Well, that one wasn’t pretty.
Yet another disappointing game, as the Chicago White Sox (35-39) lose the series finale in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels (37-41). A shutdown night from Shohei Ohtani on the mound leads to the team getting just one run, just after their offensive breakout last night. The loss now moves the team six games back of the Minnesota Twins for first place and four back of Cleveland for second in the American League Central.
Right away, Ohtani got into some early trouble, allowing a leadoff single to Tim Anderson and a two out single to José Abreu, who was 4-for-4 tonight. Unfortunately, Ohtani struck out the other three batters he faced to get out of the inning.
Michael Kopech also had some early-inning trouble, allowing a leadoff single to Taylor Ward followed by a double from Mike Trout to put the Angels on the board 1-0 before the first out was even recorded. Jared Walsh grounded into a force out that scored Trout due to a missed catch from Kopech covering first base.
Ohtani and Kopech both continued to roll through their scoreless innings, exchanging strikeouts, but the White Sox never seemed to be able to get anything going. Ohtani had a great night, fanning 11 on some nasty pitches. He also escaped some jams, including a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning that ended with a Josh Harrison strikeout. Ohtani was taken out in the top of the sixth as his pitch count reached the 100s, with Abreu on first with two outs. He picked up the win and went 5 2⁄3 innings with five hits, no runs, one walk, and 11 strikeouts.
José Quijada came in and AJ Pollock singled to advance runners to first and third with two outs in the most pivotal part of the ballgame. Surely with Leury García due up and Andrew Vaughn on the bench, with a lefty bullpen arm on the mound, Tony La Russa would call for AV in the pinch, right? Well, he didn’t, and García hit a ground ball to the mound to end the inning. Sigh.
Following that mess, the Angels lead was doubled in the bottom of the sixth inning after a Walsh single followed by a two-run home run by Luis Rengifo. Now at 4-0, that would be the end of the night for Kopech, as he went 5 1⁄3 innings with five hits, four runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. He picked up the loss, and is now 2-5 with a 2.78 ERA.
Although he didn’t get the win, it's nice to see Kopech’s strikeout numbers climbing back up and seeing good movement on his pitches.
Reynaldo López took over and got out of the inning, and José Ruiz took over in the bottom of the seventh, pitching a clean inning.
Ryan Tepera. Remember him? If you’re wondering where he went and what team he ended up on, spoiler alert, it was the Angels. He started off his inning with a strikeout, followed by trouble after Luis Robert reached on a fielding error and Abreu singled yet again.
This video basically sums up the night — some may even say the season.
After that minor embarrassment, Robert advanced to third on a force out and then scored Chicago’s only run of the game in probably the least fun way: a wild pitch. But hey, a run is a run.
Pollock flew out to end the inning without any further damage.
The late-inning attempt for a comeback was cut short, as Raisel Iglesias shut it down in the ninth inning to secure the win.
Overall, the offense got a break as Ohtani was taken out relatively early due to a high pitch count, and couldn’t do anything against the Angels short-handed bullpen. The cycle continues, thinking the team is back because they scored double-digit runs one game, followed by close to nothing the next.
The team will have a chance to rest on its off-day tomorrow before going to Oracle Park to play the San Francisco Giants for a series starting on Friday. The good news about an off-day is nothing bad can happen (hopefully), right?
Friday will be Lance Lynn against Alex Cobb, and no, the team won’t have to face Carlos Rodón throughout the series — the last thing fans need to see right now. Get ready for some more late West Coast starts, as Friday will see a 9:15 p.m. CT first pitch.