1. Can we talk about Jose Abreu again? It's bad, and it's painful, and there's clearly something wrong, and he's being relentlessly jammed by anyone and everyone. But worse yet, even holding out for him to run into one--which seems like the only benefit to forcing out a clearly slumping and ailing star--is misguided, because his hand isn't healthy enough to stay through anything.
Per FanGraphs batted ball data, groundball rate (And this is before he hit four groundballs Tuesday night):
Sept. 2014: 48.4%
Aug. 2014: 53.6%
July 2014: 39%
June 2014: 39.2%
May 2014: 45.9%
April 2014: 46.6%
Without even getting into concern into whether he's ever effectively recaptured his first half of 2014 at any point, he's in huge outlier territory statistically, while very noticeably looking hurt. White Sox staffers talking to Scot Gregor were more forthright about his nagging issues than Abreu himself has been, so it doesn't sound like it's headed toward some mutual decision. The Sox are loathe to acknowledge their station in life and take their foot off the gas until they have to, but this situation calls for a conservative approach.
2. It's probably a lot better than him starting off with a slump, but we might be getting the wrong idea about Tyler Saladino. His three-hit outing Tuesday night--complete with an absolute bomb off Michael Wacha--means he's now hit safely in seven games in a row, and gone 11-28 in that time. He did slug .501 in High-A back in 2011.
Saladino was already more interesting to play for the rest of the year than the other options, and got Conor Gillaspie DFA'd, so he can go ahead and take over the position on a wave of goodwill, all the better. Also, maybe we can convince a few Cubs fans that he actually is the answer to Kyle Schwarber, which will be fun while it lasts.
4. About that Tuesday night game, Carlos Rodon got utterly wrecked for seven earned runs, three walks and six strikeouts in four extremely long innings. He got short help all night, with Adam Eaton mistiming a dive and gifting Jhonny Peralta a triple to lead off the second, and Saladino bobbling a hot shot to third kickstarting a disastrous fourth that ended in a moonshot Matt Holiday grand slam, but these situations ballooned because Rodon's approach has no margin for error. His poor control puts him in too many strikeout-or-die scenarios, and every scouting report on him informs hitters that the slider is coming whenever the opportunity allows him.
If he stays ahead all day, has his absolute best slider command on a particular day, or his defense decides to turn five double plays behind him, he can seem fine. But if he's going to be an above-average contributor next year, we need to see some positive steps in the second half.
4. Adam Eaton isn't deserving of the absurd -20 UZR/150 FanGraphs has him tagged at, but between some of the misreads of the past week, four errors, the inability to steal bases, the superficially low batting average, and the bizarre hustling controversy earlier this season, he's angling to be the first legit good, scrappy, undersized white guy to be significantly underrated by an MLB team fanbase.
The three walks he drew Tuesday night were more than Emilio Bonifacio has drawn all season.
5. Jeff Samardzija is still one of the best options on the starter rental market, and one thing that parity in the AL race means is that there are a lot of mid-tier contenders not looking to break the bank at the deadline. But perhaps there are options to move even more of the Sox dead weight?
Or, you know, maybe not.
6. I would much prefer if Geovany Soto was the White Sox starting catcher. His bat--which is actually a bat and not the large, petrified loofa apparently issued to Carlos Sanchez and Adam LaRoche--is a valuable addition to the Sox lineup, and his current season line (.241/.313/.448) looks even better when factor out when he was hitting like he was poisoned alongside the rest of the team (.266/.349/.489 since May 1).
But he's also on a minor league deal, 32 years-old, and injury prone to the point where he's played 174 games over the last four years. He's not exactly a long-term investment, and him trending up at the moment should likely be viewed more as a rare, well-timed blessing than a permanent solution. He's going to be a free agent either way. Go get something for him.
7. Also, Geovany Soto is the White Sox winner for the Heart & Hustle Award, an honor given to one player from each MLB team who "demonstrate[s] a passion for the game of baseball and best embod[ies] the values, spirit and tradition of the game."
This award seems goofily subjective and its description is a stockpile of cliches, so it only stands to reason that Soto is the only Latino player who has received the honor, which is, uh, as the saber kids say "suboptimal."
8. Perhaps this is not the best time to mention that FanGraphs thinks the trio of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon should be the best in the league based on projected future FIP-based WAR (the bitcoin of long-term analysis). I mean, it's better than the three of them not being the best starting pitcher trio based on projected future FIP-based WAR.
They're all under contract for a long time and should be good going forward. We knew that! Here is someone else saying that in a new and different way.
9. Second to last mental image for the day:
10. Final mental image for the day:
The Sox play the Cardinals again, but it's Danks vs. Lance Lynn so...hope for the best!