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 memorable and emotional week on the South Side. The Sox activated Liam Hendriks this week after winning his battle against stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although his first outing on Monday, when he surrendered two runs on three hits and one walk, was a bit of a rough start, his subsequent two appearances were incredible; no hits and three strikeouts in two innings. Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, that is a huge win!
Rick Hahn crawled out from his hiding spot and spoke to the media this week to kick off the six-game homestand. When asked about how he feels as the team heads into June, the GM said, “Ultimately, you have to make the decision about who you are, what your record says you are, and as a result, you need to prepare the organization for the future the best way you can. Again, that doesn’t have to be on Memorial Day. So we still have a little bit of time to get this team playing up to the expectation levels of all of us in the front office and back in the clubhouse. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s the responsibility of all of us in the front office to realize objectively where we’re at and what’s best for the club going forward. Again, we’re not at that date yet, but we know it’s certainly a possibility.”
The fact that the fire sale has yet to start is due only to the weak AL Central. In any other division, this team would be toast. In a week for which they went 4-2, they’ve gained just a half-game over last, now sitting 5 1⁄2 games back of the Minnesota Twins; how I pine for the yesteryear of .500 baseball. The Sox are still striking out too much, not scoring enough runs, and the starting pitching is inconsistent. It’s not a recipe for winning long-haul baseball.
In other entertaining news, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout demonstrated why they are really fun to watch during their visit to Guaranteed Rate Field. On Wednesday, along with their teammates, they put on quite the home run display as the Los Angeles Angels hit five in their route of the Pale Hose, 12-5, and secured a series win.
And finally, after getting their rear ends handed to them last week in Detroit, the Sox returned the favor by sweeping the Tigers in this week’s three-game set. Their record now sits at 26-35, nine games under .500, and fourth place in the Central. Let’s dig into this week’s details.
The Recaps Worth Revisiting
Tuesday, May 30: White Sox 7, Angels 3
It wasn’t Lucas Giolito’s best outing of the year by any means, as he gave up three runs on four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts in five innings. Still, it was good enough to get the job done primarily due to Hahn’s Super Pen, which has finally started to sort of live up to its potential. The combined crew of Reynaldo López, Aaron Bummer, and Kendall Graveman blanked the Angels for four innings. The Sox offense finally attacked a lousy starter, scoring six runs on six hits and two walks off lefty Tyler Anderson. Andrew Vaughn and Romy González were the big RBI guys, driving in five of the team’s seven runs.
Friday, June 2: White Sox 3, Tigers 0
The Super Pen strikes again! After [redacted] pitched five innings of shutout ball, the relievers’ encore of Keynan Middleton, López, Joe Kelly, and Graveman was lights-out for another four innings. The Pale Hose scraped up enough offense to win by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth on a series of singles by González, Tim Anderson, Andrew Benintendi, and Eloy Jiménez. They wouldn’t need more than that, but they tacked on another tally in the bottom of the seventh on a TA7 double.
Saturday, June 3: White Sox 2, Tigers 1
This extra-inning W was a wild, wacky, and weird one. Dylan Cease was significantly better than he was in his last outing, but still not at the Cy Cease level of 2022. Struggling again with a high pitch count, he only made it through 5 1⁄3 innings, surrendering one run on two hits, three free passes, and six strikeouts. The solo run he gave up was on a wild pitch; more about those later. However, the poet did lower his ERA a little to 4.63, but he still seems to be struggling to find that masterful control.
The South Side offense was lifeless as they only managed four hits in 10 innings, but thanks to control issues by Detroit’s pitching, the Sox scored two runs on wild pitches. The 10th inning played out bizarrely, with the ghost runner Yoán Moncada starting at second base and being quickly moved to third on a bunt by González. After Yasmani Grandal grounded out, Detroit intentionally walked Gavin Sheets, and then José Cisner hit Jake Burger. With the bases juiced for Tim Anderson, Cisner tossed a 96.4 mph 4-seam fastball that smacked home plate umpire Cory Blaser square in the mask. It’s the first time since the 1990 Andy Hawkins no-hit game that Chicago won after scoring multiple runs with no RBIs. Thanks, Tigers. We’ll take it.
Sunday, June 4: White Sox 6, Tigers 2
How sweep it is! Michael Kopech earned his fifth quality start of the season and looked great doing it. He kept his pitch count low at 92 and only walked one batter. His control and movement on his pitches were fantastic, as he fanned nine Tigers and only gave up two runs on three hits in seven innings. The Sox scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth on a Luis Robert Jr. double and Eloy single. Then, they tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the sixth on singles by Robert and Jiménez, a Vaughn walk, and an RBI single by Yasmani Grandal. With the game still tied in the ninth, Pedro called on Liam Hendriks to keep it that way. That’s precisely what he did, striking out two of three batters and throwing 10 of his 15 pitches for strikes. I sure missed that roar!
In their share of the ninth, the South Siders locked down the win for Hendriks on National Cancer Survivors Day. After an Andrew Benintendi single and walks to Moncada and Anderson, Burger blasted a grand salami to left center field for the walk-off.
The Standout Star of the Week
Jake Burger wears the crown this week, and honestly, how could it not be him? Romy and the Super Pen were also stellar, but the award has to go to the guy who hit a 385-foot walk-off Burger Bomb to sweep the Tigers. He is only the ninth player in franchise history to smack a game-ending grand slam; that’s only nine players in 123 years! It’s truly incredible, and it couldn’t happen to a more likable guy. Overall, Burger was 5-for-12 on the week with two home runs and five RBIs. Also, um, Pedro. He needs to play EVERY DAY. Thanks.
The Defensive Disport of the Week
The young Roman makes a sliding grab
See, González still gets some love. In Friday’s 3-0 victory, Romy made a superb diving catch in the top of the sixth inning. With one on and two outs in a 0-0 contest, Nick Maton hit a grounder that looked like it would get through the hole on the right side. Instead, González’s defensive gem ended the threat as he scooped it up and threw out Maton at first.
The Week’s Top Three Biggest BLASTS
Jake Burger, 429 feet, Wednesday, May 31
Burger jacked his 11th four-bagger of the year in the bottom of the ninth on a fly ball to left field. Unfortunately, it was too little too late, and the Sox dropped the contest, 12-5.
Romy González, 423 feet, Monday, May 29
Romy closed the gap to 4-3 when he hit his second home run of the season, to center field in the bottom of the fifth against the Angels.
Eloy Jiménez, 406 feet, Monday, May 29
The Big Baby hit a solo shot to left center field to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It was the third homer of the game for the Sox, but they were all solo shots, and it just wasn’t enough to overtake the Angels, who won, 6-4.
Other Tasty Tidbits
Hanser Alberto was DFA’d on June 2 to make room for the return of Elvis Andrus from the IL. Although Hanser won Spring Training, he couldn’t transition that level of play to the big leagues. Romy and Elvis will now duke it out for playing time at second base. Since his return, Andrus hasn’t had a hit in five plate appearances over a two-game span. So we shall see how long of a leash Elvis has and how far his veteran leadership will take him before he joins the long list of players that have hit the pavement this season.
This week is going to be a tough row to hoe for the South Siders. They have three games against the New York Yankees in the Bronx and then three against the Marlins back home, a three-game respite in a sea of two weeks’ worth of rough road games. The Yankees are, well, the Yankees, but one positive is that the Sox may avoid superstar Aaron Judge after he injured his toe on a highlight-reel catch on Saturday. He reportedly is undergoing a battery of tests to see if the toe is broken or not. Of course, I hope Judge is fine, but if the Sox don’t have to face him, I’ll take that lottery ticket, as Judge currently leads the AL in home runs.
As far as the Marlins go, they really know how to hit the baseball. They are fourth in MLB in BABIP at .319, and sixth in batting average at .261. So, even though the Pale Hose are undefeated in June, enjoy that while it lasts; it could be a really ugly week, Sox fans.
What was the best game of the week?
This poll is closed
Tuesday’s 7-3 win: Super Pen dominance
Saturday’s 2-1 win: wild pitch victory
Sunday’s 6-2 win: Jake Burger, American hero
How will the Sox do this week against two good teams?
This poll is closed
They’ll get their butts kicked: 0-6.
Somehow they run into a few: 2-4.
It’s a miracle and they win more than they lose: 4-2.