A synopsis of Robin Ventura's Year: A two-act play.
Act I: Robin Ventura can't catch a break.
The White Sox held a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning. John Danks approached 100 pitches and the outs getting louder. With two outs and the tying run coming to the plate in the form of righty slugger Mark Reynolds, Ventura went to the bullpen. Jake Petricka walked Reynolds, but he did get out of the inning unscathed.
The Sox only had to guide a two-run lead through the eighth and ninth ... and they couldn't make it out of the eighth. The wounds were in part self-inflicted, as Zach Duke hit Matt Holliday on the foot with a 2-2 slider, and Tyler Flowers' catcher interference allowed Jason Heyward to reach to load the bases with two outs.
So Ventura made another good call to bring in David Robertson to face Yadier Molina. With a 2-2 count, Robertson threw Molina a thigh-high cutter on the outside corner, and Molina was ready for it. He took the pitch to the right field corner to unload the bases and give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
Act II: Robin Ventura can't make his own breaks.
The Sox stirred to life in the bottom of the eighth. Jose Abreu singled to center with one out, then went to third on Avisail Garcia's blooper to right center two batters later. With runners on the corners and two outs, Mike Matheny called on lefty Kevin Siegrist to face Adam LaRoche.
With LaRoche batting .194/.234/.236 against lefties, and .203/.260/.331 overall since the start of June, Ventura ... stuck with LaRoche.
He struck out on three pitches.
Now, in Ventura's defense, Siegrist is historically a lefty who doesn't kill lefties, and his splits are tremendously back-asswards this year...
- vs. RHB: .156/.227/.284
- vs. LHB: .327/.407/.490
... so going to the best right-handed bat on the bench (Geovany Soto) may have been a self-defeating move. But J.B. Shuck and his historically even splits were also on the bench, and both would have been better options in a situation where a strikeout was the worst possible outcome.
Instead, Shuck batted for Flowers with one out and nobody on against Trevor Rosenthal, and Soto never came to the plate at all, with Carlos Sanchez making the final out.
To sum it all up, John Danks (6⅔ shutout innings) doesn't know how to win.
*Sanchez did raise his average to .200 with a 2-for-4 day, and started the two-run rally in the sixth off Lance Lynn with a single.
*Abreu looked better at the plate, ripping a couple of singles to left and center. The first one drove in Sanchez for the game's first run.
*Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single after taking a 3-0 pitch that was out of the zone, yet called a strike.