With the Chicago White Sox on the verge of being swept by the New York Mets, on the verge of following a terrible 2-8 road trip with a hideous 2-8 homestand, it’s up to a pitcher with all of four meh major league starts to halt the ignominy. On you, Dylan Cease! No pressure or anything.
Oh, and Dylan? Don’t expect any help from your offense, which has been downright offensive lately.
It’s certainly no shame to be shut down by Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, who are two of the best in the game (though it was a shame to waste brilliant starts by Reynaldo López and Lucas Giolito). Problem is, the last two losses are just part of a trend.
Since the All-Star break, the White Sox have scored 55 runs in 19 games, and 18 of those runs came in just two games. They’re now 28th in baseball with 433 runs, ahead of only the two horror stories in Miami and Detroit. Nobody else is even close.
The 4-15 record since the All-Star break has been a real team effort (and at that pace, the Sox would easily break through the 100-loss mark, but it’s hard to sustain that degree of awfulness). Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez were on the IL, of course, but their replacements actually hit pretty well — extremely well, in the case of Ryan Goins — and Eloy and Tim are 0-for-19 since coming back. (The injury break did cost Anderson his big lead for the title of most errors in MLB, but he broke back into a tie with his rally-starting error last night.)
Elsewhere, James McCann is 8-for-60 since the being an All-Star, with a BA now at .278, off a peak of .328 in late June and a drop of 126 points from his OPS high. José Abreu is 2-for-27 and had three HRs and two doubles in July. (My personal observational belief is that when the hitters after him suck, José takes everything on himself, resulting at overswinging at everything. I admittedly have nothing to back that up; it’s a gamethread on the verge of a home sweep to the Mets, man.)
Yoán Moncada was hitting well, but now he’s on the IL with a hammy issue. Jon Jay is hitting .324, but has gotten the hang of being a White Sox outfielder by posting a -.8 defensive WAR so far. Leury García is doing fine, his average up to .301, and Yolmer Sánchez is holding steady. But somebody has to drive in the singles hitters, and you don’t even want to think about how bad the Sox have been with RISP.
And, of course, no one but new guys like Goins and A.J. Reed would ever deign to take a walk, because — well, who knows.
So, Dylan, it’s up to you. Sure, you’ve been merely adequate so far, getting only a 9% swing-and-miss rate, throwing only 60% strikes, and having some really bad innings and thus a 6.86 ERA and 5.56 FIP, but it would be a real boon if you were to toss a shutout. For 12 or 13 innings, if need be.
Fortunately, this time the Mets are throwing righty Zack Wheeler, who was reportedly on the trade block but stayed put. Wheeler can be very good, but also absolutely horrible, so we’re hoping to see the horrible guy. Problem is, Wheeler has a 9.9 K/9, which, converted to the White Sox, probably translates to 18 Ks in seven innings.
As for the alleged, offense, the lineup is without Moncada. Ryan Cordell got his weekly call-up to fill in, but isn’t starting:
WOW, GOING BACK OVER ALL THAT, IT’S THE SOUR DOUR POWER HOUR
Sorry. Let’s look on the bright side:
A. With the actions taken by the Sox yesterday, we don’t have Nate Jones to kick around any more, and
B. Thanks to using convoluted accounting methods instead of his usual plain ol’ salary dump, when Jerry’s heirs build their mega-yacht, they shouldn’t have to settle for domestic marble on the galley counters.
Oh, yeah — the Mets have a lineup, too:
This is the kind of baseball day Abner Doubleday must have had in mind. Just beautiful. Gametime is 1:10 CT. NBC Sports on the boob tube, WGN-720 on the boom box.