Tonight’s finish was one we were hoping for on Hawk Harrelson’s last broadcast, but on director’s Jim Angio last hurrah the White Sox score three in the ninth to win 5-4.
The rally started when Yoan Moncada walked, and Adam Engel singled to center to put runners on the corners. Turning the lineup over, Yolmer Sanchez cut the deficit to one run with a single to center. Leury Garcia bunted Engel and Sanchez over 90 feet setting the stage for Daniel Palka.
First base was open, but the Cleveland Indians opted for Carlos Carrasco to pitch to Palka, and the big slugger made them pay with a line drive single through the infield. Engel easily scored, and Sanchez was able to get his hand in on the head first slide at home for the game winner.
The broadcast highlighted Angio’s 40 years directing White Sox broadcasts and gave fans a peek behind the curtain as the third inning was Angio’s director commands replacing the commentary from Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. While it was a planned send-off for Angio tonight could also serve as one for James Shields.
After severe thunderstorms rolled through Chicago delaying the game’s start for an hour all eyes were on Shields to see if he can make it into the second inning. Obviously, not an arduous task for the veteran but it would push Shields past the 200 inning mark in 2018. With today’s brand of baseball trying to avoid starters facing a lineup more than three times the 200 inning threshold is an achievement.
When Josh Donaldson grounded out to start the second inning, Shields reached the 200 inning mark for the tenth time in his career. First White Sox pitcher to reach that mark since Chris Sale and Jose Quintana did so in 2016.
As the game moved along it was a typical Shields start. Carefully maneuvering out of jams, allowing a big inning in the third as the Indians plated three runs, giving up a home run, and still finding a way to get through six innings. That last frame was particularly tricky as the Indians had runners on second and third with no outs. Yan Gomes hit a screamer that was snagged by Yolmer Sanchez for the first out. Jason Kipnis hit a shallow fly to right field that wasn’t deep enough for the runner to score, and facing Francisco Lindor, Shields struck out the All-Star shortstop on a 3-2 breaking pitch.
Altogether Shields night was 6 IP 6 H 4 ER 4 BB 6 K pushing his season ERA to 4.53 in what very well could be his last home start with the White Sox. There is a club option for $16 million, but when San Diego traded Shields to Chicago, as part of the package, they agreed to pay the $2 million buyout. It would cost the White Sox nothing to let Shields walk and become a free agent.
While Shields labored through the dangerous Indians lineup, the White Sox had a tall task of facing both Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco. First play of the game was a bit bizarre as Yolmer Sanchez laid down a bunt to test Bauer’s ability to field his position after his leg injury. Sanchez beat out the throw to first, but it deflected off Edwin Encarnacion into shallow right field. Noticing that no one was around, Sanchez made a dash to second base. Jose Ramirez made an errant throw from right field that ended up in left field, and Sanchez scooted to third base. A bunt single and two errors later, the White Sox were in business early.
Bauer was able to strikeout Leury Garcia and get Daniel Palka to ground out to first keeping Sanchez 90 feet away from home. Facing his arch-nemesis in Avisail Garcia, Bauer hung up a 2-2 curveball in the zone that was crushed into the left field bleachers. Avi’s two-run homer gives him a new career high for most home runs hit in a season at 19, and the White Sox had a 2-0 lead.
The trio of Juan Minaya, Caleb Frare, and Ian Hamilton combined to throw three scoreless innings only allowing one hit while striking out three. With the walk-off, Hamilton earned his first major league win just throwing one pitch, and Shields gets the no-decision.
Record: 62-95 | Box Score
A great comeback win against a quality pitcher is much better than the possibility of Hahn maybe picking a better player at #3. Don’t stop now boys!
They are only win away from my arbitrary goal for the Sox of not losing 100 games. Not losing 100 games plus a good August is not half bad considering how much they stunk in the first half.
On July 1st they were on pace for 106 losses. Now just 98 losses. Progress!