Tony La Russa’s postgame Zoom call with the media got off to a much later start than normal Monday night after the White Sox dropped the series opener with the Minnesota Twins 8-5 in Minneapolis.
The timing had nothing to do with the fact the American League Central-leading White Sox lost their third game in a row. It had everything to do with another potential injury to a key starter heading into Tuesday’s second game of the series.
Catcher Yasmani Grandal, who didn’t play Saturday and Sunday in Detroit due to left calf tightness, left the Monday contest in the sixth inning after falling to the ground following a check-swing on a pitch from Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar.
Grandal eventually was helped to the dugout, and after sitting for several minutes, he got up under his own power and walked back to the locker room. Some speculated he may have simply experienced a cramp in the humid 94-degree conditions.
“It wasn’t a cramp,” La Russa said. “I wish it was a cramp.”
La Russa refused to give an official timetable on Grandal’s potential return from an injury that was listed as a strained left calf.
“That’s why the delay coming in here,” La Russa said. “Everybody’s really concerned about him. He’s on crutches in there. … I don’t think anybody wants to put two and two together until they get enough information. Going to have to wait to answer that question.”
Grandal is hitting .188 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs but has been helping carry Chicago, which has already lost Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal to injury since mid-June. The 32-year-old catcher is batting .324 (12-for-37) with four homers and 14 RBIs over his last 12 games.
“He’s playing outstanding, all-star-like baseball,” La Russa said. “Just really uncertain what his diagnosis is going to be. We’ll try and be patient … and hope for the best.”
Chicago third baseman Yoan Moncada said through a translator, “Those are the kind of things that you can’t control in the game, the injuries. I’m not going to lie. Sometimes it’s difficult. It’s hard to see those kind of things happen almost every day.”
The good news for Chicago is that it still owns a six-game lead over the second-place Cleveland Indians, who currently own a seven-game losing streak and have injury issues of their own.
The White Sox will turn to All-Star left-hander Carlos Rodon (6-3, 2.37 ERA) on Tuesday night while Minnesota, which has won its past three home games, is scheduled to start right-hander Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.52). However, the forecast is for a 90 percent chance of rain starting in the afternoon.
Rodon is 5-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Twins, including 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in six games (five starts) at Target Field.
Berrios, who has won five consecutive decisions, is 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 18 career starts against the White Sox. He picked up a no-decision at Chicago on Thursday, when he allowed four runs (three earned) and 10 hits over five innings in a game eventually won by the White Sox, 8-5.
Minnesota got five shutout innings from right-hander Bailey Ober in its Monday victory, which also featured a pair of home runs by Max Kepler. It was the first major league win in seven starts for 6-foot-9 Ober.
“It’s definitely a special moment,” he said. “Watching the game, I was getting a little nervous, a little goosebumps, but these guys — the hitters did really well and we slammed the door at the end.”
–Field Level Media