For lack of a better term, the Chicago White Sox got their butts kicked by the Oakland Athletics today, dropping the series finale by a lopsided score of 10-3. The 90-loss A’s jumped up and down on the Sox all afternoon, finding every gap in the Collesium with their 14 hits. With this loss, the Sox fall to 72-69 on the season, snapping a four-game winning streak and losing ground to the first-place Cleveland Guardians, who now lead the AL Central by 2 1⁄2 games.
It wasn’t the best way to end what had been an otherwise very successful road trip.
Manager Tony La Russa, sidelined by health issues that included pacemaker surgery, was in the ballpark today to attend the number retirement ceremony of Dave Stewart. Now, I’ve taken a few statistics courses in my time on Earth, and I know better than to imply that correlation equals causation. I know that La Russa’s presence didn’t cause the White Sox to wet the bed against the A’s today. I know that. But come on, it’s a little funny to think about, and the jokes are just laid up so perfectly. La Russa pokes his head into the dugout for 10 minutes, and then this happens? It reminded me of that scene from The Office when Stanley is wearing a stress monitor, and every time Michael comes near him, the alarm goes off. In seriousness, I wish La Russa the very best — and I hope he can fully recover from his California home.
Of course, the White Sox loss didn’t have a single thing to do with La Russa’s presence. Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto was nowhere near his best today. His velocity was down, and he was clearly bothered by his rocky performance. Lasting only 4 ⅔ innings, it was the shortest outing that Cueto has had all season. It was clear from the beginning of the game that Cueto wasn’t at his best, but things really went sideways in the fifth inning. That’s when the walls came tumbling down.
It started with back-to-back singles. It was followed by another single — and then two doubles. And none of them were cheap. The A’s were seeing Cueto very well and making great, solid contact. It certainly didn’t help when Leury García had a foul ball — which should have been the third out — pop in and out of his glove. After that, Ramón Laureano made it hurt with a three-run home run over the left-field fence.
When it was all said and done, the A’s batted all the way around (and then some), and Cueto was left holding the bag, allowing six runs to score in the fifth inning.
It was rough stuff, friends. Cueto’s record falls to 7-8, and his ERA nudged up from 2.87 to 3.09.
Oakland’s starting pitcher Cole Irvin did a great job today of keeping the White Sox hitters at bay, allowing only four hits and striking out five during his seven innings of work.
And that was it. Not too much to write home about, Sox fans. The team will travel home and enjoy an off-day tomorrow before starting a two-game series against the Colorado Rockies, followed by a season-defining week in which they will play four games against the Guardians. (Cue scary music.)
Today’s scorecard highlights:
- This was my working title for today’s recap after a few strange review calls and that dumpster fire of a fifth inning.
- Adam Engel did not have a good day. Like, at all.
- Sox lose.