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It was rainy at the scheduled first pitch today at Wrigley, which led to a 2 hour, 15 minute rain delay before things got underway at 3:35 pm Central Time. Things once again went poorly from the start, and, at first, Sox fans likely wished the rain had continued.
The Cubs picked up where they left off yesterday, jumping on James Shields immediately. Javier Baez led off for the Cubs, and wasted no time tripling into right field. He might have been dead to rights at third, but Trayce Thompson couldn’t get a handle on the ball, allowing Baez to reach safely. A walk to Kris Bryant put runners on the corners for Anthony Rizzo, who hit a line drive blast to left-center field for the three-run home run and a 3-0 lead for the Cubs.
After a Willson Contreras line drive to right for the first out, Kyle Schwarber walked. Leury Garcia then couldn’t get to a sinking line drive to left off the bat of Addison Russell to put runners at first and second. Albert Almora, Jr. struck out for the second out, but second baseman David Bote dumped a single to left to bring in the fourth run. Mercifully, Jon Lester ground out to second for the final out of the inning. This marked the second game in a row the Sox allowed all nine men to come to the plate in the first inning.
The Sox didn’t help their own cause in the second, which allowed the Cubs to tack on. With Javier Baez leading off, the Sox had the shift on. Evidently Shields was unaware of the shift, though, so when Baez ground a ball directly to Abreu, he was slow getting over to cover first, which allowed Baez to reach. After a Bryant flyout to center and with Anthony Rizzo up, Baez stole second. A strong throw by #BeefCastle easily beat Baez to the base, but Tim Anderson didn’t make a good tag, putting the glove into the ground which Baez avoided by lifting up his arm and swimming safely into second. Rizzo walked, and Willson Contreras singled past Anderson, bringing home Baez and making it 5-0 Cubs.
Shields was able to limit the damage further, though, getting Schwarber to ground to second for the fielder’s choice and Addison Russell to flyout to center to end the inning. This marked a run of 12 straight that Shields retired, and 13 of 14 overall. After looking like it would be an early exit for James, he managed to make it 6 innings, actually a third of an inning longer than Jon Lester, who was pulled after 5 2/3. Shields’ line:
6 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.
Unfortunately, the bullpen continued to be an issue for the White Sox. Chris Beck started things in the seventh, and his command wasn’t there. Beck walked Kris Bryant to begin the inning, and after a Rizzo groundout, Willson Contreras continued his assault on Sox pitching with a 2 run bomb. A Schwarber groundout got the second out, but Beck then issued back-to-back walks to Russell and Almora, Jr. before getting pulled in (questionable) favor of Aaron Bummer. Bummer continued to bum, walking David Bote, and then walking in another run (Mark Zagunis, for those counting at home) to make it 8-1 Cubs, before getting Baez for the third out.
The Sox’ offense, meanwhile, had trouble getting things going when opportunities presented themselves:
- In the third: men on first and second with two out, but Tim Anderson flied out center to conclude the inning.
- In the fourth: men on first and second with one out, but Jose Rondon ground into a double play.
- In the sixth: the Sox scored their first run of the game, getting Engel home from second (after a leadoff double!) with an Anderson flyout and an Abreu groundout. Davidson walked, and Castillo singled to put men at first and third, but Rondon ground weakly into a fielder’s choice for the third out.
The Sox would stay competitive, though, via some later inning hits. Carl Edwards, Jr. began the eighth for the Cubs and promptly gave up a single to Adam Engel. After an Anderson strikeout, Jose Abreu doubled to put men on second and third with just the one out. Matt Davidson followed up with a no-doubt three run home run to make it 8-4. Edwards stuck around to ground Castillo out and Jose Rondon struck out against Mike Montgomery to end the frame.
Then, in the ninth, some more hope: Leury Garcia hit an infield single to third. Trayce Thompson then hit a fly to right that popped out of Bryant’s glove, putting men at second and third. Brandon Morrow came on in relief of Montgomery to record back-to-back pinch-hit strikeouts by Yolmer Sanchez and Daniel Palka. Tim Anderson walked to load the bases, and hope was alive! Alas, Jose Abreu grounded out to end the threat and the game.
- Adam Engel was, oddly, in the leadoff spot this afternoon, despite a .163/.244/.213 line. Naturally, he went 3-4 with a double and 2 runs scored.
- Jose Abreu had another good game: 2-5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
- Willson Conteras continued his hot hitting: he has 10 RBIs in two games against the Sox this season.
- This is the White Sox worst start to a season, ever, beating out the 1948 White Sox for the dubious record (10-26 for the ’48 squad). They are on pace for the worst record in MLB history.
Record: 9-27| Box Score