Every year in October, I comb through the game recaps to come up with the 10 best White Sox winners of the season.
There’s one problem with putting an order to them this year -- I was at two of them, and I have a difficult time figuring out which one was the better game (one had the superior moment, but it was a snoozer up until that point).
This being the case, I’ll use the format I reserve for the flipside of this post and call these the 10 signature White Sox winners of 2016 (and yes, I will be discussing the worst losses, too). They are in no particular order, except I saved the two I attended for last.
Nobody expected the Twins to start the season losing their first six, so regression in Chicago could have been expected/rationalized. Instead, the White Sox swept them to kick them down to 0-9, while the Sox improved to 7-2. Only one of these starts was indicative of the season to come, and it was the wrong one.
The White Sox then improved to 8-2 when Chris Sale threw a two-hitter in Tropicana Field for a game score of 92. That held up as the White Sox’ best start of the year and put Sale on the course for another excellent season.
Companion game: White Sox 7, Yankees 1. Sale needs only 99 pitches to go the distance in a rare comfortable victory in the Bronx.
After ending the previous game with a walk-off single, Carlos Sanchez put the Sox ahead with a towering thee-run blast off Kelvin Herrera in the eighth inning, stinging the Royals’ bullpen to put their season on the ropes. The rally started when Herrera threw Todd Frazier some chin music, which have been in response to ...
Companion game: Aug. 9: White Sox 7, Royals 5 (10 innings). ... Frazier’s game-winning three-run homer off Herrera to help the Sox overcome a David Robertson blown save.
A string of high-quality plate appearances against Cleveland closer Cody Allen forced the Indians to play their infield in against Adam Eaton, who foiled the defensive alignment with a grand slam. He added style points with a bubble during his swing.
"I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. I have bubble gum, but fortunately I can multitask." pic.twitter.com/zrQBpcA6ky— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) August 18, 2016
The Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak in the process.
Companion game: May 9: White Sox 8, Rangers 4 (12 innings). After Robertson blew two leads, Frazier puts the game out of comeback territory with a grand slam in extras. The White Sox improved to 23-10, and it was all downhill from there.
Also known as the Tyler Saladino Game, as the White Sox’ utility infielder had a hand in the three runs that changed the game. He cut the Mets’ lead to 4-3 when he walked, stole second, stole third and came home on a single. Two innings later, he hit a two-run homer off Hanser Robles that gave the Sox the lead, allowing them to snap their first seven-game losing streak of the season.
Companion game: Aug. 25: White Sox 7, Mariners 6. Frazier tied the game in the seventh with a two-run single, then won it in the ninth with a single.
Frazier’s 36th homer of the year in the eighth inning made history, as the White Sox put runs on the board in every inning for only the second time in franchise history.
Companion game: May 11, 1949: White Sox 12, Red Sox 8. That was the only other time the White Sox accomplished the feat.
Jose Quintana pitched seven shutout innings, made possible by the first White Sox triple play since 2006 — one that went 9-3-2-6-2-5 and looked like this:
And now in video form, Just your typical 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play.https://t.co/PnI8ySGD0z— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 23, 2016
One weird aspect from rewatching it: Prince Fielder didn’t survive the season.
If James Shields does nothing else for the White Sox over the last two years of the contractual obligation to him, he somehow threw 7⅔ scoreless innings against the Cubs to secure a series split. If every team did their job as well as the White Sox did, the Cubs wouldn’t be eight wins away from ending their drought.
Companion game: July 25: White Sox 5, Cubs 4. Saladino comes through with a single for the Sox’ third consecutive walk-off victory, but a Matt Albers blown save made it possible, taking some of the shine off it.
In a more typical Shields start, he gave up a home run on the second pitch of the game. The White Sox trailed 7-0 after the top of the third. The Sox did a bunch of things a losing team would do — a missed Frazier tag, a Tyler Danish medium-leverage interlude, and a Robin Ventura ejection. And yet ... they still won, thanks to a game-tying single in the ninth by Avisail Garcia and a walk-off by Eaton.
Companion game: Sept. 4: White Sox 13, Twins 11 (12 innings). Both teams blew four-run leads.
The Matt Albers Game was perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had at a ballpark, and the subsequent post was probably my favorite of the year.
MATT ALBERS DOUBLED AND CAME AROUND TO SCORE AND IT WAS GLORIOUS pic.twitter.com/4Iljq9WB7T— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) June 1, 2016
Companion game: Good luck.