The White Sox had had an uglier stretch in 1917, because they lost eight of 10 from April 25 through May 6, including no-hitters on consecutive days. Nevertheless, dropping three of four to the Philadelphia Athletics — at home — sounded its own cause for alarm.
“Sox slipping!” was the headline in the Chicago Tribune. Irving Vaughan’s lede in the Chicago Examiner took it a step further:
If a few of Clarence Rowland’s “star” athletes are snared in the draft we may begin to figure the possibilities of a pennant. The present layout appears hopeless, or if not hopeless at least lacking in that diamond finesse so essential to success in the American League as now constituted. Their latest offense is unpardonable.
The offense was a 7-3 loss to the Athletics, and an especially painful one. For starters, the White Sox were held hitless through the first seven innings, although they were able to score a run when a walk came around with the help of an error. Compounding the issue, when the White Sox finally figured out Win Noyes to strike for two runs and tie the game at 3 in the bottom of the eighth, three White Sox relievers allowed four runs in the ninth to seal the series loss.
Red Faber did his job, allowing three runs (one earned) over eight innings. He didn’t receive much in the way of support until the very end, and since he was lifted for a pinch-hitter during that two-run eighth, he didn’t get a chance to use that support.
Instead, Reb Russell relieved him and walked the first batter, leading Rowland to call for Dave Danforth. Danforth retired the first two men he faced, but when Amos Strunk singled to extend the inning, Rowland smashed the emergency glass by calling in Eddie Cicotte to face Ping Bodie.
The move failed spectacularly, although it’s hard to tell just how it happened. The Tribune blamed Cicotte’s support:
Eddie made Ping hit to [Swede] Risberg, who fumbled and then threw to the Macks’ bench. A two base hit followed, and then a wild throw by Weaver, and another single, before order was restored. Four runs were over and the game was gone.
The Examiner blamed the man himself:
With two on Cicottte was requested to come forth and fool Bodie, but “Ping” wasn’t to be fooled and he started a fussilade [sic] that wasn’t subdued until four runs had registered.
The box score says all the runs were unearned, so I’m guessing it was both. That said, six of the Athletics’ seven runs weren’t charged to the pitchers’ ERAs. Considering the Sox had as many errors as hits (five), the position players deserved the brunt of this one.
Record: 48-29 | Box score