To say the 2018-19 White Sox have had an up-and-down season would be an understatement. The season has been filled with more good than bad for sure‒three All-Stars, 42 wins, one possible Rookie of the Year candidate‒but their seven-game losing streak coming out the All-Star break certainly seemed taxing.
Chicago’s Leury Garica-fueled bounce-back win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday certainly helped spirits but Saturday’s dramatic, extra-innings win at Tropicana field could be the type of win that really gets the team back on track.
It looked like the White Sox were headed for their eighth loss in nine games. They were down to their final out when catcher James McCann decided to add another chapter to his storybook season.
McCann took a slider from Rays relief pitcher Emilio Pagán 373-feet out to left field for the game-tying home run.
It was another huge moment in a great season from McCann, heightened by the fact that there were so few baserunners (total) in this game and that another o-fer in the scoring column would’ve marked the second shutout loss in a week for the White Sox.
Instead, McCann’s heroics extended a game in which the White Sox bullpen‒2 H, 0 ER‒was excellent in relief of Lucas Giolito, who also pitched well.
Over 6.2 innings, Giolito racked up 9 Ks while giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run. The lone run Giolito gave up was a high changeup that former White Sox outfielder Avisaíl García.
u ever see something & ur just like:— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 21, 2019
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 𝙬𝙤𝙖𝙝 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This game was without a doubt a pitchers' duel, so it was only fitting that the game-winning run was scored on an RBI-single by José Abreu in which Yoan Moncada personified "Ricky's boys don't quit" on the basepaths.
Yoán's mad dash. pic.twitter.com/SkpmEOuVZ6— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 21, 2019
Despite the lack of strong offensive production on Saturday night, the White Sox were able to grind out the win in a Giolito start, something that has been a recurring theme for the squad.
Six times this season the White Sox scored 2 or fewer runs in a Lucas Giolito start...— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) July 21, 2019
Yet they're 4-2 in those games because Giolito has been excellent.
As elder statesmen Abreu hinted at, the White Sox need their key players back but wins like Saturday’s will help build confidence in the meantime.
The South Siders head into Sunday’s noon game with the Rays‒and their subsequent series with the Miami Marlins‒with their seven-game losing streak further in the rearview mirror and that is the best news we could hope for as we await the cavalry.
The White Sox saw another pitcher hit the shelf due to injury on Saturday.
Ahead of their game against the Rays, the White Sox placed reliever Kelvin Herrera on the 10-day injured with a right oblique strain. In a corresponding move, the team recalled right-hander Jimmy Cordero from Triple-A Charlotte.
Entering the 2019 season, Herrera was expected to be a formidable late-game reliever in the White Sox bullpen alongside closer Álex Colomé. While Colomé (20-for-21 in save chances, 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 innings) has thrived, Herrera has struggled in his debut season on the South Side. The 29-year-old holds a 7.36 ERA in 38 games/33 innings. As things currently stand, his .326 batting average against and 3.82 BB/9 would be career highs.
Herrera's struggles are somewhat suprising when considering how well he pitched (2.44 ERA, 48 games/44 1/3 innings) in 2018. He did struggle after the Royals traded him to the Nationals on June 18, though, perhaps a precursor of what was to come from him in 2019:
Kelvin Herrera in 2018:
|with Royals||with Nationals|
|Innings||25 2/3||18 2/3|
The White Sox claimed Cordero off of waivers from the Mariners on June 7. He previously pitched with the Nationals (22 games, 19 innings) in 2018 and Blue Jays (one game, 1 1/3 innings) in 2019. He holds a career 5.75 ERA in the MLB, but he's pitched well with Charlotte. The 28-year-old has gone 3-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Knights, with opponents hitting just .215 against him in 13 outings.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.