It is the end of May, and prime afternoon baseball weather is here. A spot-start for the White Sox and a very average right-handed pitcher on the mound for the Tigers means that surely we were in for a lot of offense.
You would be wrong.
After an inning-and-a-half of quiet baseball, Detroit’s Andy Ibáñez broke an 0-for-32 drought and drove in Akil Badoo for the first run of the game. You hate to be the pitcher to allow a hit after a drought that long, but sometimes you have to be that guy.
Also in the bottom of the second, Clint Frazier made a diving grab to get Zach McKinstry. Because he had to lay out to make the play, Jonathan Schoop was able to tag up and score a second run for the Tigers.
I would love to report that things picked up for Chicago over innings three through six, but they did not. The White Sox did not record a hit for 5 2⁄3 innings. Romy González answered the call in the sixth inning and ended Michael Lorenzen’s perfect game bid. But Tim Anderson grounded into a fielder’s choice one pitch later to put an end to any hope fans might have had for a two-out rally.
If you were bored up until this point in the game, let me give you some whiplash. The top of the seventh started with and Andrew Benintendi walk, followed by a Yoan Moncada single. With two outs, Jake Burger reached base via an error. This allowed for Gavin Sheets to take a ball off the center-field wall and thus clear the bases. The White Sox went into the bottom of the inning with a 3-2 lead.
Enter, Joe Kelly. The reliever had not given up a run in a month, so putting him in the game made complete sense. It is now that I must inform you he was not lights-out. After a quick first out, three runs scored on a solo home run, two doubles, and a single. Down 5-3, Aaron Bummer took over for Kelly and got out of the inning.
As if the seventh inning was not enough, Zack Short hit a ball over the left-field fence to make it 7-3 in the bottom of the eighth. After a peculiar 10 days off, since his opener duty this week Jimmy Lambert is getting overused.
A.J. Hinch turned things over to Will Vest to end the game, and Yasmani Grandal helped him out by grounding into a double play to close things out.
In a game where there was no hope for six innings, the ending was exactly what was expected. Unless, of course, you watched the seventh inning and allowed yourself to think the White Sox might pull off a win.
Chicago is back to 10 games worse than .500 — apparently, 10 games under is this year’s answer to 2022’s .500 — the and the Tigers will end the weekend safe in second place. Can the White Sox scrape together a series split? Find out tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. CST.