MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Chicago White Sox

South Side Morning 5: From boring to scary to good

The White Sox stove was cool on trade deadline day, which was to be expected as they spent most of the last month trading away more than a quarter of their 25-man roster. So while the baseball trade was thrown into a frenzy by the deadline deals that sent Yu Darvish to Los Angeles and Sonny Gray to New York, the White Sox had to find new ways to both shock and awe us in what was otherwise a battle of last place teams.

1. The White Sox won 7-6 in walk-off fashion, fully erasing a 6-0 deficit when Matt Davidson — fresh off a walk-off home run on Sunday — lined a two out single off Roberto Osuna in the ninth inning. But the focus both during and after the game was on the status of Yoan Moncada and Willy Garcia after the pair collided while attempting to catch a pop-up in the top of the sixth inning.

As bad as it looked, the White Sox announced during the game that Moncada was day-to-day with a knee contusion, while Garcia was diagnosed with a head contusion and will be re-evaluated Tuesday. Both players, as well as the White Sox, hopefully caught a break that it’s nothing serious, but one would expect the team to be extremely cautious with both Garcia because of the nature of his injury and Moncada given his status with the organization.

2. Up until the injury and the thrilling comeback, Monday’s game seemed like another in a long line of uneventful White Sox losses. James Shields continues to get hammered — he allowed six earned runs, including three home runs — but did at least manage to last six innings to aid a constantly overworked and overmatched bullpen. Shields’ struggles have been apparent since his return from the disabled list, as his HR/9 was already at an absurd 2.13 before Monday’s outing (it was 1.98 in 2016, for context) and his ERA has ballooned to 6.19.

As we wait with bated breathe for the promotion of Reynaldo Lopez (currently scheduled to start Tuesday for Triple-A Charlotte), a not-all-that-important conversation that’s come up is which rotation spot Lopez would take if any when he’s promoted to Chicago. Even when considering the struggles of Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez, as well as the overall meh-ness of Mike PelfreyAND the fact that Shields makes way more money than any of them, one would have to imagine Shields would be the No. 1 choice to vacate his spot.

The caveat, of course, is that the Sox could still unload Holland or Gonzalez, for whatever they’re worth, in an August waiver deal. And with rosters expanding in a month, the strict limitations of a five-man rotation become much less important as September nears. But the fact remains the while there was a glimmer of hope at the beginning of the season that Shields could rebound from his no good, very bad 2016 season, 2017 is turning out even worse. Oh, and the White Sox still owe him $13 million after this season.

3. As mentioned, Monday’s win was the White Sox second straight in walk-off fashion. This is notable not for anything related to their place in the standings, nor is the fact that they’re now 3-16 since the All-Star Break relevant toward the long-term success of the team.

But what seems apparent is that despite the struggles, as well as the fact that more than a quarter of the 25-man roster has been traded away in the last month, there’s a sense that the team still, to put it simply, gives a crap.

Just check out what Jose Abreu told reporters after the game, courtest of editor emeritus James Fegan:

“We had a meeting a few weeks ago in KC and we talked about how we can do things better on the field. I think that he’s been taking advantage of that situation, using the whole field and that’s something that lets you know that the kids are trying to do better and trying to take any piece of advice that you could give them. That’s good. That makes you feel proud, because you see that they are trying harder. They’re trying to find ways for them to have success and that’s good. I’m just happy, not just because of the win today but because of how they’re playing, how we’re fighting.”

This is simplistic and speculative, and it’s unfair to draw conclusions like that coming off two of the more exciting wins of the season, but this year’s bad White Sox team is different than previous bad White Sox iterations in so much as that, maybe, instead of being filled with veterans just going through the motions during a lost season, you’re instead seeing players fighting to prove they belong on a major league roster, or they’re young and trying to further their development, or — in the case of the few veterans who remain — trying to ensure their professional careers will continue beyond this season.

It’s hard to quantify how much stuff like this matters in the long run, but it’s sure as hell good to see.

4. Before leaving Monday’s game with the aforementioned injury, Moncada was 0-for-2 and is now 4-for-46 in his White Sox career.

As great as it would be if Moncada’s long-awaited arrival had been followed by a scorching hot start, we’re a long way from being a long way from worrying about him in any way. James has a great piece up at The Athletic Chicago on why that is, including quotes from Rick Renteria and Todd Steverson, but it’s worth re-stating that while the strikeouts we always knew would be there are, in fact, ever-present, his patience has been on display (six walks), and small sample size alert he’s hitting the ball hard when he makes contact but running into poor luck (.143 BABIP).

5. While Lopez is still expected to start for Charlotte on Tuesday, fellow prized pitching prospects Dane Dunning and Michael Kopech took the hill Monday. A quick perusal of the box score finds good things — Dunning allowed one run and struck out 11 in seven innings for Winston-Salem, while Kopech allowed two runs, struck out eight, and walked zero in seven innings. What’s worth watching for both guys as the minor league season winds down is how they continue to hold up. Every inning thrown by either guy creates a new career high and both are at more than 100 innings on the season now.

Lead Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports


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2 comments on “South Side Morning 5: From boring to scary to good”


Three solo shots isn’t good, but I didn’t think Shields pitched bad last night. He threw strikes, only walked two, and three of the earned runs came on the collision play which would not have scored if not for the collision.

There really is no point in taking him out of the rotation and they’re still paying him. If Lopez AND Giolito are in the rotation to begin 2018, their pitches will be limited so the bullpen will get heavy use. They will need the luxury of throwing someone out there they can burn out; who better than someone in the last year of probably his last contract.

One last thing about Shields: his best years came when his catcher was Sal Perez. The Sox have been going with scrap-heap catchers the last couple years which they thought they could get away with having veteran pitchers, but maybe Shields needed a better catcher all this time.

Nick Schaefer

Sal Perez is an abysmal catcher at framing.

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