Today’s game started out in typical South Side fashion. There have been two main themes that have plagued the 2022 Chicago White Sox: managerial malpractice, and injuries. How lucky of us as fans to witness both before the first pitch was even thrown?
Michael Kopech took the mound for the South Siders today in his regular turn, rather than getting bumped a day due to yesterday’s postponement. With Kopech rapidly motoring toward any realistic ceiling for regular-season innings (~130?) and probably now or soon struggling with fatigue, it was a curious decision from Tony La Russa to not give Kopech an extra — incidentally delaying a Cy Young finalist in Dylan Cease for a day.
While warming up, Michael seemed to feel discomfort and was obviously injured, however, TLR felt the need to let Kopech struggle through the first four batters. His velocity was also noticeably lower, throwing his first fastball for 88 mph, and failing to top 93 before exiting the game.
Warm up discomfort wasn’t enough.— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) August 22, 2022
Velocity way down wasn’t enough.
TLR needed Kopech to face 4 guys w/o retiring one to understand what is going on.
It’s ALWAYS something.
Things turned ugly very quickly after a leadoff walk to MJ Melendez, and Bobby Witt Jr. nearly being hit in the face by a Kopech four-seamer. Tony allowed Michael face another two batters, giving up the first run of the game on a Salvador Pérez single, and walking Tyler Pasquantino on a full count to load the bases for Jimmy Lambert. The one thing about Tony, is that he will always be sure to utilize his pitching staff in the least efficient way he can ... at least he is consistent, right???
Jimmy Lambert, who was automatically set up for failure with an emergency appearance, gave up two hits and a walk for another three runs to make the score 4-0 right off of the bat. All four runs were charged to Kopech, whose ERA now sits at 3.58 after just 19 pitches. Once Jimmy was able to work his way out of the jam, Vince Velasquez came in to shut things down for the next 3 1⁄3 innings, giving up just one hit. The bullpen was very solid today, at least through the seventh — but we will get to that.
Now let’s take a look at the offense, shall we? If you look at just the box score, it might look like the bats were active and they were being relatively patient at the plate. If you look just a little harder, you’ll see that Daniel Lynch gave this lineup a hard time once again. As a team, the White Sox left 11 runners on base, grounded into three double plays, and went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The South Siders had RISP in five of nine innings — two of those included a bases-loaded opportunity — and racked up 10 hits, walked seven times, (17 total baserunners), and STILL only scored four runs.
It would be almost impressive, if it weren’t so sad and depressing.
August Abreu himself got on base every time he was up to bat, going 3-for-3 with two walks, and Josh Harrison and Elvis Andrus also went for two hits each. But the problem (as is every game) is that the majority of the time, the Sox are only hitting singles. Andrus has been a welcome addition thus far, and he tagged a double, one of two extra-base hits of the day, to tie the game in the seventh. The White Sox seemingly score all of their runs late in the game, and many were starting to feel a lot better about how this game could end up ... but as Sox fans, we know that things could turn on a dime in any second.
And then Joe Kelly came in for the eighth. Things went from medium-good to shit show in just four pitches.
joe kelly really just threw 4 pitches and got the bases loaded. that's impressive— Juneeee (@Jvnek21) August 22, 2022
Out of his 15 total pitches, Kelly threw just five for strikes, hitting the first two batters, giving up a hit, and then walking Royals Rookie Drew Waters to score a run — his first major league RBI! Woof. José Ruiz came in to relieve, because after already going through six relievers, the White Sox were basically scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. Another of Kelly’s baserunners scored before Ruiz was able to get out of the inning, but the damage was already done. The bats would go flat in the ninth (shocker) and that was that — another L for the scorebook.
This team is truly something else. The White Sox might have the fourth-best batting average in the league, but they are also leading the AL in grounding into double plays — a category you never want to be leading! Naturally, they also have 777 singles, the most all of baseball, which is pretty much they only way they get on base nowadays. Who needs an extra-base hit, am I right? Menechino Magic, baby!!!
They are now 7-9 and have been outscored 59-56 vs. the Royals this year, - which is pretty abysmal considering these are supposed to be the “easy games on the schedule”. La Russa continues to put this team into positions to lose, but the whole organization is a failure, top-to-bottom, as it continue to be rattled by injuries and poor coaching.
The White Sox go on this week to face a hot Baltimore Orioles team in hunt for one of the three AL Wild Card positions, just 2 1⁄2 games out of a very tight race. The White Sox themselves are four back for the final wild card, so picking up some games against Baltimore sure wouldn’t hurt them in their attempt to (quite literally) stumble into the playoffs.
Dylan Cease is kicking off the series tomorrow, and we can only hope that the bats get going enough to give him the run support he needs to put this team in a position to win.
But don’t hold your breath.