Through seven innings, this was a straightforward affair. The last two innings were a mess between two teams who are competing for a top-three draft slot. Here’s the followed-from-work bullet-point recap:
*The White Sox led 2-0 heading into the eighth, but needed homers from Jose Abreu and Daniel Palka in the bottom of said inning to win it.
*Reynaldo Lopez entered the eighth with a shutout a possibility, but departed after a leadoff double and a bunt single. Jace Fry struck out a batter, Juan Minaya struck out a batter, but when Rick Renteria went to a fourth pitcher of the inning, it didn’t work out. In came Xavier Cedeno to face Lucas Duda, Ned Yost countered with Whit Merrifield, and Merrifield lifted a homer to left center just out of the reach of Adam Engel for a 3-2 lead.
*And Cedeno ended up getting the win because the Sox roarded back. With one out, Abreu stayed back on a 2-0 changeup from Jason Adam and hammered it over the wall in center for a game-tying solo homer. Adam got ahead 0-2 on Avisail Garcia, but Garcia shot an elevated curve into left field for a double. Adam then walked Omar Narvaez intentionally, and Yost called for Jason Hammel.
*Renteria countered with Palka, and that move worked just as well. While Palka couldn’t check his swing on a slider in the dirt on 1-0, he was ready for a hanging slider on 2-1, and he smashed it out to right field. His third pinch-hit homer of the season gave the Sox a 6-3 lead.
*Renteria used three more pitchers in the ninth. Cedeno gave up a leadoff double, after which Jeanmar Gomez entered and gave up a deep drive to left field. Leury Garcia flagged it down on the warning track with a leaping catch, then fired to second to get Brett Phillips, who umpires thought had tagged up too early. Yost called for a review, which overturned the ruling and let Phillips advance to third.
*Still, that play took the teeth out of a Royals rally. Phillips scored on a sac fly off Luis Avilan, but Avilan got Escobar to ground out to first for the 27th out and his first career save.
*Both Lopez and Kansas City starter Brad Keller were dominant early. Lopez didn’t allow his first hit until the third inning, and the Sox didn’t get to Keller until the fourth, when Abreu doubled with two outs. Two singles later — Avi Garcia, then Narvaez — Abreu scored to make it a 1-0 game.
*The second run was more difficult to come by. Leury Garcia tried to score on Tim Anderson’s shallowish fly ball in the fifth, but a perfect one-hop throw by Phillips from center nailed him.
*Tim Anderson finally made it a 2-0 game in the seventh. After Narvaez walked to start the inning and Leury Garcia walked with one out, Adam Engel struck out against sidewinding lefty Tim Hill. Anderson had such such issues, shooting a double to left to score Narvaez.
*Yoan Moncada had a rough day. Not only did he strike out all four times at bat, but all four were caught looking. He provided cover for Matt Davidson, who only struck out all three times up.
*Lopez rediscovered the feel for his changeup, throwing 21 of them and getting five swinging strikes. He threw 67 fastballs and only six breaking balls, all sliders.
Record: 38-70 | Box score
I know the goal is to win games, and I know playing matchups makes that more likely, but I wish Renteria would let Fry face a few more batters. Let’s find out if he’s a LOOGY or a legit late inning guy.
“playing matchups” is an incredibly generous explanation for RR using 6 pitchers in 2 innings, again.
especially when ricky still has no idea what minaya’s splits are
6 pitchers in 2 innings, again.
He’s like a drug addict. 8 in the bullpen leads to bad habits.
“Ricky you have abused your bullpen. Going forward, only 6 bullpen arms for you.”
OK, I’ve seen enough of Ricky now to know I don’t want to see him manage this team anymore. The bunting, the nonsensical relief use, and then moves like bringing in Engel over Delmonico for a clutch hit, which was an immediate, and predictable K. When we are finally in a position to win games against teams better than KC, I don’t want to have to fight our own manger to get them.
The sad part is, this seems like one of those times when Jim writes the article about how “these problems are not specific to your team”. I’ve kind of become resigned to the fact that any manager they bring in is going to have some of these weird quirks that make us all shake their head.