[If you didn’t check the gamethread, a heads up that this recap is being written in bullpenning fashion, with me imitating a different writer’s style each inning.]
Francisco Lindor led off the game by golfing an 0-2 cutter 15 rows into the left-field seats, setting “opener” Jace Fry on a 30-pitch odyssey through Cleveland’s lineup. Fry got two quick outs after the gopher ball, then surrendered a single to Edwin Encarnacion and walk to Josh Donaldson. The rookie escaped the two-on jam with a spot of luck, whiffing Yonder Alonso with a 3-2 fastball right down the middle.
In the bottom half, Omar Narváez rewarded Ricky Renteria’s confidence in putting him at the coveted No. 2 spot in the order with a three-fastball whiff.
Aaron Bummer entered to start the second inning and immediately got himself in some trouble with a seven-pitch leadoff walk to Melky Cabrera and advanced him to second with a wild pitch. After a fielding error by Tim Anderson, runners were at the corners with none out, but then Bummer caught a break when Cabrera was caught off third by Yolmer Sánchez and Welington Castillo on Robert Perez’s grounder. With runners on first and second, Bummer dug deep and punched out Lindor and Michael Brantley.
In the bottom half, it was an embarrassment of impatience, as Daniel Palka grounded out on a first pitch, Matt Davidson whiffed on three pitches, and Castillo took two balls, was momentarily stunned by the catbird seat bounty of a 2-0 count, and promptly struck out on the next three pitches.
Is it possible to be less patient on offense than the 2018 Chicago White Sox?
This poll is closed
Yes. Theoretically, a team could swing at every single pitch.
No. And if it is, I don’t want to see it.
—Year of the Hamster
As Bummer pushed to a career-high in pitches (previous high, 33, just six days ago), it’s no surprise that he immediately doubled the Cleveland lead: a José Ramírez double that he thought hard about taking third on, followed by an Encarncacion single. Bummer ended the inning at 54 pitches. Leave it to Ricky Renteria to screw up a bullpen day in the third inning. Take the rest of the year off, Aaron.
A small celebration broke out in the White Sox dugout and at Fan Appreciation Night at the ballpark when the lineup managed not to turn over before getting one man on base, No. 9 hitter Adam Engel, who walked. And was stranded at first.
- Not only did Bummer throw a career-high 33 pitches last Thursday at Cleveland, he threw outings of 12 and 19 pitches during the Cubs series.
So, fourth inning, Fan Appreciation Night, White Sox unable to score or hold back the Cleveland offense. Not good.
Bummer was allowed to ice his arm after an unbelievable 54 pitches, relieved by Ryan Burr. Did you know Aaron Burr was the sitting vice president when he shot Alexander (not Ian) Hamilton in that illegal duel? Hey, what do you want, my dad’s a history teacher.
Anyway, better to talk history than White Sox baseball tonight, as Burr got two quick outs, which is nice. Then he put Brantley and Ramírez on with dreaded, two-out walks. Not so nice. And of course, after falling behind 2-0 and scraping back to 2-1, Burr offered up a choice-cut fastball that Encarnacion drilled out to Indiana. With the bases cleared, Burr started filling them back up, with a walk to Donaldson. After a visit from Don Cooper, who might have reminded Burr that his spot in the bullpen in merely penciled in for next year, Burr buckled down and got Alonso to fly out. Just like they drew it up in the clubhouse.
The White Sox — you might be detecting a theme here — did nothing on offense. Avisaíl García walked, but Palka and Davidson whiffed to end the inning.
—Danks for Nothin
So, a no-hitter, huh? One of my last games of the year, and this is what you’re going to do to me, White Sox? The best part is: I don’t get away with just writing about the White Sox getting no hits, I have to write about Cleveland continuing to maul us.
Let’s get the fifth inning started, mmmkay? Burr put runners on the corners with old friend Cabrera — hi Melky, you mischievous miscreant — doubling, singled to third by Jason Kipnis. Burr got yanked, inviting Jeanmar Gómez into the game, putting out the fire with gasoline as Perez singled in Cabrera. Next up, hey, Lindor how about a single for you? And finally, Brantley plates the seventh Cleveland run with a sac fly.
For the White Sox, two quick outs and ... a hit! Yes! Yoán Moncada broke up Shane Bieber’s no-hitter with a towering Baltimore chop off of home plate that soared so high in the air that Moncada was across first base before the pitcher could get a throw off. Bieber immediately smiled, seemed to mouth “that’s a shame,” in reference to surely one of the silliest ways to lose a no-hitter in the fifth inning, and promptly whiffed Adam Engel to get out of the “jam.”
This rebuild might actually work: Moncada’s blinding speed showed just how dangerous he can be when he puts the bat on the ball.
I watched so you didn’t have to: The next batter, Engel, opted not to take Moncada’s cue and use his speed by making any sort of contact, looking at a third strike for Bieber’s eighth strikeout of the game.
This is what being a Sox fan feels like: The most compelling moments of the first half of the game came with Southpaw offering to pay to have Chuck Garfien’s suit cleaned after it was doused postgame Tuesday.
Gómez struck out Encarnacion, 3-for-3, on three pitches to start the sixth inning. Seven runs in the game already, and the guy who’s already hit a massive bomb, who the White Sox should have signed in 2017, gets punched out on three pitches. Well, still, I hate this offense for Cleveland; why can’t we have this offense? Did you see that rocket Lindor hit to open the game? Guy is like 125 pounds and he puts one on the concourse; our guy, Moncada, is built like a brick shithouse and he can’t hit the ball out of the infield. BUST.
So Gómez better have enjoyed his strikeout to start the inning, because he got rocked after that: walk to Donaldson, double to Alonso. Then he got Melkman to fly out. You mean to tell me Nicky Delmonico is better in left field than Melky this season? Melky’s fun, he hits the crap out of the ball, the White Sox know him and like him. Cheap move. Gómez got knocked out after Kipnis doubled in two and Perez drove Kipnis in. Put Gómez in a bullpen cart and drive that bum back to Philadelphia already. 10-0.
Thyago Vieira came in for Gómez and got Lindor to fly out to end the inning. I like Vieira; can’t spell his name, but he’s got crazy eyes and has nasty heat. He’s got a place in my 2019 bullpen.
In the bottom half, Yolmer led off with the first real hit of the game for the White Sox, a muscle double to right. Sánchez can motor. You know who else could motor, before his knee injuries? Harold Baines. Dude was a five-tool guy. You want to put Omar Vizquel in the Hall of Fame before Harold Baines? Stat nerds can bite me.
Bieber stamped out any rally with three straight outs, including my guy Palka, who grounded out to end the inning. He’s still a total bro, though. My No. 1 target to party with after hours at the Palmer House in January? Palka.
It’s no surprise that the White Sox would be down 10-0 in the seventh inning of a meaningless September game vs. division-winning Cleveland. The entire season has been meaningless. And that’s being kind. Playing service-time games with Eloy Jiménez, and to a lesser extent Michael Kopech, has made this 2018 team worse than meaningless; they’ve moved backwards.
Five seasons of fourth-place finishes is what the Rick Hahn Era has given us, in a major market, from a once-proud franchise. Wake me when it’s time to put a Top 10 prospects list out.
Oh, these bribed tools of reactionary intrigue failed to score in the seventh. And managed to hold serve with Cleveland as well. We’re reduced to calling that a victory.
It was a scary moment in the top of the eighth when Rob Scahill, who relieved Vieira to start the inning, knocked Erik González down with a pitch that nearly hit him flush on the cheek. González left under his own power. What made that scary HBP even worse was that Scahill had already hit Brandon Guyer to lead off the inning, then gave up a single to Greg Allen.
With one out, and pinch-runner Rajai Davis at first, Scahill took a few warmups to compose himself and got Brandon Barnes to tap into a 6-4-3 double play.
Moncada led off the White Sox eighth with his second hit, a crisp single to left field. That’s the sort of thing we’ll need to see more of from a potential five-tool player. It’s a matter of reps for Moncada from the right side; it’s going to take work for him to master hitting righty, including getting the lift he needs with his contact to progress from being a punch-and-judy righthander to a power threat from both sides of the plate. Accomplishing more line drives and fly balls than balls on the ground, like this single, will be key in determining whether Moncada will be a mere solid regular in the majors, or a star.
Engel then followed with a fly out to center, and the inning ended with Moncada still standing on first, after both Sánchez and Narváez struck out. Eleven strikeouts and three hits; I’ll have to agree with larry here, the White Sox are ending this season with a pretty embarrassing whimper.
I wake up in the morning and fear the encroaching crispness of fall seep through window seals shaken loose by months, years, decades of thunder, wind, cold, crashes, collapses of the world outside and shake my head no, no, no, not another day of the pain and futility of this life, where so little warms me even in the peak of our summer days, when the hissing of lawns or pop of a scheduled firework fails to draw me from the numbing lull that stalks me, day after day, and I fear will push me headlong into my grave. And then, crack of wood to hide, a shutout avoided and smattering of claps, and another, and I am gestating once more, awaiting the wash of spring warmth on my face and new life, new love, new triumphs to come.
The White Sox lost, 10-2, with 100 losses still looming on the horizon.