Well, I hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s win, because tonight the White Sox fell 6 1⁄2 games behind the Minnesota Twins after tonight’s loss. In another game where the White Sox only scored just three runs (no, seriously, it’s been 20 times), they fall to the Angels in yet another close game. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote about a win at this point.
While the first couple of innings weren’t smooth, Lucas Giolito had a much stronger outing today. Four hits and two runs were quickly given up in the first two innings, but he settled in and only relinquished two more hits the rest of his start. And to be honest, the two runs Lucas gave up came from Gavin Sheets botching a fly ball to deep right from Brandon Marsh, and seemingly hitting it over the wall as it came out of his glove. In the end, the call would be ruled a triple rather than a home run, but Marsh would score off of a single from Andrew Velasquez, giving the Angels an early two-run lead.
The White Sox outfield being primarily made up of corner infielders and designated hitters strikes again! An outfield full of outfielders is quite literally the dream.
South Side hitters would get off to a slow start at the plate, as Noah Syndergaard retired the first nine, putting everyone instantly on “no-hitter watch.” Thankfully, with the help of a leadoff single from Tim Anderson in the fourth, they were able to dodge any additional embarrassment. Syndergaard’s slider kept fooling White Sox batters — and least until the sixth, when back-to-back doubles from Andrew Vaughn and José Abreu knotted the game, 2-2.
Syndergaard game back out for the seventh inning and started to implode a bit. Sheets continued to swing a hot bat with a single, and Noah followed that up by booting a bunt from Seby Zavala to get himself into a jam. A hard-hit single by Josh Harrison scored Sheets, giving the South Siders a 3-2 lead. Syndergaard was able to get out of the jam with the help of a boneheaded base-running error from Seby, and Lenyn Sosa grounding into a double play. The White Sox making errors on the base path? You don’t say! The only thing that would be more on-brand would be if Joe McEwing sent Zavala into an out.
Syndergaard was able to make it through seven innings, and limited this opponents to three runs on six hits, while striking out seven and only walking TA to leadoff the sixth. And the Sox wouldn’t get another hit the rest of the game.
The main difference in this game was once again that the opponents’ defense outplayed and outshined the Sox. Taylor Ward made a phenomenal catch against Luis Robert in the sixth that most certainly saved at least one run, and Tyler Wade also made a diving stop to steal a hit from Tim Anderson in the eighth to stop any momentum from being built, preserving by then a 4-3 Angels lead.
Giolito remained strong through six innings, he gave up just 2 runs while recording just one walk, to David MacKinnon in the third. In total, Gio gave up six hits while striking out another six throughout his 90-pitch outing. Lucas notably shut down Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani five out of six times he faced them — including two strikeouts apiece -—with only Shohei reaching once, on a single. He threw his fastball majority of the time today, though his changeup was as effective as ever, fooling Angels batters left and right and achieving a 71% whiff rate. I’m not saying Lucas is back, but I’m not NOT saying it either. But really, let’s hope he can carry this momentum into his next start.
Reynaldo López came in to relieve Gio in the seventh to preserve the lead, and immediately walked Max Stassi — and if there is one thing we know about walks, is that they always come back to bite you. After a Marsh single and a Velasquez sac bunt, Ward doubled just out of reach of Robert, scoring both runs and propelling the Angels back up by one run, making the score 4-3, Bad Guys. ReyLo has been pretty solid all year, his ERA only increased slightly to 3.44 after today’s outing, and I’ll still take him over a lot of guys in the bullpen right now. It most definitely is not helpful when your offense can only score three runs in a game — but López had a job to do, and failed this time.
Jimmy Lambert made it out of the eighth inning unscathed after a pair of baserunners threatened to score with two outs. Outside of his one hit from Marsh and a Kurt Suzuki walk, he made it out alive, faring much better than Reynaldo did in the seventh.
Unfortunately, the White Sox continue to lack run support for their pitchers; why does it feel like they can only score three runs at a time? While ReyLo did struggle and sadly blew the lead, you aren’t going to be able to safely win baseball games scoring only three runs. The eight runners Chicago left on base did not provide any assistance — though neither did Leury García replacing one of the few guys that is actually hitting the ball with any sort of authority right now. If Tony La Russa is going to force us to watch Sheets play the outfield, we might as well milk whatever positives he is able to contribute with his bat, because Leury’s .462 OPS is not going to cut it.
They really pulled Gavin to put Leury in?— Chrystal O’Keefe (@chrystal_ok) June 28, 2022
The White Sox seem to find it impossible to string more than a couple of runs together at a time, and are relying on one to three batters a night to produce all of their runs, with Vaughn and Abreu leading the way right now. It’s great to see these two heat up (and remain hot), but it would be great to see others contribute, rather than striking out three times in one night (cough cough AJ Pollock).
The White Sox are now one game above .500 on the road, and are even worse at home (16-21). This team truly doesn’t make any sense anymore, as they were unbelievable at home in 2021 — but sure, it’s the injuries. The Sox just feel flat as a team right now, and if you didn’t know, the new word on the street is if you aren’t “enjoying the ride,” you’re not a real fan. Well personally, I’d rather be a realistic fan than ignorant one.
Bottom line, if the front office is unwilling to make any necessary changes to compete in this division, then we are going to continue watching this season spiral into a black hole of disappointment.
Johnny Cueto is on the mound tomorrow for the South Side, and he has been nothing short of fantastic — joining the team as a part-time sixth starter but quickly making his way as one of the most important arms on the roster. Let’s manifest another serviceable outing from Cueto and hope that the offense can figure something, literally anything, out.
Can’t we at least try to enjoy the ride?