At least we got to have a little fun before the 10th inning wrapped things up for the White Sox. Hey, and even in the 10th we got to see Frank Schwindel hit one 400 feet, so it wasn’t totally nothing! (Look, I’m just trying to enjoy whatever I can with what is left of this season …. )
For most of the game, it was looking like everything was going to script. Kyle Hendricks pitched really well, but the White Sox outscored the Cubs early because the White Sox lineup is much better than the Cubs lineup. Thus, Lance Lynn held the Cubs down, and it was a 2-0 game when he exited. The Cubs added a run upon his departure, but with the White Sox tacking on a couple, it was all lined up for the Sox to finish off a three-run lead with their newfound Craig Kimbrel-Liam Hendriks combo.
The problem, in my view, is in not making Kimbrel your everyday closer. But whatever. You can’t assume that he wound up giving up three hits, the third of which was a shocking homer to Andrew Romine, solely because he was asked to pitch the 8th instead of the 9th. But closers are tricky beasts, and Kimbrel was pitching like the best in baseball. It was risky to upset that apple cart. Things worked out in the end, but I can already see/hear all the talking points and boy am I glad I don’t have to participate.
That shot wound up tying things at four, and the game went into the 10th where the Sox plated four more off of Manny Rodriguez (with Michael Rucker coming in to clean things up as best he could). Cubs got the Schwindel homer in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn’t enough.
It’s all about development now for Rodriguez, because he’s got big league pitches and big league composure. But – not unlike Adbert Alzolay – his two best pitches don’t appear to play all that well against lefties (the two-seamer and the slider). So he’s either going to need the four-seamer to really work well upstairs against lefties, he’s gonna need to develop another pitch, and/or he’s going to have to develop premium location ability. Without at least one of those things, I have questions about whether lefties are gonna hold him back from being a true back-end guy.