You might think it cute that Jose Berríos, he of the 3.86 ERA in 2018 and 4.75 career ERA Berríoses coming into today’s late brunch game vs. the Chicago White Sox, goes by the nickname “La Máquina” — “the machine.”
If so, after Berríos’ second dissection of the Chicago White Sox in the space of two months — today’s a 7-2, complete-game, 135-minute massacree — you best pipe down.
Berríos once more proved almost unhittable facing Pale Hose, retiring the first 14 White Sox en route to 10 strikeouts, none believed to be C.B. Bucknor-aided. It was just the second complete game of Berríos’ career, a 109-pitch masterpiece that had all the markings of a getaway game against a team whose season has gotten away.
With one out in the ninth, Berríos cinched it up, sensing the finish line, and hunkered down to chuck his hardest pitch of the day (95 mph) to punch out José Abreu, the batter responsible for the second run against him (what new, an RBI double in the sixth). The White Sox were blinded by Berríos’ brilliance, with 15 swinging strikes and 26 called in the game.
The young righty’s game score read 86, all things told. In three starts against Chicago this season, Berríos is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA, 23 whiffs, 15 hits, and an average game score of 71.
If searching for positives from this one, which dropped the White Sox to 20-40 (that’s a 54-108 pace, second-worst in team history, bub), well, how about: Eduardo Escobar didn’t beat us.
Wait, check that, Esky didn’t singlehandedly beat us. He did set the wheels in motion that would eventually run right over James Shields, by hitting a two-run homer in the first inning en route to a 2-for-4 day.
The capper of the day ... er, the crapper of the day was the bottom of the fourth, when the Twins scored four with two outs, capped by Minny’s third and final dinger:
Shields, after yeoman work over the past weeks where he ate innings and was bulldoggy and barked last postgame that this team wants to win, well, he was a bit more of his 2016-17 vintage against the Twins: six innings, eight hits, seven earned. His game score puttered down to 23, which, believe it or not, is actually lower than the average set for Shields’s career in Chicago.
OK, so ... positives?
Xavier Cedeño made his first career appearance for the White Sox and responded with a tidy seventh inning, scarred by just one walk. Chris Beck, possibly jacked to come into the game in the eighth as the World’s Greatest Network ran Beck’s “Where It’s At” behind him, tossed a tidy frame as well, with only a two-out double to speak of. Omar Narváez, perhaps sensing Kevan Smith’s footsteps, shot his batting average up to .187 with a 2-for-3 day, with a double. That double cancelled the postgame show, by the way, as Berríos was perfect through 5 2⁄3 innings.
Starting a new paragraph, because it’s about to get un-positive, Narváez also put his subhuman foot speed twice to the test, getting thrown out both at home (after his double) and at second (attempting to double his pleasure on doubles by stretching a single to double).
Is it unfair to bust a bit on Nick Capra for his performance this season? Minnesota’s announcing team was mouth-agape for a) The send of Narváez and b) The send of Narváez in a 7-0 game. The Pale Hose seem to have had more than their share of runners gunned down at home — and not just gunned down, but murdered in plain sight, by 10 feet or more. Either Cap is way aggressive on his sends, still, with a third of the season gone, or he needs some work on his stop-sign technique.
So now, we ship up to Boston for a date tomorrow night with an old friend. Hide the throwbacks.