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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Andrew Benintendi doubled in the fourth inning of today’s 4-1 loss. Yes, this is what passes for a highlight for the reeling White Sox.
Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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Rays 4, White Sox 1: A sweep that stings

South Siders fall to eight games worse than .500, as red-hot Tampa stays undefeated at home

In what was a quick game this afternoon, the Chicago White Sox were swept on Sunday, capping a frustrating series. Everything seemed to go Tampa Bay’s way, which is usually what happens when you’re playing as good as it is, and when the White Sox have been playing as bad as they’ve been.

The White Sox got their first baserunner in the first inning of this series, with a Luis Robert Jr. leadoff single off of Zach Eflin. Robert Jr. eventually advanced to third base with one out due to a steal and wild throw to second base, but he was unable to score. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the second (no, that didn’t last long), after Lucas Giolito hit Isaac Paredes and Luke Raley continued the Rays home run success with a two-run shot. Christian Bethancourt hit a double following the home run and advanced to third base on a line out, and Yandy Díaz scored him on a ground ball.

Harold Ramirez joined in on the home run fun with a solo shot of his own to extend the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third.

In the top of the fourth, the White Sox tried to start a rally, with Andrew Benintendi starting off the inning with a double to center field. Eloy Jiménez almost had his third home run of the series, but instead settled for an RBI double to drive in Benintendi and cut the lead to 4-1.

Gavin Sheets drove one to the warning track but fell just short, and the rally was short-lived after a Jake Burger strikeout.

Yonny Chirinos replaced Eflin at the start of the sixth inning as he went just five innings with three hits, one run, and four strikeouts. His ERA now sits at 2.81.

Giolito took his outing deeper into the ballgame, as he went seven innings with five hits, four runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. His ERA improved to 4.50.

Tanner Banks saw some time on the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, and a positive is that he was the only bullpen arm used today.

Pete Fairbanks came in to seal the deal for the Rays in the ninth, and they secured their 19th win, and have yet to lose at home this season.

On top of that, the Rays had some outstanding defensive plays throughout the game to take away base hits, which just seems on track for how well they are playing right now. Any time the White Sox put the ball in play, the chances of a safe hit were diminished by amazing defense. What the Rays are doing is just outstanding, but the fact that the White Sox couldn’t get just one win really stings (funny pun there) in the standings, now eight games under .500 in April. Not ideal. Another thing that isn’t ideal is that the next two series will be against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rays again! This stretch could torpedo the season before it even gets started.

The frustrating thing about this series is that there were one, if not two, games that could have or should have ended with White Sox wins. If that was the case, there would be at least a little bit more optimism, playing a tight series against the best team in baseball. tUnfortunately, “almost wins” or “close games” don’t count as wins. If you lose, it goes into the loss column. Simple. These losses are starting to pile up, and the more they do, the deeper the hole is to climb out of.

A good start would be maybe winning a series, which the Sox have yet to do this season. That’s the bare minimum. Even starting a streak of two or three wins in a row is what they need to do to chip away — yep, the White Sox are still without a win streak of even two games this season. There’s still time, luckily, and the AL Central remains a lousy division, but this needs to get figured out NOW. Not in June, not in July. And it is incredibly frustrating that this early on we have to treat every single game like it is September with no breathing room, but in all honesty the White Sox have dug a hole and done it to themselves.

Let’s hope that the hole can slowly be filled, and starting with a win tomorrow in Toronto would be a good start. Lance Lynn will be on the mound against Chris Bassitt in a 6:07 p.m. CT start.

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