Had this game been not so ridiculous, one might get as angry as Brett Lawrie did in the fifth inning.
With the bases loaded, one out and the White Sox trailing 4-3, Austin Jackson slashed a flyball to shallowish right field. Lawrie tagged anyway, and his feet-first slide would have been in time if it weren't for the shinguard of Ryan Hanigan, who received Mookie Betts' throw and applied the tag before Lawrie's foot came back down and landed on home plate.
Robin Ventura came out in relief of an irate Lawrie and challenged the call on the grounds that Hanigan blocked the plate, which he did. But he didn't, because New York ruled that Hanigan's leg ended up in Lawrie's path in the effort of catching the throw, which is impressive since the throw came from the other side of the field.
I'm not sure quite how that worked, but I'm not quite sure how any of this game worked.
Erik Johnson started it, and he looked like you think Erik Johnson with a 91-mph fastball might. The Red Sox hit him hard from the get-go, as he gave up runs in each of his first three innings -- including a pair of homers -- and needed 92 pitches to get through four innings.
But a couple things saved him:
- Despite a discouraging start, he finished with a 1-2-3 frame, grunting through five innings when three looked like a tall task at the start.
- Johnson wasn't the worst pitcher of the evening.
Johnson actually outlasted his counterpart, Henry Owens, who walked six batters over three innings and left after one batter into the fourth. Red Sox pitching issued nine walks, Matt Albers gave up his first earned run since last July, and Dan Jennings walked his first four batters of the year while being unable to complete two innings.
Alas, while Johnson had some cover, he couldn't ultimately get off the hook. The White Sox had their chances, what with eight hits (including an Avisail Garcia homer) and nine walks. But they only pushed across three runs, and it wasn't all the fault of bad umpiring. The Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.
It just happened that the 9-2 double play was the most painful, as it halted the Sox' most sustained attack. With one out, Melky Cabrera, Lawrie and Garcia all singled to load the bases, and Hector Sanchez made it a one-run game by drawing a 10-pitch walk (a couple pitches after his line drive missed a multi-run double by a foot down the right-field line).
The White Sox were able to boost some on-base percentages tonight. Adam Eaton reached base four times (two singles, two walks), and Jimmy Rollins drew three walks himself. Alas, Jose Abreu (0-for-5, strikeout, GIDP) and Todd Frazier (0-for-3, two walks) weren't able to cash in the best opportunities. The Red Sox, however, with a Xander Bogaerts sac fly and a David Ortiz RBI double in the eighth, found a way to push the game out of reach.
*There were 16 walks in all, and none of the first 13 came around to score.
*With Commissioner Rob Manfred in the building, this nine-inning game lasted 3 hours and 57 minutes. The White Sox threw 181 pitches, and the Red Sox 179.