White Sox 2, Rays 1: Matt Davidson redefines scoring position

Go-ahead homer in eighth inning masks another day full of struggles in the clutch

Here goes the traditional watched-from-work bullet-point recap. As always, fill in whatever details (and tags) I might’ve missed.

*The White Sox were dreadful again in scoring position (0-for-9), but one swing by Matt Davidson made the day’s struggles moot. He followed up Jose Abreu’s one-out single by socking a two-run shot to just left of center. It accounted for the White Sox’ only two runs, that’s all they needed to end their five-game losing streak.

*James Shields survived some horrendous control early to throw a strong 6⅓ innings. He issued five walks, but they all came in the first two innings. He eventually found his fastball command, which allowed him to start mixing in a heaping helping of curveballs ranging from slow to slower.

*Shields also benefited from more unproductive baserunning from Mallex Smith. After stranding three walks in the first inning, Shields had Smith on third and Adeiny Hechavarria on second with one out. Shields deescalated the situation by picking off Smith, with the tag applied after a one-out rundown. It was the third time Smith had been cut down between third and home during the series.

Shields then put runners on the corners with his fifth and final walk, but Kevin Kiermaier lined out to Nicky Delmonico in left to end the threat.

*As it stood, Shields only allowed one run. He piped a full-count fastball to C.J. Cron with two outs in the fifth, and he sent it from whence it came, rifling a double to the center-field wall to drive home Kiermaier from first.

*Smith also helped out the Sox on the defensive end. With one out, he dropped Omar Narvaez’s shallow fly ball, then doubled up on errors by firing low and wide to second base. Narvaez had already retreated to first as the throw was coming in, but he advanced to third as Smith’s heave settled in right-field foul territory.

And yet the Sox didn’t score. Leury Garcia was plunked with one out while squaring around, and Yoan Moncada followed with the same idea. He pulled his bat back, though, which was a problem since Narvaez had committed to home on a suicide squeeze. The mixed signals resulted in Narvaez getting tagged out, and Moncada struck out to end the inning.

*The Sox also squandered a leadoff double by Avisail Garcia in the fifth. Jose Abreu’s fly took Kiermaier to the warning track to move Garcia to third, but Davidson watched a curve for strike three, Delmonico walked, and Yolmer Sanchez grounded out hard to third.

*The White Sox bullpen combined for 2⅔ hitless, scoreless innings. Luis Avilan struck out both batters he faced, and Bruce Rondon pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his second Sox appearance.

*Nate Jones was warming in anticipation of a close game one way or another, so Rick Renteria sent him in for the save. Jones walked Matt Duffy, then fell behind 2-0 to Smith before a mound visit. Smith extended the count to 3-1, watched a fastball over the heart of the plate for strike two, then chased ball four for strike three.

Instead of two on and nobody out, Jones had one on and one out. He only needed four more pitches to nail down the save, striking out Hechavarria on three sliders and getting Jesus Sucre to ground out to second.

*Gregory Infante was demoted to Charlotte after the game, with a corresponding move coming before Thursday’s opener in Minnesota.

Record: 4-7 | 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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Jim, apparently you multi-task well. That was a good, thorough report considering you were at work. (hopeful that you are not a neurosurgeon)

Glad for some good news. Frankly, I don’t expect a young team to win 2-1 or 3-2. I expect to see 9-7 or 12-8 as they are learning at all positions. So good for them to pick up a 2-1.

Maybe getting out of town a few days will be good for them so they can reset their mindset when they return.

karkovice squad

Renteria pulled Moncada aside in the dugout after the crossed signals.


Renteria said it wasn’t crossed signals. It was a case of Moncada getting the signal and thinking that Narvaez missed it and trying to adjust. Narvaez hadn’t missed it which is why Renteria pulled him aside.

It’s hard to get too mad at anyone over a screw-up like that; I know people don’t like the bunting but it is still a necessary skill (even if overused) and 2018 is essentially 162 practice games for the following seasons.


I’d say the fact that two of the highest-leverage relievers by the end of last year have already been demoted this year is a sign that things are on the upswing, even if you couldn’t tell by the record, or the starting pitching, or the clutch hitting…


The consecutive calls for bunts from Garcia and Moncada had me calling for Rick’s sun-bleached skull on my mantle. Beside the fact that bunts are almost never worth giving away the out, the Rays were drawn in expecting it, and Omar doesn’t have the wheels to beat a throw to home anyway. How are either of those calls defensible. Ricky may be a great motivator, but his calls from the dugout suck.


I like Ricky and I believe that his game management has been better than 2017, but I didn’t like those calls either, mainly because of Narvaez’ wheels. But the inability to get runners in from the bases could have well caused him to become desperate. I didn’t like it, but he’s got a pretty long leash from me this season.