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.
It was a week in which the South Siders had a chance to make up some ground in the division and claw a bit more out of the deep hole they dug for themselves — especially following a previous week where they took five of six games, with six quality starts. The offense, starting pitching, and the bullpen had all looked significantly improved, and hope was slowly peeking its head out of the pit.
Things felt pretty promising after taking two of three from the Cleveland Guardians early in the week. Regrettably, the void became more profound, and the propitious feeling didn’t last long. The surprise second-place Detroit Tigers sent Chicago slinking back home with THEIR tail between their legs after taking three of four over the weekend. The Sox now sit at 22-33 overall and six games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins. It’s mindblowing that, two months into the season and 11 games worse than .500 that they’re not entirely dead and buried, but the miracle of the AL Central somehow only has the Sox on life support.
Going 3-for-7 on the week makes my review substantially shorter and more disheartening. While it’s less work on my part, I would much rather be writing about entertaining, exciting, and winning baseball. It’s becoming more apparent every week that we’ll probably not see heaps of that type of play this season. Anyhow, there were a handful of highlights to review.
The Recaps Worth Revisiting
Tuesday, May 23: White Sox 4, Guardians 2
Dylan Cease earned his third consecutive quality start while securing the win and bumping his record to 3-3. He surrendered two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings. The Sox scored their runs on a bomb by Yasmani Grandal and a series of manufactured runs, including a bases-clearing double by Romy González. The bullpen of Keynan Middleton, Joe Kelly, and Kendall Graveman continued its dominance, giving up no runs on two hits in three innings. Graveman collected his fourth save of 2023 in the victory.
Wednesday, May 24: White Sox 6, Guardians 0
The Pale Hose won their third consecutive series on another masterpiece courtesy of Michael Kopech. Following up his stellar prior start, Kopech again yielded no runs on two hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts in seven innings. The offense supplied plenty of cushion, going 3-for-6 with RISP and scoring five in the fourth frame, including another big two-bagger by González. Reynaldo López and Jimmy Lambert held Cleveland scoreless to close out the game.
Friday, May 26: White Sox 12, Guardians 3
Lance Lynn had more than enough run support to acquire his fourth win and fourth quality start of the season while lowering his ERA from 6.28 to 5.83. He gave up only one earned run on three hits and five walks in six innings. Andrew Vaughn and Yoán Moncada delivered three runs apiece, including a two-run round-tripper by AV and a triple by Yoyo. Clint Frazier and Andrew Benintendi also belted triples, and all the starters had at least one knock except for Luis Robert Jr., who has cooled off a bit after his hot start at the beginning of May. It was good to see Tim Anderson go 4-for-5 and cross the plate three times. The arm barn of Middleton, López, and Lambert again put up goose eggs in their three innings.
The Standout Star of the Week
Chicago’s other Michael
Kopech earns the first back-to-back honor. He was incredible in his last two starts and absolutely deserves the crowning South Side Sox weekly jewel. In his last 15 innings, he’s given up no runs on three hits and struck out 19. This is the pitcher we’ve always known was there and have seen glimpses of throughout the past couple of seasons. Congrats to Michael. The burning question is: Can he keep this up? Well, it would be nice, considering he’s one of only two current starters we’ll have next season.
The Defensive Disport of the Week
Tim Anderson, with the diving stop
TA’s defense has been hot and cold this season, to say the least, but you can hang a star on this one. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Guardians threatening to add to their 1-0 lead, No. 7 laid out to snag a ball smacked up the middle by Andrés Giménez. Anderson kept it in the infield and threw out Josh Bell at the plate.
The Week’s Top Three Biggest BLASTS
Yasmani Grandal, 414 feet, Tuesday, May 23
Yaz socked a solo homer to left center in the top of the fifth inning, breaking his 15-game homerless streak. The bomb tied the game at 1-1. The Sox fashioned three more tallies in the seventh for the win, 4-2.
Andrew Vaughn, 368 feet, Friday, May 26
AV clubbed a two-run four-bagger to left center to give the Sox an 8-1 lead in the top of the fifth. It was more than enough to take the contest, 12-3.
Romy González, 356 feet, Sunday, May 28
González lined a solo shot over the left field wall in the top of the third to give the Sox the 1-0 lead, which was short-lived as the Tigers came roaring back in the bottom of the frame to take a 4-1 edge. The Good Guys knocked the ball around in the seventh to tie it and ultimately take the lead, 5-4, but the Motor City Kitties knotted it in the ninth and then walked it off in the 10th, 6-5.
Other Tasty Tidbits
On Sunday, the White Sox returned Eloy Jiménez from his injury rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Birmingham and reinstated him from the 10-day IL. While you can’t read much into rehab starts, the Big Baby did not hit the cover off the ball for the Barons. In 12 plate appearances, he had four walks, one hit, and two strikeouts. Jiménez was on fire in the seven games before his appendectomy, going 13-for-28 with three walks and eight RBIs. Eloy went 1-for-3 with a big bloop of a two-run double in his debut on Sunday. With him back, there’s a bit of a logjam in the lineup, and it will be interesting to see how Pedro Grifol deals with fitting everyone in.
Now for the best news ever — Liam Hendriks is coming back! The Aussie announced his complete recovery from an offseason diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on April 20. Last week after a live batting practice session, Pedro told reporters, “His numbers were really good. He ticked up from [his last session in] Cleveland. Really good step in the right direction.” And on Sunday, the White Sox tweeted out the official announcement. I may or may not have cried. OK, I cried.
Your journey is an inspiration. We couldn’t be more proud.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 28, 2023
Welcome back, Liam Hendriks! pic.twitter.com/fbQ6jwJsks
A six-game homestand is on the docket for the South Siders this week. They play three against the third-place Los Angeles Angels and three against the still second-place Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately for fans and fortunately for the team, Shohei Ohtani will not pitch in the Angels series. However, if you can make it to a game, try to get out to Guaranteed Rate to see him hit. The man is genuinely a generational talent, and you’ll see the other Angels generational talent› in Mike Trout, too. It’s definitely worth the trip just to see those two, regardless of whether the Sox win or lose. Plus, hopefully, you’ll get to see the return of Liam. It’s a win-win for fans of a team that suck-sucks.
What was the worst game of the week?
This poll is closed
Monday’s 3-0 loss: the dead offense and bullpen game.
Thursday’s 7-2 loss: Alex Faedo dominates, and 2018 Gio returns.
Sunday’s 6-5 loss: defense blows it, and the Tigers walk it off.
Nine weeks in. How are you feeling?
This poll is closed
I had a glimmer of hope. Now all hope is dead.
They didn’t fake me out last week. I knew they were still bad.
It’s the AL Central so anything is possible.