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Bullpen Defends: White Sox, Yoán Win Squeaker, 5-4

Nine different voices all add up to victory, in a unique “bullpenning” night at South Side Sox

Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
Billy Hamilton and Yoán Moncada, rejoice: Think this team is ready for the postseason?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

[If you didn’t check the gamethread, a heads-up that for the first time in three seasons, this recap is being written in bullpenning fashion, with me imitating a different writer’s style each inning. Hannah LaMotta and Leigh Allan pastiches appeared in the gamethread, and two others will pop up in the Minor League Update. One writer per inning here, for tonight’s game!]

The fans tonight were NOT feeling the 20-minute rain delay, and neither was Lucas Giolito, possibly caught in the middle of such a brief delay and a bit over-warmed, or a touch stiff, walking his first batter of the game. That was followed by Robbie Grossman crushing a ball deep to center — but we had a man there, Luis Robert.

Luc-ACE Gi-ELITE-o tightened it up the rest of the inning, very efficiently dismissing the meat of Detroit’s order. Yes, Miguel Cabrera broke his successive strikeout streak by rolling out to the right side, but you retire a future Hall-of-Famer with a man on, and I’m here for it!

Timmay came so close to some STICK TALK on the first pitch for the White Sox, flying out to the warning track in right, I was up off of my seat cheering the lead. While the South Siders did not take advantage of my enthusiasm by putting so much as a runner on base in the bottom half, Pito proved he is gearing up for the postseason with a blistering ground out to end the inning.—Ashley Sanders

The game scooted through the second stanza so swiftly, there was almost no time for a poll.

Wait, are you kidding? There’s always time for a poll!


Nine innings, nine writers, do you think this bullpen recap is going to be a success?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (36 votes)
  • 36%
    (21 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

I didn’t draw the first inning, but if you think I’m going to burn a great “Rain” clip just because it was a dry second, no chance.

Giolito kept the Tigers on their heels in the second, the inning ending on a sharp drive to right. The White Sox followed serve, going down 1-2-3 as well, but with the always-beleaguered and oft-criticized Yoán Moncada crushing a ground out to second to end the inning. In the dugout, Bengals second sacker Isaac Paredes was seen sliding into a thicker glove to protect himself from White Sox bats that have been woodburning balls to him so far.—Year of the Hamster

Well, I thought the 80 chicken nuggets I bought early this morning was going to be the most boring choice I made today, but I was WRONG. Getting the third inning to write up was just a bad choice, like enrolling in law school during a pandemic (too early for no-hitter watch — yes, Lucas handcuffed Detroit 1-2-3, just like those to-go 40-bag of nuggets did to my digestive tract later on today — but too late for any free hoodie jokes). But my drive-by in this recap was made whole simply by getting to write up a Leury García at-bat. Sure, he nibbled at a changeup, waved at a high sinker never sunk, fouled again, then foul-tipped out, so I walked away dispirited. But then, really, does anyone get what we want? To take an example at random, some of us are enrolled in law school (in person now, hooray I have no water but at least can study up and figure out how to fight Champaign Public Utilities over it) and an online master’s but really just want to write about the White Sox (and nuggets, and water bills) and tweet hilarity as a spool of pasta.

And listen, the world didn’t end with Leury Legend’s languid AB, at least any more than it ended due to an easily-stemmed pandemic that is somehow still raging thanks to 50 million pop-up scientists and scholars: Adam Engel walked and survived to tell the tale, Tim Anderson opted to start another four-hit game with a sharp single, and then Luis Robert, perhaps having heard that the entire South Side Sox staff picked him as the probable ALDS offensive MVP in recent podcasts, struck out, again. Chin up, none of us get what we want, Luis.—Celeste Radogno

Lucas had put down the first third of the game hitless, and just as I’m sitting down with some excitement to recap another perfect fourth, Robbie Grossman drives the first Detroit hit of the game, then steals second to rub it in. OK, so, no-hitter gone, I’m so over it. But mark my words, if Grossman’s run that came around on a Jeimer Candelario two-out single stands up as the difference in this game, I am not going to be happy. What worries me is seeing Lucas labor through his final tune-up before the playoffs; the Tigers were tagging him hard, as even the outs were loud. Giolito escaped with just one run of damage in the inning, despite having offered some very hittable pitches, so that’s a small win. What wasn’t a small win was Matt Manning cutting through the heart of the White Sox order on 10 pitches, two Ks. Eloy, what are you doing!—Chrystal O’Keefe

Down 1-0 to Detroit either means we can sit back and not care, the season is set, we’ve secured the season series already, or it is making me siphon precious energy from the hate I have building up toward Chicago’s first-round opponent, Houston. You decide which it is.

So, Lucas recovered well in the fifth, and with an earned run over five innings, knocks his season ERA down to 3.53, pretty respectable for an “off” season. In the bottom half, Yoán Moncada led off, worked the count full, then ripped a double to right field that made Comiskey (my dog, not the ghost of the founder, although he could have spun a bit in grave as well) jump, then tilt his head at me like, they still haven’t scored off of this guy? Well, they wouldn’t. Gavin Sheets whiffed, failing to move Moncada over even with a ground out, and, well, this is taking precious trashtros energy away from me, so let’s just leave it as the White Sox left an opportunity on the table. Why the hell are the White Sox making Matt Manning look like Justin Verlander — it’s not a good look, by the way, Verlander is a jackass grandpappy. But, just like that, Manning escaped the game after five innings with a career high in strikeouts, seven.—Colleen Sullivan

Dispatches From Twitter

It’s a gloomy kind of fall night, now, requiring the hoodie that the team handed out free (oh, those lines! it was like they were handing out fake vaccination cards outside of Wrigley Field) pregame. Made gloomier by losing 1-0 to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers? Who cares about the Tigers? It’s like they took all the teeth and tradition out of St. Louis and moved that team up to Canada. That wasn’t my joke, it was my dad’s, who interrupted me writing this inning to say forget it, he’s not watching this offense in the playoffs. But then, for whatever reason, José Ureña gave Luis Robert (two Ks on eight pitches so far) something juicy to drive, and La Pantera crushed a two-out pitch 379 feet ... just shy of the wall, for an out. It was the usual exclamation (excitement)/expletive (despair) combination from him. By the time José Abreu ended the inning with a smash of a ground out to third base, I was sending cussing texts right back to Dad.

The White Sox managed to make another game, starting bright and hopeful under a rainbow not far from the left-field wall, into a contest where the sixth inning feels like the 20th. Adieu, I’m putting my hopes and psychic energy into a strong final third of the game, and honing the items in my notebook of Texas insults, for next week’s coverage.—Di Billick

It doesn’t seem quite fair that after a mundane game with far more strikeouts than offense, everything happens in my inning, good and bad. The seventh inning began with Dallas Keuchel, somewhat surprisingly, getting a look out of the bullpen. I suppose the decision has now been made, and Dallas will be working in relief this postseason. And things didn’t get off to too bad a start, with a line out and then an infield single (Isaac Paredes). And when Keuchel got Harold Castro to chase a very wild cutter, things seemed to be under control, the relief experiment would work — even with Paredes advancing to second base. But with two outs, the trouble began. A single, double, walk and single knocked Keuchel from the box having given up three earned in just two-thirds of an inning.

Rather than call in former Indiana Hoosier Jonathan Stiever, who is in fact injured and not even on the active roster, but still a Hoosier, Tony La Russa called on Matt Foster, perhaps offering him an audition for the postseason pen as well. Foster passed, coaxing a line out with runners on the corners from Jonathan Schoop to end things (it must be said, Foster stayed up and away all at-bat, then left a juicy pitch over the plate that Schoop gave a 96.9 mph ride toward the right-center gap).

Although it didn’t seem, six innings in, that the White Sox had it in them to mount a comeback — perhaps they were scoreboard-watching their home-field advantage hopes fade away, with Houston opening up a big lead on Oakland tonight — come back the South Siders did. Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal doubled, sandwiched around another Eloy K, for Chicago’s first run. Gavin Sheets singled, to cut the lead in half, 4-2. After an Adam Engel strikeout and pitching change (Alex Lange), Leury García and Tim Anderson singled, to trim the lead to 4-3. But Lange buried three straight sliders low and out of the zone, Luis Robert bit on all three, and my pick for White Sox season MVP back in March reverted again tonight to his 2020 second-half form.—Joe Resis

Am I worried about Luis Robert turning from pumpkin pie-feast back into pumpkin rind-famine, just at the time we need him to step up and help carry the White Sox through the playoffs? Sure. But I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m focused on the division title, a chance to run the table in the postseason, and re-living 2005. I’ve got a box in the closet of all sorts of great World Series gear (thunder sticks, anyone? please, take ’em, they were annoying then, and now), but that box needs some freshening up. We’ve waited too long!

Aaron Bummer came in for the eighth, and if this is postseason Bummer, we may forget the name Dallas Keuchel completely.

But the White Sox had work to do, and in poring back through my scorebook I saw the note I’d made in it, somehow getting the number of runs wrong and figuring out a way to listen to the game broadcast despite being at Sox Park tonight. But still, here it is:

Maybe it was just me wanting to keep those good vibes going, but there’s a sense that the White Sox offense, awakening late, had another couple of ticks. Those ticks would have to come off of the human flea collar, Kyle Funkhouser, however. Funkhouser struck out both José Abreu and Yasmani Grandal to start things off, and even I’ll admit it wasn’t looking good. Beer run?

But then, Detroit out-thunk itself, so hat-tip, boy wonder A.J. Hinch. Despite Eloy being in a rough funk for the game, he was pitched around, essentially walked on four tosses plus the gift 3-0 strike. Then, with Billy Hamilton pinch-running in case Yoán Moncada could drive another ball to the wall, Funkhouser left a sinker up, center-cut, and Yoán did not miss.

Yeah, it was a long, looping, did-I sort of homer, but it counts the same number of runs as a Robert moonshot.

Sometimes, good vibes carry the day.—Jacki Krestel

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Detroit Tigers v Chicago White Sox
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the baseball game was fun!
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