Sometimes it pays more to be lucky than good. But you need the lucky part to last for a while.
The White Sox got loads of luck in the first inning against Max Scherzer, making his first appearance for the Rangers since being traded by the Mets. First of all, the White Sox were lucky the future Hall-of-Famer was either nervous or had too much adrenaline pumping, because he started out having no idea where his pitches were headed. Then they got very lucky in terms of where the balls the White Sox barely hit ended up.
Bloop singles by Tim Anderson and Andrew Benintendi ... both in the low-60 mph range ... walks to Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal, and a seeing-eye, opposite-field grounder by Gavin Sheets, and the Sox had two runs more than they’d scored in their previous three games combined, and a 3-0 lead. Not only that, but Scherzer had tossed 37 pitches.
Then, after Touki Toussaint breezed through an eight-pitch bottom half, the Sox struck for three more slightly-harder singles in the second, though they failed to score because there was a double play in the middle. Still impressive, right?
Might have been more impressive if the White Sox managed more than three more singles the rest of the game against Scherzer and three relievers, their only threat in the least thanks to a bad-hop infield single by Moncada, a passed ball and a third-strike wild pitch in the eighth, which ended on an Eloy Jiménez ground out.
Meanwhile, the Rangers pecked away against Toussaint, who was having control problems of his own — a common problem for him. The Rangers got a couple of pretty cheap hits of their own around a walk in the second (inexplicably not sending home another runner who would have scored easily), used two walks and a rifled single to make it 3-2 in the third, then quit fooling around and smashed impressive homers by Mitch Garver and Marcus Semien in the fourth, Garver’s traveling a mighty 457 feet.
Touki had nine strikeouts, but his four walks and getting far too much of the plate against Garver and Semien did him in. By the end of four innings, he’d actually thrown more pitches than Scherzer, the latest example of the horrid inefficiency of Sox pitchers.
That was it for scoring until the ninth, when Gregory Santos gave up three hits and a run, leading to the final 5-3 tally.
The Sox held Scherzer to a mere nine strikeouts, but whiffed five times against relievers to chalk up 14 Ks on the day. They didn’t walk again after the first. The Sox hitter who didn’t have much luck was Andrew Vaughn, who had 109 and 104 mph outs, though he did offset that somewhat with a 75 mph single.
Thank goodness for new rules, though — the game was over in a merciful 2:27.
Now it’s on to Cleveland, with the Sox at least having a chance to mess with one of the teams that will win the AAAL Central.
Who was the White Sox MVP?
This poll is closed
Yoán Moncada : 1-for-3, 1 R, .114 WPA
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-3, 2 RBI, .112 WPA
Aaron Bummer: 1 2⁄3 IP, 0 H, 1 K, .107 WPA
Who was the White Sox Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Touki Toussaint: 5 1⁄3 IP, 5 H, 4 R, -.240 WPA
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-4, 1 K, -.127 WPA
Eloy Jiménez: 0-for-1, -.121 WPA