Happy Monday, White Sox fans, and happy Dylan Cease Day. There is a great deal of White Sox controversy exhausting us all, between soft chin Tim Anderson’s childish abasement, Keynan Middleton’s revelatory clubhouse confessions (and their confirmation from former players), and the evasive scapegoating by resident superclown Rick Hahn.
Melodrama aside, this evening’s White Sox win against the Yankees was weird. Dylan Cease gave up seven walks, yet maintained a no-hitter until the sixth inning, when he was immediately pulled to a deserved standing ovation.
One-hitter aside, it was a shaky start for Cease, as he played with fire in the second, loading the bases with no outs, just to bare-hand it to first to end the inning. Cease scooped that ball faster than lightweight intramural boxing hopeful Tim Anderson went down with a tiny punch to the jaw.
Speaking of Anderson, he was a starter tonight, having appealed his pending six-game suspension. We’ve been drowning in the deluge of White Sox gossip lately, and yet another report, which accuses Yasmani Grandal of slapping Anderson in the face after a smart-ass remark right before All Star break, has been denied by Grandal. After Anderson took to Twitter in a late night vague-posting tirade after this most recent boxing match loss, maybe we should check his Twitter about the night in question. If there are multiple obscure tweets, there’s your answer.
With the South Side tension visible in the faces of every player, those called out by resident turncoat and now-Yankee Keynan Middleton (Eloy Jiménez, Yoán Moncada, and Grandal), looked to be trying harder (OK, maybe not Yaz), which is something we haven’t seen for a couple of seasons. There’s no doubt that fire has already burned out, despite a White Sox win, and they’ll likely feel that their nonchalance is acceptable because they can get away with anything, according to Middleton.
For the record, no one should see Keynan Middleton as an apostate who spilled the beans immediately after leaving the South Side. Several players have echoed the same sentiments, albeit less brazenly, and Middleton should get credit for trying to more succinctly expose the state of the White Sox, instead of whispering cryptic allusions like some medieval bridge troll presenting you with a riddle.
Players risk their careers when they open themselves up to criticizing the organization, or even the cogs within it, so it’s expected that there aren’t more players coming forward to expose how greedy, unaccountable, and bored their overlords act. Do we need them to, though? Is it not obvious that the fervor has long departed the White Sox dugout?
Middleton reports that there aren’t rules in the clubhouse. No rules doesn’t work in baseball, because it’s a game of rules, not intramural co-ed boxing at the park district fieldhouse. If the front office and the leadership are too apathetic to even enforce supposedly mandatory player attendance, that is the issue. It’s not glass-jawed Anderson starting boxing matches at the base and then tweeting mysteriously like a petulant second grader afterward. It’s not Grandal, Moncada, or Jiménez acting complacent and bored, as they’re simply reflecting the attitude they’re being led with.
To make matters worse, Rick Hahn denied all claims of tumult within the White Sox organization, dodging all accountability and calling Middleton’s character into question. The utter nonsense of this denial is obvious when you look into the faces in the dugout.
For fuck’s sake, anyone in the front office, wake up, and speak up. Stop leaving it up to the players to risk their careers. That would be like an office employee publicly calling out how conniving and crooked his boss is in the company newsletter, just before it’s time for promotions.
The White Sox organization is crumbling worse than Oakland Coliseum, but that doesn’t mean the players are all checked out permanently. If the foundation weren’t cracked and the walls weren’t caving due to being compromised by raccoon nests, some White Sox players would have the opportunity to shine. Andrew Vaughn was stellar this evening after a heavy lull in July, with a two-run homer and a stunning race to first that saved some runs.
Andrew Vaughn won the race! pic.twitter.com/0kTZMrF1nA— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) August 8, 2023
Aside from Vaughn, it must be a challenge for players who show effort while not feeling like the organization is behind them. Say what you will about Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s full fledged freak-out this evening, but you know his players feel like he’s behind them and has their back.
The media has been relatively outspoken about the state of the White Sox, so at least we have that going for us, which is nice. At least the commentators aren’t getting tossed out, in light of the Baltimore Orioles removing Kevin Brown from the booth after he checks notes told the truth?
Jason Benetti taking shots at the O's pic.twitter.com/aDnElFLiuc— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) August 8, 2023
All baseball gossip aside, when this three game White Sox winning streak collides with a fractured South Side spirit, where does it leave fans? On this high note of a series opener victory, let’s look to the rest of this series, and a potential face-off between Middleton and the South Side slackers. Will Anderson’s suspension be deferred for long enough to grant him an opportunity for another amateur boxing match?
Maybe Middleton will throw down with him.
Six Pack of Stats
By KRISTINA AIRDO
The White Sox snagged the first game of the series against the Yankees, winning their third in a row. Despite the black clouds surrounding this team, Dylan Cease went for five innings of no-hit baseball. He struggled through seven walks — one more batter than he struck out. But the offense was able to back him up, and pull out the W today.
With bases loaded, Billy McKinney hit a sac fly to center, scoring Aaron Judge for New York’s first run of the game, cutting the lead in half, 2-1. The play had a 4.22 LI.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa came up with the bases loaded in the sixth, but succumbed to the pressure, flying out to right with the bases loaded and keeping the Yankees scoreless. He had a 4.09 pLI.
Andrew Vaughn’s two-run homer in the first to give the South Siders an early two-run lead was the top play, with an 18.3% WPA.
Dylan Cease was today’s best, going for 5 1⁄3 no-hit innings and setting the White Sox up for success (despite his seven walks), with a 26.1% WPA.
Eloy Jiménez ripped a single to center in the fourth, with the top exit velocity of 110.9 mph.
Luis Robert Jr., who grounded out in the first at just 54.7 mph.
Gleyber Torres had a .070 xBA single in the seventh.
Eloy Jiménez lined out in the second on a hard-hit ball traveling 98.5 mph, at a .650 xBA.
Surprise, surprise — Andrew Vaughn’s second inning blast traveled 413 feet.
Magic Number: 3
Against all odds, South Siders have won three in a row, left just three on base as a team, scored three in the eighth for insurance, and are now 3-1 against the Yankees this year.
Who was the MVP for the White Sox tonight?
This poll is closed
Dylan Cease: 5 1⁄3 IP, H, 7 BB, 6 K, .261 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, R, .187 WPA
Bryan Shaw: 2 IP, H, 4 K, .134 WPA
Luis Robert Jr.: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .005 WPA
Who was the Cold Cat tonight?
This poll is closed
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-2, BB, -.027 WPA
Lane Ramsey: IP, 2H, BB, ER, 2 K, -.253 WPA
Andrew Benintendi: 0-for-3, SF, RBI, GIDP, -.064 WPA