No products in the cart.
Even though the White Sox demolished all hopes with their worst-ever start, they still have the capacity to frustrate.
Rick Renteria led the way tonight with what had to be his worst game of the year. He made odd choices even before the ninth inning, but he sealed the case with a nonsensical bunt call that ground a potential game-winning rally to a halt
The Sox were poised to take advantage of flawed Baltimore closer Brad Brach. Brach is tough on righties but vulnerable against lefties, and when he erred by walking Adam Engel with one out, the Sox had their top the order waiting.
Yoan Moncada showed the possibilities when he shot a single to right, advancing Engel to third. That put runners on the corners with two good chances — Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu — to cash in that run.
Then, on a 0-1 count, Renteria had Sanchez bunt — and a suicide squeeze at that. That meant when Brach threw a slider down and out of the zone, Sanchez had to try to get it into play, but he could only foul it off for strike two.
Guess what — Sanchez struck out. With the tying run still on third and two outs, Buck Showalter intentionally walked Jose Abreu because he had the opportunity to face Trayce Thompson for the 27th out. How? Well, Renteria subbed out Daniel Palka for Trayce Thompson in the ninth inning while trailing by a run.
Palka did fail to catch a routine fly earlier in the game by 1) playing really deep and 2) not breaking in, but usually defensive substitutions are made with protecting leads in mind. As it played out, the defensive sub was at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, and he struck out in an uncompetitive at-bat to end the game.
That wasn’t all Renteria did. He made suboptimal choices in the sixth as well. For instance, he had Hector Santiago intentionally walk Manny Machado with one out and nobody on base. Maybe it’s because Machado homered off him earlier in the game, or because Adam Jones homered off Santiago the batter before, but still, the odds of Machado not ending up at second base by himself were in the Sox’ favor. And then Machado got to second when Jonathan Schoop followed with a single.
Renteria then stuck with Santiago against lefty-killers Danny Valencia and Mark Trumbo., making matters even more confusing. Valencia popped out and Trumbo struck out looking, but there wasn’t any internal consistency in pushing Santiago through that sixth inning, because Trumbo had homered, too.
The Sox then squandered their first golden opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Cashner’s third-time-through problems materialized with three straight hits — two ground-rule doubles sandwiching a single — to cut Baltimore’s lead to 3-2, and the Sox had runners on second and third with nobody out.
Showalter called for Mychal Givens against the Sox’ right-handed part of the order. Welington Castillo popped out, and stayed at home plate as Chris Davis caught the ball inside fair territory. Tim Anderson struck out and so did Engel.
When the seventh started, Omar Narvaez took over behind the plate, with Renteria ostensibly benching Castillo for not running it out. The benching was fine — Castillo made no effort, when all he had to do was jog to first since second base was occupied. However, if Renteria knew he was benching Castillo, I don’t get why he didn’t have Narvaez bat for Engel to give the Sox a shot at scoring the tying run there.
The White Sox lost despite doubling Baltimore’s hit total, 10-5. The Orioles just happened to hit three solo shots, while the Sox ran the risk of getting in their own way by keeping the ball inside the park, and kept doing so.
One more example of that: In the fifth, Engel singled off Cashner to left, but tried stretching it into a double and was thrown out by 20 feet. That one hurt, because Cashner didn’t retire any of the last six batters he faced, but he was able to get out of the fifth because Sanchez was cut down for the third out trying to score the tying run on Abreu’s double to left. It was an acceptable send by Nick Capra — the Orioles executed a perfect relay for the third out — but its effects were exacerbated by Engel’s TOOTBLAN earlier.
*Santiago gave the Sox a quality start, even if he made three mistakes that turned into homers. That’s about what you can hope for at this stage.
*The Sox scored just two runs despite being 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles scored three runs in spite of being 0-for-3.
*Both bullpens had a nice night, combining for seven scoreless innings between the two.
Record: 13-31 | Box score