On Sox Machine Live before the game, I expressed my hope that there’d be more games like the 13-9 slobberknocker in the finale against Houston. Maybe the White Sox couldn’t come out on top, but at least their offense would drag the other team into the mud and leave them feeling dirty no matter the outcome.
Tonight’s game qualifies. The White Sox entered the ninth trailing 8-3, only to have the tying run on first with one out in short order. The dream died with a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, but it made the end of this game more interesting than it had any right to be.
The inning started innocuously enough, with Tim Anderson reaching on a swinging bunt against Trevor Cahill. When Jose Abreu — who hit two homers — popped out, that seemed to pop the balloon on any legitimate rally.
But then James McCann sliced a line drive that escaped Brian Goodwin in the right-field corner for an RBI triple, and Eloy Jiménez spanked a single too deep in the hole for shortstop Wilfredo Tovar to make a play. That made it 8-5, and when Brad Ausmus called on closer Hansel Robles, Welington Castillo greeted him with an opposite-field homer on the second pitch to make it a one-run game.
Yolmer Sánchez started a new rally with a single to left, but that’s when the offense dried up. Jon Jay nearly grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, and Ryan Goins couldn’t take advantage of the bounced turn, striking out to end the game.
Through eight innings, the story of this game was a head-to-head battle between two American League stars who have never received enough support. Abreu homered twice, but he was overshadowed by a perfect night for Mike Trout, and Trout had more help.
Trout went 4-for-4 his first four times up to the plate, and he scored every time. His first-inning infield single turned into a 1-0 lead when Shohei Ohtani doubled him to third and Justin Upton’s groundout brought him home. He added a resounding solo shot in the third for a 2-0 lead.
After Abreu tied it up with a two-run shot that carried over the wall in left — it took so much time that Abreu had to check up at first, lest he pass a baserunner again — in the fourth, Trout contributed to the answer in the fifth. He followed Goodwin’s leadoff walk with a single, and a walk to Justin Upton loaded the bases with one out.
Lopez couldn’t get a grounder. David Fletcher lofted a single over the left side of the infield to score two runs, and Luis Rengifo singled through the left side for another RBI single. Jiménez couldn’t muster a competitive throw on either play.
López departed after getting a flyout to start the sixth, but Josh Osich ended up getting saddled with three unearned runs before he could get two outs. Sánchez overthought an Ohtani grounder to second after Trout singled to keep the inning alive, and when he first looked to second, he fumbled the transfer on his turn to first, and his throw was late. That error was magnified by an Upton three-run homer that made it an 8-3 game, and given the Sox’ late rally, that play hurt the Sox more than anything else tonight.
*López looked better than his line indicated (5.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). His fastball averaged 98 mph, he got a couple of goofy swings on sliders, and the changeup worked when behind in the count. He just got Trouted.
*Between Sánchez and Jiménez, who couldn’t close on a fly ball with hang time to the left-center gap, the Sox didn’t play their best brand of defense overall.
*Anderson did, however, He made a couple of sensational plays to his right, including a miracle pick on a short hop after Leury García did everything in his power to screen him.
*Abreu tied and passed Robin Ventura on the White Sox all-time home run list with his 171st and 172nd homers. Both were hit off Andrew Heaney, who allowed two other hits and no other runs over his seven innings.
*Jason Benetti spent the game talking to Lucas Giolito, Lucas Giolito’s uncle, Dylan Cease, and Ozzie Guillen and Chuck Garfien in the studio. However, MLBTV doesn’t or can’t allow studio audio into its feeds, so Benetti at times sounded insane.
Record: 54-66 | Box score | Highlights
Really bad error by Yolmer. On a ball hit to the second baseman with two outs, he should just go to first. Not sure what he was thinking there. Of course the next guy hits a three-run homer and we end up losing by one. I’ll admit that Yolmer has turned double plays very well this year, but the rest of his game has faltered and he should not be back next season.
Lopez had good velocity tonight, but he seemed to be too much of a thrower, not a pitcher. McCann should have been behind the plate. He might have been able to figure something out and guide Lopez to a quality start. Castillo should only catch Nova or Detwiler. Don’t have the young prospects pitch to such an inferior catcher.
The homer by Trout should not have happened with two out and nobody on. Why pitch him anything near the plate in that situation?
If they’re not pitching to Trout with the bases empty in the third inning, nobody’s ever pitching to Trout, and baseball suffers as a result.
If baseball can survive tanking, extreme shifts, three-outcome hitters, work stoppages, etc., it can survive a team pitching around the other team’s best hitter. Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds were constantly pitched around when they were dominating their respective leagues. Teams often pitched around Frank Thomas and Dick Allen when they were having MVP seasons for us, but we can’t do the same?
With two out and nobody on in that inning, the odds of the Angels scoring were not very good, unless we grooved one to Trout, which we did. And we lost by one run.
Maybe MLB should have a “PBS” section of the standings where a team gets credit for “Prevented Baseball Suffering,” but that hasn’t occurred yet.
I get where you’re coming from a strategical perspective, but I’m fine with prioritizing the entertainment purposes. Baseball’s better when players challenge each other.
Fell asleep in the 2nd inning. Hate these west coast games.
I lasted through six. Unfortunately (??) I had the Angels broadcast on my pirate site feed and missed the guest aannouncers.
Or, at times, the lack thereof.
So Engel is down to .218 and a .615 OPS and is back to looking clueless at the plate. Why are Engel, Cordell and Jay all on the major league roster? Oh, I forgot- because Rick Hahn is the GM.
Couldn’t agree more. Engel’s first at bat was tough to watch.