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Race to the Bottom: Game 77

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Both the 2018 and 1948 clubs put a bunch of runs on the board in wins, and while Yoán Moncada was pretty good yesterday, he can’t approach Pat Seerey’s effort of 70 years ago

Clubber, Dang: In a rare moment of joy for the hapless 1948 White Sox, Pat Seerey clocked four home runs, including one for the game-winning RBI.
Leaf

Did the Chicago White Sox just win yesterday, 10-3 over the Oakland A’s, a game that might have been their most fun all season save for the 14-7 comeback in K.C. on Opening Day?

Yes.

Do the White Sox still have the worst start in franchise history?

Yes.

That’s where we’re at, that even on the heels of a delicious, eight-inning stint from Carlos Rodon and a slump-busting, six-RBI outburst from Yoán Moncada. The White Sox record is still worse than it’s ever been in the 118 years of the franchise.

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As the 2018 team attempts to avoid becoming the worst White Sox club in franchise history, Race to the Bottom takes a look at how it compares to the very worst White Sox team ever (1932) and two other close “rivals” (1948 and 1970).

Race to the Bottom archives:

Game 53

Game 69

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Just eight games ago, the 1948 club had overtaken 2018’s start as the worst ever. Today, the tables turn.


2018 White Sox ⚾️ 26-51 ⚾️ 55-107 pace ⚾️ 4th (of 5) place, AL Central ⚾️ 17 12 GB

Since we last checked in eight games ago, the White Sox have gone 2-6, a pace actually worse than their season winning percentage to date. They’ve fallen off by a game overall, projecting to 107 losses. You wouldn’t know that this club was the worst of the worst at this point in the season, at least not based on yesterday’s Game 77: A 10-3 whomping of the Oakland A’s that featured not only the heroics of Rodon and Moncada, but all scoring coming in back-to-back, deliciously crooked, five-run innings.


1948 White Sox ⚾️ 26-50-1 ⚾️ 54-107-1 pace ⚾️ 8th (last) place, AL ⚾️ 22 GB ⚾️ Actual 162-game finish: 53-107-2

Over the eight games since the last update, the 1948 club went 3-5, but remains on target as a 107-loss team. Game 77 came as the first game of back-to-back doubleheaders at the Philadelphia A’s, on July 18, a 12-11 win in 11 innings. The win made it three straight for Chicago, tying the club’s longest winning streak of the season. This tilt came almost smack in the middle of a 22-game, six-city road trip. Put another way: On this one road trip alone, the White Sox visited six of their seven American League rivals!

It’s safe to say that this one wasn’t a pitcher’s battle, with 36 hits and 23 runs in the game. Philly broke out to a 5-0 lead through two, with the White Sox then rallying to go up 9-7 after six and 11-7 after the top of the seventh. But the A’s rallied to tie after the seventh-inning stretch and kept the game deadlocked until the 11th, when Pat Seerey hit a two-out, solo homer to provide the eventual winning margin.

Pat Seerey ... name seems vaguely familiar, right? Well, Seerey once hit four home runs in a game for the White Sox.

It was this game. (For more, read Jim’s 2012 “Feats of Strength” feature on Seerey.)

Seerey hit his eighth homer in the fourth inning, ninth in the fifth, 10th in the sixth, and 11th in the 11th.

Heroic clouting aside, the game was a nail-biter to the end. Howie Judson tried his damndest to finish the game out with six innings of uneven relief, but had to leave one out short, after loading the bases in the 11th with a single and two walks. Marino Pieretti, who started 18 of this 21 games in 1948, came on and extinguished Ferris Fain to earn the save.

If you’re a fan of offense, you like this box score, given Chicago’s 24 hits. Leadoff man Don Kolloway tapped back to A’s starter Carl Scheib to start the game, then went 5-for-6 with a double, triple and three RBIs after that. Cass Michaels and Seerey both went 4-of-6, only Michaels had no RBIs, Seerey seven. And 41-year-old third baseman Luke Appling not only went 3-of-7, but stole second for his fifth swipe of the season.

Judson earned the win with 5 23 innings of relief, giving up five hits and seven walks. Frank Papish took the hill for the White Sox, in just one of his 14 starts on the season, and lasted just one inning, getting shellacked for three hits, five runs/four earned and four walks, for a 25 game score.

After this stirring win and legendary Seerey performance, the White Sox would drop 11 of 13.


1970 White Sox ⚾️ 27-50 ⚾️ 57-105 pace ⚾️ 5th (of 6) place, AL West ⚾️ 22 12 GB ⚾️ Actual 162-game finish: 56-106

Since we last checked in, the 1970 Sox duplicated 2018’s futility, going 2-6 and now on pace for 105 losses, instead of 103. Game 77 of 1970 fell on July 2, a third loss vs. the A’s, completing a sweep by the third-place club in the AL West and an ascendant power. It was a sour end to a seven-game homestand that started out relatively successful — toppling the first-place Minnesota Twins in two of four games. In the 10-6 loss, just 4,697 showed up for a Thursday getaway game at Comiskey, and with Oakland scoring in each of the first six innings, it’s hard to blame those fans who skipped the proceedings.

Scoring was fast and furious, though, with the White Sox holding a 2-1 lead after one and remaining tied 4-4 at the end of two. For the A’s, brief (1968) White Sox outfielder Tommy Davis led the way with a 3-for-5 effort in the game, while Reggie Jackson clocked his 11th homer and Bert Campaneris stole third base for his 18th bag of the season.

White Sox starter Barry Moore (4 13 IP, six hits, seven runs/five earned, four walks, one error, 23 game score) and reliever Lee Stange (1 13 IP, seven hits, three earned) accounted for all of the Oakland runs. Second baseman Syd O’Brien had two errors, left fielder Carlos May one.

Oakland’s Diego Segui started the game, but lasted just 1 13 innings, finishing with a game score of 32. Marcel Lachemann came on for four innings of relief to earn the win, and Bob Locker pitched a three-inning save.

It wasn’t all bad for the White Sox: May’s first inning, two-run homer (eighth of the season) gave Chicago its only lead of the game. O’Brien, May and Bill Melton each had two hits. Melton, playing right field, cut down Sal Bando trying to stretch a double into a triple in the fourth. And reliever Jim Magnuson pitched a perfect final two innings, with four Ks.

Oddly, neither starter in the game recorded a strikeout, and there were a mere 10 strikeouts in the entire tilt.


1932 White Sox ⚾️ 28-49 ⚾️ 59-103 pace ⚾️ 7th (of 8) place, AL ⚾️ 24 GB ⚾️ Actual 162-game finish: 53-109

The oldest club of the bunch picked up a pace a touch, like the 1948ers, going 3-5 in the last stretch, holding its 103-loss pace.

When we last left the 1932 White Sox, they were in the middle of a run that had them playing 22 of 24 games on the road. Well, at this point, the White Sox are seven games into the 18-game road trip portion of the stretch — and it’s not going well. The road trip started out with the White Sox losing five of seven, and by the time they’re back sleeping in their own beds the club will drop 14 of 18 games.

Make it six of eight to start the trip with this 13-3 loss, at Washington on July 10. It’s the opener of a four-game set that the Senators will sweep, by a 46-20 margin. Keep in mind, the Sens are no world-beaters; at the time of this tilt, they’re four above .500.

No matter. After the White Sox took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, Washington uncorked a crooked number and was up, 6-2, by the end of the frame. The two clubs combined for 31 hits in the game, but while WDC efficiently turned their 19 into 13 runs, the Pale Hose could flash just three off of 12 safeties. Bob Weeds and Red Kress went 2-for-4 for the White Sox, Billy Sullivan and Jackie Hayes 2-for-5.

On the pitching end, the White Sox anticipated the advent of bullpenning by some 86 seasons in running out three hurlers for 2 23 innings apiece: Pat Caraway (eight hits, six earned, walk, homer, 17 game score), Vic Frazier (six hits, five earned, two passes) and Art Evans (five hits, two earned, two walks, K). So no, the White Sox didn’t employ bullpenning too effectively. No wonder it took 86 years to catch on elsewhere.

And yeah, you read that right: The White Sox struck out just one Senator all game. General Crowder, in his complete game win (52 game score) for Washington, whiffed just three White Sox.


[For the 1932 and 1948 teams, records are extrapolated from 154 to 162 games.]