Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Great conditions for pitching

Late afternoon start, generous strike zone keep it a low/no-scoring affair

The White Sox were shut out for the fourth time this year, but they can pin it on a few factors that won’t always be there: subpar visibility, Marco Gonzales, and a huge strike zone that Gonzalez seized.

The visibility factor checks out, given that it was a 4:10 p.m. start. While the White Sox have experienced their share of struggles at the plate this year, a bullpen day headed by Chris Volstad limited the Mariners to just five hits as well, so the shadows seemed to pose problems for both sides.

Gonzales was a little bit better, striking out eight White Sox over six innings and a batter. He gave up a pair of hits in the first inning, then kept that column clean until the sixth. He issued a walk and had to pitch around a couple of Kyle Seager errors, but he got the job done.

Mike Estabrook gave him a big hand. Maybe the home plate umpire also had problems battling the combination of shadows and bright batter’s eye, because look at the outside strike zone he gave to Seattle’s lefty starter:

That’s a lot of pitches called strikes to right-handed hitters who are trained to regard those as balls out of the hand, so that didn’t help.

It led to Rick Renteria’s first ejection of the season. Matt Davidson came to the plate with runners on the corners in the sixth. He swung at the first two pitches off the plate, which would’ve looked like poor discipline in isolation. Then you saw the pitch he took for strike three …

… and all of a sudden the aggressive reaching made sense. It didn’t look any better in real time, because Mike Zunino had to drag it over the plate kicking and screaming.

Davidson was dumbfounded, and Rick Renteria came out to take the ejection for him.

Yoan Moncada chased Gonzales with a leadoff double in the seventh, but the Sox didn’t fare any better against Seattle’s bullpen. A strikeout, popout and groundout left him stranded there, and the Sox went six-up-six-down against Juan Nicasio and Edwin Diaz to bring the late afternoon/early evening to a close.

The White Sox had their best opportunity to take control of the game in the first, as Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez led off with singles. Then Anderson got picked off second base for the second time in five days, starting a sequence that matched Seattle’s TOOTBLAN double play in terms of nincompoopery.

The pickoff itself was unfortunate because Steve Stone called it (he saw first baseman Dan Vogelbach take off his glove). Anderson kept the rundown alive long enough for Sanchez to advance to second, and when Anderson made it back to second base before the tag, it looked like the Sox were about to commit the same mistake they saw Seattle make.

Not quite. They chose a different path to a major facepalm.

Anderson remained on the bag through the late tag application, so Sanchez gave returning to first a shot. The throw it drew was successful, so, oh well. Sanchez would be tagged out, but at least they’d still have the faster man in scoring position, right?

Nope. Seeing Sanchez in a rundown, Anderson pressed his luck and bolted for third. Jean Segura abandoned the chase for Sanchez toward first and fired to third in time to get Anderson by plenty, and Sanchez did not have time to retake second.

So Anderson made the situation worse twice over by leaving the force available for Seattle, and sure enough, Jose Abreu grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

That allowed the Mariners’ lone run sufficient to decide the game. With two outs in the fourth, Seager plopped a double in the right center gap just out of the reach of a diving Trayce Thompson, and Mitch Haniger knocked him home with a single up the middle. That was all the offense, and it was enough to saddle Volstad with the loss.

Volstad pitched well, though. He took the game into the fifth, and Hector Santiago followed. They combined to allow just five hits, a walk and a hit batter over 7⅔ innings, with Nate Jones being the only other reliever used. The last two starts have brought the bullpen back to order, if nothing else.

Bullet points:

*Adam Engel was caught stealing, so it just wasn’t a great day on the basepaths.

*Moncada had the Sox’ lone extra-base hit and walk, this time out of the sixth spot. Anderson had two hits as the leadoff man against lefties, so that’s still working.

*Moncada was charged with an error after he failed to handle a roller to the shifted right side. The radio crew blamed Anderson for cutting across too close to Moncada and distracting him, while Steve Stone was less sympathetic. Either way, it loaded the bases but Santiago pitched out of it.

*The White Sox were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Record: 5-15 | Box score

 

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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L2R

I really liked the line, “in terms of nincompoopery”. I have no idea how I am going to work that in to the conversation in the conference call tomorrow at work but I will find a way.

And I said nothing negative about the team, how they ran the base paths or management. I have just run out of words. Hey wait, can I borrow your dictionary? It looks like maybe it’s bigger than mine.

PauliePaulie

Any chance Kopech gets a spot start in the KC series? Or does Roach go on regular rest?

L2R

I want to say that this is a multi-year project and I find it difficult to believe that a business would cave in half way into it no matter how dark it is at the moment. Surely the long game (making sure Kopech is ready) would be more important than this current state of affairs.
If so, then I say it speaks volumes about how concerned they are about the product currently on the field.

Patrick Nolan

You won’t see Kopech until at least early/mid June.

DrCrawdad

Tootblan Tim

knoxfire30

We need one of those countdown signs they put up on construction sights that read something like ____ days without an accident. Except ours should say ____ days without a really stupid baseball play by Tim Anderson, and lets see if it ever reaches 3

bennett32

Yesterday was my first trip to the GARF this season. Had a grand old time, TOOTBLANs notwithstanding. 

Lurker Laura

Good thing Hawk wasn’t on the broadcast for this one. The strike zone was…interesting.