Gamethread: Cleveland at White Sox

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

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

Nope, that didn’t happen.

That play certainly did, though.

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

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

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

Here are the lineups:

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

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

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

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

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

Rotten Royals rob Giolito of 15th win

All arm, no W: Sorry Lucas, you deserved the W today. (@WhiteSox)


I admit I am not as gifted with the snappy alliterative titles as our Baller Librarian but I feel that my skills are at least 40-man roster worthy. For those playing along at home, our 40-man roster includes Daniel Palka, Dylan Covey and Welington Castillo, so I’d say the bar is rather low.

Anyway, it’s been nearly a month since Lucas Giolito earned a win, and I’m starting to think he might never reach 15. Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong today: Since this game was a mix of unfortunate and unlucky, yet still enjoyable, I bring you a mishmash of styles and formats, which is almost certainly going to drive my editor up the wall (Hi, Brett!).

First inning: Giolito Strikeout Count: Two (Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier). Jorge Soler continued to slaughter White Sox starters, launching a solo shot supposedly into the stands but if you told me it landed on the moon I’d believe you.

Baseball Theater, thank you as always. I used the Royals broadcast to remind us how fortunate we are to have Jason calling home runs for the Good Guys.

In our half of the first, Yoán Moncada poked a single into right; I’m not sure how I feel about seeing him in the leadoff spot. Abreu drew a walk only to have Eloy Jiménez ground into a double play for the ninth time this season. Fun fact: Million Dollar Manny Machado leads the league in this category with 23.

Second inning: The Royals struck again, as rookie Ryan McBroom, a September call-up singled, advanced to third on a Meibrys Viloria double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Erick Mejia, owner of three career at-bats and a .000 batting average. It was Mejia’s first career RBI, so I feel a duty to let him enjoy his moment:

(Baseball Theater)

Eventually I’ll have some White Sox highlights for you, I hope.

Giolito Strikeout Count remains at two.

Bottom of the second: PALKA HIT WATCH. WE HAVE MADE CONTACT! And we have no joy, thanks a lot, Mejia. You could have let that ball drop. Palka can’t seem to catch a break (new game, drink whenever somebody says, thinks, writes or tweets that sentence).

Yolmer got drilled on the top of his foot by a pitch, which then nicked Viloria in the … let’s just say he’s singing Soprano now.  ꓘollins ended the inning with a ꓘ.

Third Inning: Giolito Strikeout Count: Three more on 13 pitches (Merrifield, Soler, Dozier), for a total of four. Gio’s curve and slider were cruising in at a cool 80 mph while the four-seam fastball averaged about 95. Lucas had some stuff today!

In the bottom of the third, Moncada hit a ball between first and second, Merrifield couldn’t get a grip on it, and YoYo reached first base for the second time in as many attempts. López had his knuckle curve working for him today, and Tim Anderson went down swinging. José launched a ball into center field, and so began the two-out rally! Eloy blasted a ball into center, Moncada scored, Abreu must not have known that it didn’t make it past Merrifield and was thrown out at home. A one-run rally cut our deficit in half, so we’ll take what we can get. I found it interesting that the White Sox announcers blamed José for running through the sign, while KC’s announcers touted Merrifield’s “run-saving heroics.” Both versions are courtesy of Baseball Theater:

The Kansas City version also features my nemesis: the strike zone box. Ban the box! (Do we need to make a shirt for this?)

Top of the Fourth: Giolito Strikeout Count (can we just call it the GSC?): three more (O’Hearn, McBroom, Phillips) so the total is now eight, including a streak of six in a row. This is the Lucas GioELITEo we’ve come to know and love, we just won’t have him pitch against the Cubs next season.

Bottom of the fourth: PALKA HIT WATCH: Palka hit into the shift on the first pitch.

On to happier times, the top of the fifth: GSC: Giolito struck out his ninth and 10th batters, and seventh and eighth in a row (Viloria and Mejia). Lucas’s streak of consecutive strikeouts would end at eight, as Nicky Lopez grounded out. With those eight consecutive strikeouts, Giolito set a new White Sox record! One of my favorite Twitter accounts, Pitching Ninja, has combined all eight for your viewing pleasure:

Engel led off the bottom of the inning, beating the throw on an infield single by an eyelash, followed by Moncada sending another base hit into right field. Anderson popped out to short center, putting him at nada for three so far. Has he forgotten he’s trying to win a batting title? Abreu drove in Engel on a sacrifice fly to the warning track, and brought us to 2-2. I brought my profound thoughts to Twitter:

By now I have fully abandoned the bold inning indicators.  Brett’s head is spinning. (In case you were wondering what the A. stands for in my initials, I wouldn’t rule out Agitator).

Lucas gave up his first walk of the day to lead off the sixth, Soler singled, and then of course Dozier hit a home run to put the Royals up, 5-2. Not all was lost, however, as the GSC tacked on another pair of strikeouts to O’Hearn and McBroom, putting what would be his final tally at 12.

My man James McHotDamn led off the sixth with a sizzling double that bounced off the center field fence. PALKA HIT WATCH: WE HAVE MADE CONTACT! But alas, tis foul. And now we’re behind in the count. On the next pitch, Palka beat out an infield single (of sorts, as it was fielded in short left) and based on the noise in the ballpark, you would think we just clinched the division. Relive the glory here:

🎶 Let’s give them something to Palka ’bout (Baseball Theater)

Yolmer hit a sacrifice fly to score McCann, and that was all she wrote for Jorge López. Left-handed sidearmer Tim Hill entered the game, as did Danny Mendick. Hill’s sweeping sideways pitching motion and horizontal ball movement made quick work of Mendick and Engel, who both went down on strikes.

Jace Fry came out for the Sox in the seventh, struck out Viloria and induced a pair of infield ground outs to Anderson to easily retire the side, but the elusive 15th win evaded Lucas once again.

In our half of the seventh, Anderson finally got a hit! Eloy walked on four pitches and James McDamn hit a ball into left, and Anderson tripped rounding third and had to scramble* back to the base. A pitching change brought Leury García in as a pinch-hitter for Palka, ending the Palka Hit Watch with a final count of one. Leury struck out and into the eighth we went, still losing. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video of Timmy’s baserunning miscue so you’ll just have to trust me, it was ugly.

* I would not call what Tim did to return to the base “scrambling,” it was more of a lazy stroll.  This makes me see red, and I angered White Sox Twitter saying so. We’ll return to this topic shortly.

My man Jimmy Biceps Cordero came in to pitch the eighth. Some of you might be aware of my adoration for the flame throwing, sleeve-fighting righty, and new SSHP free agent signing Sean made a good case for keeping him around next season. Jimmy is a multi-talented guy, look, he can bunt!

His sleeve-rolling angered our opponent’s fans, which reflects quite favorably in my book.

Betsy, there is so much about the White Sox that should bother you more than a rolled-up sleeve.

Alex Colomé came out to pitch the ninth, and walked the first man he saw.  Next up, Brett Phillips hit a sacrifice bunt and Colomé threw the ball to center field. Allow me to digress, this is why I get so upset about players not running out routine fly/ground balls (or get back to a base after tripping, Tim). Pitchers botch throws all the time and if you turn and walk back to the dugout while you’re losing a game and you’re in a pennant race then you deserve to lose the World Series (to the Cubs of all teams, thanks for nothing, Cleveland).

Anyway, that error, followed by a wild pitch would allow another run to score, putting the final nail in the coffin for this game.

(Baseball Theater)

The White Sox made it exciting, and as billed, Ricky’s boys didn’t quit, but after Anderson collected his second hit, Eloy walked, McCann walked, Leury struck out with the bases loaded, and that was that.

Now for my game rankings, inspired by whoever buried Justified’s Mitchell Report:

Win: Giolito, striking out eight in a row for a total of 12 and earning himself the distinguished title of White Sox franchise record holder for most consecutive strikeouts. It’s just a shame that when he gives up a hit, it’s often a home run.

Place: McCann picked up two hits, scored a run and didn’t strike out at all.  McCann has shown he’s reliable in clutch situations, and got himself on base, but with you-know-who batting after him, the odds of a rally weren’t great.

Show: Palka, congratulations on ending your 148-day major league hitting drought and collecting your second base hit of 2019!

Also-Ran: Abreu had a hit and an RBI, but a bonehead trotting error (sorry, I would not call his craft “running,” per se) allowed the Royals to mow him down out at home. Add that to two strikeouts and it leaves Pito out of the winner’s circle today.

Glue Factory: Leury struck out with the bases loaded … twice.  He’s been one of the most versatile players on the team all season, but today he’s drawn my ire.

As I hinted in the gamethread, we have a brand-new shirt coming out sometime in the next few days. After bitching on Twitter for the better part of two months that someone should make this shirt and sell one to me, I decided to take things into my own hands.  Since we now have our own store, I spent more hours than I wish to admit planning and conceiving this work of art, and searching for the perfect person to design it for me so we could bring it to you! We’ve largely kept it under wraps so nobody tries to knock off our design with an inferior model, but here’s a little taste of what’s coming:

What could it be? Patience- you’ll find out soon!

We’ve got some more ideas in the works, but we want to hear from you! Do you want a Jimmy Biceps shirt featuring our one-sleeved bullpen hero? What about McCann? Moncada? What are some nicknames or catch phrases you’d love to have on a tee? Let us know what types of shirts you’d like to see, either in the comments or email them to me.

Joe has the Mariners game for you tomorrow, and stay tuned for the release of what I know will be your new favorite White Sox design!

Know Your Enemy: Cleveland

(@Indians)


When we last saw Cleveland, we took three of four at home in late May/early June, putting both teams in a tie for second place in the AL Central with 29-30 records.

Since then, a lot has improved for Cleveland, and not much has gone right for the White Sox.

The Wahoos improved from a league-worst bullpen to a league leading 3.43 ERA, coming in at 101 fewer runs allowed than the AL average of 283, with a meager 182. Shortstop Francisco Lindor Is hitting .297 post All-Star Break, and is destroying right-handed pitching. Second baseman and Northbrook native Jason Kipnis has raised his batting average by about 50 points since we last saw him, and the two of them have .980 and .989 fielding percentages, respectively. (By contrast, Tim Anderson’s fielding percentage this season is .944, lowest by a position player in the majors). 

The White Sox had a rather forgettable June, going 11-13 and not really doing anything important other than claiming Jimmy Cordero off waivers. Jimmy Biceps has been my favorite bullpen pitcher this second half, and other than DFA-ing Yonder Alonso, it was perhaps the best decision the White Sox made during the month. We also lost Anderson to an ankle sprain, and we hobbled into July to play arguably the worst month of baseball in recent memory. The White Sox went 7-17, including a seven-game skid immediately following the All Star Break. Other than Dylan Cease’s debut, July pretty much sucked. We had the failed A.J. Reed experiment, lots of Dylan Covey, and lots of trade speculation. We didn’t do much at the deadline, sending Nate Jones and a pile of The Money Will Be Spent™ cash to the Texas Rangers in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

The Indians received two-sport athlete Yasiel Puig (check out his soccer skills below) and his red mohawk from the Reds in a trade that sent resident lunatic Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, and he claims he doesn’t miss Cleveland.

So far this season, the White Sox are 7-5 against the Indians, with a 3-3 record at Progressive Field. The South Siders are in an interesting position for the remainder of this season, as Cleveland currently sits 5.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins, and currently half a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the top wild card spot, with the Oakland A’s one half-game behind. The next closest hopeful, the Boston Red Sox, are five games back. If we can take at least two of these games and the others in the wild-card chase play well, there is a chance we can play spoilsport to Cleveland’s postseason hopes.

Cleveland is pretty easy to hate, even without Chief Wahoo. We all know how Joakim Noah feels about the former Land of LeBron:

To quote our very own Mike Gasick, “I’ll never forgive this stupid team for blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 World Series. Worst day of my life.”

Probable starters are:

Monday, September 2:  Ross Detwiler vs. Aaron Civale (6:10 pm, NBCSN/WGN-AM 720) With Detwiler pitching in Saturday’s circus show, this matchup is likely to change. Civale has been impressive in his rookie season, and I expect him to be in the Cleveland rotation next season. He’s got a nasty sinker, averages five strikeouts per game and his WHIP is 0.90. We’re going to need some good luck and possibly an exorcism before we face this guy.

Tuesday, September 3: Dylan Cease vs. Mike Clevinger (6:10 pm, WGN/WGN-AM 720) If Cease can limit the first-inning damage, this could be a fun one. If Dylan gets rocked early, Clevinger could wipe the floor with us.

Wednesday, September 4: Iván Nova vs. Shane Bieber (6:10 pm NBCSN/WGN-AM 720) Shane Bieber has gone 0-2 in his last three starts, including a no-decision to the Kansas City Royals, sandwiched by losses to the New York Mets and Rays. He’s got a good fastball, so expect a lot of South Side strikeouts.

Thursday, September 5: Reynaldo López vs. Zach Plesac (12:10 pm NBCSN/WGN-AM 720) With ReyLo chased out of the game without making it through a single inning on Saturday, this will be his chance for redemption. Plesac, a rookie, is a good pitcher but also is hittable, so if ReyLo gets some run support, he’s got a good shot at taking this one.

With September callups always a possibility, we might be seeing some new faces in the dugout by the end of this series. But for now, we’ve got Manny Bañuelos and Carson Fulmer swelling our bench to 27.

If you can make it through all four games, I promise to give you a special treat in Thursday’s game recap. Until then, let’s try to make it harder for Cleveland to make the wild card playoff game.

Chief Wahoo became Chief WaChew in my house.
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