Just when you thought it wasn’t safe to come out back out of the shadows and declare your White Sox fandom by reminding everyone that HELL YEAH I FORECASTED 75 wins for this team so take that downtown and PRINT IT, the of-late severely-maligned South Side bullpen dashed into the clap-back heat of late Minny summer and coaxed us, to a one, off the ledge and back into fandom.
Too much? C’mon now, wins have been hard to come by this month.
Dylan Covey’s late injury pushed Iván Nova into starting a “bullpen game,” and as can often happen, out of anticipated disaster blossomed beauty. As in 5 1⁄3 innings of no-hit beauty, from Nova, Jace Fry, Carson Fulmer and Josh Osich. Every White Sox pitcher but Osich (who surrendered the first Twins hit, to Jorge Polanco with one out in the sixth) was stellar; in fact, the White Sox’s five holds in the game might be a franchise record — however bastardized by the “opener” concept — for a nine-inning game. (The Baseball-Reference Play Index breaks when I try to research how many five-hold, nine-inning games there have been in major league history.)
As for the offense, it wasn’t a lot, but it was enough.
Eloy Jiménez singled in Yoán Moncada in the second inning for a 1-0 lead, and the White Sox would never trail. In the sixth, it was Moncada doubling in Tim Anderson (just one hit for TA, but the majors-best average holds at .335). And finally, Zack Collins provided an insurance run in the ninth, with a solo shot to center, his second in two nights and third on the season.
Again, this could have been an easier game, but the South Siders whiffed 14 times, against just one walk. It’s unclear what could be driving this sort of One True Outcome offense here in September (realizing too late that the all-time team strikeout record is out of reach? Bizarre contract incentives? Pressure to win 70?), but it’s not good.
Of late, Moncada is either mashing hell out of the ball (another two hits tonight, both doubles, pushing him to a .312 average and .905 OPS) or whiffing (twice), but he is our budding superstar, so we’ll issue a pass.
In fact, let’s quit nerding out on strikeouts and get to the one keeper clip of the game, a wow of a play from Adam Engel to Moncada at third to nail Eddie Rosario and end the eighth inning.
In a clear case of Minny RBDQ (Rocco’s Boyd Do Quit), Rosario got dragged by Steve Stone after the break for lollygagging his way into a third out:
Adam Engel made Eddie Rosario pay for not hustling out of the box. pic.twitter.com/e8LzXM5ymH— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) September 19, 2019
Ah well, every team can’t dig for every inch on every play like our White Sox!
OK, off-day tomorrow. Keep an eye out late tonight for our first Arizona Fall League recap (spoiler alert: Micker and Bennett Sousa had nice starts!).
Tomorrow begins the first of seven affiliate All-Star teams named by South Side Sox, based on our daily Minor League Updates (and now found at South Side Hit Pen), starting at the bottom with the DSL White Sox.
And on Friday, the quest for 70 wins gets real, baby, as the White Sox play their first of seven games (of their final 10) against the insipid and hapless Detroit Tigers.