Let’s cut right to the chase. I am happy the White Sox won today. However: White Sox pitching, specifically the bullpen, really outdid itself today.
The South Siders have now issued 19 walks to the Orioles over two games, and today two runs were walked in. This game should have never gone to extra innings and the team should have never had to come back on four different occasions.
All that being said, they did come back, and a win is a win.
Michael Kopech struggled this afternoon with finding the strike zone, but overall had a solid outing. He was pulled after facing two batters in the sixth inning. The righthander allowed three earned runs in five innings, walking four and striking out four. He continues to give up hard hits, which today included solo shots by Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander.
The first of four White Sox comebacks happened in the bottom of the fourth, when Jake Burger hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Andrew Benintendi earned his paycheck by doubling home Elvis Andrus to give the White Sox their first lead of the day. Kopech’s second surrendered solo home run happened in the top of the sixth, tying the game at two.
Keynan Middleton came in to relieve in the top of the sixth. While he was not responsible for the runner that scored to put the Orioles up 3-2, he was responsible for walking Ramon Urias to load the bases and giving up the single that scored fourth run.
Unable to put out Middleton’s fire was Aaron Bummer, who immediately walked in a run to make it 4-2. He got lucky when Adley Rutschman grounded into a double play to end the inning.
This was the point last night where the wheels fell off and the wind escaped the offense’s sails. Burger wanted nothing to do with that. He completed the White Sox second comeback of the afternoon with a two-run home run.
Next, Kendall Graveman came in. Surely Graveman could give the Chicago ball club a clean inning? No, he did not. Graveman got two quick outs then gave up a triple, weirdly played by Luis Robert Jr. in center field, but still. Because the bullpen is the bullpen, Graveman loaded the bases up with two outs. Then, just for fun, he walked in a run.
Andrew Vaughn wasn’t having a loss today, so he completed the third White Sox comeback of the day, with a two-out double that knocked Elvis Andrus in from first base.
Neither offense could get it done in the last two innings of the game, so we were forced to go to extras. Baltimore’s ghost runner came in to score to put them ahead, 6-5. In the bottom of the inning, the Orioles opted not to use their closer, and instead went with Logan Gillaspie.
The final comeback of the day came courtesy of a Yasmani Grandal double to score the ghost runner and tie the game at six. After another Burger hit, Oscar Colás provided the final blow to score Seby Zavala (pinch-running for Grandal).
The White Sox are hoping to finally win their first series of the year tomorrow, and begin their first winning streak. Will the anticipated wet weather allow them the opportunity? We will have to wait and see.