The Cleveland Indians don’t have a good offense, but they have a good half an offense, and when all its stars align, it can knock a pitcher for a loop.
Dane Dunning found that out the hard way. Cleveland greeted him with two singles and a three-run homer by MVP candidate Jose Ramirez that gave the Indians a three-run lead before Dunning recorded his first out of the game.
The White Sox were able to claw their way out of a 4-0 deficit, but when Carlos Santana took Jace Fry deep for a two-run shot before the fifth came to a close, the Sox didn’t have a second wind. The tried, getting the tying run to the plate in the ninth in hopes of another comeback against Brad Hand, but Cleveland’s closer rallied to lock up James McCann and José Abreu on backdoor sliders to close it down without a run scored.
The White Sox offense overcame some bad luck to tie the game. In the second, Tim Anderson hit a 101.5-mph liner that rattled in and out of the glove with Aaron Civale. It woud’ve been better had Civale caught it, because by dropping it, he ended up starting a 1-5-3 inning-ending double play instead.
In the fourth, Yasmani Grandal hit a double with two outs that would have easily scored Tim Anderson from first … except it one-hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. This time, the Sox wouldn’t be deterred. Abreu scored Anderson and Grandal with a single through the middle, and Eloy JIménez tied it up with a two-run blast just right of center.
The top of Cleveland’s order did just too much damage. Francisco Lindor, Cesar Hernandez, Ramirez and Santana combined to go 7-for-14 with three walks, six RBIs and six runs scored. Beyond that four, a 3-for-4 night from Josh Naylor was the only production to be found.
The good news is that Dunning more or less recovered from the fastballs he misplaced in the first. He could have gotten out of the second unscored upon, but Grandal dropped Nomar Mazara’s on-target throw while attempting to place the tag on Naylor, which made it a 4-0 game. Dunning’s other two innings were comparatively easier, as he needed just 31 pitches and allowed just a one-out single that didn’t go anywhere.
Fry tried to sidestep Ramirez by walking him with one out, but then he elevated a 2-1 sinker to Santana, who hammered it well over the big wall in left to give Cleveland a 6-4 lead. The top of the order then conspired against Jimmy Cordero in his second inning of work, as all four hitters reached, and Franmil Reyes drove in one with a sac fly. The only reason they didn’t do more damage is because Grandal cut down Lindor at second on his steal attempt.
*Rick Renteria was ejected for arguing strike three to McCann, although he might’ve taken the bullpen so he didn’t lose both catchers. McCann had replaced Grandal, who exited the game shortly after taking a foul tip off his hand. X-rays were negative. The pitch in question was a strike according to Statcast.
*Jiménez gave up a hit on a line drive to left that he might’ve lost in the lights to start the seventh, but he made a sliding catch in left to end it.
*Struggling hitter watch: Luis Robert drew two walks for the second straight game, Nomar Mazara went 1-for-4, Yoán Moncada went 0-for-4 with a walk and reached on a hard-hit grounder on the ninth that was scored an error, but Edwin Encarnación went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Record: 34-20 | Box score | Statcast
Luis is the only one of the current black hole of him, Mazara, and Encarnacion that has looked anything other than well below average offensively at some point this season. Definitely get the feeling the Sox’ success the rest of the way however far that is will be based on Robert reversing his current trend and limiting Edwin’s and Nomar’s ABs. The offense is clearly going to struggle when a third of your lineup is collectively hitting a wOBA worse than any qualified season in the last 20 years as those three have since the start of the month.
Digging a little deeper on this the Sox offense in Sept was a wOBA of 0.321. If you remove Mazara, Edwin, and Luis they have a wOBA of 0.360. That’s going from approximately the 2007 White Sox offense to the 2000 White Sox offense.
I’ve been pondering if they should give Robert and Moncada extended time off whether it’s for a physical or mental break. The Cincinnati series probably would have been the ideal time.
So, the TA – Civale line drive drop… I couldn’t help wondering why that doesn’t count as an infield fly. Granted, Civale probably tried to catch it, and it’s not technically a “fly”—but by spirit of the rule, the idea is the same. Wouldn’t infielders be better served letting line drives in similar situations hit their gloves then fall out? It seems like the infield fly rule should apply to any ball that an infielder could catch in the air.
I saw the play but wasn’t able to listen to the broadcast, so maybe Benetti and Stone discussed it, but I couldn’t help thinking that something was amiss.
I believe that the umpire can determine that such a line drive was dropped on purpose and simply call the batter out. I also believe that the statement of the infield fly rule requires that the ball achieve some degree of elevation, although I am not certain as to the precise degree. It does not include a line drive.
I wonder how the league would parse out the difference, since the effect is the same. And if a certain degree of elevation is required, why don’t players drop line drives more often?
1st & 2nd, no outs: a smart 3B bats down a line drive with the glove (a la Civale), and it’s a triple play.
Anyway, it seems like the rule *should* be if it reaches any infielder in the air, or “on the fly.” That would be cleaner and not leave the umps to sort out intent.
These Sox Machine game recaps are typically the best in all of Sox fandom/journalism. But I think leaving out the bad roll the home plate umpire played in this game is a disservice to readers.
To be honest I’m not sure this game was even in our top 2 or 3 for bad umpiring. We have seen some bad zones this year.
The White Sox got the worse of the strike zone, but it appeared to be large and lousy to both teams. White Sox pitchers just couldn’t exploit it as much.
I think the only positives we can take from here is that Eloy is still rocking the hot bat and Luis is trying to adjust by being more patient at the plate, these are good walks he’s drawing even if he isn’t putting the hurt on the ball. Hopefully, he finds a real nice pitch to drive and breaks out of the funk.
EE and Mazara need to sit. Start your best lineup!
McCann can’t put Renteria in that position. The ump was well within his rights to toss McCann, but I’m guessing he didn’t want to have to deal with a position player catching the next inning in front of him. That being said, if Renteria hadn’t come out, it’s almost guaranteed McCann was gone, and we see Yolmer or somebody having to catch. And really, the pitch was probably a strike, or at worst, juuuust off the plate. Just as Renteria is starting to get comfortable playing both catchers, McCann does something stupid like that.