For a 67-win season, it was surprisingly difficult to limit the White Sox’ best games list to 10. The abnormally high amount of comebacks and walk-offs gave me a list of 18 games or so to consider. I whittled it down to the round number, but then there was an 11th I wanted to talk about, and I have the space for it.
Still, I had to be relatively picky. For instance, the White Sox’ eight-run eighth on May 14 against the Padres didn’t make the cut, even with Todd Frazier pantsing Wil Myers.
This one would have ranked higher if the Sox weren’t shut down by Jered Weaver’s corpse through six.
Likewise, a comeback against the Twins on Aug. 23, completed by Yoan Moncada setting them up and Tim Anderson knocking them down, failed to qualify because Ricky Renteria had one of his worst bunt calls of the year. With so many comebacks, I chose to weed out the ones where they trailed for reasons I felt unworthy.
You may notice that the top five of this list features games after the trade deadline. Recency bias is something I have to combat when putting these lists together, but it makes sense to have a back-loaded front-loading this time around. For one, September was one of the Sox’ only two winning months, and it featured key contributions from players who are still around, and should be for a while.
The White Sox relished the spoiler role in September, dealing mortal blows to the Rays, Angels and Royals during the season’s final month. The White Sox blew an early 3-0 lead in this one, but they tied it at four in the seventh, and Nicky Delmonico untied it in the 10th.
Delmonico’s heroics were made possible by the Sox snuffing out a potentially rally in the ninth. A Yoan Moncada deke at second bought the time needed for a 9-3 double play.
The White Sox finished 28th in baseball in walks, which made this comeback all the more surprising. Tommy Kahnle was uncharacteristically hittable, giving up three runs in the eighth inning and taking out his frustrations on the bench afterward.
Nevertheless, the Sox rallied without doing much. They drew six walks over the last two innings, which included Dellin Betances loading the bases on two walks and an HBP in the ninth. Melky Cabrera popped out, but Jose Abreu came through with a single through the left side to walk it off.
Sometimes you just want a good ol’ fashioned clobbering.
In 2016, the Rangers pulled the rug out from under the White Sox bullpen to hasten their demise. Here, the White Sox turned the tables. They trailed 7-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth, but they rallied with one in the sixth, one in the eighth and three in the ninth. The White Sox assaulted Matt Bush with four hits over five batters, including a walk-off double by Melky Cabrera.
Another dramatic win against the Rangers featured another multi-homer game by Delmonico. Two days after going deep twice against the Dodgers, Delmonico tacked on two more. The second one was an inside-the-park job that made the difference.
No drama here, just Lucas Giolito striking out 10 Tampa Bay hitters for his strongest start to date. Comebacks are great, but they also mean something went wrong. The Sox never trailed in this one, and Giolito’s seven innings were the main reason why.
The White Sox sent their fans home happy with their last home game of the season, which featured Anderson capping off a comeback from a 4-2 deficit in the eighth inning by scoring from first on a single.
It was your typical White Sox-Royals game, with some awful middle-infield defense undermining the Sox and causing a 2-0 lead to dissolve into a 6-2 deficit in just one inning.
Somehow, they came back with five runs in the fourth to take the lead. More improbably, Reynaldo Lopez picked up the win because the Sox held Kansas City scoreless the rest of the way. Two Avisail Garcia assists at home plate preserved the margin. The second one started a 9-2-4-6 double play that ended the game.
It’ll be a while before I automatically wonder how Hawk Harrelson would have called the Sox’ best plays, but Jason Benetti rose to the occasion on this one.
The White Sox won the season series against Houston because Moncada delivered a game-tying homer with two outs in the ninth inning, then came through with the walk-off single in the 11th.
I saw pnoles and others immediately stamping it as the Yoan Moncada Game on Twitter, but I think Moncada’s too good to crown that now. I remember the Tyler Flowers Game, the Tadahito Iguchi Game and even the Pablo Ozuna Game with no confusion. This idea here is that Moncada will be able to make this one difficult to distinguish from other extraordinary efforts down the line.
Now, calling it This Year’s Yoan Moncada Game? I’ll allow it.
It’s not just that Jose Abreu became the first White Sox player to hit for the cycle in 17 years, but that he completed the cycle in the manner most difficult (triple ...) and visually appealing (... to the right-center gap). From the sound of the bat, we knew he was going to go for it, and it probably wasn’t going to be in vain.
Even better, Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez each finished a double short of a cycle themselves in a game that Jeff Samardzija started.
Among all the games that gave Harrelson the idea that Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit, this one was the Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quittiest. Not only did the White Sox trail Toronto 6-0 through six, but Moncada and Willy Garcia both left the game after a scary collision in shallow right field.
The Sox spoiled the shutout in the seventh with an Alen Hanson sac fly in the seventh, but the comeback started in earnest one inning later. Abreu doubled in a run, followed by Matt Davidson and Sanchez going back-to-back.
That made it a save situation, but Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna couldn’t stem the tide, either. Adam Engel singled and Leury Garcia was clipped by a pitch to put good speed aboard. Abreu singled on a pitch away to tie the game, and Davidson singled on a pitch away to end it.
Davidson hit a walk-off homer the game before, giving him two Gatorade showers in as many days. That’s another one of those thrillers that somehow wasn’t strong enough to make the final 10.
Another note? Nine of these 10 games took place at Guaranteed Rate Field, as did three others I mentioned that failed to make the cut. Somehow, the White Sox were only 34-47 at home. Much like the season on the whole, it felt like the Sox fared better than the record shows.