I was called off the bench to pen tonight’s recap, thus suffering though more than four hours of mercilessly cruel Chicago White Sox baseball.
On a night where the first-place Cleveland Indians lost to the Milwaukee Brewers and dropped a game under .500, Our Sisters of Agonizing Rebuild, the Chisox, kept pace, as we have trusted them to do since the first home series of the season.
Tonight, the White Sox dragged 51 pitches out of Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ivan Nova in the first inning, the most taxing first frame foosballed against the Pale Hose since Chicago Cub Shawn Estes labored through 52 pitches on June 20, 2003.
Estes didn’t pitch past the first inning in that Bumbling Lovables loss. Tonight, Nova did stretch into a second inning, topping out at 77 tosses. And —I know you can smell this one from a mile away —the Pirates won the game. Won it going away, in fact.
Down 4-0 after one (courtesy of a Corey Dickerson gift RBI triple for Yolmer Sánchez, an RBI groundout from José Abreu and a two-run, oppo dinger from Welington Castillo), Pittsburgh sicced the bats on Lucas Giolito and snatched those four runs right back.
As delightful as Giolito was in his last outing at St. Louis, he was craptastic tonight. Staked to that 4-0 cushion, the lanky chucker burned though 98 pitches over four innings, and, what new, the beleaguered Chisox bullpen got another call to arms in the fifth inning. It’s great that the soundly furious Don Cooper gets his “fucking” quote published in the Athletic, but without meaningful and measurable progress with these young arms, it’s signifying nothing. Out out, brief blowhard.
Giolito got on a run at the end of last year that was plenty tasty — and that was after a pretty pedestrian season in the minors. He was generally smooth this spring, but has wet the bed since. The cold-weather-stymies-curveballs stuff only passes muster when it’s, you know, cold. Perhaps Gio is just the bad-luck doppelganger of Reynaldo López this season, and we all think Reyno is the bee’s knees because he’s pitched out of (or been rescued from) gobs of jams so far. Sure, fine, advanced stats regression playing with fire wipe that adorable grin off your face Lopey ad infinitum.
But I’ll still take López’s season so far; at least he doesn’t look like he needs a constitutional in Charlotte to get his shit straight, like fellow phenom Giolito.
Not to pistol whip the poor fella, but you do deserve the deets of the starter’s dastardly second:
- RBI single
- RBI ground out (near double play)
- MOUND VISIT (WITH EXPLETIVES)
- RBI ground-rule double
- inning-ending single, with Gregory Polanco punched out at home, Nicky Delmonico to Castillo
Final line for Giolito: four innings, seven hits, four earned, two walks, three Ks, 37 game score.
And as bad as Giolito was, Chris Volstad was worse. Volstad took the fifth, but should have given it back: four hits, three earned, K. Luis Avilán mailed it in after Volstad, with a true don’t-leave-me-out-guys effort: one out, two hits, two earned, a walk, a K.
Handed a 4-0 lead after one, the White Sox managed to twist the game into a hopeless, 9-5 affair by the sixth, as the game clock ticked into hour three.
So, what were the bright points?
- Yolmer, 3-for-5 and his usual good cheer
- Abreu, 2-for-4
- Welly, two dingers, the first punctuated as he rounded third by sticking his tongue out at Abreu in the dugout
- Hector Santiago threw a clean ninth. Perhaps he can come super mega meta full circle and become White Sox closer
- Game time temp was 72 degrees.
- Ricky’s Boys Didn’t Quit, or something
Production note: It’s midnight, man, so my plan to bust out the first edition of the Most Essential White Sox poll has been dashed by this emergency relief effort/four-hour traipse through the tulips. So we’ll fire up that mofo tomorrow afternoon, or Thursday morning.