“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
Charles Dickens probably wasn’t a huge baseball fan, considering he died just a year after the sport was “created” in 1869, but his words still ring true, especially about Wednesday afternoon’s White Sox game against the Seattle Mariners.
The Sox had high hopes of leaving the Pacific Northwest with a winning record. Unfortunately, those hopes were crushed in just one inning. White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel went five innings with four hits, three earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. Although a much-improved start from his season debut against the Angels, he still had a hard time finding the strike zone in the first two innings – throwing more than 40 pitches.
Keuchel found his groove after giving up one run in the third inning, and looked like the Dallas of yesteryear. The team was looking good with a 4-1 lead — until the sixth inning when Keuchel, again, ran into a bit of trouble. After a throwing error by Adam Eaton (his third of the season, mind you), Keuchel would be replaced by Matt Foster with two Mariners in scoring position and no outs.
Without any interruption from Tony La Russa, Foster thew 34 pitched and allowed seven runs (five earned), on five hits to give Seattle an 8-4 lead heading into the seventh.
La Russa told the press after the game “I did a really lousy job of managing that [sixth] inning” and that there was “no excuse” for leaving in Foster that long.
It’s safe to say La Russa’s bullpen management has been all over the place the first week of the season. José Ruiz, Aaron Bummer, and Liam Hendricks kept the Mariners quiet for the rest of the game.
But the White Sox offense couldn’t come back. There were no late-inning heroics for a team that enjoyed so many last season. After scoring three runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth, the team drew blanks. José Abreu, Zack Collins, Luis Robert, Danny Mendick, Nick Madrigal, and Andrew Vaughn would all tally a hit. Yasmani Grandal and Mendick would each get an RBI (well done Mendick, in his first game up this year) and Collins drove in two.
The injuries also keep rolling in — Billy Hamilton left today’s game with a hamstring injury. Hamilton had a strong start to the season, so losing an extra outfielder when the team is already down two does not bode well for the Sox. This will most likely give Vaughn more outfield playing time. And depending on the extent of Hamilton’s injury, Adam Engel will most likely be thrust into the action as soon as he returns from the IL.
This loss is an odd one because this is a game that definitely could have been won. It falls on the shoulders of La Russa, and he’d be the first to admit that. The most frustrating factor in losses like this one is that when something goes right for the South Siders, there is most definitely something that goes wrong.
So yes, Charles Dickens, the beginning of this season has been the best of times, and the worst of times. It has certainly been a tale of two teams.