If there’s one thing we want to do with this series, it is absolutely bury it and never speak of it again.
The Chicago White Sox have been swept by the Houston Astros in this four-game series at Minute Maid Park, ending on Sunday in brutal fashion. Other than a close 2-1 loss, the Astros absolutely dominated the South Siders on all cylinders, showing that the injury-driven Chisox need to make some more substantial changes to their lineup to start playing better against contending teams.
Lance McCullers Jr. had a great 1-2-3 inning in the top of the first, while Dallas Keuchel was on the mound against his former team, getting into trouble early. He allowed a leadoff double to Jose Altuve, followed by an infield single to Yoán Moncada. Keuchel then produced a strikeout, walk, and another strikeout. With the bases loaded and two outs, Abraham Toro hit a single to Tim Anderson to make it 1-0.
The White Sox answered back after a one-out single by Yasmani Grandal, and a home run by Jake Lamb over the right-field wall to jump ahead early, 2-1.
Keuchel responded with a 1-2-3 inning in the second, and McCullers only allowed a two-out walk to Moncada in the top of the third.
Trouble started to brew in the bottom of the third, as Michael Brantley had a one-out walk, followed by a single from Carlos Correa, which should have been an out. Yordan Alvarez singled with runners on second and third, making it 3-2, Astros. After a single by Toro to extend the inning even more, Taylor Jones doubled making it 4-2. Keuchel issued back-to-back, two-out walks to Myles Straw and Altuve, one of those being an RBI walk to make it 5-2.
Keuchel got he hook right then, replaced by Matt Foster. Kid Keuchy went 2 2⁄3 innings with seven hits, six runs, and four walks. This moved his ERA to 3.98 and his WHIP to 1.34, as he grabbed his second loss of the season.
The damage wasn’t finished, as Foster walked in another run to make it 6-2 and capping a five-run inning. Correa also hit a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning against Foster to extend their lead to 7-2.
Zack Burdi replaced Foster in the bottom of the fifth inning, and started off by hitting Martin Maldonado. With two outs, Chas McCormick singled, followed by Brantley driving him in on a single as well. A key component to notice is that almost every single player in the Astros offense contributed to their lead, as the bats were working well from the top to bottom of the order. Now at 8-2, the game was almost unwatchable between the errors and lack of offense for the White Sox.
McCullers continued to breeze through the South Siders order. He started off the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings with leadoff walks, but each of those walks was followed by a double play. To start the seventh, Blake Taylor replaced McCullers, as his final stat line was six innings, two hits, two runs, four walks, and four strikeouts. The White Sox used Aaron Bummer, Codi Heuer, and Liam Hendriks in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, all authoring scoreless outings.
Ralph Garza Jr. came in to close out the game for the Astros, and started off the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. A two-out rally was in the works, though, as Abreu drew a walk followed by a double by Brian Goodwin and a walk to Zack Collins. Unfortunately, Andrew Vaughn popped up to end the game.
Is it clear that the front office should at least be open to the idea of acquiring another power bat to boost this offense as we approach the trade deadline. With Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez still out for an extended period, additions are necessary. There are also many other options when it comes to players from Charlotte making an appearance (Jake Burger or Gavin Sheets), while letting players like Yermín Mercedes find his groove again.
With that being said, the team will have a much-needed off day tomorrow, and start a two-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates on Tuesday. Lucas Giolito will be on the bump, followed by Dylan Cease on Wednesday.
And on the bright side, maybe Cease will give the team some offense with his current 1.000 batting average and 0.2 offensive WAR.
Enjoy the off-day tomorrow, and let’s go back out there on Tuesday and do what we do best.