Another heartbreaker for the White Sox tonight as the Dodgers steal the game in 11 innings, 5-4. The South Siders exploded at the plate — in a way that they couldn’t do much more than hit a home run or strike out. They are still making ridiculous errors on routine plays, falling asleep on the bases, and the pitching continues to fail in the most inopportune times.
After another impressively offensive game on Wednesday, the South Siders seemed to keep rolling on that path Thursday. Tim Anderson and Gavin Sheets weren’t able to reach base to start off the game, but should-be All-Star Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jiménez were able to pick them up, smashing back-to-back long balls to put the Sox up early, 2-0.
This is the first time the Sox have mashed consecutive bombs all year!
Dylan Cease started the game with a 4.38 ERA, and went on to absolutely deal for five straight innings. He retired the first five L.A. batters in order, before ruining his perfect start by walking Miguel Vargas in the bottom of the second. James Outman would strike out on the next at-bat, so no harm, no foul for Cease this time.
Dylan brought this momentum into the third, but the hot bat of Mookie Betts was too much to manage, and alas, Cease gave up his first hit of the day. Betts has posted a .959 OPS over his last five, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But outside of walking Will Smith in the fourth, Dylan was proving to be the Cy-competing Cease that we all know.
Dylan Cease's 2Ks in the 3rd. ⚔️— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 16, 2023
6Ks thru 3 pic.twitter.com/55guuEZsJc
As you can see, the slider was, indeed, slidin’.
The White Sox maintained their lead through three, but they decided they weren’t finished hitting dingers (we love dingers). Jake Burger — who blasted two of them 24 hours earlier — smashed another over the left-center wall, his 16th of the year. The Pale Hose really were making the most out of Michael Grove’s high ERA tonight, as Andrew Vaughn joined in on the homer party with his own solo shot, putting the Sox up, 4-0, after another pair of back-to-back bombs.
THE MASHERS ARE MASHING.— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) June 16, 2023
The Sox go back-to-back AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/QcL1yHJTHS
Cease semi-cruised through the fifth, but not without some classic White Sox defense. Pedro’s face says it all but honestly, WTF?
Cease got out of whatever that mess was, but started to lose a bit of steam in the sixth. Smith and David Peralta strung together a couple of base hits, and Pedro Grifol opted to bring in Reynaldo López in hopes of gettin the last two outs of the inning. It seemed to work ... until it didn’t. James Outman piled on a two-out single to load the bases, just for Chris Taylor to launch a grand slam and tie the game at four.
The South Side bullpen was working hard tonight, and for the most part, it showed. For innings seven to 10, only one hit was allowed by Joe Kelly, Gregory Santos, Kendall Graveman and Aaron Bummer, who combined for three walks and six strikeouts. Graveman struggled a bit in the bottom of the ninth, but he recovered to strike out the final two batters and push the game to extras. Bummer had a much better outing, and outside of intentionally walking J.D. Martinez, he was able to get out of the 10th scoreless — including a massive inning-ending strikeout from Taylor.
The White Sox didn’t put together many competitive at-bats in extra innings; in fact, they struck out for half of the outs. Anderson had the opportunity lead off the 10th with some command, but he sadly continues to put together weak at-bats. Sheets drew a walk, but consecutive K’s from Robert and Jiménez are definitely not going to lead you to victory. Yasmani Grandal wasn’t able to redeem his Little League passed ball in the 11th, and the Sox went flat for another inning, pretty much running on fumes with a depleted bench and bullpen.
Garrett Crochet was the chosen 11th inning reliever (one of the only ones left), and with the ghost runner rule, relievers start in a jam. Crochet ended up walking Miguel Vargas after a wacky, non-reviewable play, and suddenly he’s facing Betts in what felt like the worst situation. Betts worked himself into a 12-pitch walk to load the bases for Freddie Freeman, and the vibes did NOT feel good. The hunch proved to be true. Crochet went down in the count, 3-1, and he ended up hanging a 94 mph fastball across the middle portion of the plate, allowing Freeman to drive in the game winning run.
After an offensive game like that? This one stings. Also ... I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. for this?! The Good Guys travel up the coast to Seattle to kick off a series against the Mariners Friday, and Michael Kopech is projected to be on the bump. Time to take a hard look in the mirror after that loss — and go get them tomorrow.