I don’t like making excuses for any baseball loss. The season is too long, there are too many games, and on any day a pitcher can jump up and bite you or any hitter just has a 4-for-4 day or whatever else.
Still, a day game right after an emotional win barely 14 hours before could lend itself to a letdown. While the local sports outlets would like to you believe different, I’m not sure the White Sox are going to have the blood going the way trying to get a series win over the Cardinals would. Miguel Gonzalez was very good, just as he was against the Dodgers in his last start, but the Cubs didn’t seem locked in. They were attacking early in the count, but it didn’t seem like it was a plan so much as just not being totally focused. Or it could have been the plan and Gonzalez thwarted it. I wasn’t in the dugout. But it only took him 105 pitches to get into the 8th inning. That’s not usually the way the Cubs do things. Then again, if Rizzo’s drive in the 7th isn’t into the teeth of the wind, maybe this is all different.
But there wasn’t much of a pop to the stadium, that’s for sure.
As for Kyle Hendricks…it’s been kind of the same story. He was effective in that he only gave up one run, but the fastball never topped 86. Changes and cutters were left up, and especially Jose Abreu could have pulverized a couple. It’s really hard to see how Hendricks can be successful throwing 85 MPH consistently unless his control is flick-the-wings-off-a-fly good. It wasn’t today. Which meant more pitches were getting fouled off, or being turned into hits, as Hendricks just couldn’t seemingly put anyone away. That’s how you end up with eight hits against in just four and a third. Hendricks is never going to blow anyone away obviously, but he didn’t quite have the movement we saw earlier in the year. Could be a just-off-the-DL thing.
It feels like time is being called for Justin Grimm. That’s five straight outings he’s given up at least a run, and we’ve been doing this for at least two seasons. He gave up the winning home run today, and while you’re not going to win too many games when you score one run, you should also be able to hold the Sox lineup down as well.
Uehara is having some of his hiccups too, though he at least has a better track record. Maddon seems to still see him as a late-inning option…which isn’t that encouraging.
Top WPA Play: Javy Baez’s single in the seventh that put two runners with no out. The inning came to an end when Rizzo’s fly to center died in the clutches of the eastern airflow. (+.112)
Bottom WPA Play: Adam Engel’s homer in the 6th which put the Sox up for good. (-.173)
Lead photo courtesy Erich Schlegel—USA Today Sports