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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2019 was the year of Yoán —and he’s just getting started

Locked in: Yoan Moncada before a game at Guaranteed Rate Field. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

Once again, it was a losing season on the South Side in 2019. This year, however, felt much different than the last couple of losing seasons due to some of the developments that came out of it. Tim Anderson won a batting title, Lucas Giolito had a massive bounce-back year and looks like someone that can lead or be near the top of a rotation, and last but not least, Yoan Moncada looks like he’s becoming the next superstar in Chicago.

White Sox fans leave 2019 with quite a bit of hope, which is something that isn’t always common among the fanbase. The aforementioned players put together very successful seasons, helping provide a jolt of confidence in the team as the end of the rebuild gets closer and the White Sox are ready to take that next step.

Prior to the 2019 season, it was difficult to gauge if Yoán Moncada was going to live up to the “top overall prospect in the MLB” hype. There were times where he showed flashes of his potential, and there were others where he looked lost at the plate and in the field. Between 2017 and 2018, Moncada was unable to hit better than the .230s, and in 2018 he struck out a lot … 217 times to be exact. Striking out is something to be expected for a young player, but doing it that many times can create some uncertainty.

After nearly two seasons where we were left with more questions than answers about the player he could be, Moncada blossomed into a star in 2019. Not only was his season the best among members of his team, it was also good enough to place him among the Top 20 players in the MLB during the 2019 season.

A big reason for Moncada’s breakout was his work ethic — he attacked the offseason. Shortly after coming off the 217 strikeouts, Moncada decided that enough was enough and he was ready to become the player that White Sox fans hoped he would be. He voluntarily spent time in Arizona, working with different members of the staff to identify some of his weaknesses and figure out some changes he could make to help turn things around.

It’s safe to say that all his offseason work paid off in a big way. In 132 games last season, Moncada slashed .315/.367/.548 with 34 doubles, 25 home runs, 79 RBIs, 40 walks, all while lowering his strikeout total to 154. Those stats were good enough to give him a wRC+ of 141 and a 5.7 fWAR. That 5.7 fWAR was the 16th-best in baseball, and his 141 wRC+ was the 15th best in the game, putting his name next to some of the best that this game has to offer.

Moncada changed his approach in 2019, becoming more aggressive at the plate. As a result, his walk total was much lower this year, but given the results, that’s all right. There were frequent times in the past where he laid off good pitches to hit, waiting for something better. More often than not, this usually resulted in a strikeout, as pitchers realized that Moncada wasn’t going to swing early in the count.

Moncada’s change in approach obviously led to statistical improvements all across the board, but the most refreshing improvement was his ability to cut down his K%. Moncada’s K% in 2017 and 2018 was in the 30% range, getting as high as 33.4% in 2018. In 2019, he was able to cut that down to 27.5%.

Moving forward, if Moncada sticks to a more aggressive approach — possibly continuing to sacrifice walks for fewer strikeouts — White Sox fans should be happy with the tradeoff. His average exit velocity in 2019 was 92.8 mph, placing him in the top 3% of the league. His hard hit percentage was 47.9%, placing him in the top 8% of the league. By taking a more aggressive approach, Moncada has a much better opportunity to put the ball in play, And when he does, he’s a tough out for opponents when combining speed and ability to barrel up the ball.

As a switch-hitter, it’s common to see a player hit much better from one side of the plate, and this was the case with Moncada — until this season. In 2018, he was well below league average as a righty, slashing .209/.287/.297 and a wRC+ of 64. In 2019, it was a completely different story, as Moncada appeared to be much more comfortable swinging from the right side. Last season, he slashed .299/.345/.500 and posted a wRC+ of 122, making him better than league average.

The 2019 season also saw Moncada move over to third base. When he was coming up as a prospect many scouts noted that third base was Moncada’s more natural position, and it wasn’t hard to see that during the 2019 season. According to FanGraphs, Moncada finished fouth among third basemen in UZR (4.3) and Defensive Runs Above Average (6.2), placing him in the above average-to-great range in both categories. After the White Sox missed out on signing their third baseman of the future during the offseason, they were able to watch one develop right before their eyes, as Moncada looked like a human highlight reel at the hot corner.

After having a very impressive breakout year in 2019, is this something Moncada is going to be able to repeat again next year, and for many down the road? Yes: This is now the bar for him. He showed us what he can do just by improving and fine-tuning some of his tools, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t continue to do the same moving forward.

There’s been mentions of Moncada going back to Arizona this offseason to break down what he can do better moving into next season. This time around, there won’t be as many drastic changes or adjustments — he’ll just work on sharpening the skills that are already above-average. After all, Moncada is not just one of the best players on the White Sox — he’s establishing himself as one of the best players in baseball.

While Moncada still has a long way to go, and it will be pretty much impossible to surpass someone like Mike Trout as the very best in the game, Moncada is on the right track. After many people claimed he was a bust and were unsure if he would live up to his hype, Moncada now looks like that type of player who can be a cornerstone piece for a franchise that is looking to contend for many years.

And the best part about his development so far? Moncada is only 24 years old, just scratching the surface of the type of player he can be.

Moncada was one of the, if not the biggest development of the White Sox this past season. The way he attacked his struggles and worked hard to improve is going to continue to pay off down the road, too. He’s destined to be a star on the South Side for a long, long time. This is just the beginning of what will be a very exciting career.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Part 1: The Good)

A season highlight: Moncada’s emergence as a force on both sides of the ball. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)

This is the first of a three-part series throughout the month of October about the Chicago White Sox 2019 season, starting with the good. Things will get scarier as the series goes on, so hold on to your hats, and get ready for a wild ride!

Yoán Moncada

The young man showed the first signs of superstardom in 2019. With a newfound aggressive approach at the plate, Yoyo added 80 points to his batting average. He had a .315/.367/.548 slash line, good for a robust .915 OPS. Yoyo had 25 dingers, and 75 RBIs. While his walk percentage dropped by 3% from 2018 to 2019, his strikeout percentage dropped by 6%, making it a good tradeoff. If advanced stats are more your speed, Yoyo’s hard-hit percentage rose by 2.4%, his percentage of home runs per fly ball rose 8.5%, and his WRC+ rose by 44 points to a stout 141! His fWAR finished at 5.6, while his bWAR was still an impressive 4.6, as FanGraphs seemed to like his defense at third base a little better than Baseball-Reference.

Other than a couple hiccups with his throws to first early in the season, Yoyo passed the eye test at his new position at third with flying colors. He displayed good hands, quick feet, and more than enough arm at the position, especially on the run. Moncada is just an ultra-smooth athlete. He makes everything look easy, and could man almost any position on the diamond with grace, if the Sox did decide to bring in a certain free agent third baseman, cough cough Rendon cough. Excuse me! AAhhhheemmmmm!

Moving forward, Moncada could benefit offensively from hitting the ball in the air more often, just like almost the everyone on the team. Ground balls are less valuable than fly balls, because fly balls can become home runs, simple! And when you have power like this:

and this

and this

Image result for neighbors airbag gif
(I was at that last game, and I left my seat like this)

you should hit the ball in the air early and often. Yoyo could also improve his overall offense by raising his walk rate just a little bit. He did get slightly overagressive swinging at pitches that weren’t strikes in 2019, but with time and more experience, Moncada could really perfect his plate discipline.

Lucas Giolito

Lucas Giolito had one of the most unlikely turnarounds in MLB history from 2018 to 2019. After reworking his arms lot and balance throughout his delivery, LG looked again like the No.1 prospect and potential ace he once was. He posted a 14-9 record in 29 starts, with a 3.41 ERA in 176.2 innings, as he was sidelined his last couple of starts with an oblique injury.

Because of the new arm slot, LG was able to add an element of deception to his pitches, making them look like something less than high definition to the hitters. The deception made LG’s fastball/changeup combination particularly lethal. The improvement Giolito made with his balance afforded him the ability to command his pitches at a high level, and added 2 mph to his four-seam fastball on average, to go along with the deception.

The changes LG made to his pitch repertoire is notable. He threw his four-seam fastball 54.9% of the time, up over 15% from 2018, and he threw his changeup 26.5 of the time, up 11% from 2018. LG essentially took the sinker out of his repertoire, and only threw his curveball 4.2% of the time, down 6% from 2018. All of the changeS in his repertoire made LG essentially a three-pitch pitcher. He featured the four-seamer, change, and slider on 95% of his pitches.

The biggest difference for the 2019 version of LG is he missed bats, striking out 32.3% of hitters, up 16% (!!!), and his walk rate fell to 8.1%, down from 11.6.

See how LG sends these hitters back to the dugout without supper using mostly fastball/change/slider combinations? Also notice that when he sends them back to the dugout, they aren’t hitting bombs out of the atmosphere! Maybe he’s figured out the secret of pitching.

Can LG duplicate his 2019 season or better? I’d say he can, and sky’s the limit if he can add more velocity and rediscover the curve as a change- of-pace pitch. Look for an elite, top-of-the-rotation starter going forward, health willing.

Honorable Mentions

Tim Anderson
Timmy went out and won himself a batting title in 2019. He slashed .335/.357/.508 with 18 dingers, and has insane athleticism, bat-to-ball skills, and flair to spare. The fact that Timmy didn’t start playing baseball until his junior year of high school is incredible, and he should keep getting better. However, he has to improve his approach at the plate. Not because I want to see him walk 75 times, but because I want him to force pitchers to challenge him with more fastballs. He has such a quick bat that improving his selection of pitches to swing at with help him do far more damage at the plate. There’s 25- or possibly 30-dinger power in that swing. Just an uptick in discipline can get him there, and will help him maintain a high batting average year-in and year-out. The defense has to get more consistent. Again, Anderson’s athleticism is insane, and he has more than enough for short, but he has to tighten up his footwork. He took a step back from his 2018 season defensively, and if it doesn’t get better in the next year or so, a move to the outfield is a possibility.

Eloy Jiménez
Eloy showed off his light-tower power, effortlessly hitting baseballs in the G spot where few tread, but only after a slow start at the plate. He saw sliders down and away early and often this year, and had a hard time adjusting to the pitch sequencing. But like talented hitters often do he adjusted, waiting for and feasting on fastballs he could handle along with hanging breaking balls. The adjustments Jiménez made throughout the year allowed him to smash 31 dingers, and he has the type of power to regularly hit 40 to 50 if he lifts the ball in the air more often. His defense was really bad in left, and that will only get marginally better, but there is a better fielder in there with more reps. (It’s almost like he would’ve been better off if he had a couple months to make these adjustments in the big leagues in 2018, but I digress.) Jiménez will always be a bat-first player, and could end up as a DH a couple of years down the line. But make no mistake, the bat will be elite for years to come.

José Abreu
It’s just hard not to love this guy. Abreu just loves playing for the White Sox, he’s a great teammate, and he cares. José won the RBI title with 123 in 2019, a career high, and has been the best run producer for the White Sox over the last six seasons. This year, however, José was inconsistent at the plate. Some of the reason for the high RBI totals are because he finally had help, in Moncada and Anderson being on base with speed to spare. Abreu was still above-average in 2019, but not quite an elite hitter because he got so swing-happy, as DJ likes to say during the radio broadcasts. It seemed he was RBI hunting, and got himself out too often when pitchers decided they wouldn’t let Abreu beat them. José turned it up with men on base, slashing .310/.348/.539, with 16 dingers and 106 RBIs. But he didn’t produce like a good hitter with the bases empty, where he slashed .259/.314/.470 with a still-respectable 17 dingers. It would behoove José to have a slightly less aggressive approach at the plate, and let his teammates pick him up when pitchers decide to pitch around him. José has always struggled at first base, and going forward if/when the Sox resign him, all parties will be better off if he spends the majority of his time at DH. Going into Abreu’s age 33 season, there’s still some good baseball left in the tank. It would be great the Sox can put a competitive team around José. We shall see.

Alex Colomé-Aaron Bummer
Much like Colomé’s cutter and Bummer’s sinker, these back-of-the-bullpen pitchers for the White Sox zigged in 2019, while the rest of the league zagged. The league has been emphasizing rising four-seam fastballs and missing bats, while Colomé and Bummer have been pitching to contact with good results. Colomé was 4-5 with a 2.80 ERA, while Bummer had no record, and a 2.13 ERA. While both pitchers pitched into some good luck with FIPs substantially higher than their ERAs, they are still useful bullpen pieces. The pair only walked 47 hitters combined in 128.2 innings, which is what you want from your bullpen. The Sox will still want to find a few relievers who get K’s, but Colomé and Bummer are a nice start (no pun intended), going into the 2020 season.

Gamethread: Tigers at White Sox

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

Game No. 161

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

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

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

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

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

The end-of-the-season lineups:

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Today in White Sox History: September 14

Rubber arm: “15 innings of work, skip? No problem!”

Sept. 14, 1952 — In a 17-inning game in Chicago, White Sox pitcher Saul Rogovin struck out 14 Boston Red Sox in 15 innings of work. But it was Luis Aloma who got the decision as the White Sox won, 4-3.

Sept. 14, 1974 — White Sox first baseman Dick Allen called a team meeting and announced he was retiring from baseball. Allen, the controversial slugger, would win the American League home run title despite missing the final two weeks of the season. Allen was fighting serious injuries to his shoulder and leg from previous seasons, but the way he “walked out” on the Sox left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans. White Sox GM Roland Hemond traded Allen’s rights to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later (interestingly, only after Allen had been traded a second time, to Philadelphia in May 1975, did the White Sox-Braves trade get completed … with one of the players Atlanta acquired from the Phillies, catcher Jim Essian!). Allen would un-retire and see action with the Phillies and Oakland A’s before retiring for good after the 1977 season.

Sept. 14, 1997 — Carlton Fisk had his uniform No. 72 retired in a ceremony before the White Sox took on Cleveland. The game was also remembered for manager Terry Bevington going to the mound to make a pitching change … with no one was warming up in the bullpen when he called for the change! (The White Sox had a 3-0 lead at the time, and Bevington’s blunder of pulling a pitcher with a cold bullpen led Cleveland rallying to win, 8-3.)

Sept. 14, 2017 — It was a record-setting afternoon for a couple of White Sox players in the team’s 17-7 blowout of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Sox outfielder Avisaíl García went 5-for-5 with seven RBIs and two runs scored in the game, in addition to a walk. White Sox rookie second baseman Yoán Moncada went 4-for-5 with two walks and five runs scored, and first baseman José Abreu went 4-for-5 with three runs scored.

García became the second White Sox player with five hits and seven RBI in a game since at least 1913. The other was Carl Reynolds, at the New York Yankees on July 2, 1930. Moncada, meanwhile, tied Hall-of-Famer Tim Raines‘s franchise record with the five runs scored. Raines originally set the record against the Red Sox in Boston on April 18, 1994.

The Sox as a team pounded out 25 hits in the game.

Meet the Players: Sean Williams

Look out, Yoán: How many of us have pictures with our favorite players? Even though Sean is gunning for Yoán’s job, he’s got one. (Sean Williams)

Sean Williams is a writer and photographer based out of Arizona, and despite just joining us, and the site itself being three weeks old, he’s now provided both photos and writing to South Side Hit Pen. There’s a chance you might see him just stretched out on a cot in the Camelback Ranch parking lot, Sean is at the diamond so often in spring, Arizona Rookie League and Arizona Fall League. Sean’s a former Loop Sports writer and currently contributes to Future Sox as well, and keep it on the QT, but he saves all his best stuff for us!

Take a moment to look over Sean’s first piece for us, on Jimmy Cordero, published Friday morning, and look forward to some great work from him this fall, offseason and on forward.

And of course, take a moment to say hi to our newest staff member, Sean Williams!

Hometown Westmont

White Sox fan since 1993

First White Sox memory Frank Thomas throwing me a baseball at a Crosstown game when I was younger. I went to a lot of games as a kid, but that was the first one that I vividly remember.

Favorite White Sox memory 2005. I was old enough to enjoy the moment, but I’d love to get that same feeling back and experience it these days.

Favorite White Sox player Yoán Moncada is my favorite current player, but Frank Thomas is my favorite player of all time.

Next White Sox statue Hawk Harrelson

Next White Sox retired number José Abreu (assuming he sticks around for a little while longer).

Go-to concession food at Sox Park I haven’t been to the ballpark in a few years, but there’s nothing better than a hot dog and a beer at a baseball game.

Favorite Baseball Movie Moneyball. I loved watching the advanced way of thinking and roster building throughout that movie. Plus, Chris Pratt playing Scott Hatteberg was always funny to me.

Hall of Fame, yes or no?
Mark Buehrle Hall of Very Good
Joe Jackson Yes
Paul Konerko Hall of Very Good
Minnie Miñoso Yes
Omar Vizquel No
Chris Sale Yes (please wear a White Sox hat)

South Side Hit Pen on the diamond Third base. My quick reaction time will allow me to handle any screamers hit my way, and I have a strong arm to make any throw across the diamond. Sorry, Yo-Yo. I’m coming for your job!

True or false: Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part that wonders what the part that isn’t thinking isn’t thinking of. True … I think? Maybe False? Screw it, I’ll flip a coin to decide.

Spot ’em a 3-0 lead? So what?

The numbers are nice but the story is better. (@WhiteSox)

Dylan Cease’s start couldn’t have been rockier. His follow-up couldn’t have been smoother. And the Chicago White Sox pecked away and then boomed away for an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers, so the players celebrating on the first game of Players’ Weekend were the ones in the good-guy black outfits.

Four batters in, the Sox rookie had given up a walk, a 103 mph single to Elvis Andrus, a wild pitch, and a 401-foot, 102.3 mph three-run homer to Willie Calhoun. Looked grim.

But …

Cease left the game 19 batters later, having retired the next 11 Rangers before giving up just two more singles and getting a career-high (OK, short career, but still) nine strikeouts. The two singles led off the fifth inning, but a strikeout, a Shin-Soo Choo blast Leury García caught a few feet short of the wall and a routine fly later, Cease was out of the inning.

Cease picked up his third win and registered a game score of 60, by far his best in the bigs. He gets credit for a quality start, tossing 56 strikes out of 95 pitches over six innings. The mighty triumvirate of the bullpen took over, with Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, and Alex Colomé cruising aside for a hit batter by The Horse in the ninth.

Forgetting Sarah did get some nice help from Tim Anderson in the seventh:

Meanwhile, the offense picked up two runs in the second, when Lance Lynn showed that even 14-game winners can get sloppy by walking Matt Skole and Yolmer Sánchez with two outs, after which Adam Engel came through with a soft liner just over third that scored them both. (See, Sox guys and bosses and fans — taking walks truly is important. Really. Honest.)

The Sox took the lead for good in the fourth. Jon Jay singled, advanced on one of Lynn’s four wild pitches on the night — that’s right, four of ’em — and scored on a Sánchez single. Yolmer scored on a double by Leury, who was driven in on an Anderson bloop to right.

That made it 5-3, and the Sox added three more in the sixth when Leury singled, took second and third on two wild pitches, then scored on the hardest-hit ball of the night, a 109.6 mph, 403-foot double by José Abreu. Yoán Moncada then belted one that had less velocity and less distance than Jose’s (102/393), but a better sense of direction:

That closed out a big offensive night, with every Sox batter but James McCann getting at least one of the team’s 12 hits, and García, Anderson, Moncada and Jay getting two apiece. In the process, Anderson and Sánchez both extended their hitting streaks.

Game three of the series will begin at 6:10 p.m. CDT tomorrow. Iván Nova. who has gone from 4-9 to 9-9, will try to get on the plus side of the win-loss ledger, opposing Rangers rookie Kolby Allard, who sports a 6.60 ERA and gave up six earned runs to the Angels in five innings last time out. Ashley Sanders is going to try to bring the sunglasses emoji over the South Side Hit Pen, in her recap debut here.

Six Pack of Stats: White Sox 6, Rangers 1

The comeback kids: Ross Detwiler notched a quality start and recorded a new career-high of eight strikeouts; simultaneously, Yoán Moncada went 2-for-4 with a homer in his first game back from the Injured List. (FanGraphs)

Hakuna Moncada! Ross Detwiler pitches a career game, and YoYo records two extra-base hits in a worry-free White Sox win

Arguably one of his best starts of his career and definitely the best of the season, Ross Detwiler was rolling during tonight’s ballgame. After taking notes from Lucas Giolito’s masterful game yesterday, Detwiler recorded a quality start and set a new career-high in strikeouts. On top of the wonderful pitching, Yoán Moncada and the Good Guys let their bats come to life in what was an excellent game by the Chicago White Sox. Time to go behind the numbers of tonight’s well-executed baseball game:


Big Boss Ross had it going for him tonight. Twelve years into his major league career and Detwiler recorded a career-high eight strikeouts. As a lefty without any overpowering stuff, that is incredibly impressive. Hopefully, tonight marks a turning point for the rest of the season!


The South Siders only had three pitchers take the mound — not as impressive as Ariel Jurado’s complete game in the Texas Rangers loss — but they only gave up three hits during the span of 27 outs. I am totally behind a whole lot of Sox offense complementing a whole lot of pitching brilliance!


In his first game back from the Injured List, YoYo went 2-for-4, which included a long ball. That 112 mph blast went 383 feet and drove in two runs. YoYo pumped up the heat for his second extra-base hit of the game, which was a double hit at 115 mph — the hardest hit ball of Moncada’s short career.


After Moncada and James McCann went back-to-back on home runs in the third inning, the Sox’s win expectancy jumped to 92.7%. The South Siders made sure to cash that in for their 58th win of the season!


To give a little love to the Texas Rangers and as mentioned previously, Ariel Jurado pitched a complete game. Having given up six runs in the game, it is a pretty impressive feat for the young righthander. Even though he saved the bullpen for his team, Jurado did accumulate a -.243 WPA in his eight-inning complete game.


Looking ahead, José Abreu is two hits away from a career 1,000 hits. A first inning single made No. 998 career hits, so hopefully, No. 1,000 will be here before the Rangers go back to the Lone Star State.

Everybody Loves Ross (Detwiler)

It only seemed like 22 minutes plus commercials: Detwiler turned in an Emmy-worthy performance tonight. (@WhiteSox)

Big Boss Ross: Serving lewks from coast to coast.

(This recap was written after this author’s dinner with his mother-in-law, and is gleamed from various Twitter clips and box scores; it will be written in the style of a scene from Everybody Loves Raymond, featuring one if the greatest sitcom in-laws of all time, Marie Barrone [played by the late Doris Roberts] and her put-upon daughter-in-law, Debra).


(Raymond and Debra are on the couch, watching the end of the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers game on their TV. The game has just ended.)

RAYMOND: (gets up, stretches and yawns sleepily) Oh wow, glad that’s finally over … I still don’t get why a New York paper asked me, a native Long Islander, to watch and recap this random Sox and Rangers game, but a job’s a job!

(Leans down to kiss a glowering Debra on the forehead)

RAYMOND: Thanks for staying up with me to watch … even though it’s our wedding anniversary … it’s the only thing I could come up with to enjoy together …

(Debra shoots him a look of burning annoyance)

RAYMOND: Ooooook … I’ll be upstairs writing this up and … (Raymond awkwardly bounds up the stairs)

(Debra rolls her eyes and reaches for the remote to turn off the TV when suddenly the front door flies open and Ray’s mother Marie bursts into the room.)

Marie: Raymond! Raymond! Your father just won’t stop snoring! He’s waking up the neighborhood! I need to sleep here tonight … (pause) … Debra? Where’s Ray? He said he’d be up late writing a story …

DEBRA: Yeah, Ray just went upstairs to work on it …

MARIE: Oh, thank you dear … but looking at the circles under your eyes … maybe you should … (looks at TV, Jason Benetti is watching Steve Stone talk about house building again) Oh my god! Is that Steve?

DEBRA: Steve? Steve who?

MARIE: Steve Stone! Oh Debra, I forget … you don’t take much interest in my Ray’s line of work .. He was a pitcher in the 70s … one time, the Baltimore Orioles were in town and I bumped into Steve at a store downtown … Debra, if I wasn’t married … [audience hoots and hollers]

DEBRA: That’s wonderful, Marie … but … (Debra goes to turn off the TV)

MARIE: Don’t you dare! Leave it on … (Steve is watching Jason explain tonight’s #SoxMath answer, cutting his eyes to the camera periodically, Marie feels as if he is directly looking at her)

Um … Debra dear, why don’t you … um … be a dear and describe the game to me … what happened in the game? I’m going to get Robert to get on the Tweet machine tomorrow and I want to reach out to Mr. Stone here and I want to sound like I actually care about caseball …

DEBRA: Baseball?

M: Whatever … Debra! Details! Now!

DEBRA: [Debra sighs and debates how fast she can escape to Canada after strangling Marie, decides against it] OK, Marie … ummmm so the game starts … the first Sox pitcher … Ross Det … Rot … wiler? Whatever he starts out really well … he even strikes out all three Rangers in the second inning.

MARIE: Yes, yes … keep going! And punch it up a little!

DEBRA: Right … evidently he hasn’t been doing well in many of his games before, but you couldn’t tell tonight I guess! He went a whole six innings, got eight strikeouts, and only gave up a home runner to um … a guy named … Elvis?

MARIE: Honey, you don’t have to make up names, if you don’t remember … OK, what else??

DEBRA: The Sox had this young man, the announcer called him Yo-Yo, oh he just swatted one a pitch straight out of the park! Well, not literally, but it was fast! Then the Sox catcher, the guy who squats all the time? His name is James McCann and he hit another homer right after the Yo-Yo guy did!

MARIE: Yo-Yos and Irish catchers, got it. Is there anything else?!

DEBRA: Well they kept cutting to this guy in the stands, he had big ears … I think his name was Chuck …he just went on and on about …

(Debra’s voice fades into the background as Marie stares deeply into the visage of Steve Stone, her vision turns hazy and this picture slowly fades in on the screen:

DEBRA: Marie? (Snaps fingers) Marie, are you even listening?!

MARIE: (slowly emerging from a her haze) What? Oh my, I’m so sorry dear … what was it you were saying?

DEBRA: I’ve been trying to tell you! Some guy …I think his name was Kelvin Herrera … he came in the ninth inning and got the final three outs. The Sox ended up winning 6-1! So there! Is that enough for you?! Can I go to bed now?!?!

MARIE: Yes, yes … of course! Thank you so much! Now be a dear and don’t tell Frank or Ray any of this! And please try to keep your anniversary lovemaking noises down to a minimum …Last year I had to tell Frank some raccoons were fighting out by the garbage! (Marie chuckles …) Good night!

(Debra’s mouth hangs open in stunned silence as the audience laughs heartily)



Tune in tomorrow night! Special guest star Ricky Renteria stops by to say hello to his old teammate, who happens to be Ray’s dad! But when Frank claims the bunt is a waste of an at bat, fists start flying! How will emergency coach Ray Barrone manage young Dylan Cease against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn at 7:10 p.m. Central on the South Side of Chicago without Debra noticing?!