After a dispiriting Game 1 of a doubleheader, and a similar sinking feeling in Game 2, the Chicago White Sox’s hopes rested on Yonder Alonso.
The bottom of the ninth dawned with the Sox down 6-5 to the Orioles, they of only 10 wins on the entire season thus far. It was looking like a sweep on the day, and an ugly 2-4 record in the season series between the two teams.
But then Leury García walked, and Adam Engel (whose baserunning also resulted in a Sox run in the second) beat out a soft grounder, putting two men on and nobody out. Hope rose in a weary Sox recapper’s heart. However, Yoán Moncada grounded out — although he did advance the runners.
Then, things took a very Sox-ish turn: José Rondón, after being up in the count 2-1, got a visit from Nick Capra, and then proceeded to attempt a bunt. With guys already on second and third. And one out. Down by one. In the bottom of the ninth. Capra must have told him to do this, because otherwise why did he walk to home plate to talk to Rondón? What was the purpose of an attempted bunt, exactly?? Never mind, I don’t want to know. I wrote “WTF” in my notes. Even Benetti and Stone were utterly silent on the matter, which usually means they are thinking “WTF?” also. Then of course, Rondón struck out on a pitch down and away, not even close.
José Abreu, who has been doing unholy things to the baseball in his last 10 games, was intentionally walked to get to Alonso.
Sox fans’ hearts sunk once more.
Alonso had been 0-for-4 for the nightcap and 0-for-8 for the day, perfectly in line with the .190 batting average he brought to the plate with him.
And then, what do you know, this happened:
Before that, there was some ugly. The Sox struck out 16 times. Dwight Smith, Jr. continued his best Mike “Sox Killer” Sweeney impression. Tim Anderson made two errors. Iván Nova pitched.
But Yonder was the hero. Just for one day.
Tonight’s three things ...
This rebuild might work: Abreu was 2-for-4 with four RBI, this after going 2-for-5 with two RBI in the first game. Yes, there is legitimate debate whether José will, or should, be on this team in 2020-21, and thus if the rebuild works will he have any part in it? But this is my feature, so I get to name who I want.
I watched so you didn’t have to: Both of Anderson’s errors came in the seventh and led to Baltimore’s go-ahead run.
This is what it feels like to be a Sox fan: In the eighth inning, down 6-5, contemplating that after this (presumed) loss, the Orioles will have only 11 wins, but 36% of them against the White Sox.
A four-game set against the Red Sox starts tomorrow. The White Sox have some good promotions going, and the weather looks good Saturday and Sunday.