Well, who could have guessed how this game would have turned out — except for pretty much ... everyone? The White Sox, now 76-74, sign off on their beyond-mediocre season, allowing the Cleveland Guardians to sweep them and steal the division on Chicago’s home turf. The White Sox now remain seven games back (with tiebreaker, eight) in the AL Central, and unless Cleveland decides to stop playing baseball, it has pretty much ensured itself a spot on the playoffs. At least now, we can rest knowing that we don’t have to keep spending all of our time and energy hoping this team would magically ride the Tony La Russa-less wave right into the postseason.
Johnny Cueto didn’t look as good today as he had for the majority of his starts, but he had a serviceable outing and managed to dance through some of the traffic he created for himself. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs (four total) in his six innings, walking one and striking out three.
The José Ramírez and Josh Naylor double-threat struck early in the first after a pair of hits, setting themselves up nicely for Andrés Giménez to squeeze bunt in the first run.
The South Siders answered back quickly, with José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez continuing to wreak havoc at the plate and tie the game, 1-1. But of course the Sox never learn, and allowed Ramírez to drive in another run on a sac fly in the third to make it 2-1, Bad Guys.
The Guardians showed no mercy at any point this series, and they were sure not to let up today. Cueto attempted to settle in and shut down a hot-hitting Cleveland lineup, but in the fifth inning, Miles Straw kicked off a rally that would add three more runs. The White Sox down three runs? Pack it up, this one is over.
Our newest and greatest White Sox killer, Steven Kwan, continued to have an exceptional series, adding a triple into the mix to bring in an insurance run. To make it worse (yeah, I’m going to) Kwan is batting .500 this series, with eight hits, four RBIs, five runs, and a home run — for some White Sox, that’s a pretty good month.
Romy González and Elvis Andrus got a pair of hits in the third, but the offense pretty much took a nap again until Yasmani Grandal singled in the seventh. Shane Bieber gave up all seven of the White Sox hits throughout his 7 2⁄3 innings, but still limited damage to just one run. He wasn’t able to fan as many South Siders as Triston McKenzie did yesterday, but he did still ring up five.
Gavin Sheets threatened to put some life back into his team by hitting a solo shot to right field in the bottom of the eighth to draw the Pale Hose back within two, but the rest of the offense wouldn’t let him get way with it! Sadly, neither did Andrés Giménez, after robbing Elvis Andrus later in the inning:
Outside of Aaron Bummer giving up one hit in the eighth, the bullpen was solid — if only this could have been the Tuesday effort by the pen. Cleveland’s bullpen also matched up well today, not giving up a hit after relieving Bieber, officially putting the White Sox season to rest.
Unfortunately, there are still 12 games left that we all have to get through before everything is officially over, and 12 more games until (hopefully) heads will roll and we get something new in motion for next year. But I’m also not going to hold my breath ... and neither should you.
One year ago, we were celebrating the fact that the White Sox clinched the AL Central, a first division crown since 2008. We were holding on to the now now-naive idea that we could make it to a World Series. This year, the (mostly) same team is battling their 300th injury and are hanging by a thread to hold on to a .500 record. A true Rick Hahn master class — how lucky of us to be able to witness it.