If to err is human, then the Chicago White Sox are about as human as human can get. In today’s 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals, not only were there three official errors, but plenty of other, uh, let’s be extremely charitable and say “miscues,” as well.
On top of that, it was a game of opportunity missed, opportunity captured, and then opportunity missed again. Call it boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, until finally girl tells him to get lost.
Dylan Covey pitched almost as well Anibal Sánchez, with less luck. He gave up a single to Adam Eaton and double to Juan Soto in the first, but a grounder ended it.
The first White Sox attempt to hand the game to the Nats came in the second, when Welington Castillo singled, Eloy Jiménez walked, and Charlie Tilson singled, pitting the bases full with nobody out. But then Tim Anderson K’ed looking and, when Yolmer Sánchez lined to third, Castillo got caught napping and was doubled off.
In the bottom of the second, Matt Adams hit a double to right and then scored on a Kurt Suzuki single as Leury García’s throw was up the line.
The next gifts to the Nats were in the bottom of the fourth. Juan Soto bunted a single against the shift (raising the question of why that isn’t done regularly to make the shifting stop, and demonstrating that a working brain is an asset), Howie Kendrick was safe on replay on a Sánchez error on a ball where Yolmer had to go far to his right, and Adams got a single on a routine fly that was yet another case of Eloytering in left. Covey did his best, holding Washington to one run on a fielder’s choice, but that was one run better than the Sox managed in the same situation.
The two pitchers took control until the top of the sixth, when Yoán Moncada unleashed a 417-foot, 107.5 mph bomb:
That sent Anibal out of the game, but the one-run margin didn’t last. Jace Fry came in to walk Adams in the bottom half, then Evan Marshall took over and didn’t fare as well as usual, giving up a cheap double to Suzuki and a sac fly to Victor Robles. Then he got pinch hitter Gerardo Parra to pop up, but a backpedaling Anderson dropped the ball for an error (should it have been Leury’s call? Discuss.) and Suzuki scored. A strike-’im-out-throw-’im-out followed, a little too late. The run was the first on Marshall’s tab this season, but it was unearned, so he still sports a 0.00 ERA.
Down 4-1, the Sox needed the Nationals worst-in-MLB-by-a-mile bullpen to play down to expectations, and, unlike last night, it obliged. Kyle Barraclough cruised through the seventh, but in the top of eighth he showed why teams don’t usually hire pastries. He gave up a single to García, Moncada drove one to the wall where Soto made a great grab, and then José Abreu — who was supposed to own Anibal, but got shut down until the relievers came in — sent one 419 feet at 106.4 mph to cut the score to 4-3:
That wasn’t Jose’s hardest-hit ball of the day — he’d had a 111 mph single earlier — but it drove Barraclough back on the shelf next to the scones and Danish, and brought in Wander Suero. That’s an apt name for his performance, because his first pitch wandered belt high, giving him occasion to swear at a 412-footer by Welington Castillo:
That sort of made up for Castillo’s earlier TOOTBLAN, and maybe even sort of, for the moment, excused him batting cleanup.
So, tie game, and Aaron Bummer continued being terrific, at least at pitching, if not fielding, throwing for his second inning. He tossed a routine comebacker into roughly row Q, but worked out of it.
In the ninth, things looked momentarily good. Anderson led off with a single against Nats closer Sean Doolittle, but then Ryan Cordell tried to bunt him over and instead more or less hit a one-hopper to third, so Anderson was out 5-4 ( isn’t there anyone, at any level in the Sox system, who can teach players how and where to bunt?). José Rondón then singled, but García struck out on a pitch that would have been eye-high to Shaq, and Moncada followed suit, though not as egregiously.
Alex Colomé came in to make it closer vs. closer, but just didn’t have it. He walked Brian Dozier on four pitches, then went 3-2 on Trea Turner before delivering an upper-zone fastball.
Cue the fireworks:
Note how gentlemanly our closer is, pausing on-field to allow the triumphant clubber to pass him on the third-base line en route to his Gatorade celebration.
The Sox get a day off before a three-game series at Kansas City. The Royals have been even worse lately than they were earlier, falling to equal Baltimore for the worst record in the majors (a depth few would have thought even possible), so maybe those games will be less harrowing than the two in Washington.