After the Chicago White Sox clubbed their way to a nice win in the opener in Seattle on Friday, things were looking up.
After a heartbreaking, erroneous call to end last night’s pitcher’s duel and heartbreaking, erroneous relief pitching that marked today’s 11-10, fall-from-ahead loss, things are not looking up for the Good Guys as they head to Minneapolis to face the hungry Twins.
Courtesy of an eight-run fifth inning, the White Sox were up, 10-5, in the eighth inning and found a way to lose.
Seattle was gifted 11 walks in the game, including two to end the game. In the bottom of the ninth, Austin Nola and Kyle Lewis singled, with an outfield error by Ryan Cordell pushing Nola to third base. With Dee Gordon pinch-hitting, manager Ricky Renteria made the curious call to intentionally walk the speedster, setting up a force at any base. Not a lot of confidence in your infield defense, but then, perhaps Renteria can’t be blamed for being gun shy.
However, it was all rendered moot when Ruiz walked Tom Murphy on six pitches. You can quibble with pitch No. 6 catching the plate, but if the umps walked yesterday’s game off on a clear and precedent-set double, it sure seems a borderline inside and tight fastball from Ruiz wasn’t going to keep them away from their postgame spread another minute.
The loss was a shame, not only due to its ridiculous, late-collapse nature, but because of that figure eight put up in the fifth — one that immediately answered Seattle’s five-spot in the fourth. Wow. A walk and an error put two men on with nobody out for Adam Engel, and he spanked it for a three-run shot. That led to a serious case of Don’t Stop Now Boys, because after an RBI single from José Abreu, Welington Castillo clocked a grand slam two batters later.
You’d think that would have been enough. But then, you’d think a major league team was incapable of issuing 11 walks in a game — or a bullpen 10 in five innings. Hector Santiago alone had six walks, in 3 2⁄3 innings. Nobody on the White Sox pitched well today, and even in some of the worst games this season, that’s still a relatively rare statement.
In fact, had the M’s hurlers been anywhere near as wasteful as ours — wasteful in a K/BB context, that is — the White Sox would have won going away. But Seattle pitching, even as they got hell kicked out of them in that delicious fifth, turned in 15 (!) Ks to one walk on the day.
That’s right, even in a game where the White Sox scored 10 runs, they managed to strike out 15 times. If only they hit more homers, Chicago might be the first three true outcomes team in history.
The White Sox fall to 65-84, clinging to a 71-win pace for the season. They’ve won just five of their last 19 games and are a season-high 19 games below .500.
The task gets more challenging tomorrow, when Reynaldo “will he or won’t he” López takes on José Berríos in Minnesota, a 6:40 p.m. WGN game.