James Shields has a 10.13 ERA in the first inning this season. All other innings?
The trend continued today, when the Chicago Cubs batted around in the first, putting a four-spot before the Sox cracked open their first tub of Double Bubble in the dugout.
An Anthony Rizzo three-run home run — a bomb to center, into the teeth of one of those seductive Wrigley Field winds — highlighted the North Siders’ offensive attack in the first frame.
Shields gave up another run in the second, but was dominant after that. No excuses for the first two innings, when he generously spotted a World Series contender five runs, but he sent down 14 of 15 hitters the rest of the way and chewed up six total innings for the White Sox. Here’s where we are on the South Side: five earned in six innings is a moral victory, particularly because a guy with a 7.50 ERA for the day “chewed up innings.” Shields’s line rounded out with seven hits and three walks.
Psst ... want to read something spooky? Entering play today, with 0.5 WAR, Shields has been the most valuable White Sox pitcher this season. Big Game!
Shields handed the ball over to the Triple-A bullpen. Chris Beck gave into the peer pressure of being a Sox reliever by scuffling, surrendering three earned runs on three walks and a hit. Aaron Bummer relieved him and ... wait for it ... gave up yet another inherited runner to cross the plate.
Psst ... want to read something spooky? Entering play today, with 0.3 WAR, Bummer has been the third most valuable White Sox pitcher this season. Bummer!
The Sox got their first run on a Jose Abreu RBI groundout. Woohoo! Abreu did hit the ball hard a couple times today. Unfortunately, with the sacks packed and representing the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Abreu did not hit the ball hard, tapping a squibber to Rizzo to end the game — and the blossoming frostbite on attendees from both South and North.
The other three White Sox runs came off of a three-run, oppo homer by Matt Davidson, who perhaps had some barbecue for breakfast in order to con himself into thinking he was back in Kansas City (the arctic weekend weather would certainly send any player back to memories of March). That the clout came off of previously-untouchable setup man Carl Edwards Jr. is supposed to count for some sort of extra bonus points, just like the White Sox “forcing” Joe Maddon to go to his closer in the ninth, as the game slipped from blowout to decisive win.
So, for those of you scoring at home, there were some heavy Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit (RBDQ) points this afternoon. Like, 12 RBDQs. How did they affect the final score, or the eventual loss? Uh, funny, a quick check of the box, and ... wait ... RBDQs don’t show up in the box score! Somebody call Babs Manfred about this.
Another big takeaway from this game was Adam Engel (yes, the Adam Engel, of the what-the-hell-is-he-batting-leadoff Engels) collecting three hits (!). Engel outright bit his thumb at his detractors: His 3-for-4, two-run game shot the speedy center fielder up to a .190 batting average and .516 OPS. So, naysayers, chill. Oh, but keep that Engel breakout game on the DVR, everybody. We might not see three hits from Engel again this year, folks.
No, not three hits in one game, clowns. We definitely won’t see that again. I mean three more Engel hits again this year.
But anyway, if you’re at the bar tonight and getting a lot of crap for supporting a terrible team, tell them a) OK, and what’s your point, exactly? and b) uh, the Cubs couldn’t get Adam freakin’ Engel out.
Overall, it was another unwatchable performance from this 2018 White Sox squad.
There aren’t too many reasons to watch when Yoan Moncada is on the disabled list.
Tune in tomorrow, 1 p.m. or something, to see what crazy-ass lineup Ricky Renteria runs out there against the soothing sounds of Kyle Hendricks.