The White Sox went into today’s game with an advantage over Texas, because the Rangers played like their World Series 2011 version, where they had a couple big hits that ultimately meant very little. And when Joey Gallo couldn’t produce when it counted, it saved the game for the Sox.
Early control issues plagued Dylan Cease (like, really early. He was at 26 pitches in the first inning with one out, bases loaded, and two walks right in a row). It didn’t help that Luis Robert gifted Isiah Kiner-Falefa with a triple when he bounced a ball off his foot, and made the rest of the play so slowly that Kiner-Falefa could have just walked to third.
Maybe this was all some kind of strategy.
Dylan Cease taking 32 pitches in the first to try and ice Dunning is an interesting strategy.— Bennett (@thebennettk) April 24, 2021
By the second inning, Cease was at 50 pitches and looked lost. It’s a miracle that the Rangers didn’t take full advantage of his poor control to run up the score.
Then, the South Side luck changed.
At the bottom of the second with one out, Grandal was gifted a walk and Yermín Mercedes was able to move him along to second with a nice little pop in front of center fielder Leody Tavaras. Andrew Vaughn managed to hit into a double play to end the short rally.
The bottom of the third is where things really opened up. Singles from both Nick Madrigal and Tim Anderson had runners at second and third when Adam Eaton hit a ground-rule double to drive them in. Then a 103 mph single by Yoán Moncada brought Eaton around, and just like that it was a 3-0 ballgame, ending Dane Dunning’s 2021 scoreless streak.
We were seeing the Rangers defense that had shown up at the start of the season, like that clown-car, 14-10 Opening Day loss to the Royals).
The White Sox offense got up and going quickly to drive the lead to five by the time the third ended, with Dunning gone and reliever Kolby Allard managing to force Madrigal to ground out. The hits kept coming into the bottom of the fourth, with Anderson getting on and being driven in by Moncada.
And the hits just keep coming pic.twitter.com/I6oixhH2BX— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) April 24, 2021
Cease broke his 4 2⁄3 inning streak ... by going 4 1⁄3 , after throwing 80 pitches and giving up a two-run home run to Nick Solak. Evan Marshall came on and later coughed up a three-run home run in the top of the fifth, which brought the Rangers within one of the White Sox.
Unfortunately struggles by the White Sox bullpen continued into tonight, first with Marshall, then Matt Foster struggling through his relief outing, and finally with a hit given up by Aaron Bummer to tie the game in the sixth. Just like that, the White Sox lost a 5-0 lead.
This would be less concerning if they weren’t on two days’ rest.
The bullpen was projected to be one of the strongest points for the team. And the struggles extended even to bad defense, when Bummer threw past José Abreu to lose an easy out in the seventh.
At some point, the White Sox have to decide (and fast) what they want to do about the bullpen, because these struggles cannot continue. For all the “It’s only 18 games into the season!” critics, how far long into the season do we need to be before the critiques to the bullpen can be made?
Luckily, the game was saved by Mercedes and Madrigal RBIs in the bottom of the seventh, giving the White Sox a two-run lead that the Rangers couldn’t quite make up. An opposite- field home run from Moncada sealed the deal in the eighth, and all-in-all it took 16 hits to defeat the Rangers.
Liam Hendriks came in to clean up the mess and keep the lead intact. He served it up, outside of giving up a home run to Adolis Garcia (his second of the night), sealing the win for the White Sox. Your closer having to cover 1 2⁄3 innings and 32 pitches isn’t ideal, but Hendriks isn’t you’re common closer type, either.
Random Game Things
- People continue to be confused by Yermín Mercedes languishing so long in the minors and not on a MLB team, especially when stats like this keep coming up:
Yermín Mercedes: 16 career MLB starts. 5 three-hit games. Amazing.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 24, 2021
- Naperville local boy Nick Solak is apparently named after the bar his parents met at, which feels very Midwest.
- Someone ran on the field, and I wish they would show it on TV because it’s always hilarious:
The ranking of things running on the field that aren’t the players obviously goes 1) animal 2) person 3) naked person.
A fan on the field always reminds me of my first job in high school, which was security guard at Soldier Field. One of my jobs during football season was to stand at the end of the aisle in the end zone (field level) and make sure no one ran on the field. I’m 5´2´´ on a good day, so there was no way I was stopping a 300-pound drunk guy who wanted to run on the field (luckily, never happened).