Was there anything about Saturday’s game that differed from Friday’s loss?
Sure, there were some minor details, a two-run loss today vs. one yesterday, day game vs. night game ... bottom-line difference, the Detroit Tigers ended the game a smidge closer to first place than last night, after spending Saturday beating the White Sox for the fifth time in five tries in Chicago.
But overall, it was the same depressing, get behind early, rally to tie, blow it late formula that has marked far too many games this season for the White Sox.
The 7-5 loss featured a bigger struggle from the starter, Lucas Giolito, than we saw last night from Reynaldo López.
Giolito started out well enough, pitching a scoreless couple of innings that were matched by Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann.
In the third, Giolito had two another two outs in his pocket when he walked leadoff man Leonys Martin on four pitches. On camera, it seemed like Giolito was getting squeezed by home plate umpire Cory Blaser, and if my memory serves, there was an exaggerated pause from the hurler after ball two. But it seems that Gameday exonerates the man in blue:
Anyhow, with Matt Davidson holding a basestealing threat in Martin on first base, Jeimer Candelario’s routine grounder became a seeing-eye single between Yoán Moncada and Davidson, putting runners at the corners. Nicholas Castellanos then golfed a 1-0, center-cut two-seamer into the bullpen in right field for a 3-0 lead that piled up so fast it left Giolito with whiplash.
Castellanos would sting Giolito again in the fifth, for a two-run homer, this time to left. The young righthander’s final line was doleful: 5 1⁄3 innings, five earned, six hits, two walks, six Ks, 35 game score.
To his credit, Giolito hung in long enough for the White Sox to get him off the hook for the loss.
The bottom of the White Sox order put a four-spot up in the fifth, with Tim Anderson doubling in a run, Charlie Tilson singling in two, and Trayce Thompson clocking a sac fly.
In the sixth, José Abreu hit a sacrifice fly, bringing in Yolmer Sánchez with the tying run.
Alas, the lead would not last. Jace Fry pitched a perfect seventh, but gave up a leadoff single to Victor Martinez in the eighth that brought the hook. Unfortunately for Fry, he was replaced by Bruce Rondón, who wasn’t too sharp today.
Victor Reyes pinch-ran for Martinez, and for anyone who thinks speed is a minor factor in today’s game, check yourself. Rondón, distracted by Reyes as a basestealing threat, walked John Hicks on four pitches, and those pitches weren’t close. Next, JaCoby Jones popped up a sac bunt intended to push Reyes and Hicks to second and third, a pop that Rondón could not squeeze in his glove for the putout; base hit, sacks packed.
By whiffing Grayson Greiner, Rondón set up a potential inning-ending double play. But instead, it was time for someone else in Chicago pinstripes to muck things up, and as has been the case all too often of late, it was Moncada.
What is generously scored a José Igelsias RBI single in the box score was a lazy Baltimore chop, bouncing straight up the middle and eminently-playable. Rod Allen of Detroit’s broadcasting team was adamant Moncada had no play, and with due respect, Allen is full of it:
Sure, Moncada’s momentum is carrying him away from home plate, but like Abreu’s bobble at first base last night, Moncada tried to throw the ball before he had it in hand. A relatively easy force out at home became an eventual game-losing “base hit.”
Rattled, or whatever, Rondón walked pinch-hitter Niko Goodrum on four pitches to extend the lead to two, after which Xavier Cedeño relieved Rondón before the flabby fireballer self-immolated on the mound.
Cedeño, who has been murderous since his call-up, took just eight pitches to whiff both Martin and Candelario; the lefty has struck out eight of the 14 batters he’s faced since joining the team.
Chicago could not mount another comeback, failing to reach base in the eighth and ninth. Shane Greene was called on by manager Ron Gardenhire for the fourth straight game, pitching the ninth to earn his 19th save.
Kevan Smith was the only White Sox player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 and raising his average to .433.
Sánchez hit his league-leading eighth triple.
Both Tilson and Adam Engel had stolen bases.
Rondón threw 16 pitches in his appearance, just six for strikes.
The bullpen wasn’t horrible, although it did fall off its pace of the past 10 games. Today it covered 4 2⁄3 innings, with two earned runs, four hits, three walks and six Ks.