It’s a wet heat, down there in Arlington, Texas.
Borderline heat stroke might explain the uneven effort put forth by the Chicago White Sox, in both halves of the two games they played on Saturday.
The first, which lasted seven innings, ended 6-4 in favor of the Texas Rangers. The second, wherein a Little League pitcher inhabited the body of onetime fearsome (remember early April, guys?) fireman Bruce Rondón, lasted another nine outs, with Texas trouncing the Chisox Williamsport team, 7-0.
The Texas eighth lasted an interminable 41 minutes and 65 pitches per Daryl Van Schouwen, who at least was paid to watch the mauling, albeit likely madly mopping the 98% humidity off his brow. It took Rondón 36 minutes to record one out in the frame.
It was Rondón’s only out of the game, leaving a possible farewell line of 1⁄3 inning, four hits, five earned, two walks and 16 strikes of 33 pitches.
For sanity’s sake, perhaps it’s best to focus more on the first game, one that was a little less exasperating.
In that seven-inning contest, the White Sox actually outhit the Rangers, 10-9, despite being outscored 6-4. In the first three innings against ageless tub of goo Bartolo Colon, the White Sox left six men on base — including the sacks packed in the second inning — scoring just twice.
In the first, Yoán Moncada singled, and Yolmer Sánchez doubled, putting ducks on the pond with nobody out. José Abreu then grounded deep in the hole, and Elvis Andrus made a phenomenal play to cut down Moncada at home.
The play was a case of terrible luck. Moncada had to hold close on Colon’s delivery for the sake of a pickoff play, especially with third baseman Jurickson Profar lurking near the bag. It also would have been unwise to get much of a running start toward home on the pitch, with an eye to Profar on a double-up or pickoff throw to third from catcher Robinson Chirinos.
While it may have been unwise to break for home on the play, few shortstops beyond Andrus would have pulled it off, or even attempted a throw home. Plus, Moncada was forced to alter his route to the plate due to Abreu’s bat laying rolling along the baseline, and even then, was out by a hair.
Excruciating detail is laid out here only because, again according to Van Shouwen, Ricky Renteria singled out Moncada’s effort on the play as lacking. (“If you’re asking me if he gave his best effort, no he did not,’’ the skipper told Daryl.)
Seriously? On this hobogoblin of a team, now a season-high 26 games below .500 for the second time in a week, this fluke of a play is what gives the jefe the runs? Oh boy.
Chicago saw its 2-1 lead evaporate in most unfortunate fashion in the fourth. With two out and Nomar Mazara on first, Carlos Rodón was massively hosed by home plate umpire Joe West. His 3-2 slider had the entire plate, but because catcher Omar Narváez had set up for an outside slider and was forced to dart inside, West was shaken out of his country karaoke daydreams and made the lazy ball four call.
Rodón was rattled by the call, and promptly walked the next batter, Profar, on four pitches. Sacks packed, Chirinos clocked a heater down the heart of the plate over Avisaíl García’s head in right, clearing the bases and giving the Rangers the lead for good.
The meltdown, understandable or not, shortened what started as a promising start from Rodón. The lefthander finished with a 32 game score, throwing 5 1⁄3 innings and giving up six hits, five earned, two walks (just three Ks) and two homers.
Bright spots? Well, the White Sox had 12 hits, a spot that dims considering just four runs were generated. Matt Davidson, arm fully iced after his closer outing on Friday, went 3-for-4 with a double and homer. Sánchez and Engel chipped in two hits.
Renteria, in addition to the harsh call-out on Moncada, apparently kept the clubhouse closed for an extended run postgame, presumably for some form of team meeting. Some of that meeting needed to feature him speaking into a mirror, it seems.
Tomorrow’s 2:05 p.m. finale, with first pitch launched at temperatures approximating the surface of the sun, sees Reynaldo López taking on Cole Hamels. Let’s call it a tossup, but just to be sure, the White Sox may want to consider subbing out Texas’ electrolyte packets with, uh, flower food? Salt? Taco Bell sauce packets?
Ricky calling out Yoán’s hustle on a bang-bang play in the first, in this of all games, fair or nah?
This poll is closed
Yes, fair (insert random and likely unrelated expletive about Yoán here).
No dice, Ricky, pick your spots, or at least don’t throw a 23-year-old under the bus on a play like that.