You have to play to win, but managing has a significant impact on that win. A few poor bullpen moves and a lack of contact swings, and the Chicago White Sox dropped this afternoon’s ballgame. Tomorrow’s ESPN primetime special will decide the series winner; plus, it is our ace against their ace.
Let’s analyze this game in hopes that the Sox do not make the same mistakes twice, in tomorrow night’s critical game against their AL Central rival.
For his first major league start, Matt Foster pitched two scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked one.
Given he is a bullpen arm, I was not expecting a long performance, but I did hope he was stretched out for at least three or four innings. Maybe a little too optimistic on my part, but Foster did say postgame he was hoping for a third inning, and would be happy to take another start.
Regardless on where he makes his career — in the pen or as a starter — I’m glad Foster is with the White Sox.
Starting things off on the right foot. pic.twitter.com/Ea89UMxfnr— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 8, 2020
Zach Plesac just continued his mastery of the Sox. Today was like his start against Chicago a little over a week ago, just simply continued. Pitching six scoreless innings, Plesac surrendered five hits, but he struck out seven and walked one. His ERA dropped to an impressive 1.29. Cleveland has an incredible rotation ... do they want to trade a few of their arms to the Good Guys?
Drew Anderson entered the game in the third and stayed in the game for the fourth. And it was in the top of the fourth that he put runners on first and third with one out after a previous runner scored on a 1.78 LI wild pitch. Yasmani Grandal, a force to be reckoned with behind the plate, fell victim to a 1.85 LI passed ball. Putting Cleveland up, 2-0, the door was opened to a big, six-run inning.
Anderson, charged with all six of Cleveland’s runs, really fell under all the pressure. His 1.10 pLI has forced many Sox fans to question some of the managerial moves, how to use which arms out of the bullpen and when. Can Dane Dunning be called up soon?
The dreaded fourth inning proceeded to see a .136 WPA, two-run home run off of the bat of Franmil Reyes after the wild pitch and passed ball.
As with yesterday’s game, the winning starting pitcher takes the game’s MVP honors. Plesac’s .215 WPA proves how well he pitches against the White Sox. Considering these teams are battling it out for second place in the AL Central, the Sox need to adjust to these starters and put together consistent and consecutive competitive bats — the three Cs.
Magic Number: 4
It took the Downers Grove native, Zack Burdi, four years to make it to the big leagues. Drafted in 2016 and a recovery from Tommy John surgery later, Burdi pitched a complete inning in this afternoon’s ballgame. He induced a popout, but he gave up a hard-hit infield hit. However, he struck out the next two batters he faced, ending in a scoreless inning.
Two strikeouts in a scoreless inning! Congratulations, Zack! pic.twitter.com/vRkur25zHi— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 8, 2020
What a way to debut for the team you grew up rooting for. I’m very excited to see more of Burdi on the South Side!