OK, the idea of a pitchers’ duel that went scoreless into the ninth may have been a little ambitious, what with the first pitch Carlos Rodón threw knocked 401 feet into the right-field seats by Kolten Wong, but it still could have been a good, tight game, right?
Instead, it went from Wong to wrong in a hurry.
Rodón didn’t have his usual mastery, surrendering another solo shot to Tyrone Taylor to lead off the second, but the game stayed on the rails through the top of the fourth, when the White Sox got their first hit off of Corbin Burnes, a weak José Abreu single to right. Unfortunately, José slid past second as he tried to stretch it, turning first hit into third out instead.
Well, there was the bottom of the second when Rowdy Tellez — remember that name — hit a sharp grounder off of Rodón’s glove arm and got to second when Carlos tossed the ball into the dugout. Rodón then nipped .135 hitter Manny Pina on the foot, after which Burnes popped up a bunt that nobody managed to field, but he was tossed out anyway because he didn’t run. Rodón got out of that bizarre inning without harm.
You like harbingers? Those were definitely two. And they led to consecutive half-innings of total weirdness.
In the home fourth, Taylor led off with a single. Luis Urias bunted in an obvious attempt for a hit but only got it a few feet in front of the plate, so Zack Collins quickly scooped it up and fired it into right field, (one of his two errors on the night, the other on a steal of second) putting runners at second and third with no outs. Tellez hit a grounder to first, but Abreu’s throw home was off-line and Taylor was safe. After a walk to Pina — still a .130 hitter — Rodón got two strikeouts and was almost out of the inning when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Willy Adames, making the score 4-0 and ensuring Carlos would leave the game after a 35-pitch inning.
Think that was weird? Think it was badly played? Try the top of the fifth.
Yoán Moncada led off with a sharp but playable grounder that took a bad hop on Wong for a single, a moderately lucky way to get to first. Andrew Vaughn followed with a dribbler down third for a really lucky single. Bryan Goodwin followed Vaughn with a little bloop to left center that dropped a few inches in front of a diving Christian Yelich, for an even luckier single.
Bases loaded, no outs on what could have easily been a 1-2-3 inning but for Dame Fortune. But she wasn’t done yet — Leury García then barely touched what would have been strike three and hit a mighty 16 mph blast toward third which Burnes couldn’t get to in time, sending Moncada across the plate.
Key word there is “across.” As in “across, but well above.” Because Yoán came nowhere close to touching home, though he was called safe by plate umpire Jeremy Rehak. The Brewers then went through an old-fashioned appeal process about the missed platery, followed by a modern challenge, which led to very lengthy discussions with managers, multiple calls to New York, Jason and Stoney — mainly, Jason — going crazy about the unfairness of it all, and, after a few hours or so, Moncada being called out. Burnes then walked Collins, which may have made it the only game ever in which two of the top pitchers in baseball each walked in a run.
But now it was 4-1, bases loaded, one out, Burnes reeling. Not reeling enough, though — he struck out pinch-hitter Jake Burger on three pitches and got Tim Anderson to fly to right.
Even Dame Fortune can’t help you when you execute like that.
That was pretty much it for excitement, except on the Milwaukee side for two massive Tellez solo homers (I told you to remember the name), one each off of José Ruiz and Reynaldo López, who otherwise each pitched two very solid innings including four strikeouts. (López has been pitching very well in his few relief stints since being brought back from Charlotte, and Rick Hahn was at the game, so we have to hope Hahn doesn’t decide ReyLo is the answer to White Sox bullpen woes and quits hunting for a top reliever ... assuming he’s been doing such hunting.)
As for the Sox offense in the last four innings, Goodwin had a single in the seventh that was erased by a DP, and Vaughn did hit a nifty double with two outs in the ninth. In other words, not the slightest sign of a threat, even though Burnes left the game after six.
Final score 6-1, making it 13-2 Brewers in games one and two. The White Sox will try to avoid a sweep tomorrow night, in a game being carried by ESPN. That should be the third straight pitchers duel, Lance Lynn vs. Brandon Woodruff, but so far only one team has remembered about the pitchers’ duel part. One must hope that the White Sox got all the really embarrassing stuff out of the way before the national audience shows up.