Early moves close the book on the rebuild — it’s time to start winning!

It’s a Yaz! So far, White Sox fans are seeing less of the labor and more of the baby this offseason. (YouTube)


At this time last year, the White Sox were embarking on a seemingly endless journey in pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The club had a minimal payroll heading into the 2018 offseason, and seemed like they were in a good position to land one of the big fish. Even though the team wasn’t completely ready to start winning and they still had to work on the development of some of their own key players, Rick Hahn and Co. knew this was an opportunity that they couldn’t pass up.

With Harper and Machado having a smaller market due to their steep price tag, the White Sox were aggressive in their pursuits early as they tried to sell both players on the future of the ballclub, and how they would have a great opportunity to win consistently on the South Side. Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends, as the White Sox came up completely empty. It was yet another offseason where the White Sox were actively engaging with the big free agents, but swung and missed, leaving a lot of fans in doubt about the team’s future.

Sure, the White Sox do have talent in the farm system. However, it’s almost impossible to win on homegrown talent alone. Teams need to be able to supplement what they already have with players from outside of the organization, whether to fill holes, bring over veterans to guide younger players, or make the most of an opportunity to sign/trade for a player who once might’ve looked like a longshot. There are many reasons why free agency and trades are important, and after last offseason’s shutout it started to feel like the White Sox were running out of time to strike and make an impact move.

Fast forward to this offseason, where the White Sox once again found their name in the rumors surrounding almost all of the top free agents available. There was a little more skepticism from fans this time around, and rightfully so, as they didn’t want to get their hopes up again in what could be another failure of an offseason. Hahn acknowledged the frustration, and knew this offseason was important when he addressed the media at the GM Meetings earlier this month:

And he was right. White Sox fans are tired of “having a seat at the table” as Hahn likes to say, and want the front office to start making things happen. Being in the mix for top tier free agents and coming up empty is an exhausting practice, especially for a fan base that is starving for a winning team. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, the team was trending upwards, in large part due to the developments of core players, the arrival of Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, and with Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal on the way shortly. In addition to that, the team would be getting Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodón back for the upcoming season as well.

With all the positive developments that came from last season, the White Sox still needed a few dominoes to fall, and had to make something happen this winter in order to start putting out a product that could win consistently. The team still has quite a few holes to fill with starting pitching, left-handed hitting, and right field being the most notable. This free agent class was littered with plenty of names that could fill those gaps and instantly be an upgrade, and it was time for the White Sox to, in Hahn’s parlance, show us the baby.

It didn’t take long for the organization to show they were serious about winning this offseason, as they came out of the gates quickly and inked Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal that gave the catcher the largest contract in the history of the franchise.

Grandal checks off a lot of boxes for the White Sox. He’s a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, gets on base frequently, and is one of the best defensive backstops in the game. This is that type of immediate-impact signing that will benefit the club and pitching staff in many ways. Everything Grandal brings to the table makes him the complete package, and his name was up there as one of the best available free agents. The White Sox were able to get the deal done and outbid the rest of his suitors, which is a result that isn’t common on the South Side.

After a painfully long 2018 offseason, it was beyond refreshing to see the White Sox get a deal of that significance done early in the process. It also goes to show that Hahn and Co. are ready to get down to business this year. Not to mention, having Grandal as a member of the team now makes the White Sox a more attractive destination for other free agents, especially pitchers. He’s a highly-respected catcher throughout baseball, and just about anyone would benefit from working with him full-time. His elite framing ability is going to get the most out of the pitchers he works with, as he’s sure to get them a ton of extra strikes during his time in Chicago.

One free agent pitcher that the White Sox have been linked to this offseason is Zack Wheeler, one of the most prized pitching targets this winter. Members from the Mets media and other Mets outlets started mentioning the White Sox as serious suitors for Wheeler. Danny Abriano of SNY even went as far to say that the White Sox were among the “leading group” of teams bidding for Wheeler’s services. This news dropped just days before the Grandal signing became official, so Hahn was working on signing not just one significant free agent right away, but two.

Hahn could’ve sat around and celebrated the first big signing, but instead immediately went right back to work, focused on making the White Sox a winning team, and making them a winning team now. There hasn’t been much movement on the Wheeler front since those initial tidbits of information dropped, but at least the club has identified what would be another major upgrade — and they wouldn’t have to spend $200 million or more for that upgrade, as they would have last year. Sure, Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg would both be incredible additions, but those two are likely going to be out of price range. It would be wise to allocate the money among multiple players, as opposed to sinking most of it into one arm. Wheeler is in a tier slightly below Cole and Strasburg, but he has the potential to be a very good pitcher for a long time — and at half the price.

In addition to that, the White Sox outrighted Yolmer Sánchez and signed José Abreu to a three-year, $50 million dollar contract. The Abreu deal didn’t make much sense at the time, especially considering the fact that he recently accepted the qualifying offer. However, with the extension, the White Sox will save money this year and it won’t hamper their ability to continue to sign free agents. Not to mention, Abreu has been around some rough teams during his White Sox career and he deserves some security for the next few years. As far as Yolmer goes, that decision was made primarily because he was due to make $6.2 million in arbitration. Even though he’s fresh off of winning a Gold Glove, defense is about the only value he provides to the team, unless you count being a clubhouse guy/Gatorade showers.

The White Sox could’ve easily been OK with paying Yolmer the $6.2 million, because they still aren’t committed to a high payroll as of now, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they did that. However, with Madrigal being ready to take over second base in the not-so-distant future, it didn’t make sense to pay Yolmer to ride the bench. The team also has Danny Mendick, who can contribute much more offensively than Sánchez, and while he’s not a Gold Glove-caliber defender, he is solid defensively and can play multiple positions. Mendick is a perfect fit to hold it down at second base while Madrigal finishes up his development in Triple-A. Barring any surprise trades or signings, I would expect Mendick to take that job for now.

So what happens next? Well, the White Sox are off to a good start this winter, but their work isn’t even close to being done. Grandal was a great signing, but they still need to add more. We know the White Sox are once again in the mix with a lot of free agents, but this time around it feels a little different. They’ve made some noise early, and it finally seems like the front office is ready to shift their focus towards winning and being more competitive. They’ve already shown the willingness to outbid other teams and set the market for certain players, and hopefully they will continue to do that with their other targets.

The AL Central is the worst division in baseball right now. With a few more moves and the arrival of some of the highly-touted prospects, the White Sox could potentially be in the heat of a divisional race for most of next year. At the very least, there should be significant improvement, and the team might be able to squeeze their way into a wild card spot. A lot would have to go right for the White Sox to be fighting for the playoffs in 2020, but for now, at least the team is closing the book on the rebuild and is ready to start winning.

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)


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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 Completely Unexpected: White Sox bullpen leads to 3-1 victory over Twins

Truism: That’s why they play the games. (@whitesox)


Well, for five and a third innings, we damn near had our own Minneapolis Miracle, ladies and gents. It was thanks to that damned Josh Ostrich hanging a slider to Jorge Polanco that I wasn’t able to have an incredibly improbable result to recap.

But like a down-on-his-luck craps player who suddenly hits six points in a row, the Probability Gods decided enough was enough. But the collective flotsam that is Ivan Nova, Carson Fulmer, Josh Osich, Aaron Bummer, Jimmy Cordero, Evan Marshall, Jace Fry, and Alex Colomé amazingly held down the Mighty Minny Offense long enough to let a double-double from Yoán, a two-hitter from Eloy, and a ZACKBOMB in the ninth get the Sox over the hump and finally beat the Twins, 3-1.

Lets go to the tape!

With scheduled starter Dylan Covey scratched with a shoulder issue, the incredibly-hittable Iván Nova stepped in to try out one of them newfangled Opener Starts, as he was scheduled to only pitch the first. He rode the razor’s edge with walks to Nelson Cruz and Jorge Polanco, and a wild pitch … but a K to Miguel Sanó put out a potentially devastating fire!

As is often the case after surviving a near disaster, the Sox offense got to Jake Odorizzi as sneaky-dark-horse batting title candidate Yoán Moncada led off the second inning with a double to left, who was then knocked in as the 71st RBI by Mr. Big Baby himself:

As the NBA Jam announcer would say: HE’S HEATING UP!

Jace Fry would take over as the next pitcher up on So You Think The Sox Can Pitch?, immediately walking his first batter. But two strikeouts and a 5-3 putout ended the second inning without incident. He’d then get two outs in the third before being pulled for Mr. Herky-Jerky (aka Carson Fulmer) to face Nelson “HAW-HAW” Cruz. But a grounder to Matt Skole at first got the White Sox through three with out giving up a base knock.

Fulmer got through a quiet fourth with no blemishes to the hit column for the Twins, and though Eloy and Yolmer got singles in the fifth inning, Skole said “Tanks for the memories” and struck out to end the half-frame. Fulmer, having a manic episode or being taken over by them machines from Avatar, continues his and the bullpen’s streak of good luck by retiring another three batters to get through the fifth with nary a single to the Twins batting line.

In the sixth, Leury Legend led off with a single, swapped places with Tim Anderson ( force out). Then with two outs, YoYo acts like he’s on Lauren’s favorite game show Jeopardy! (shoutout to Trebek, hoping for a full recovery for you!) and picks up Daily Double #2:

The Minny sixth would prove to be the end of the road for the Sox dreams of pulling off the stunner of 2019, as Osich came on in relief of Fulmer. (just think if Fulmer was an actual starter, and could have polished off the last six innings?!) Osich got one out, but Polanco ripped a single to center and that, as they say, was that:

Unable to handle the shame Osich performed ritual Seppeku on the pitcher’s mound, Osich was replaced by Jimmy Biceps, who decided to use his flamethrower of a sleeveless arm to pour gasoline on this fire by walking Cruz and allowing a ground ball to sneak under the glove of a diving Yolmer Sánchez, cutting the lead down to 2-1, White Sox.

Dan Hayes: Local Traitor

A series of unfortunate events, punctuated by a passed ball and a walk, loaded the bases for the Twins, who looked to break this game wide open. However, the Bicep held strong, and this time Yolmer handled a grounder his way to get the third out, preserving the lead.

With the no-hitter done, lets get to the remaining highlights:

  • Anderson slapped a single to right in the eigth inning, upping his average to .335, now with a comfortable lead in the race for the AL batting title (and now the owner of the highest BA in all of MLB!)
  • Earlier in the game, Leury Legend got tapped in the No-No Zone, and Benetti (with the Call of the Season) refers to the incident as “He got nipped by the turtle!”
Cup Check!
  • Eddie Rosario, looking to atone for getting Twins fans hopes up earlier, commits the worst kind of TOOTBLAN of them all, getting tossed out a third base for the last out of the eighth inning, all thanks to stylin and profilin … a long blast to the wall and getting relayed to death:
Steve Stone straight ROASTS Eddie’s ass …
  • We have another #ZACKBOMB to give the Sox an insurance run in the top of the ninth!

And finally Colomé, who has been pitching like Alex Colom-D+ lately, gets a K, and two line outs to end the game and, per MLB rules, by virtue of scoring three runs to the opponents’ one run in nine completed innings, the White Sox finish out the 2019 season series against the Roided Up Piranhas with a 3-1 victory.

The Sox couldn’t help themselves too much, racking up 14 strikeouts vs. one measly walk, Palka and Skole tag-teamed the Tank effort, but it was for naught. The Sox head into an off-day before a trip to Detroit to continue ruining their draft position against an inferior opponent.

So that was my last recap of the season, barring unforeseen illnesses or jail time for my colleagues here (looking at you, Darren). Thanks for giving me a bit of your attention covering this team, but that’s not all from me. I’ll still be hanging around, contributing to South Side Hit Pen with more dumb musings and poorly-connected sitcommy pieces!

Talk to y’all later! Buy a shirt, dammit!

Sox can’t capitalize on early 2-0 lead in loss to Twins

Another day: Another tough game. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


Hey! A quick start by the White Sox, and they were on to an early 2-0 lead against the Minnesota Twins. In the first inning, after a single and a double from Leury García and Yoán Moncada opened up the game, the AL RBI leader José Abreu came up to the plate. He did what he has done all year, drive in runs — no matter what or how.

Yeah, Moncada probably should have stayed at second, but being aggressive is what the White Sox should be these last two weeks of baseball. Abreu extended his lead in RBI to 118. In the next inning Reynaldo López got through a little trouble (though it was not all on him due to an error from Yolmer Sánchez), but it was a sign of things to come. James McCann hit his 17th home run of the season, and his fourth off of Berríos, in the second inning.

Just like that the Sox were up by two, but remember when López wasn’t all that great in the first inning? Well, he was worse in the second, allowing two runs in the second to tie the game. He allowed four singles in the inning, and was just not missing any bats until the last pitch of the inning. In fact, López was only able to induce six swing-and-misses throughout the game. The slider led the way but the fastball only got one — and that usually means a bad day at the office for López.

For a while, the Sox didn’t do anything offensively, as Berríos looked great. It was not until the ninth when the Sox got back on the board but meanwhile, the Twins took the lead and added to it. López left with five runs allowed in what was another dud of a start, but in fairness two runs scored on a very weird single.

López only struck out two batters the entire game and allowed 11 to reach base. He was not as bad as his previous start, but López’s season has come with so much frustration.

The bullpen, surprisingly, did very well. Jace Fry came in and allowed the last hit for the Twins but finished out the sixth inning. Jimmy Cordero replaced him and continues to look fantastic. His change looked very good and the sinker had some giddyup. Kelvin Herrera ended the game for Sox pitchers, and it was one of his few good appearances of the year as he struck out two in the eighth. Herrera now had a 6.75 ERA on the year, as he’s probably playing for a 2020 roster spot down the stretch.

The game did end on a high note, though! Eloy Jiménez, who is leading AL rookies in homers, cranked his 28th of the season in the ninth off Sergio Romo.

At this point of the season, it is more important for a few players to do well instead of the team — or at least maybe we just tell ourselves that. Eloy hit a homer, Moncada had two hits, Abreu got another RBI, and McCann hit a homer, too.

So even if the team isn’t good, some guys did well! — White Sox baseball 2019.

Hi Mom!! has arrived

Leave it to South Side Hit Pen to create the coolest Chicago White Sox shirt of the season.

Our Hi Mom!! is out now at our TeePublic store, at a super-friendly price that directly supports your favorite White Sox site.

And we ain’t just about T-shirts, people. We got stuff, bigtime.

NOTEBOOKS!
PILLOWS!
HOODIES!
SLEEVELESS RACERBACK!

Seriously, there’s no reason you shouldn’t just place a standing monthly order with our TeePublic.

One happy customer, SSHP Chicago Dogs insider and Tim Anderson best bud Leonard Gore, already has his first merch from TeePublic, and it’s looking good:

LG, rocking the site logo threads.

Hi Mom!! is the first of what promises to be several collaborations between SSHP Maestro of Merch Lauren Wilner and SickSticks design studio.

Hi Mom!! and all of our other store merch (also accessible via the tab at the very top of our site) is on flash sale for the rest of Friday, and 16×20 wall art is also on sale for $20. But the regular prices are plenty sweet, and we’re adding new items rapidly.

Let us know what you think, and we’re always open to cool new merchandise ideas (email Laurensshp@gmail.com)! Thanks in advance for all your support in our first month, capped by Lauren’s fab storefront initiative. We know you’re gonna love it!

Soler-powered Royals club five homers, blast Sox 8-6

Deja vu all over again! Eloy hits another first-inning moonshot but the Royals hit bunch more and hold on for the W. (@whitesox)

Author’s Note: WordPress crashed on my laptop not once, but TWICE as I tried to do this recap. The first time I had about 75% done before it wiped out. The second it crashed just as I was typing literally this same Author’s Note bit! So I’m pretty pissed. Anyway, I’m tired and it’s time for the Inaugural Bulletpointed Sox Recap Speed Round!

  • Reynaldo strikes out Whit on three pitches. Two batters later, Jorge Soler has hit home run #42:
  • Eloy does the thing with the stick and the Sox lead 3-2!
  • The Law Offices of Mondesi, Starling, and O’Hearn all deposit homers courtesy of first-half Reynaldo López making a surprise comeback. Its 6-3 Royals and López doesn’t make it out of the fifth.
Its not even Halloween… oh forget it.
Here comes Bubba: 3 words that spell your doom in any context.
How dare they steal Oprah’s bit??
  • Eloy collects another RBI but with a ground out so … its a two-run deficit. Just gotta keep it close …
  • Carson Fulmer does not keep it close. Jorge hits No. 43, 8-4, KC.
  • José Abreu, playing like he doesn’t already have a two-year extension in his back pocket, hits his 32nd homer. Its 8-6 and I wish Fulmer the best of luck with whatever new organization employs him in 2020.
  • Three White Sox batters face closer Ian Kennedy. Three White Sox batters make three outs. Game over.

Giolito pitches tomorrow. He is good. Tim Anderson is hitting .333. That is also good. I’m switching to typewriters. Good nigh….Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z….

Six Pack of Stats: Cleveland 8, White Sox 6

Power to the People: Between the two ball clubs, there were three, two-run blasts late in the game. (FanGraphs)

The White Sox’s late-inning blasts are not enough against Cleveland in a suspenseful, drama-filled ending

After a promising to finish to last night’s ballgame, the Chicago White Sox couldn’t carry over their offensive heat into tonight’s baseball game. Instead, Cleveland found the power and ran … until the Good Guys took the power back in the late innings! Unfortunately, the Sox’s power wasn’t enough — and a straight-up robbery by Oscar Mercado certainly did not help — in this 8-6 loss to Cleveland. Although it’s not as much fun to look at the numbers after this almost-win turned loss, there still is a lot of good to come from the game.

.019

But first, the bad. The 2019 season has not been kind to Daniel Palka. In 53 ABs of the short-stinted season, Palka has a .019 batting average (.152 OPS) — a significant drop-off from his 2018 .240 BA, which consisted of 27 home runs and 67 RBIs for the power numbers.

1

In his first major-league at-bat, Danny Mendick — leading off the top of the ninth inning — struck out. But have no fear, Mendick has a whole lot of upside that he has to showcase for the month of September.

3

Now, the good. A pair of three’s wrote the story for Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez. Both players reached base twice via the single and double. For the third time of the night, Eloy reached on a hit-by-pitch in the eighth. TA7 showed some STICK TALK with a two-run blast in the ninth for his third hit of the night!

8

Okay, back to the bad. In their last nine games, the Good Guys have dropped eight of them. Of course, the team does not have any playoff implication, but this needs to be addressed. Abreu has the team contending in 2020, so this team must learn how to consistently win. The South Siders definitely know how to win, but a few ( or a lot, I wouldn’t mind) substantial winning streaks (four-plus games) would be nice to have throughout the next season.

29

Some good! José Abreu continued to rake. TA7 on first and nobody out during the top of the eighth inning, Mal Tiempo launched his 29th home run of the season to left-center field! Bonus Stat: That was Pito’s 400th extra-base hit of his career!

74

A little bit of both: Eloy Jiménez, our beloved No. 74, is awarded another stat in this Six Pack. Unfortunately, not in a beneficial way. With one out and bases loaded in the ninth inning, Eloy crushed a ball just to the left of center field, but Oscar Mercado made a miraculous effort to catch the sinking ball on the fly. Had that ball dropped, it would have been a bases-clearing double to give the White Sox a 9-8 lead. With a tip of The Big Baby’s batting helmet, Eloy will remember this moment and will capitalize on it in the future.

Gamethread: White Sox at Cleveland

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

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

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

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

Speaking of lineups …

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

Minnesota singles cruise sinks Cease; Twins sweep Sox, 10-5

“All the Single Base Hits: Now put your bats up!” (Dylan Cease Remix feat. Beyoncé & Weird Al Yankovic) (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


In the seventh and final game of this homestand hosting both former Washington Senators clubs, Dylan Cease got a introduction to Ozzie Guillén’s nemesis “Los Pirañas,” who jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead, and the Senators Ver. 1.0 swept the Southside Nine by a score of 10-5.

The Twins, bored of bashing homers and clubbing opponents into submission, decided to torture poor Cease by flipping the script, starting the game with five consecutive singles and jumping out to an early 2-0 lead. Cease nearly got out of the jam by pulling a Buehrle and snagging a Jake Cave ground ball between his legs, pirouetting, and doing this:

Unfortunately, the Sox needed one more out to stop the bleeding and up came C. J. Cron to deliver (what else?) a single to center field, and the Good Guys were down 4-0 before José Berríos had a chance to teach Dylan a thing or two.

Cease picked up where he left off in the second inning, giving up single number seven, then a walk (Twins fatigue from all those swings I guess), and then Mighty Nelson Cruz bowed his neck and SMASHED poked a grounder up the box which Dylan graciously deflected past Yolmer into center field for a two-run (all together now…) single, the eighth consecutive to start the game.

Suddenly realizing they were dragging this game along, the Twins returned to form and led off the third inning with back-to-back jacks from the Law Offices of Cron & Cave (You Need My Mang!) and Ricky finally got the hint and pulled Dylan from the first complete butt-whooping of his Sox career. It was the first time this year that Cease did not stay in the game for at least five innings.

The Good Guys offense (yeah, they were allowed to hit in-between the downpour of singles) was not much to write about for the first four innings. Two frames ended on double plays, in addition to squandering a runners-on-second-and-third-base opportunity in the fourth inning — as Berríos struck out Yoán Moncada and James McCann to end the threat.

Finally, in the fifth, Chicago got to see the Berríos that got roughed up by the Detroit Tigers. The Sox led off with three straight hits resulting in a Yolmer Sánchez single that cut the lead to 9-1 Twins (baby steps, OK?)

The feeling’s mutual, Yolmer!

However, the South Siders’ crippling lack of depth arrived as Adam Engel (strikeout), Leury García (fielder’s choice, catching Yolmer in a pickle), and Goins (4-3 GO) could not keep the line moving despite some #WILDPITCHOFFENSE chipping the lead further, to 9-2.

Despite the wonderfully refreshing optimism on the gamethread exuding from my colleague Ashley Sanders, the rest of the game flowed as blowouts often do: Jimmy “Gun Show” Cordero pitches (👎🏽), Eloy RBI single (!), Cave homers (again), Hector Santiago reminds the Sox why he was available for the third time (3 IP, 1 HR, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), Goins hits the third inning-ending double play for the Sox, singles were hit by both teams, Jorge Polanco played the role of the absent Tim Anderson and booted two grounders in the ninth inning, and mercifully, the Sox committed the final three outs necessary to end a regulation length, nine-inning game, losing to the Twins 10-5.


Woof. That was as they say in the business: “A Rough One”. In a direct rebuke of the Year of the Long Ball, there were a whopping 28 combined hits and (whips out my old TI-83 calculator) 21 SINGLES in this game. The Sox get minor kudos for at least putting up a fight, scaring this writer into thinking a flood of ninth-inning runs would have scrapped this whole recap entirely.

But, a sweep is what the Sox deserved today and it’s probably for the best that they skip town for a while. By the time the team returns next Friday, the Bears will (hopefully) be 1-0 and (mega, super duper hopefully) a certain Cuban outfielder will come back with the Sox as well. The Sox fall to 60-73 and the Twins keep pace with Cleveland and go to 82-51.

Thanks again, and we will see you back here at South Side Hit Pen for tomorrow night’s tilt against the Atlanta Braves! Game time is 6:05 PM CT, and Janice Scurio will provide more great Sox coverage for you and the kids.

As Douglas Adams so beautifully wrote:

Don’t Panic.