After losing the first three games of the series on their home field -- including two one-run losses in a doubleheader — the Detroit Tigers were able to take out some frustration on the White Sox. The final score reads 11-6, but James Crusinberry of the Chicago Tribune said it was misleading.
The score at first glance would indicate that it had been quite a fight, but it really was a farce. The Sox made five of their six runs in the last inning after the Tigers had all of their eleven and were so sure of victory that they let Ty Cobb go to the shower bath and sent a recruit out to play center field. There would have been heltapay had the Sox kept going with their belated rally until they tied the count, for Ty couldn’t have returned.
The White Sox failed on both fronts. The Chicago Examiner sums up the pitching:
[Pants] Rowland had to dig into the boneyard to-day for pitching talent and to say the least the result was disastrous. The men called upon for mound duty seemed to have no idea as to how to get the ball past the bats and the Tigers had the time of their lives.
This was a harsh way of saying that it was usually a bad scene when Albany’s Mellie Wolfgang had to enter a game, as the Sox lost all five games in which he appeared during the 1917 season. Crusinberry doubled down later in the story under the heading “Cripples Given a Chance.”
Under those conditions it looked like a splendid time to try out a lot of Sox pitchers who have had sore arms and various ailments just to see how they are now. So Mel Wolfgang and his lame shoulder were called into service.
The irony is that he was the Sox’ most effective pitcher in this one. He relieved Dave Danforth, who caved in with a four-run fifth inning to fall behind 6-0. After Wolfgang entered and surrendered one run over two innings, the Sox needed two pitchers — Joe Benz and Reb Russell — to get through the four-run eighth.
The ineffectiveness of the Sox’ staff made the offense a moot point more or less, but the lineup squandered chances to make it more of a game over the first eight innings. There’s no play-by-play data, but if the recaps are accurate, you can divide up the line posted by Detroit starter Howard Ehmke thusly:
- First: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 3 K
- Then: 0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HR
Ehmke’s wildness gave the Sox chances to post a crooked number or two before their garbage-time jamboree, but the Sox had a hard time converting. Joe Jackson in particular missed his opportunities. He went 0-for-4 with a walk, and stranded at least eight runners by Irving Vaughan’s count in the Chicago Examiner:
Jackson was the chief delinquent in this respect. In the sixth and eighth he was up, with the bases filled. He did nothing. Again in the ninth there were two on and the “General” was the same soft picking for [Bernie] Boland.
Jackson was still in the middle of a rather pedestrian year. His season line dropped down to .274/.339/.376, down considerably from the .363/.429/.525 line he averaged over his first six full seasons. Still, this loss might have been treated as a blip if the Red Sox hadn’t swept a doubleheader to narrow Chicago’s lead to a half-game.
Record: 47-25 | Box score