The Sox continued their bad stretch of baseball in a crosstown shellacking, losing 10-0 to the Cubs.
Oh no, Eloy
In a season filled with outstanding offensive performances, outside of José Abreu, nobody has been more consistently dangerous than Eloy Jiménez. Jiménez was diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain before Friday night's series opener. Ricky Renteria basically ruled Eloy out for the entire Cubs series, but far more concerning, didn't sound optimistic that Jiménez would be ready for the South Siders' opening playoff series next week.
After a dreadful series in Cleveland, where the Sox lost in a more heartbreaking fashion each night leading to a four-game sweep, Eloy's injury news could not have broke at a worse time. If Jiménez does in fact miss postseason time, players like Luis Robert and Yoán Moncada will have to wake up from their cold streaks, as the offense has scuffled over the last few weeks.
Schwar(oh god i'm gonna do it)bomb
Kyle Schwarber opened up the scoring in the top of the second inning after he drove a 99 mph Dylan Cease fastball out to left field. Schwarber came into the day batting .187 but still knows how to hit a fastball, and the Cubs took an early 1-0 lead.
Dylan Cease had a chance to get out of a jam in the third inning, but with two outs and runners on first and second, he threw a fastball right over the heart of the plate to Willson Contreras, who demolished a three-run, opposite-field homer to right.
After the homer, Contreras presented the empty stadium with one of the most audacious bat flips I'ver ever seen, flipping his bat something like 30 feet in the air. And to do it in front of the bat-flip KING Tim Anderson? My goodness.
In deciding a potential game three playoff starter, Dylan Cease's name was far from a sure thing — and that was before tonight's performance. After giving up a mammoth home run to Javier Báez in the fourth, extending the Cubs lead 5-0, many fans were questioning if Cease even belongs on the playoff roster.
I've written all year long about Cease's plus stuff. There are few pitchers in the game with the raw ability that he has. Unfortunately for the Sox, he has never been able to show consistent control or ability to reign in his location, which has led to major issues.
In 2020, Game 3 of the opening playoff series means it would be a deciding one, so I see no way the Sox can send a pitcher as enigmatic as Cease to the mound with that much on the line. Dane Dunning would look to be a much steadier option at this point, which really says a lot considering it's Dunning's first starts in the majors.
Cease still be a valuable pitcher one day, but it might be in the bullpen. And if can't get better control, he won't be valuable at all.
Plunked and tossed
Jimmy Cordero may or may not have intentionally plunked Contreras in the back with a fastball, but in any case, it led to Cordero's instant ejection. After animated arguments from both Renteria and pitching coach Don Cooper, they would both join Cordero in the clubhouse.
Renteria's recent flurry of ejections hasn't exactly sparked any kind of inspiration in his scuffling ball club. If he has any other tricks up his sleeve, he might want to pull them out quick, as the Sox looked deflated from the start of the game, as they have throughout this entire stretch.
The White Sox are playing bad baseball. They have picked an inopportune time to play dreadful baseball, coming right before the most important games of the year. But on the other hand, maybe things will turn around, because they have to, right ... right?
With seemingly the entire lineup going through a cold stretch, it's getting harder and harder to see how they will break out of it.
That said, baseball is weird, and even weirder than usual in 2020. As bad as the Sox have looked over the last week, we've also seen them look like the best team in the league at various points throughout the year, too.
So sit back, relax, and appreciate the 2020 White Sox, regardless of the outcome. This team has been largely a joy, and should continue to be that way for quite a while.