The official death of a season
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.
Chicago was officially eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday. Clearly, this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone, but there’s still something melancholy about the finality of it — the death of a season and the coffin holding the corpse of the 2023 Chicago White Sox covered in dirt.
So much promise is gone with a future that reigns vastly unknown. We, the fans, now sit in some sort of baseball purgatory, paying for the sins of others until the offseason action begins.
Alas, three more weeks remain, so we shall continue what we started when hope was still alive and well.
The Recaps Worth Revisiting
Wednesday, September 6: White Sox 6, Royals 4
The ball went far, and the team went far. The Sox scored four of their six runs off of round-trippers by Andrew Vaughn, Yoán Moncada, and Oscar Colás. Elvis Andrus had a great night at the plate, going 4-for-5, and everyone in the lineup had at least one hit except for Lenyn Sosa. The 14-hit outburst was a welcome sight.
Touki Toussaint earned a quality start, giving up two runs on two hits and striking out six over six innings. The arm barn was competent sans Aaron Bummer, who gave up two runs in one-third of an inning. Brian Shaw, who pitches daily now, captured the save in the ninth. I’m truly worried that this guy’s arm will fall off.
Friday, September 8: White Sox 6, Tigers 0
Solid pitching and effective offense. See, White Sox, you do have it in you, after all. Detroit pitching shut out the Pale Hose until Luis Robert Jr. ended the no-hit bit in the top of the seventh with a double. Then the Good Guys turned it on, scoring two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth. The squad got clutch hits and went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. What a concept.
The starting pitcher put in a solid performance, surrendering no runs on three hits and striking out seven over seven innings. The bullpen of Lane Ramsey and Brian Shaw shut the door to bring home the W.
The Defensive Disport of the Week
Not as Bad as It Sometimes Seems
I’ll admit that I’ve given Andrew Vaughn his fair share of criticism this year, and rightfully so: He’s earned it. We have yet to see the expected returns for a first-rounder with a power bat. However, giving credit when props are due is important, and Vaughn has been a decent defensive first baseman this season.
For defenders with a minimum of 500 innings, Vaughn ranks 13th out of 27 in Defensive Runs Saved. He’s in the positive with 1 DRS compared to our former leader José Abreu, who sits at 23rd with -4 DRS.
Last week, AV made two great plays in back-to-back innings during Monday’s game against the Royals, so he gets this week’s blue ribbon on defense.
The Week’s Top Three Biggest BLASTS
Andrew Vaughn, 437 feet, Tuesday, September 5
Vaughn crushed a 106.8 mph solo jack, his 18th of the season, to center field in the top of the third inning, giving the team a 6-0 lead that would eventually disappear in the 7-6 loss.
Yoán Moncada, 433 feet, Wednesday, September 6
Moncada has been swinging a hot bat of late. He hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth to extend the White Sox lead to 4-2.
Yoán Moncada, 430 feet, Tuesday, September 5
In the top of the second inning, Yoyo got the scoring started when he cranked a two-run bomb to right-center field.
Catcher Ronny Hernández was a member of Chicago’s 2022 international class who signed out of Venezuela for $30,000. Our staff at South Side Sox dropped him in at No. 78 in our preseason rankings, and MLB recently slotted him at No. 28 for the system during their latest rankings reshuffle — which speaks to how good he was in 2023.
The 18-year-old made his Stateside debut in the Arizona Complex League this summer, where he absolutely crushed it. He slashed .338/.420/.493 with a .923 OPS over 172 plate appearances. The lefty has a quick swing while also demonstrating some patience at the plate, drawing 22 free passes and striking out only 35 times. The Sox assigned Hernandez to Kannapolis on August 23, but he remained on the team’s developmental list, making the move a meritorious and training decision. At his age, being in A-ball in any form, taking part in practices and getting a feel for the culture change, is an enormous honor. The youngster is worth keeping an eye on, with the potential for a promising future.
Other Tasty Tidbits
Liam Hendriks earned his third straight Roberto Clemente nomination last week. The award recognizes one player for their character, community involvement, and philanthropy. Each team nominates a player for consideration, and Hendriks has represented the White Sox for three consecutive years — ever since he signed in Chicago. His selection is not surprising, as Liam is well-loved on and off the field, and he and his wife Kristi have been extremely involved in various philanthropic endeavors from the moment they arrived in Chicago. You can read Liam’s full bio and vote for him here.
✓ Character— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 8, 2023
Liam Hendriks has been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award, the annual recognition of a player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions.
The Sox did make a couple of roster moves. They claimed right-handed pitcher Yohan Ramírez off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and assigned him to the Charlotte Knights. The Houston Astros signed the now 28-year-old as a free agent in 2016. In 2019, the Seattle Mariners claimed Ramírez off of waivers, and he made his MLB debut for them in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. Most recently, he pitched out of the Pirates pen with a 3.67 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 26 innings.
The White Sox also recalled José Ureña from Triple-A on September 9, and he started the game that night. He performed well and gave up only one run on four hits through four innings. The Sox signed him as a free agent after the Washington Nationals released him from their Triple-A affiliate in August.
Running Down the Rehabbers
On September 4, the team placed righthander Jimmy Lambert on the 15-day IL with right ankle inflammation. Then, on September 9, rookie pitcher Declan Cronin went on the IL for blisters. Both are expected to return at the end of September.
Unfortunately, we have to endure a week packed with White Sox baseball. The Pale Hose embark on a seven-game homestand where they’ll play three against the Kansas City Royals and four versus the Minnesota Twins.
The Royals are now officially the worst team in baseball, and they have split the season series against the Sox so far, 5-5. The first-place Minnesota Twins have a comfortable lead over the Guardians and hope to improve upon their 3-6 season record versus the Good Guys.