MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs

South Side Morning 5: The White Sox have won a game!

1. The White Sox won their first game since July 6th on the back of an excellent Miguel Gonzalez start. It has been a tumultuous season for Gonzalez, who came out of the gate hot but suddenly crumbled on his way to a DL trip. In Monday’s game, however, he displaced the departed Jose Quintana as the most recent pitcher to go seven innings or more. That’s good news for the White Sox, who desperately need members of their rotation that can eat considerable chunks of ballgames. Not only did Gonzalez provide a lengthy outing, but it was a good one. He relied on escaping jams and getting outs despite a lot of contact, low strikeouts, and a few walks, but he gave up just a single run in his 7.1 innings of work.

2. Gonzalez wasn’t the only pitcher who had a fine outing on Monday. Anthony Swarzak was asked to get the final four outs of the ballgame, and he did so despite letting things get rocky in the ninth. Swarzak is interesting because, aside from Melky Cabrera, he’s the one remaining player on the roster that might be moved at the deadline. He has a 2.30 ERA while striking out batters at a 27.8 percent clip against walking only 6.7 percent of them. The question now is whether the White Sox will get more value in a trade than they could receive from Swarzak simply pitching a good number of innings. It’s easy to say that they can find someone to fill the innings if need be, but it’s not always that simple. With that said, the reliever market is weird and some team could blow them away. In that case, it would absolutely make sense to send him packing.

3. As for Cabrera, even manager Rick Renteria commented that he was surprised that he was still on the team. That’s probably because he’s been both red hot lately and consistently good over the course of the season. His .295/.338/.443 slash line is bound to be an upgrade for some team that believes they’re in the race. It seems like the market for corner outfielders isn’t that great, but with Cabrera’s contract expiring at the end of the season, it’s likely the best option for the team to get whatever they can.

4. Yoan Moncada has received a lot of attention for, well, pretty much every plate appearance. So far it hasn’t really gone his way. He’s stepped to the plate just 15 times, so it’s certainly not a sample size worth fretting over. However, the strikeout concerns quickly entered the forefront of fans’ minds when he struck out four times in Monday’s game against the Cubs. One of those was a close called strike, and another was a nasty Hendricks changeup after bunt attempts (not even gonna go there) forced him to a two strike count. Even with those excuses, it remains a concern. It’s way too early to make a grand conclusion, but it would be great to see Moncada drill some extra base hits in the near future.

5. One of the nice things about the influx of prospect talent in the White Sox system is that it has pushed the former top prospects to much more comfortable positions on the team’s prospect hierarchy. One such example is Carson Fulmer, who started 2017 fairly well, but has mostly just been bad. He has a season ERA of 5.42 while sporting an abysmal 15.5 strikeout rate with a 11.3 percent walk rate that only makes things worse. His outing on Monday didn’t help matters as he pitched just five innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs while walking four and striking out five. Before the rebuild began, a Fulmer bust would have been disastrous. Now his almost inevitable move to the bullpen is hardly a big deal at all. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be concern, but it’s certainly nice to have the depth in the system to alleviate the pain of an early first round pick falling flat on his face.

Lead Image Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

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