colom-F!”

OK, I may not be clever enough to come up with a better punchline, but with plenty of losses to pick from, I’m going with one that, fortunately, occurred at such a late hour most Sox fans would be asleep (I was not one of those fans … I need help). And that game was Sept. 14, 2019, White Sox at Mariners. (Author’s note: I completely forgot I actually did the game recap for this one, as Frasier-themed fan fiction!)

Why this game, you ask? Admittedly, there were worse games, like say. .. the game literally the next day. (But that was claimed by someone else, and you’ll read about it on Wednesday; luckily I didn’t have far to go to find this gem.)

Dylan Cease, for one of the rare occasions in his rookie season, did not immediately put the Sox in a multi-run hole early. Sure, he had his customary wildness, but five innings and one run given up is practically all one could ask of a Sox starter and be satisfied.

On the hill for Seattle was the used husk of Felix Hernandez. In his eventual swan song of a career in Seattle, King Felix had been routinely demolished in many of his starts in 2019. In the start prior against the Astros, he gave up 11 runs in two innings. So, even with the good chance Cease might’ve given up a few runs, surely the Sox would be able to beat up on this paper tiger right?

Noooooooope. Felix squeezed the last remaining drops of the emaciated Cy Young version of himself floating in a vat of green goo underneath Safeco Field T-Mobile Park and dominated the Sox, getting outs like the Felix of old. By game’s end, we were stuck at 1-1 and headed to the bottom of the 10th.

Sox closer Alex Colomé used his Cupid Shuffle of a delivery to rack up an amazingly improbable number of first half saves despite having the same strikeout ability as a one-armed blind man with vertigo. As the BABIP gods finally woke from their slumber, second half Colomé started to get hit a bit more than normal and his effectiveness ultimately faded down the stretch.

Two outs into the 10th, and up came Alex’s trade counterpart, the Narv Dog, Omar Narváez. A decent hitter with the Sox on a team-friendly contract, he found that life on the West Coast does wonders to your skill set (hello, Marcus Semien) and was somehow hitting bombs all over Puget Sound. So what would happen in this rare event involving a pitcher and catcher, traded for the other? Game on the line … (ummm) … facing the team that gave up on him … (oh no) … and one run wins the …

ITS THE SUPER-SECRET OMAR NARVÁEZ REVENGE GAME!!!!

Narvy laid into an 0-1 pitch from Colomé and sent it deep into right field. Daniel Palka (God bless that sweet boy, he just tries so hard …) went back to the wall but realized he’s not getting this one as it approaches the fence. The ball, well it had eyes for the seats in hopes of sending the home crowd happy, but … the ball hits on top of the wall and lands back on the warning track. In real time, it looked like it may have cleared the fence and ricocheted off a small barrier just behind the wall, which must be why the umpire twirled his little finger (I bet they love doing that) and signaled that the “home run” had ended the game.

BUT WAIT! Esteemed ceviche lover and part-time Sox manager Ricky Renteria went out to the umps and, with nothing to lose, asked for a review to make sure that ball went out. And, dear reader, I can say with no impartiality, that ball didn’t clear the wall! So, great! Slow-mo that tape down in New York, call the ground-rule double and let’s get the band off the field … we got more free baseba-

The umps took off their headsets. The finger twirled in the air. It is twirled for a second time. I was more sad and confused by a meaningless September Sox loss to a terrible Mariners team than I was a few minutes prior on the first home run call. And, until today, I always wondered why they stuck with that decision. Well … funny you should ask … while I was looking for a link to the walk-off, I found this from WGN that ran the following day: https://wgntv.com/2019/09/15/mlb-says-miscommunication-led-to-no-review-of-walk-off-in-white-sox-loss/

Here’s the supremely depressiing explanation which is just so, so Ricky (emphasis mine):

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he immediately asked umpires to review the homer, and they then went to the headset used to communicate with replay officials.

When Renteria and the umpires reconvened, they asked if Renteria wanted to challenge whether Narváez had touched home plate amid his celebrating teammates. Renteria mistakenly thought this meant officials had ruled the ball cleared the fence and declined to challenge whether Narváez touched home, because he had already seen on replays that he had.

Associated Press
Guess which one I am?

Anywho, did this loss matter in the long run? Of course not. Teams with 89 losses are 0-for-forever in making the playoffs, so this one was not one to cry over. But … for the constraints given by this exercise, I’m marking this down as the Yonder Alonso of White Sox losses in 2019.

Thanks for reading! Oh and congrats to the Washington Nationals for winning the franchise’s first World Series! If they didn’t have someone from the Expos days at the parade give a speech in French, the win should be null and void….

The White Sox win the final game of the 2019 season, 5-3

Ending on a High Note: The Chicago White Sox win their 72nd game to end their season, 72-89. (@WhiteSox)

Anderson wins the MLB and AL batting titles, and Abreu secures the AL RBI lead

The 2019 Chicago White Sox end their season on a positive note: capturing their 72nd win of the season! For as much as the season aggravated fans, it did bring its sunshine…

The Detroit Tigers took an early 1-0 lead in the first off of a Miguel Cabrera home run. However, in the bottom-half of the inning, José Abreu scored on a throwing error by Detroit’s third baseman, Ronny Rodriguez.

Bottom of the fourth inning, the infamous #SoxMath was played. The 2019 finalists:

South Side Hit Pen’s very own, Joe Resis, will be back at SoxFest defending his 2018 championship title! Congratulations, and good luck, Joe!

Back to the game, the score stayed knotted at one until the Tigers took the lead back in the third off of a bloop, Jordy Mercer RBI-single that scored Victor Reyes.

Once again, have no fear White Sox fans becasue the Good Guys put up a four-spot in the sixth to take the lead back, 5-2.

Yoán Moncada grounded out to tie the game at 2, which scored Danny Mendick — who came in as Tim Anderson’s replacement.

STICK TALK!

Eloy Jiménez doubled home Ryan Goins, who pinch-ran for Pito.

Welington Castillo finished the inning’s scoring by launching a two-run home run for that 5-2 lead.

One-out in the ninth inning, Rodriguez launched a solo home run to left field to decrease the scoring deficit, 5-3.

Kelvin Herrera was able to close it out, and the White Sox enter the 2019-2020 offseason on a victorious note!

We all know what that means!!!

(•_•)

( •_•)>⌐■-■

(⌐■_■)

Keep checking out South Side Hit Pen for many offseason reads! It has been my honor bringing coverage to the South Side Sox and SSHP community beginning in May of this year. I look forward to many more writings in this growing community of passionate White Sox fans! Rest up; there is a lot to do for 2020! I’m predicting many more sunglasses emojis and a playoff appearance!

Say it isn’t so, Sox; Tigs spoil sweep in ninth

(@WhiteSox)


So, the season is running out, and my plan to write yesterday’s doubleheader an inning at a time, in 18 voices, was ruined by rains.

I thought about throwing a few voices into this single-game story and see where it goes, but eh, that’s half-assing, and while half-assing is an appropriate way to encapsulate the 2019 Chicago White Sox — still in line for a possible 90 losses, people — I’ll run these fun tricks out when it feels right; maybe jump on it earlier in the season. Or pull the ol’ 1,000-word, one-sentence recap out of the bag. (It was a successful year for robots, less so for the 18 one-act play doubleheader. Alas.)


So yeah, the White Sox managed to both dash a perfect season leading after eight (59-0 entering today … not 59-0 leaving this nightcap) and keep that 90-loss season alive when Alex Colomé snatched defeat from win and allowed a pinch-hit three-run homer to John Hicks, of the Thrown Out By 70 Feet at Home Plate in the Opener Hickses. That turned a 2-1 near-win into a 4-2 deficit, with a pinch-rocket by Yoán Moncada (sadly, just a solo shot) providing the 4-3 final.

In the top of the ninth, Tim Anderson took our minds off of his impending batting title with his 26th error, and TA’s errant throw to first to the leadoff man did become was in fact the tying run of the game. Meatball takes on Anderson’s future in Chicago, activate!

Otherwise, the most exciting thing about this game was a #SoxMath controversy that I am too dim to understand, but the gist was that Jason Benetti’s question was uncommonly vague and the “correct” answer was in fact wrong. SSHPers Lauren Wilner and Ashley Sanders both buzzed in with the correct “wrong” answers, or LWilz was wrong-right and Ash was right-wrong. See? I told you. It was both the most exciting part of the game, and something I cannot understand. But seriously, however many SSHPers end up in the #SoxMath iso booth at SoxFest for the big prize, be sure to be geared up with our stuff. And in fact, anyone planning to attend, if you are game to cover the Fest, I think via SSS or SSHP we can get semi-press passes. I doubt I can ask for dozens, but, point is, when the weather gets so cold you can’t feel your toes — is it that cold up there already, people? — we’ll talk.

OK, back to the game. Zack Collins had a two-run single in the second to open scoring, and from there, the White Sox offense was pretty much ineffectual. There was only one extra-base hit, an Adam Engel double. The team fell back into One True Outcome mode otherwise, with a handy nine Ks. What was kool about this klatch of Ks was the White Sox had nine different hitters in the game strike out (and shockingly, none was from team K leader Moncada, who had just that one at-bat in the ninth). Le whiff especíal goes to Daniel Palka, who lost his shot at one last bout of PALKMANIA when he struck out on a battery of wild pitches to end the game pinch-hitting in the ninth; average tumbles down to .111.

Good enough news for Anderson at the plate, though; he went 0-2 with two walks to fall to .337, but the major league batting title is essentially his. It would take a 5-for-5 day from DJ LeMahieu combined with an 0-for-5 from TA to him to lose it. A 4-for-4 and 0-for-4? Nope, Tim still wins. (Duh, yeah, I did the math, you think they gave me this SSHP Grand Poobah job for being cute?)

José Abreu has the AL RBI crown locked, seven up on Xander Bogaerts. As for the MLB title, Abreu is three behind Anthony Rendon, so that’s not looking too likely.

Aside from Colomé spitting the bit (meatball takes on the Seattle trade being a bad one, activate!), the South Side arms were plenty sweet, with Iván Nova, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Jimmy Biceps going 8 ⅓ innings with five hits, one run, two walks and eight strikeouts.

At long last, the season finale hits tomorrow afternoon. TBA (the initials of three White Sox relievers?) taking the ball for the White Sox. At stake: A batting title for Anderson, RBI title for Abreu, avoiding 90 losses for the White Sox, and giving Ashley Sanders a chance to finally break out the sunglasses emoji over on South Side Hit Pen!

Game is at 2:10 Central, on NBCSCH and WGN-AM.

White Sox fire on all cylinders in 7-1 victory

Staying dangerous: Eloy Jiménez launched his 31st home run of the season in the victory. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

The Tigers struck first in this one, as they got on the board in the top of the first. After retiring the first two batters of the game, Reynaldo López threw an inside fastball to Miguel Cabrera that Cabrera turned on and drove out of the park. Cabrera’s blast was his 11th of the season, and it gave the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

The Tigers nearly doubled their lead in the second, as John Hicks hit a two-out double with the bases empty. Catcher Grayson Greiner singled to left, but the Tigers’ aggressiveness came back to bite them, as Leury García threw Hicks out trying to score rather easily.

The White Sox took advantage of an error to turn things around in the third inning. Yolmer Sánchez led off the inning by reaching on an error by Tigers second baseman Harold Castro. After back-to-back singles by Adam Engel and Ryan Cordell, the White Sox had tied the game at one. With two outs, a passed ball by Greiner allowed Engel to race home for the go-ahead run.

In the fourth, the White Sox remained hot on offense. Sánchez turned on a breaking ball and drove it into the left-center gap to drive in Yoán Moncada. After that, the rally stalled a bit, as Ryan Cordell made a questionable decision to bunt with runners on the corners and one out, and he popped out. However, the White Sox added another insurance run, as García singled to right to put the White Sox up, 4-1.

The White Sox used the long ball to put this game out of reach. On his 26th birthday, Danny Mendick launched his second career home run.

The following inning, Eloy Jiménez clanked one off the left field foul pole to extend the White Sox’s lead to six.

Meanwhile, López was fantastic, as the Tigers could not score on him after Cabrera’s first inning home run. Including that home run, López only allowed three balls in play with an exit velocity of more than 95 mph. That will get the job done and then some.

With the victory, the White Sox improved to 71-88, while the Tigers fell to 46-113. The second game of the doubleheader and the penultimate game of the season will be played later tonight. The game will be on WGN, WGN 720 will have the radio coverage, and Brett Ballantini will have your SSHP coverage.