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Evil eighth fuels full flogging: Sox eviscerated, 11-4

Houston piles on seven runs in Chicago’s weak-spot stanza

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Grimace and Wear It: Santiago let one run in of his own accord; an Avisaíl García fly ball flub added another six to the southpaw’s tab.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Do you actually want to read a recap of this nonsense?

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  • 49%
    Yes. As a Sox fan, I hate myself and want to cry.
    (57 votes)
  • 22%
    No. You are murdering my soul with this prose, no matter how pithy.
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  • 28%
    Huh? I got lost on my way to The Crawfish Boxes, where I was going to read a recap for a winning team.
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If you voted no:

Thank you! My brain hurts from watching this team night after night, and my vision has blurred out of self-preservation.

If you voted yes:


Well, my fellow masochists, waaaaaaay back on the second game of this road trip, in Texas (the Arlington one, not the Houston one, with air conditioning and homages to Halliburton), the White Sox coughed up seven runs in the eighth inning. Chicago lost, 13-4.

If you were like me, you said to yourself, damn, that was ugly. Even in a season that is record-shatteringly ugly I bet I won’t see a cavalcade of clown cars like that eighth inning, for, like, years.

Well friends, first, stop talking to yourselves, because it’s not a good look in conjunction with a record that is 30-58, again a season-worst 28 games below .500.

Second, here we are, not even a week later, and spladam, another seven-run eighth.

Hector Santiago came in to finish out a 4-1 game, fresh and spry, still feeling buzzed over his beastly six Ks in two innings that slammed the door of a Tuesday’s win at Cincy in extras. Yeah, he gave up three singles and one run, sandwiched around a K, before Houston’s most cuddly racist, Yuli Gurriel, lofted a seeming sac fly toward Avisaíl García in right field. Faster than you can say “token suspension,” García whiffed on the catch, and the floodgates opened.

Before the echoes of the final, thunderous roar for a 200-foot fly ball faded, six more runs, and seven total, crossed the plate.

What was looking like a longshot run at a tie game in the ninth was rendered an impossible mission. Yet, ironically, with two outs, and on a two-run club from García and solo poke from Palka, the White Sox indeed crept to four runs.

Before the evil eighth, that would have been good enough to knot the ballgame.

But make no mistake, Lance McCullers Jr. did his part to murder the White Sox and kick the corpse over his seven innings for the Astros. He whiffed a career-high 12 batters, and was stingy with the safeties, hurling 5 13 innings before Adam Engel, of the he’s-still-on-the-major-league-roster? Engels, broke up the no-no with a yes-yes to right. Engel’s single begat Yoán Moncada’s, and quicker than you can say remember-we-swept-you-in-2005, Yolmer Sánchez tapped home a single to draw to within 3-1. José Abreu, whose June-July slump is going to go down in history as one of the weirder wheezes into an All-Star starting berth, tapped into a double play, dispatching McCullers back to the dugout to watch some rodeo on his iPhone, or whatever it is these automaton aces do between auto mowdowns on the mound.

McCullers would clock in with a nigh insane 85 game score for his modest seven innings of work, brushing the White Sox off of his shoulder like dandruff. Don’t laugh: a) that was a lame simile and b) for the competitive eight innings of this game, the White Sox offense (one walk, 13 Ks) was scientifically proven to be less robust than dandruff flakes.

Heh, I was about to wrap up without ragging on Reynaldo López, who rumor has it was pegged as a 2019 Opening Day starter in the same gamethread in which some (unnamed) scribe noted that tonight’s game would be Chicago’s best chance to steal a game in the Juice Box.

Well, López was not good. Nibbled, nibbled, nibbled. Like, if I was pitching for the White Sox, I’d be throwing sidearm and submarine and just praying my upside-down eephus pitches would nip enough of the statcast box to steal a few strikes. But, see, Reynaldo López is not me. He is a young, powerful, cannon-armed potential ace. He is not allowed to nibble, even at the dining room table.

But López and his hellish heat nibbled. He walked five, struck out two, allowed six hits and three earned, conjuring a 39 game score. Rather than balloon his game to meet that of McCullers, López shrank. Burning through 97 pitches to eke through only 4 23 innings meant a fatigued pen was tapped early, triggering the descent into madness the unveiled itself in the eighth. Starters tapping out before the sixth invite bullpen massacres; tonight, Chris Volstad and Santiago were victims. It may have just been a case of second-degree pitcherslaughter, but ReyLo is still going to have to answer some questions postgame.

Anyway, hey, tomorrow’s game starts 0-0, at 3:10. Big Game James Shields is on the bump, and one of the Big Claims by Big Game James this season is innings-eating. That’s a minimum hope, in fighting off the stupendousness that is Charlie Morton (10-2, 2.55 ERA, 133 Ks). I’m not going to be an idiot like that other SSS guy and make any predictions.

OK, one: The White Sox are going to strike out a minimum of 68 times.