You’ve gotta be kidding me. A perfect storm brewed for the White Sox on Sunday:
- Cubs clinched Saturday and pulled starters.
- Cubs sub out José Quintana for a bullpen arm to start.
- Twins lose to the Cincinnati Reds to fall behind the White Sox in the division race, if ...
Well, “if” the White Sox win.
The White Sox didn’t win.
In fact, they rather fantastically lost, kicking Reynaldo López to the showers four outs in and running up a 10-1 lead before teasing the White Sox back into it. Our guys would creep to within 10-8 and have Nomar Mazara up as the tying run ... before Mazara ended the game with a backwards K.
Big picture, be overjoyed by the incredible, 35-25 season the White Sox put together. That’s a 95-win pace, far sunnier than anything any of us could have imagined.
Micro view, which is what we have to see the current moment, and monumental collapse as: This team screams two-game sweep.
No better way for the White Sox to wear this debacle than to have the Cubs chanting like high-schoolers being the only sound in their ballpark.— Brett Ballantini (@BrettBallantini) September 27, 2020
López made his biggest start of the season his worst: A 7 game score, which is the second-worst for the White Sox this season (behind Jonathan Stiever’s 0, at Cincinnati). Despite a mini-revival post-Scahumburg, López had a terrible, terrible season. Remember, he started post-Summer Camp as the third starter on this staff. In eight starts this year, López averaged a 37.4 game score, which falls in the “poor” category per FanGraphs.
Check out Brett’s leadoff question to López postgame; this is about as sassy you can get on Zoom:
I asked Reynaldo if Ricky or Coop told him why they took him out after just four outs: "No, they didn’t tell me, but they had their reasons."— South Side Hit Pen (@southsidehitpen) September 27, 2020
“Last-minute” righthander Adbert Alzolay proved, well, to be right-handed, which is apparently all it takes these days against the White Sox. Alzolay spun a 61 game score, which is better than any Cubs starter this season against the White Sox not named Yu Darvish.
The White Sox finished the regular season with a 50.1 average game score, which is not shabby at all. Opponents finished at 47.2.
Duane Underwood Jr. faced 1.91 LI pressure against José Abreu with the Cubs lead whittled down to 10-8 in the ninth after Yasmani Grandal’s two-run blast. But Underwood whiffed Abreu for the second out of the inning, raising the Cubs’ win probability from 90.2% to 95.2%.
Although the game got tighter, there’s not much pressure in a blowout, so it was Andrew Chafin and his 1.71 pLI K of Mazara to end the game that wins out.
David Bote turned a 1-0 lead into 3-0 with a two-run bomb off of López in the second inning, a .157 WPA play. The clout upped the Cubs’ win probability from 60.3% to 76.0%.
There was no one, truly outstanding player this afternoon, so the MVP goes to Bote and his .154 WPA. Bote didn’t do much more than hit his two-run homer, but it was enough. Teammates Alzolay and Kris Bryant finished 2-3 in the MVP race.
Magic Number: 14
The White Sox feasted on southpaw starters this season, finishing the year 14-0 against them after their win over Jon Lester on Saturday. It’s the first time in history a team has ever gone undefeated against every lefthander it faced (mind you, 2020 was 37% of a normal season, so these records are filled with salt).
Chicago’s playoff opponent, the Oakland A’s, feature prominent lefty starters, so much so that there’s talk of inserting righty Chris Bassitt as the Game 1 or 2 starter to thwart the White Sox’s prowess.
How will this first round series go?
This poll is closed
A’s sweep in two games.
A’s win in three games.
White Sox sweep in two games.
White Sox win in three games.
Both teams are slumping and indifferent, so call it a draw.