The White Sox (75-71) snuck past the Detroit Tigers (55-90) (pain) tonight, once again in extra innings. It felt exactly like last night’s game, too, but this time Chicago spared us and came out on top.
Johnny Cueto was due to start, but he is under the weather so it became Davis Martin Night, ladies and gentlemen. Martin has a 4.09 ERA on the season, and as a spot-starter this year on a team riddled by as much nonsense and injuries as the Sox, he’s done a pretty good job. Davis walked Riley Greene to start the game, but quickly induced a double play to shut that down and get out of the inning.
Davis retired his first eight batters, until Akil Baddoo laced a tripled to right, but he still went scoreless for his first 5 2⁄3 innings, until Victor Reyes drove in Tucker Barnhart in the bottom of the sixth to take the first lead of the game.
It’s just one run, who cares, right?! Well, not when your offense just suddenly forgets it exists one to four days a week. Yoán Moncada doubled in the first, but the offense did not follow suit. Vaughn attempted to get things going with a leadoff single in the second, but the South Siders just could not get a handle on Eduardo Rodríguez. I was going to make an attempt at a sarcastic joke about how the White Sox are terrible against mediocre pitching, but they’ve all run their course by now, and every game functions the same.
For the most part, the first six innings of the game was relatively boring. Neither team could hit the ball, and the defenses were fine, but unspectacular. It was kind of like we were all just sitting around waiting for something to happen. Romy González made a pretty neat play in the sixth, though.
The White Sox loaded the bases in the top of the seventh, and while most were (rightfully) guessing that nothing would happen, AJ Pollock came through to drive in the go-ahead runs for the Pale Hose, who the lead, 2-1. This game was starting to feel like a repeat of last night, but mirror-imaged, and that’s pretty much how it played out.
Greene came up in the bottom of the eighth with Baddoo on second, and ripped a single that Elvis Andrus was able to cut off at short. Baddoo didn’t think Andrus had a chance at it and blindly blew through the stop sign at third base to score, in full Jack Sparrow fashion. Baddoo should have been dead to rights and out by 20 feet, but Andrus was like a deer in headlights, seemingly forgetting he had the ball. He threw it home, but though he had three years to do it, the ball was wildly off-line and just like that the Tigers tied the game. Tough outing for Kendall Graveman tonight. And yes, the plays looks as stupid as it sounds, so maybe just check it out for yourself:
Reynaldo López came in for the ninth inning to hold the Tigers off and push the game into extra innings. ReyLo does not get enough love for being one of the most important pieces of this bullpen. In his last 10 appearances, he has a 1.86 ERA and seven strikeouts in 9 2⁄3 innings. Not bad AT ALL. He has been nails, and he pulled it off again — for the second night in a row.
The Sox looked as miserable in the 10th as they did last night — scoring nothing and ending on a strikeout. Leury García made a super-boneheaded base running play on an AJ Pollock ground out, but was able to stay in the rundown long enough for Pollock to reach second. It wouldn’t matter in the end, since Gavin Sheets struck out to end the inning.
Liam Hendriks came out in the bottom of the inning to redeem himself from last night, and he was able to smoothly escape, and was much more successful than yesterday. The White Sox bats were actually able to back Hendriks up tonight, too, as Moncada drove in Seby Zavala after an Elvis sac bunt in the 11th — finally, some decent(ish??) baseball. Eloy was able to bring in one more insurance run on a sac fly, and the Good Guys went into the bottom of the inning with a two-run lead.
Aaron Bummer came in to shut things down, but not without making it interesting, of course. Bummer gave up a pinch-hit RBI single to Javy Báez before the Tigers finally put everyone out of their misery.
The White Sox do just enough to string us along for one more day, as we move into the home stretch of the season. The same team that was able to blast five home runs against the division leaders has hardly been able to score three a game against one of the worst teams in the entire league. At this point, the only way the White Sox will make it into the playoffs is if the Guardians allow them to — quite literally — stumble in. And tonight, they seem to be doing just so, after blowing a five-run lead to the Twins and forcing about a dozen extra innings in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Who knows how the last couple of weeks will play out, but it would be nice to just know how this godforsaken season ends.
Series finale tomorrow, Johnny Cueto (illness pending) on the bump. Let’s see what we can do, shall we? (Cries)