Week 8 Record: 3-2 | Overall Record: 36-23, 1st Place in AL Central
The White Sox had a tough time in Cleveland to start the week but finished this weekend series with Detroit by taking three of four games, including Tony La Russa’s 2,764th career managerial victory on Sunday afternoon. On the week, the White Sox remained in sole possession of first place and currently sit four games up on the Cleveland Indians for the division lead.
Let’s recap the week!
Tale of the Tape
Game 55: White Sox 5, Indians 6 | Box Score
Game 56: White Sox 4, Tigers 1 | Box Score | Recap
Game 57: White Sox 9, Tigers 8 | Box Score | Recap
Game 58: White Sox 3, Tigers 4 | Box Score
Game 59: White Sox 3, Tigers 0 | Box Score | Recap
Jordan’s Weekly Wrap-Up Thoughts
This was another pretty solid week for the team. It was short and, for the most part, went as expected. They dropped a tough one in Cleveland before doing what needed to be done against the Tigers, taking three of four. To be honest, this is going to be a pretty short section this week. Outside of another failed bunt attempt (the merits of which I’ve covered quite frequently), this was a pretty boring week for the White Sox in terms of headlines. I think this weekday series against the Blue Jays will give us more storylines, as they are a team that could easily find themselves in the playoff picture – this is another good test for the Sox.
I think one thing I’ll be interested in seeing for the Sox is any drastic changes in “stuff” after MLB announced it was beginning to crack down on foreign substance usage by pitchers. Basically, with a decrease in foreign substance use, pitchers using anything are likely to see decreases in the movement and/or spin rate of their pitches. So far, nothing to detect from the White Sox, which is good news. But, it’ll be an interesting storyline around the league.
Finally, with Adam Engel coming back, however, I’m hoping that this is the true end of regular at-bats for Leury Garcia. Getting him more playing time hasn’t worked in his favor, and now that there’s a clear alternative to him, I hope Engel is getting the vast majority of those at-bats. Hamilton going on the IL delays the inevitable roster crunch further, so those guys on the fringes have some more time to step up and make their at-bats count.
Stats On 35th: This Week by the Numbers
This Week’s Numbers:
2764, 17, 3.01, 6, 1.91
With Sunday afternoon’s win, Tony La Russa passed a historic mark for managers, winning his 2,764th game (2nd most all-time). He also now has the most wins all-time of any manager with a winning record. Like him or hate him, this is a pretty great honor for Tony La Russa, and I’m sure is one milestone he was glad to hit by coming back – though is only one small milestone in what should hopefully be a season of many for the White Sox.
Following his 1-2-3 inning to send the Tigers packing on Sunday, Liam Hendriks extended his string of recent dominance on the South Side. His Sunday outing was his 17th straight appearance in which he gave up 0 earned runs. Hitters are slashing just .145/.175/.182 with 24 strikeouts and just 2 walks over the course of those appearances. Pretty easy to see that Hendriks has been dominant recently, and it’s been great to see.
This has been an odd season for Lucas Giolito. Many fans have really been critical of him, claiming they’re worried about his performance this season. I found this pretty odd, considering if you take out the anomaly of the Red Sox clunker performance, Giolito has been pretty good this season.
Outside of that debacle against the Red Sox, Giolito has a 3.01 ERA on the season with a 31.8% strikeout rate and a 8.1% walk rate. Considering his total ERA on the season is 3.88, this is a pretty good cautionary tale of just how easily statistical outliers can shape a narrative. Giolito has been every bit as good this season as in year’s previous, and with him adding his curveball to his arsenal more consistently, it’s only going to get better from here.
This is a great visual from Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) that I thought deserved some attention this week. 45 walks, 6 singles. Pretty insane line from Grandal…
..Because he gets on base.
I’ll let the White Sox take this one – in short, Dylan Cease owns the Detroit Tigers.
Fan Question of the Week
Things have been going pretty well, all things considered, for the White Sox in-house this season. As the calendar flips to June, it’s a pretty natural time to start looking at what the competition is going to look like once the Sox begin to set their sights on the league crown. So, I asked about the biggest threat(s) to the Sox for that league championship:
Personally, I’m of the opinion that it’s the Rays. The White Sox, by season’s end, might actually be the best team in the American League (which is still crazy to even think about). However, until proven otherwise, this is the Rays’ league, as they are the reigning champs with plenty of experience in how to manage in tough situations. The Rays are also built incredibly well for the playoffs – much like the White Sox, in my opinion. I think that would be an intriguing series, and I look forward to the test of playing the Rays this season.
Let’s see what you all thought, however. Thanks for sending in your thoughts!
1) @thfctommy7: I will say this – if the White Sox have to face the Indians with Postseason ramification in the balance, I’m not going to be too happy. That ballclub always finds a way to stay competitive.
2) @ZachWittmus: I think you’re the only person who said Houston in the replies, but I think they’re a good team to pick. The team is largely the same offensively from their years of dominance, and as you mentioned, the pitching staff is respectable. I think this team is much like the Yankees – I fear them a lot more in a one-game situation than I do over a five to seven-game series.
3) @TheRealPheDog: I used to feel this way about the Yankees. Honestly, after watching the series against them and seeing how they’ve played since, I’m not as worried about them – I don’t think they’re THAT good. I think in a one-game playoff where anything goes, I’d be scared of the Yankees. But over five to seven games? I like the White Sox a lot more.
4) @WsoxUK: definitely my thoughts as well. When you talk about optimizing a team for success, the first team you think of is the Rays. Now if they bring up Franco too…. oh boy
5) @soxmachine_josh: Now THIS was the correct answer. Positive vibes only.
Highlights of the Week
1) The Yerminator breaks his 0-for-25 slump with a walk-off hit
2) Dylan Cease continues his mastery of Detroit, striking out 10 in seven innings of work
3) The Man of Steal Strikes Again
4) Lance Lynn continues his stretch of dominance – this time, victimizing the Tigers
5) Yasmani Grandal hits two huge homers in White Sox eventual 9-8 victory
The Week Ahead: A Tough AL East Test Before Detroit
Monday: OFF DAY
Tuesday: Robbie Ray vs. Carlos Rodon, 7:10 PM CT
Wednesday: Alex Manoah vs. Lance Lynn, 7:10 PM CT
Thursday: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Dallas Keuchel, 7:10 PM CT
Friday – Sunday: Series @ Tigers… Based on the schedule, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and Carlos Rodon are lined up to start
Enjoy the off day today and the rest of the week Sox fans! Talk to you next week!