Welcome to the SSS Summary — a little review of what happened this past week in Chicago White Sox baseball, including on-the-field play, the front office jibber-jabber, and everything in between. Even if you don’t want to remember what happened, sorry, we will tell you anyway.
Hallelujah! It was actually an enjoyable week for White Sox fans. The team might still be 10 games worse than .500, sitting at 19-29, but watching winning baseball is much more fun than that hideous play we eyeballed in prior weeks. Rick Hahn may even crawl out from wherever he’s been hiding to resume discussing parades and chiding fans for not believing in him.
The Good Guys went 5-1 on the week and landed their first series sweep of 2023. They took care of business in their own division, as they should. It’s a challenge, however, not to get overly excited, as it’s important to point out the obvious: The teams they played are B-A-D, bad. They should be shellacking the Cleveland Guardians and the Kansas City Royals, because the Sox are less bad. Well, on paper, anyway.
The great news this week is that the starting pitching has been significantly better during this six-game stretch. Every pitcher earned a quality start, and the overall ERA dropped to 4.86 on the season, ranking them 21st in baseball. This was progress from the end of April, when the starters ranked 25th, with a 5.36 ERA. Equally as exciting is that the bullpen is showing signs of improvement as well. While they still have the second-worst ERA in MLB, they have lowered it from 6.86 to 5.52 during that same time frame.
The offense also did its job this week. The big bats were swinging, with seven total four-baggers, including three for Luis Robert Jr. La Pantera is currently tied with Aaron Judge and Rafael Devers for second in the American League with 13 home runs. The team also did a pretty good job of hitting the ball overall, earning a .286 batting average during the six games.
So, let’s dig through the details of the week that was ... a definite upgrade.
The Recaps Worth Revisiting
Tuesday, May 16: White Sox 8, Guardians 3
The Big Bastard shoved, as he surrendered only one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings pitched, earning his second quality start of 2023. The long ball was the story in this game, with Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, and Luis Robert Jr. all hitting round-trippers and accounting for six of the eight White Sox runs. Another exciting highlight included an inning for Garrett Crochet, who spent all of 2022 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The 23-year-old made his first appearance out of the pen since Game 4 of the 2021 American League Division Series, and the lefty retired all three batters he faced. Joe Kelly, who has been outstanding as of late, closed it out for Lynn’s second win of the season.
Wednesday, May 17: White Sox 7, Guardians 2
Another barrage of four-baggers for the Good Guys contributed to this victory. Sheets, Burger, and Andrew Vaughn took Battenfield yard and handed him his fifth loss of 2023. This was the third straight game with a home run for Burger, who was also a double short of the cycle. The bullpen of Reynaldo López, Kelly, and Kendall Graveman was fantastic, each pitching one inning of no-hit ball to close out the contest.
Friday, May 19: White Sox 2, Royals 0
Michael Kopech was absolute nails, taking a perfect game into the top of the sixth inning. In arguably the best start of his career, Kopech kept the Royals scoreless in eight innings. He gave up no runs, no walks, one hit, and struck out 10. This is the Kopech we’ve anxiously been waiting for and hope to see more of throughout the rest of the season. The Sox managed to squeak out two runs on five hits, four of which were consecutive singles in the second inning by Yoán Moncada, Vaughn, Sheets, and Burger. Graveman shut down the Royals in the ninth and collected his third save.
Saturday, May 20: White Sox 5, Royals 1
It was a beautiful Saturday at the park, and Lucas Giolito earned his third win and sixth quality start of 2023. He surrendered only one run on six hits, one walk and struck out four in six innings. The Sox managed to win this one without the benefit of the long ball. They manufactured two runs in the bottom of the first on an Andrew Benintendi single, a Robert double, and a two-RBI single by Moncada. Then they scored three more in the bottom of the sixth after a walk by Benintendi, a catcher’s interference call (Robert), a walk to Moncada, and a bases-clearing double by Burger. The defense was also refreshingly solid as the Pale Hose turned two slick double plays; a strike ’em out, throw ’em out in the top of the first, and a 3-5-3 double play in the top of the second. Finally, the pen of Crochet, López, Kelly, and Graveman tossed another three scoreless innings to wrap it up.
Sunday, May 21: White Sox 5, Royals 2
In their first series sweep of the season, the team was again firing on all cylinders. After surrendering a two-run home run in the top of the second inning, Lynn was lights-out the rest of the way. His six-inning, two-run outing earned the veteran his third quality start of the season and second of the week! Robert kicked off Sunday’s offense with his 13th blast of the season, a solo shot to right-center field. Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Sox scored three runs on some small-ball singles, a few sacrifices, and a bases-clearing triple by Romy González. They notched an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh on three consecutive singles by Tim Anderson, González, and Benintendi. The bullpen trio of Keynan Middleton, Aaron Bummer, and Kelly pitched an inning apiece to lock down the win.
The Standout Star of the Week
Mr. Almost Perfect
For once, in a week when the South Siders’ offense, defense, and pitching were all stellar, it’s difficult to single out just one player for this week’s All-Star. However, Kopech’s top-notch outing pushes him to the head of the class. Pitching a career-high eight innings and facing the minimum of 24 hitters, he was only a broken-bat single away from a potential perfecto! The righty was primarily dominant by utilizing his 4-seam fastball, which was up 1 mph for an average of 96.6 mph and accounted for 70% of his pitches.
The Defensive Disport of the Week
Adam Haseley with the sick slide
Really? Adam Haseley? Yes, Adam Haseley. In the third inning of Saturday’s win, he made a phenomenal catch in right to rob Michael Massey of a hit.
The Week’s Top Three Biggest BLASTS
Gavin Sheets, 420 feet, Wednesday, May 17
Bonds, Gavin Bonds. I don’t know where that phrase came from, but it does have a nice ring to it. Sheets smacked a solo homer, his sixth of 2023, to right-center field to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second.
Jake Burger, 418 feet, Wednesday, May 17
Burger has been on a hot streak. He clubbed his two-run dinger to left field, giving the Good Guys a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Luis Robert Jr., 418 feet, Tuesday, May 16
Robert’s first homer of the week and 12th of the season was a solo shot to deep left-center field in the bottom of the eighth and extended the Sox lead to 8-3.
Other Tasty Tidbits
Liam Hendriks threw a live batting practice Friday. The team has not announced a date for his return, but just knowing he’s out there throwing is a huge win.
There were a few roster moves Sunday. Clint Frazier, a former first-round draft pick (No. 5 overall) of the Cleveland Guardians, was called up and started in right field. The Sox designated Jake Marisnick for assignment after spending only 11 days with the big-league club. Additionally, [redacted] was placed on the 15-day injured list with right wrist inflammation. No one is going to miss seeing him pitch. Sorry, not sorry.
A week jam-packed with a bunch of AL Central road games — that’s what’s cooking for the Sox this week. They will play another seven straight, starting Monday with a three-game series in Cleveland against the Guardians. Then, they’ll head on up to Detroit to face the surprise second-place Tigers for a four-game set to wrap up the week. May is supposed to be the easy part of the schedule, although I’m highly confident that the Pale Hose are other teams’ easy part of the schedule. Let’s see, though, if they can continue building on the momentum. It’s baseball, after all, and anything is possible.
It’s been a week since our last check-in, and the Sox have had a nice six-game stretch. What’s the vibe?
The AL Central is terrible and this team might actually have a chance.
This poll is closed
They’ve feasted on bad teams lately and they’ll revert back to awful as soon as they face a good team.
I still have no idea what this team is doing.