In a season like 2019 for the Chicago White Sox — one that is shaping up to look a lot like the 2018, 100-loss one still eruchtating in our throats — fans are going to have to revel in simple pleasures.
Last year, somehow holding serve with powerhouses like the Boston Red Sox or Milwaukee Brewers, or a walk-off win against division rival Cleveland, were examples of the sort of thing we were forced to make last. After all, when it’s just 62 wins, you’ve got to luxuriate in each one.
This year, beating the Chicago Cubs whenever possible — even when whenever possible sizes up to be an utterly meaningless March 3 contest, some four weeks before things really get serious — would be an example of the simple pleasures that could help make another bitter season go down easier.
If the performances of Manny Bañuelos, Juan Minaya and Aaron Bummer in today’s horrific, 13-4 burial by the Cubs is any indication, get in the habit of reaching for antacid as soon as their names are announced over the P.A.
Bañuelos, acquired for Justin Yurchak in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers early this offseason, has had the inside track on the No. 5 starter spot pretty much from the moment he became a White Sox. Looking at his 1 1⁄3 inning, four-walk, one-HBP, two-earned run spit of the bit on Sunday, Bañuelos not only doesn’t want to be in Chicago’s starting rotation this year — he doesn’t want to pitch in Chicago at all.
In the bottom of the first, Bañuelos sandwiched walks to Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber around two routine outs, before walking David Bote, forcing in a run.
Hey, no harm, no foul, the Cubbies have a few hitters, so OK, first-inning jitters. Bañuelos did escape giving up just one run, on no hits.
But then, the second inning came around, and it started with Addison Russell lining out to José Abreu and then Bañuelos hitting Johnny Feld with a pitch, on a 2-0 count.
Exit Bañuelos. Hey, at least he threw a no-hitter, of sorts.
The problem with ripping Bañuelos out of the box with one out in the second is that it forced Minaya into the game, and somehow, Minaya was even worse than Bañuelos. The Cubs peppered Minaya with walk-homer-single-single-double like machine gun fire, and when the infield dust cleared, Minaya had taken a 1-0 game and downgraded it to 6-0.
The problem with Minaya’s 0.0 IP, five-hit, six-earned, one-walk effort is hat it led to Bummer being inserted into a 6-0 game.
Bummer did what Bummer has done all too often this spring, and in his White Sox career — burn the mother down. His entry into the game was greeted with another three straight hits (double-single-single) and three more runs.
People, 10 straight Cubs reached base in the second inning. The Cubs strung together eight straight hits in the second inning. That’s like, hard to do. That’s hard to do even if you’re trying to let the Cubs get hits.
So, OK, it’s 9-0 through two. Yu Darvish, a swell fella but an utter abomination in his first year with the Cubs, apparently resuscitated his career on the basis of just seven Sox batters. According to Darvish, he was throwing better today than he ever has in his career. See what just two innings against the Chicago White Sox can do for a guy?
A disturbing trend surfacing on the White Sox this season is not just being bad, but being bad in a way that buoys a hated rival. Darvish’s one-day makeover on Sunday is reminiscent, in a completely different but similar enough for this aggravated example of the moment way, of the White Sox not only trading for a fifth-wheel clubber in Yonder Alonso, but helping Cleveland get out from under salary constraints of their own making in the process. Suddenly, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco can stay together! The Tribe is back, baby! Huzzah!
OK, anyway, so this game sucked. The Cubs made it 10-0 through three, on a sac fly, but were then stymied as the White Sox managed to string two straight pitchers (Aaron Burr and Jace Fry) together who seemed to have a semblance of a clue.
Now, if you count the beginning of this game as the fourth inning, well then, bub, you’ve got a White Sox winner! The South Siders managed to pick up four garbage runs, on homers from Abreu (solo), Adam Engel (two-run) and Danny Mendick (solo), while those ivy bumblers could only muster three, as they downshifted from fifth gear to tires-off-in-the-driveway-car-up-on-blocks.
There was some postgame video of Eloy Jiménez (0-for-3 in a contrived revenge game) getting prodded through talk about the Cubs by the Sox beat, then going over and chatting up the Cubbies coaching staff. You really want to see that crap, after all the “game crap” you just read? I didn’t think so.
I’m sure the White Sox tweeted out video of Mendick’s homer, or tacked a cool hashtag onto José’s clout, but, whatever. Not gonna do it.
The White Sox host the Angels at Camelback Ranch tomorrow. White Sox pitcher TBD, one of the few guys on the spring roster who wasn’t mauled by Cubs hitting on Sunday, will take on Trevor Cahill.
Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT, and you can watch this one on the White Sox MLB.com feed, if you so desire. South Side Sox management is not responsible for damage to vision, hearing, spirit or soul if you choose to do so.
It’ll be another possibly “lite” gamethread and late recap, as it’s my 50th birthday tomorrow, and I’m going to choose to spend it as far away from the Chicago White Sox as I can (interestingly, you might say that SB Nation management is on board with that). The last time I celebrated a 50th birthday — my wife’s — Welington Castillo was suspended after his rather unorthodox Tour de France training prep was revealed.
Fingers crossed we can have a calm, quick, painless, 3-2 game on Monday.
More information on today’s game.