The White Sox dropped back to two games below .500, and worse, get shut out by the Baltimore Orioles on Pride Night. After a fantastic couple of wins against Toronto, Chicago has embarked on a new losing streak (just two games, but still a streak), moving their record to 33-35. For context, the Orioles have 32 wins as of today and are just 2 1⁄2 games worse than the South Siders.
Because the White Sox offense is the White Sox offense, and the Orioles are ... the Orioles, this was essentially a pitching duel for the first few innings. Johnny Cueto had a solid start to the game, retiring the first four batters, until Ryan Mountcastle recorded the first Baltimore hit with a double to left-center. Cueto also walked his only batter of the game in the second, but was able to work his way out of the jam unscathed. Johnny then got into a similar situation in the third, with a Trey Mancini double to AJ Pollock, who quickly got the ball to Tim Anderson, who completed the relay to Seby Zavala to throw Cedric Mullins out at the plate.
Cueto would go on to complete 5 1⁄3 innings while giving up three and striking out seven. Mountcastle seemed to have Cueto’s number tonight, roping two doubles and a single in his three at-bats against him. Adley Rutschman hit a two-run homer in the fourth to score Mountcastle and break the ice, 2-0. Reynaldo López inherited two Cueto baserunners in the sixth, and Rutschman struck again with a double to increase the lead to three.
The White Sox offense got off to a hot start, but were (unsurprisingly) unable to capitalize on their opportunities to score any runs throughout the game. Dean Kremer also gave up seven hits to the South Siders, though he turned his quality start into a shutout effort — racking up four strikeouts and only walking Gavin Sheets in the sixth. Truthfully, this game was kind of like watching paint dry, outside of a few clutch defensive plays from both teams. The relay in the third from the White Sox was a crucial out (even though in the it would not matter), and the Baltimore outfield continuously showcased what it looks to actually have outfielders playing proper positions. Groundbreaking concept, I know.
Outside of Pollock, Josh Harrison, and Lenyn Sosa (making his MLB debut), the South Siders were able to log at least one hit a piece, however, they simply could not score a run. Sheets doubled in his first game back in the big leagues, though he would go on to get thrown out at home plate by the length of 15 football fields, thanks to a Joe McEwing masterclass. I mean seriously, what the hell is he doing over there this year? Anybody? Bueller?
Why has NOBODY talked about how bad Joe McEwing is at his job this season?!— Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23) June 24, 2022
Zavala and José Abreu had decent nights at the plate, each going 2-for-4 while leaving four on base combined. Seby attempted to start a late rally in the ninth, but the rest of the squad fell short. Andrew Vaughn was able to get a hit early in the game, but he led the team tonight with five runners left on base and struck out to end the game — yikes.
The White Sox did not have the clutch gene tonight, putting a ton of traffic on the bases (nine hits, three walks) but couldn’t even muster one across the plate against the last-place Orioles. Eleven total runners left on base for the White Sox ... mercy. The bullpen held their own for the most part, and ReyLo looked great once again. José Ruiz pitched a scoreless inning for once, and Jimmy Lambert did his best — giving up an RBI single to Cedric Mullins in the ninth.
There are still three games left to redeem this series, but the White Sox once again are two games below .500. I was told to wait until June for the team to turn it around, and we are about to enter July with no “spark” or miraculous turnaround in sight. Instead, we have our base coaches running us out of innings, batters missing opportunities to drive in runners in scoring position, and an offense that shows up three to four days a week. Isn’t this ride supposed to be enjoyable? (Or something like that?)
To be fair, this was the toughest pitching matchup of the entire series for the White Sox, and if there was a game the team was ticketed to lose, it was this one. Tomorrow the White Sox will have Michael Kopech on the bump, and he’s looking to redeem himself from a tough outing against the Trash Can Bangers last Sunday. Kopech has posted a 2.38 ERA on the year, and has proven dominant time and time again. Let’s get the bats going to kick off the weekend, and pick up a win to get this team back on track.