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How to thwart fan enthusiasm in 18 innings

Second straight drubbing by M’s loses series, with red-hot Tampa coming to town

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox
Three-for-three: The White Sox have yet to win a series this season.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After a stirring, fall-from-ahead-come-from-behind win in Friday’s home opener, it’s understandable that Chicago White Sox fans felt a bit of optimism. Coming off of a split in Cleveland, the presumptive AL Central winners throwing their best and third-best arms at the White Sox, taking the red-hot Seattle Mariners down a peg seemed to forecast better days ahead.

Well, after a 9-2 drubbing on Saturday and 12-5 defeat today, those better days are up in smoke, just like much of Chicago’s pitching staff and batting order.

Iván Nova pitched to contact again, but where he benefitted from lousy Cleveland hitters and frigid temps last week, today he ran into a buzzsaw of a Seattle offense, which touched him for seven hits and seven earned in the process of just seven outs.

Before the game was half-over, the White Sox were buried, 11-2, leaving fans hoping that in-game rains might intensify enough to wipe this debacle from memory.

Ryan Burr, Caleb Frare and José Ruiz came on to try to douse the fire, but the three combined for three innings, four hits, four earned, two walks, a K and two homers. Ruiz gave up two hits, but in the process of recording one out, lowered his season ERA to 40.50.

Welington Castillo didn’t do much to help his pitchers today, snagging a daily double of a passed ball and error in the game, while going 0-for-5 with a K and five men left on base at the plate.

Bright spots? Well, Jace Fry righted his ship a bit, throwing 1 23 innings with a walk and a K, chiseling his swolled ERA down to 12.27. Kelvin Herrera was nails again, striking out the side in the eighth. Alex Colomé, for some reason pitching the ninth (come to think of it, the three best arms in the White Sox bullpen pitched today, in a game that got no closer than six runs late), gave up a laser beam to Daniel Vogelbach, giving the portly power hitter two dingers and six ribbies on the day.

Wait. This was supposed to be about bright spots.

Well, Tim Anderson remained white-hot, and unfortunately he was the only White Sox hitter doing such in the game, as Anderson’s four hits repped 40% of the team’s total. The 4-for-5 day gave Anderson 10 hits for the series.

Anderson’s first three hits were singles, and in the bottom of the seventh, it looked like he’d hit his third home run in as many days:

The home run was overruled on review, as center fielder Mallex Smith pulled some funky hand jive with his wrist/glove and caromed a home rum ball back into play. Get some glove oil for Mallex, stat!

The four-hit day pushed Anderson’s season average to an MLB-best .560, which is a full 131 points better than second-place D.J. LeMathieu in the American League. Even just eight games in to the season, that’s not a margin anyone is used to seeing.

Yoán Moncada was just 1-for-5 with an RBI, but had a nifty, heads-up play at third base to tag out Dee Gordon with runners on the corners and no one out in the third inning of a game that was then just 1-1. Tune in for the play, stay for Jason Benetti’s funny call of the out:

Not much else, really. Adam Engel had a solo homer in the seventh that keyed a three-run inning that brought the White Sox to within six, but if that qualifies as a bright spot, it’s gonna be a long season.

(Oh, yeah. Oops.)

After the game, Ryan Cordell was optioned to Charlotte. Cordell started on Sunday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI, but his three outs all came by whiff. No corresponding move was announced.

Well, tomorrow Brett takes the coverage for the series opener against first-place Tampa Bay, with a dilly of a pitching duo: Carlos Rodón vs. 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell. It’s yet another day game (1:10 p.m. CT) broadcast by WGN radio and video.