It’s never fun for opposing fans watching Corey Kluber pitch. Already a two-time Cy Young award winner, and might win his third in 2018, is especially troublesome for the White Sox. In 21 career starts, Kluber has a 2.90 ERA against the South Siders, and in two home starts against them this season has been pure domination. In 13 scoreless innings, Kluber has struck out 17 Sox hitters only allowing four hits and one walk. Cleveland won both those games by a score of 12-0 and 9-1. For the White Sox who entered the evening winless in Cleveland this season, it was destined to be another ugly affair.
Kluber was in prime mode early keeping the Sox scoreless after five innings while racking up seven strikeouts. Yoan Moncada was able to get good swings against Kluber by hitting his 27th double of 2018 in his first at-bat and then a single in the fifth. Other than that, it just appeared to be a hopeless task for Sox hitters to hit against Kluber.
That changed in the sixth inning as Daniel Palka smashed his 25th home run of 2018, and then two batters later Omar Narvaez added a solo shot for his eighth home run of the season. For the first time in 2018, the White Sox were able to score against Kluber, and also become the first team of the season to hit two homers in one inning off him.
More chinks in the armor become exposed in the seventh when Ryan LaMarre led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on Moncada’s grounder to short. After Engel struck out, Yolmer Sanchez on a 3-1 count doubled to left field for the night’s third run. The rally ended when Tim Anderson struck out looking, but suddenly the White Sox finally found some success against Cleveland’s Ace.
Next inning, Narvaez looped a single to right field with two outs. As the tying run, Matt Davidson demonstrated his patience against Kluber. Avoiding to swing at any breaking pitches low and away, Davidson was able to draw a walk to put on more pressure. Again, the Sox couldn’t find one more hit in the inning as LaMarre grounded out to short ending the threat. Kluber’s night was finished as he threw eight innings allowing eight hits, three earned runs, two walks to 11 strikeouts.
Yet, even against Andrew Miller, the White Sox threatened to tie the game in the ninth. Miller struck Moncada out looking and followed that up with another strikeout of pinch hitter Welington Castillo. Except catcher Yan Gomes couldn’t handle the pitch and it allowed Castillo to reach on first on a passed ball. Dialing his fastball up to 97-mph, Miller did quick work of Sanchez for the second out.
Facing Tim Anderson, Miller tried to sneak a fastball by the shortstop only to see him get enough for a bloop single to right. Setting the table for Palka to be the hero. Hoping to see his seventh home run in the final frame of 2018, Palka swung at the first pitch and hit a chopper to third for the 5-3 groundout.
Fitting as that was the final score as Carlos Rodon still didn’t look sharp. He gave up two runs in the second inning and three in the fifth to make it 5-0 Cleveland after the midway point. What’s alarming this time is the strikeouts were missing. Rodon was able to throw seven innings as he only threw 84 pitches working quickly against the Indians hitters, but only managed to get one strikeout. His final line was 7 IP 5 ER 3 BB 1 K just throwing 47 pitches for a strike. Manager Rick Renteria could’ve left Rodon in the game to pitch the first complete game of Renteria’s tenure. Alas, Nate Jones replaced Rodon in the eighth walking one and striking out one.
With the loss, the White Sox are now 3-11 against the Indians, and 0-7 in Cleveland.
Record: 59-91 | Box Score
Rodon has reverted back to seasonal tease. Every year he puts together a streak to make you think he’s an ace but it never sticks. I’m not seeing an ace. The low Ks, the lead off walks from a guy who says over and over how much he hates walks. 5.29 Sept ERA. 27 walks in his last 52IP.
I’ve been thinking lately that I don’t see an ace, either. However, an offseason of health instead of surgery may make a huge difference.
Sox have the $$$ to buy a stud pitcher. They need someone to head this staff with Big Game gone. If they don’t, the re-build is a mirage.