The Baltimore Orioles are on pace to win 50 games in 2019.
Whoops, wait, check that. I’d blocked out of my mind that the Chicago White Sox have dropped three of five games this season to an otherwise 50-win team. After a comeback, 5-4 win for Baltimore (featuring a shutdown relief effort!) in the opener of tonight’s doubleheader, make it a 57-win pace for the O’s. Bet they wish they could play against the White Sox every week, eh?
Frankly, it was more fun tracking WIN05’s franks at the ballpark than it was following this game after the third inning, when the White Sox put their offense in deep freeze against one of the worst pitching staffs mankind has ever produced. I’ll spare you the goriest details, perhaps, but Chicago mustered one extra-base hit — a double by José Abreu — against the Orioles.
David Hess, of the 5.34 ERA Hesses, got the start, and somehow put his April 22 pasting at the hands of the White Sox in the rearview mirror enough to largely manhandle Chicago’s dangerous (OK, against AAAA pitchers, at least) offense. Hess lasted just four innings and yielded four runs (just one earned due to a leaky D that committed three errors in the first three innings, including a throwing error by ... Hess) on four hits.
Hey, let’s watch a highlight of Baltimore’s funny D, back in a more innocent time, when it seemed this game was due to be a laugher and Jason Benetti felt secure enough in the farce to break out the Blazing Saddles references early:
OK, well, 3-0 wasn’t quite the peak of this game for the White Sox, although getting to 4-0 foreshadowed some of the horror that was to come.
With one out and ducks on the pond, two runs already scoring in the frame and Hess “on the ropes” of sorts, Nicky Delmonico blew a squeeze bunt with [checks notes] Abreu barreling down the line from third. The play was so Ricky, and so Nicky, well, they might as well have called the game there.
It had been a helluva third inning for Delmonico, as his inherent Nickyness surfaced in left field in the top of the frame, pinballing a catchable fly into a Jonathan Villar double, as Carlos Rodón presumably popped another button or two off the top of his jersey.
Now, Delmonico redeemed himself to a degree, slapping an RBI single to raise the ante to 4-0 in the third inning. But, mistakes were made. The lost opportunities of the Delmonico-Abreu suicidal squeeze would haunt the White Sox.
That’s because as the game turned over to the fourth inning, Rodón gave almost all of the early bounty back. We later learned Carlos was suffering from blisters — but without making light of a feel injury for a pitcher, shouldn’t the team ace be able to stave off the flaccid bats of Baltimore even with, like, severe frostbite?
It was the old walk-single-wild pitch combo from Rodón that plated Baltimore’s first run, and a single-steal-ground out-double later, it was a 4-3 game. Our erstwhile ace wore it today: Bounced with two out in the fourth, three earned, five hits, two walks, a wild one, six Ks and showering off with a 5.19 season ERA on his docket one day into May.
Rodón lost his misbegotten almost-win in the seventh, when Jace Fry got boom-boomed with a walk to leadoff batter Trey Mancini, surrendered a safety to Renato Nuñez and saw the whole brick house go up in flames after Dwight Smith Jr. — who’s either a pretty good young hitter or sees the White Sox staff as the easy meat it is — doubled to tie everything up.
An inning later, ol’ reliable Kelvin Herrera, the middle part of the Fry-Herrera-Alex Colomé bridge to victory, collapsed under the weight of a leadoff triple to Richie Martin (yes, a guy named Richie Martin doubled and tripled in the opener) and sac fly.
The White Sox did not even presume to tease the Dollar Hot Doggers in the crowd — several dozen showed up to partake in the almost-free tube steaks tonight — by whimpering out of the game, whiffing four times in the final two frames.
For the record, WIN05, I had two dogs myself while writing this recap. Veggie dogs, mustard, no grilled onions, although if I had more time, yeah, I could have pretended my tears were not over these lousy White Sox but the slicing of onions for the skillet.
As it is, I’m WAY over my allotted time writing about this crap game, especially when the headliner, Lurker Laura, is sure to top my meanderings with some sort of extended metaphor into outer space, or a hot dog story from her youth, that will make you happy to be a dedicated South Side Sox reader even if our beloved may be on the verge of dropping successive series, and a doubleheader, to the ... Baltimore ... Orioles.
I’ll play myself out, handing the stylus over to LL with just a smidge of grrrl power ...