Indians 9, White Sox 6: So, that fifth inning…

Defense collapses in slo-motion between pitching changes during disastrous frame

At the end of this season, we may remember this Memorial Day for the worst inning the White Sox played this season. It’s not hyperbole to say it’ll be hard to top.

The bottom of the fifth inning featured:

  • Five runs, all unearned, allowed by…
  • Four White Sox pitchers, due to …
  • Three errors, which doesn’t include …
  • One more misplay.

And it turned an enjoyable afternoon into a national embarrassment. This was the game the White Sox were aired on ESPN.

It was the kind of inning where Dylan Covey could retire Yan Gomes twice without getting him out at all. Gomes reached base on his third life after Alfredo Gonzalez dropped a foul popup, and part-time first baseman Matt Skole couldn’t pick a reasonable hop on a long throw from Tim Anderson (Anderson was charged with the error).

That’s how the inning started. If you didn’t see it, you might not want to know how the inning ended.

Greg Allen bounced to short, but it developed too slowly for Tim Anderson to get more than the out at short. Covey then left an 0-2 fastball over the plate for Francisco Lindor, who singled to center, and lost a seven-pitch battle to Michael Brantley to load the bases.

That’s when Rick Renteria got involved. He went to the bullpen to call on Luis Avilan, and Avilan did his job by getting Jose Ramirez to trigger the infield fly rule. That ensured that all of the runs scored in the inning would be unearned. Remember that.

Renteria came back out and called on Chris Volstad to face righty Edwin Encarnacion. It made some sense, not just for the matchup, but because the Sox bullpen would have to cover more than half the game.

Volstad did his job by getting a pop-up to shallow right field, the kind that results in an out 99 percent of the time according to Statcast’s catch probability.

Daniel Palka is the reason why it’s not 100 percent. He could not close the distance without a slide, and he could not close his glove around the ball, resulting in a bases-clearing “double” that tied the game at 5.

But that’s not all!

Renteria then came out to pull Volstad for Jace Fry. It was the White Sox’ fourth pitcher of the inning, which is the international sign for THE GAME HAS GOTTEN AWAY FROM ME. Sure enough, Fry gave up an RBI double to Yonder Alonso, and when it looked Melky Cabrera had grounded into an inning-ending 4-3, the ball skidded under Yoan Moncada’s glove for the third error of the inning. Alonso scored, the Indians led 7-5, and it didn’t get any closer.

Before the game ended, the White Sox gave up a couple more runs, and they made a couple more mistakes, although they weren’t related. Gonzalez gave up a passed ball in the sixth and Adam Engel dropped a flyball on the warning track in left center due to a lack of communication with Charlie Tilson in the seventh, but both happened after the single tallies had registered.

The White Sox are no strangers to bad baseball, but this one left a mark because the first four innings were basically all positive. They built 5-1 lead against Adam Plutko thanks to both basic execution and the long ball.

First inning: Moncada walked, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a Jose Abreu sac fly.

Second inning: Engel tripled home Skole, and Tilson delivered a sac fly after a squeeze attempt went foul.

Fourth inning: Skole ripped his first career homer to right (after Palka was caught stealing for some reason), and Anderson made it back-to-back with his 11th of the year.

Unfortunately, Covey discovered the Indians have a stronger offense than the Baltimore Orioles, and the Indians stung him for single runs in the third and fourth inning. He had a harder time throwing strikes this time around, but he might’ve been able to get through five if the defense didn’t collapse behind him.

Bullet points:

*Skole made his MLB debut after replacing Matt Davidson, who went on the DL with back spasms. Skole collected his first two hits and a walk, too.

*Tilson collected his first career RBI with the sac fly, then scored his first run after coming all the way around on Omar Narvaez’s doulbe in the ninth.

*Unfortuantely, Narvaez couldn’t do that when he came to the plate as a pinch hitter for Gonzalez in the seventh. He had runners on first and second and nobody out, but bounced meekly into a 6-4-3 double play. This is what it looks like when he’s the bench’s only lefty bat.

Record: 16-35 | 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 am great at piling on. This doesn’t need any help so I will change gears and say thank you all who have served to protect our way of life, our freedoms and given us such a great place and time to live that the worst part of our day is that the White Sox lost a game.

Flitcraft

Your game recaps are always tremendous, Jim.

I don’t know how much you enjoy writing them — maybe they’re more a necessary chore than anything else to you at this stage — but I always enjoy the hell out of reading them.

Just tremendous.

zerobs

Tremendous and the most accurate. He is absolutely right that the 4 pitching changes was a loss of control. I get that half the lineup was in Charlotte two weeks ago but having a quick hook on pitchers and position players alike does nothing for their confidence. Renteria is managing the games like the win matters most when valuable experience should be the priority.

lil jimmy

I guess this is where I note that Nick Madrigal would have made the play that Moncada botched…

Jer-in-Az

Moncada’s last 7 – .360/.385/.560 – 6 runs 1 HR 3 RBI — Ohhhh shoot that’s actually Adam “Trout” Engel

MrTopaz

I was at a family cookout. I didn’t see any of this. It was a lovely day.

soxexile

I was in Cleveland and saw it all.  Afterwards I saw a guy in the bar wearing a Sox jersey and a “Vietnam Veteran” hat.  I asked him which was worse -Vietnam or today’s game.  He said he’s had Sox season tickets for 39 years, so he’s suffered plenty.

StockroomSnail

Poor bastard.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

An infuriating loss while using 4 pitchers that only dig the hole deeper? Somewhere Robin Ventura is smiling. 

ndsoxfan

Volstads face after getting pulled would make an awesome gif.  Totally throwing Palka the wtf stink eye.