The Chicago White Sox dropped the series finale to the Baltimore Orioles at home, 8-4, as they are remain with neither a series win this season nor a winning streak, falling to 6-10 on the season. What looked like a promising start turned into a miserable finish, after coughing up an four-run lead to start off the game.
After rain delay of more than two hours before first pitch, the game finally started at 3:30 p.m. CT. Unfazed, Dylan Cease ran through the top of the first with a 1-2-3 inning, and the White Sox wasted no time early against Grayson Rodriguez. Luis Robert Jr. led off the bottom of the first with his first walk of the season, followed by an Andrew Vaughn single to put runners on first and third with nobody out. It didn’t really end up mattering how many outs or where the runners were, because Gavin Sheets connected on the next at-bat for a three-run home run, his first of the season.
One out later, Jake Burger connected for his third home run in three straight games to extend the lead to 4-0.
A 4-0 lead in the first, Rodriguez clearly rattled, Cease on the mound ... what could go wrong right?
Well, not so fast.
Cease didn't get into trouble until the top of the fourth inning, after Adam Frazier and Gunnar Henderson singles. Jorge Mateo brought Frazier home with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 4-1. After a two-out Burger error at third that extended the inning, Cedric Mullins stepped up with a two-run triple to score two more, trimming the South Siders’ lead to just 4-3.
Cease had a busy inning in the top of the sixth after a one-out walk to Henderson, a single to Mateo, and another walk to Mullins. With Cease clearly out of control, Henderson was able to score on a wild pitch to tie the game, 4-4. Dylan was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but honestly, that was still a lot.
Through all of this, Rodriguez was steady the rest of the way after his rough first frame. He went five innings with six hits, four runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Cease was done after six innings, six hits, four runs, five walks, and five Ks. As you can tell, control was a big issue today, and while we thought his wildness was a thing of the past, this April has proven a bit of a return to old habits.
Keynan Middleton threw a clean inning of work in the seventh, and Aaron Bummer had a bit of an unraveling in the top of the eighth inning. Mateo led it off with a double, followed by a Ryan McKenna walk. Mullins wasted no time with a single, pushing Baltimore to a 5-4 lead. Bummer still couldn’t get his composure, as he allowed a walk to Adley Rutschman. He was replaced by Gregory Santos, which was an interesting choice, but with the way this bullpen has been performing it seems like the same outcome will be present no matter who is called in.
Anthony Santander continued the rally with another single to extend the lead to 7-4. Jake Diekman started the top of the ninth inning yielding a leadoff single to Henderson, who ended up at second base after a couple of ground outs. Mullins drove him in immediately with another single, and a 8-4 lead. Felix Bautista nailed it down for the Orioles in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win.
What happened? It’s clear this bullpen has become a major issue already, but the offense also went completely cold after those first-inning runs. They had eight more innings of chances to get more runs, and were unable to do so.
White Sox walked 26 batters this series, the most in a three-game span since 6/21-23/96 (also 26), per White Sox postgame notes— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) April 17, 2023
The first thing that needs to be fixed is this wild pitching. The guys will try and start fresh with another home series tomorrow against the Philadelphia Phillies, who are also struggling at 6-10. It will be Lance Lynn against Zack Wheeler at 6:10 p.m. CT.