Baseball’s back on the South Side, and so are the City Connect jerseys. Is there still a curse on the City Connects? Let’s find out.
A loud chorus of boos and some trash can bangs greeted the Astros batters in their first at-bats against Dylan Cease.
Sounds like a lot of folks here tonight are supporting Astros hitters José AltUUUUUUUUUve and YUUUUUUUli Gurriel. pic.twitter.com/U7VcchlJy9— Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) July 17, 2021
Cease cut through the first three hitters easily, with a fly out to center by Jose Altuve and striking out both Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel like it was nothing. The curveball was nasty, and everything looked bright. Then Tim Anderson led off, taking a first-pitch sinker down the left-field line for a triple.
That Anderson hit was so nice, let’s watch it again:
OUT. FOR. BLOOD.— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) July 17, 2021
A first-pitch triple for TA7 pic.twitter.com/mkoE2bVAIf
Yoán Moncada added on by hitting another first-pitch slider into left for a double, scoring Anderson. Moncada was left stranded when José Abreu grounded out, Brian Goodwin struck out, and Andrew Vaughn flew out to right (though some apparent miscommunication in the field looked like the Astros were going to run into each other and not make a play). The damage was done, though, and we were at 1-0 White Sox at the end of the first.
In the top of the second, Cease struck out the side of Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and Kyle Tucker. It’s worth noting that Cease had been using all four of his pitches, and all were directed where he needed them, tying up Astros batters.
But things started to open up for the Astros in the top of the third, when they were able to capitalize on a walk to Martin Maldonado. The out at second was lost when Leury García didn’t cover the bag on a grounder by Altuve to short, leaving Anderson with no one to throw to, too late to throw to first. Brantley was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and a double to right by Gurriel put the Astros up, 2-1.
Things were at a solid 2-1 until a solo home run at the top of the fifth by Brantley gave the Astros a 3-1 lead. Luckily, no more damage was done after that, but the White Sox offense seemed to be asleep after their brief kick-start in the first. A two-out walk to Miles Straw in the top of the sixth put Cease at 104 pitches and got him the hook, for Codi Heuer. Heuer created a ton of traffic for himself, but managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam with no damage done.
Aaron Bummer came in to start the seventh. A single by Brantley and a walk to Gurriel came back to haunt him when Tucker hit a single to second that was bobbled by García, which allowed Brantley to come home, bringing the score up to 4-1. After hitting Abraham Toro with a pitch, that was the end of Bummer’s first appearance off of the IL. In came José Ruiz to get the final out — and the first batter he faced, Myles Straw, doubled to right to bring in Guirriel, Toro, and Tucker to push the rout up to 7-1.
Reynaldo López came out in the eighth in his first game back from Charlotte. He allowed one hit during the outing and threw about 20 pitches. With such a quality inning, Lopez came back out to start the ninth, because it was 7-1, and honestly, why not. No more runs were scored on either side, and a game that started with a bang ended with a big thud.
The White Sox offense was summed up succinctly:
The #WhiteSox haven’t had a hit since the second batter of the game. That’s #Ungood— Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23) July 17, 2021
One of the holes this game exposed was the need for quality at second base. Danny Mendick and García aren’t enough to start when the playoffs come. García made mental errors that could be costly down the line, things that wouldn’t happen for an everyday second baseman. Another addition needed is a solid, reliable middle reliever, because as it stands now things are not looking good for the White Sox going deep into games with shaky relievers. Something to think about as we creep ever closer to the trade deadline.
Good night, y’all. Don’t drink too much to drown your sorrows of this game.