A series sweep is not what we planned or wanted, but unfortunately that is what we ended up with.
It was simply not Chicago’s week, dropping a third game to the Guardians, 6-3, to close out a dreadful series in Cleveland.
Dylan Cease got off to a decent start, giving up two sporadic hits in the first two innings, but was able to close the door on any scoring opportunities. Cleveland substituted José Ramírez for Franmil Reyes as the villain of the day when Cease surrendered a two-run home run in the bottom of the third. Not great, but with a little run support, things could still pan out perfectly fine!
… or so we thought. Zach Plesac seemed to have a chokehold on the White Sox bats, limiting them to just one run through 6 ⅔ innings. He gave up seven hits to the South Siders, but there wasn’t much to show from it.
The offense took a while to get going, until they became a threat in the fourth inning after a Robert double, García walk, followed up by another double by Abreu. Bad base running came back to bite the South Siders, as Leury essentially forced third base coach Joe McEwing to send Robert home with no outs; despite his speed, La Pantera was thrown out by a mile. I’m sure many of us had immediate deja vu from Wednesday’s base-running blunder that put Adam Engel in a very similar situation.
The Sox would get one run back with a Yasmani Grandal sacrifice fly, but stranded José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez to end the inning. What was Leury doing, you ask? The jury is still out.
Cease looked decent throughout his 5 ⅓-inning outing, He ended up giving up another run in the fifth before Bennett Sousa came in from the bullpen in the sixth. Dylan would leave Sousa with a couple on the bases, and the rookie reliever could not keep them there. Dylan ends the day giving up four earned runs and striking out just three.
But he did do this to Ramírez though, which was nice to see after he terrorized the Sox the last two games.
Dylan Cease, Ankle-Breaking 80mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/ziiKCcZIH8— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 21, 2022
The Good Guys started to get something brewing in the seventh inning, with Sheets and Burger starting up a two-out rally trailing just a pair of runs with … Adam Haseley coming up to bat? In a series full of boneheaded plays and decisions, we shouldn’t really be surprised that Tony let Haseley bat in a key moment to stay in the game — especially with a fresh Andrew Vaughn on the bench!
Well, it appears that the White Sox defense rubbed off on the Guardians, as Haseley got on base from a throwing error that allowed Gavin Sheets to score. In the same play, Cleveland threw home at an attempt to stop Sheets, but threw THAT one away as well, bringing speed demon Jake Burger in to score from first base and pulling the Sox within one.
Guardians going Three Stooges allows the Sox to narrow the gap on an Adam Haseley swinging bunt. Two errant throws, and the Sox get two runs. They trail 4-3 in the seventh.— Vinnie Duber (@VinnieDuber) April 21, 2022
Kendall Graveman came in to replace Sousa, and while the veteran has been very solid for the Sox thus far, he struggled a bit by giving up back-to-back hits, and another two runs were added to the Guardians lead. The defense was also not there to back Graveman up, with another error in the series by Tim Anderson. No doubt, Tim is just ready to get the heck out of Cleveland and start fresh this weekend. Matt Foster closed out the game, going 1 ⅔ giving up two hits and striking out one, not a bad outing from Foster in of a game that didn’t have many positives.
To make things even worse, Robert reportedly exited the game in the eighth inning after running out a ground ball. I’m choosing to believe this is just precautionary, because my mental well-being can’t handle another White Sox injury — especially to La Pantera.
Luis Robert appeared to tweak something running out that ground ball in eighth. Haseley now in center field, Mendick in left.— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) April 21, 2022
The last two days were full of pain, and honestly, just straight-up bad baseball. Yes, it is early in the season, but not being able to score, field, run, and coach are some things that could cause problems down the line — especially in a race for playoff home-field advantage in an expanded field.
All the Sox can do is move past Cleveland and lock in for their first series of the season in Minneapolis. Thankfully, we will have Lucas Giolito back on Sunday, and hopefully can steal a couple of games from the Twins.