The Marlins were not the only team that helped the San Diego Padres inch closer to clinching a postseason berth on Saturday night. The White Sox offered their own help as the Chicago club lost, 5-2.
I started reading Moneyball this week, so I took the opportunity to watch a meaningless White Sox game and get some pages in. The evening started on page 56 of the Michael Lewis tome. Elvis Andrus decided he wasn’t going to let me get a sentence in before hitting a 442-foot solo home run to start the game.
Five pages later, in the bottom of the first, Juan Soto hit his own solo home run to tie the game, 1-1. If there was a contest between the opposing home run hitters, Elvis would have won by a good 40 feet.
As I turned to page 71 in the bottom of the third inning, the White Sox challenged a ground-ball call at first base. The challenge was successful, and Jurickson Profar was called out. With Dylan Cease was struggling with his pitch count, this overturned call was welcome.
Things remained quiet until the top of the sixth inning, when Josh Harrison and Andrus hit back-to-back, one-out singles. I paused my reading on page 81 just to watch Mark Payton strike out looking and Eloy Jiménez pop out to end the inning.
I was committed to watching Cease’s last inning of work for the season, so I switched to folding laundry. As I was matching up a pair of running socks, the tie was broken up by a Jake Cronenworth two-run home run to make it 3-1, Padres. I followed up sock matching with folding T-shirts as Dylan followed up the home run with back-to-back walks that chased him from the game. Cease ended the night after five-plus innings of work and four earned runs, five strikeouts, and four walks.
We interrupt this recap to appreciate the Cease’s incredible season. The Mustache Man ends 2022 with a 14-8 record, 2.20 ERA, and 227 Ks over 184 innings — recording career highs in strikeouts and innings pitched.
Returning to the game, Joe Kelly took over for Dylan, and Brandon Drury scored on an Austin Nola single to make it 4-1. On that very play, Andrew Vaughn cut off the throw from right field to get Josh Bell heading to third for the second out.
By the time I got back to my book in the bottom of the seventh, Jake Diekman had entered the game. I read all of three pages before Manny Machado hit a solo shot to make it 5-1.
Harrison came up to bat with runners on first and second with nobody out in the top of the eighth as I turned to page 90. Harrison grounded sharply into a double play, pushing AJ Pollock to get to third. Elvis Andrus knocked in Pollock in with a two-out single to trim the lead to 5-2. Bad baseball would end the eighth inning, as Andrus got crossed up at second base and picked off.
Josh Hader came into the ninth to close things out, and that would be it for the South Siders. The White Sox closed the night out two games under .500, and I finished the night 40 pages deeper into Moneyball.