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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Big Game James

July 26th, 2016 vs Chicago Cubs

Toon Squad Update:
The "S" on his chest stands for Shields

Short Take:   James Shields dominates Cubs lineup, Sox offense scratches out 3 runs, South Siders take 2-0 series lead in the crosstown cup.

To say that James Shields struggled when he was first acquired by the Sox would be an understatement. However, there is no question that recently, he has been living up to the nickname "Big Game James" as he reeled off his 6th straight quality start. Clearly, this is the guy Rick Hahn thought he was trading for back in June. The White Sox lineup scratched out 3 runs and the bullpen shut the door on the crosstown Cubs for a 3-0 win and a 2-0 series lead.

The South Siders drew first blood in the 1st inning as Kyle Hendricks struggled with his command. Eaton opened the frame with a walk followed by an Anderson hot smash that Addison Russell couldn't handle. Melky popped out but Abreu broke thru with an RBI single to RF to score Eaton for a quick 1-0 lead. The HRs haven't come for Jose lately but he has looked a lot more comfortable at the plate. Hendricks later pitched out of danger to leave the bases loaded.

Hendricks kept Sox hitters off balance for the next few innings but in the bottom of the 5th, Eaton would give James Shields slightly more breathing room. Adam got a pitch up in the zone from Hendricks that he absolutely tattooed for a solo blast that went way out to RF for a 2-0 Sox lead. The Sox had another golden chance in the bottom of the 6th to add on. After 2 outs, Todd Frazier deposited a gork shot to RF that was just out of reach of the diving Anthony Rizzo. This hit would chase Hendricks from the game and bring in Cubs lefty Travis Wood. J.B. Shuck would turn in a brilliant 11 pitch AB that he parlayed into a walk. Travis Wood began to unravel and the Sox offense exercised some rare patience. Dioner Navarro followed Shuck with a walk to load the bases for Tyler Saladino. Wood would fall behind Saladino and he ended up taking the 3rd walk of the inning making it 3-0 good guys. Saladino got a couple hittable fastballs but battled in the AB for the RBI walk. Eaton would ground out ending the threat and stranding 3. If there is one complaint about the game today, it's that the Sox had the bases loaded twice in this game and only plated 1 run. Not being able to step on an opposing team's throat remains an achilles heel of the Sox offense.

The story tonight though was Big Game James Shields. After some early control issues, James Shields tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings against "The Uncrowned Champion" Chicago Cubs. He changed speeds, changed eye levels, and really had full control of his secondary pitches. The changeup in particular got a lot of weak contact and kept Cubs hitters off balance. Most importantly, James Shields prevented the meat of the Cubs order from hurting him. Kris Bryant in particular looked completely lost at the plate against Shields tonight. After Bryant's 3rd AB, Shields was fully in Bryant's head and got him waving at just about everything for his 3rd K of the night. Nate Jones retired the only Cubs batter he faced in the 8th and closer David Robertson nailed down his 24th save with a peaceful 1-2-3 inning.

The Sox have now won 4 in a row and sit 6 back in the wild card. That sound you hear is GM Rick Hahn banging his head against his desk. Buy? Sell? Stand pat? I don't have the answers. I will say that as long as they play these crosstown games, it's far more preferable to win them and silence the North Side noise machine. At the very least, a series split has been secured by the Pale Hose. After hearing for months about how incredibly great the 2016 Cubs are, the opening 2 games in this series have been very enjoyable to Sox fans. The Sox will look to take the series tomorrow as it shifts to Wrigley Field. Recently called up right hander Anthony Ranaudo will be making his Sox debut in a spot start for the injured Carlos Rodon. He will be facing off against Jason Hammel of the Cubs.

Game Notes-

-Per Statcast, Adam Eaton's HR traveled 410 feet

-James Shields has thrown 6 straight quality starts. He has an E.R.A. of 1.71 in that span

-Shields became the 3rd pitcher to shutout the Cubs this season. The other two were Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole.

-The "coveted" Crosstown Cup stays on the South Side with tonight's victory. If anyone cares, the rules say the team who previously won it, retains the cup with a split.

That's all folks:
 It's a bird! It's a plane! It's James Shields owning Kris Bryant and the Cubs!

submitted by Foulke You

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

James Shields

7 2/3 IP, 5KS, 0ER

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