For a while in Monday night’s 12-2 trashing of the Baltimore Orioles, it seemed the Chicago White Sox offense — though launching the ball in the air — wouldn’t get off of the ground.
It was a slow start against a bad pitcher in David Hess, even with the multiple fly outs. The first base hit for the team came in the third inning, via a single from Yolmer Sánchez. The real unfortunate thing for the Sox in the first four innings was the inability to capitalize on meatball pitches from Hess. Meanwhile, the same kind of things were happening with Manny Bañuelos.
In his first start in MLB since 2015, Bañuelos came into the contest allowing runners on base much more often than Hess, but the contact was weak. However, through the first four innings, even though the Orioles did not score, Baltimore’s hitters were not exactly fooled. Bañuelos was relying heavily on his slider, and it only had a 20% whiff rate. On top of that, only one other pitch garnered a swing-and-miss, Bañuelos’ changeup, one time in the fourth inning. But hey, it’s the Orioles, so not having your best stuff doesn’t matter that much.
It also helped that in the fourth inning with what looked like an attempted squeeze bunt, James McCann threw a bullet to third base to pick off Renato Nuñez.
Meanwhile, things got a little interesting for the White Sox in the fifth inning. Tim Anderson led off with his fourth double of he year to left field. He would advance to third on a passed ball. Nicky Delmonico, in his first MLB game of the year, walked to put runners on first and third with nobody out. Then, hero of the bottom of the fourth McCann finally connected on a meatball pitch and clobbered a three-run homer to left field.
Hess’s struggles continued in the fifth, as Ryan Cordell doubled — but because of bad baserunning, was then thrown out in a fielder’s choice on a Leury Garcia grounder. After Yoán Moncada walked on four pitches, Jose Abreu put a big hurtin’ on Hess with an RBI single past the shortstop to bring the lead to 4-0. Bañuelos left with a four-run lead, but was not credited with the win because he did not get through the fifth inning.
He did leave with a pretty good slider, though.
Ryan Burr, who for some reason came in for his 10th appearance of the season, looked fine through the first two batters but allowed a single and then an RBI double the next two batters. The 4-0 lead was already gone in the first inning of relief.
The next inning, Chicago’s offense attempted to get that run back with the bottom of the order. Delmonico reached on an error and Sánchez singled him to third. However, Cordell struck out swinging to end the threat. To his credit, Burr retired two more batters in the sixth, clearing the way for Jace Fry to face a lefty batter with clean bases. Fry proceeded to strike out that lefty, Rio Ruiz.
Abreu was apparently unsatisfied with the three-run lead and again, put a big hurt on an pitch. This time, it was a two-run homer that also scored Moncada.
The Sox were not done extending their lead, though. Yonder Alonso came up and doubled to right, followed by Anderson’s grounder to short that ended up deposited into the dugout. The throwing error allowed Alonso to score to bring the lead to six. McCann, the MVP of the game, added his third RBI after driving in Anderson to build an seven-run lead. With Fry still on the mound in the seventh, the bullpen was able to remain untouched for more than an inning, as the Sox led, 8-1.
An embarrassing inning for Orioles reliever Miguel Castro, began with a single to Garcia and walk to Moncada. Castro then threw a wild pitch, moving both runners up a base, and the hurtin’ from Abreu continued, with a two-run single. Castro the threw another wild pitch and in the process of walking Alonso. After finally recording an out, Castro decided to, again, allow a two-run base hit, this time to Adam Engel.
With that hit from Engel, all 10 batters in the game (Engel came in for Delmonico) reached base. White Sox fans, take a look at Baltimore to see what a truly disastrous teardown of a baseball team looks like. After McCann singled in the next at-bat, the Orioles finally put in a different pitcher (probably too little too late), and even Steve Stone started to crack jokes on the quality of Orioles relievers.
Thankfully for all parties involved, Jimmy Yacabonis retired the next two batters to get out of the eighth, with four White Sox scoring.
Well, what do you do when you are in an 11-run deficit, put in a position player to pitch in the ninth inning. Jesus Sucre, a catcher by trade, came in and threw “pitches.” However, he was probably the best “pitcher” of all the Baltimore guys this evening, as he set down all three Sox batters for a perfect ninth.
Before that interesting pitching performance from Sucre, Filthy Fulmer was back for an inning. Sure, Baltimore’s hitters are Double-A level, but all three pitches for Fulmer induced at least one of his five swing-and-misses in the inning. The best of those was his slider, with three swing-and-misses (37.5%) in the inning.
Just to note what happened in the bottom of the ninth, Josh Osich came in and allowed one run to close out the 12-2 win.
In total, the Sox had 15 hits and four walks in the game, and two more runners reaching base via an error. To contrast, Sox pitching allowed nine hits, which is a high amount, but only walked one batter and struck out 11. Sure, it was like the Sox playing the Birmingham Barons, but a win is a win, and a good performance is a good performance. Good thing the Sox play the Orioles five more times the next week and a half.