When a team goes behind 9-0 and only gets back a smidge closer because the other manager is kind enough to use a reliever who has no business in the major leagues anymore, you’d think it would be hard to find highlights...
But, no! There were White Sox highlights! Lots of them. Well, okay, not many, but there was this:
First @MLB career strikeout for Romy González! pic.twitter.com/wIggdQ1cy8— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 16, 2021
Yes, that was September call-up Romy González, tossing a nifty strikeout of Angels catcher Max Stassi on a 76 mph burner.
You thought Romy was an infielder? Well, he was until the ninth inning, when Mike Wright, Jr. threw a pitch an inch or two away from Shohei Ohtani, and then followed up with one that hit the MVP-to-be. Given the White Sox were angry when José Abreu got hit on just one inside pitch Tuesday, that got Wright the heave-ho, after which Tony La Russa pretended he cared and got tossed as well. The Sox had used up all their planned pitchers, and there was only one out left, so in came Romy “Big Train” González to finish the Angels off.
Was that the only highlight? Heck, no! Though it is the only one the White Sox put in their Twitter feed, for which they can hardly be blamed.
There was Liam Hendriks, scraping off some rust while striking out the side in the eighth, including getting his 100th K of the year, which somehow worked into some combination of things that ties a White Sox record, though it’s not one anybody cares about.
Is that it? Of course not.
There were also several defensive plays where the Sox didn’t make an error or fail to get a double play that should have been made. Sure, they had three errors - two for Tim Anderson, though one of those really belonged to César Hernández for not getting his butt over to cover second, and one on Eloy Jimenez, who decided to split the difference between the cutoff man and the plate on a throw home. But they had more non-errors!
There was Jace Fry getting through an entire inning only giving up two runs! Good thing the White Sox called him up!
Zack Collins only had to chase two balls he failed to block back to the screen!
And, other than hitting him, there was holding Ohtani to two infield singles and a 117 mph rocket off the back wall of the stands but a foot or two foul!
But enough highlights! Let’s get on to the lowlights! By which we mean:
To answer my own question in the gamethread - no, the Reynaldo López renaissance did not continue. On the good side, he struck out seven Angels, six of them looking, but that doesn’t make up for giving up seven hits and seven runs - six of them earned - in four innings. López had crummy defense behind him, but it was mostly on him, including two homers and a three-run double.
Yes, Reynaldo’s stat line was almost as deceivingly bad as Dallas Keuchel’s was deceivingly good the game before, but, no, it did not give one hope he can be effective in the playoffs.
Actually, White Sox pitchers held the top of the Angels lineup in relative check. It was numbers six through eight, the weak-hitting trio of Luis Rengifo, Jack Mayfield and José Rojas, that had eight RBIs, four of them by Mayfield.
As for the offense, Alex Cobb, pitching for the first time since going on the IL July 30, held the Sox to two singles in five innings. He did so on just 66 pitches, so could presumably have gone a few more innings were the game in doubt rather than 9-0 at the time.
The White Sox did get four hits and draw two walks from Junior Guerra in the sixth and part of the seventh, which led to all three runs and a lot of guys left on base. Two for nine with runners in scoring position doesn’t close big deficits. Abreu did have two of the RBIs, though, getting him up to 109, so there is some silver lining.
The Sox end the season series with the Angels 2-5, but they now get to face Texas, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit again to coast to the end of the regular season. The magic number stays at seven, games behind the Astros for home field advantage in round one goes to 2 1/2.