Mariners 8, White Sox 4: Sunk in the sixth

For the second time in as many starts, what should’ve been a comfortable lead with Dallas Keuchel on the mound disappeared in a hurry.

For the first time, the White Sox paid the price.

Keuchel entered the bottom of the sixth with a 4-1 lead and allowed the first two to reach. Matt Foster took over and not only failed to stop the bleeding. It’s more accurate to say that hemophilia ran rampant. Six of the eight batters Foster faced reached, part of an 11-batter, seven-run inning that spoiled the Sox’s chances for a sweep. They’ll instead head back to Chicago for the home opener one game under .500.

The inning featured a couple of defensive gaffes, although none of them really contributed to the inning’s meltdown stages. Adam Eaton was involved in both, first spiking a throw to second on a shallow fly that bounced past second base and through the backup system. That only pushed runners ahead from first and second to second and third, and given that Foster isn’t a ground-ball pitcher, you don’t go to him looking for a double play anyway.

As proof, Foster entered and gave up a sharp infield single off the glove of Jake Lamb at third to load the bases, and it didn’t matter because Foster couldn’t get a grounder. Taylor Trammell singled to score one, and after a Sam Haggerty strikeout, J. P. Crawford lined a single to right to make it 4-3. Mitch Haniger tied the game with a sac fly, and even then, Eaton and Luis Robert collided in right center.

The inning pivoted for the worst when Foster walked Ty France on 11 pitches after getting ahead 0-2, which reloaded the bases. Kyle Seager cleared them with a slicer inside the left-field line, and Jose Marmolejos ended Foster’s misery with a single to center that scored Seager.

After 34 pitches and seven runs — five on Foster’s tab, two on Keuchel’s — Tony La Russa called for José Ruiz, who got a routine grounder for the long-awaited final third out.

That collapse didn’t quite seal the game, because the White Sox had done a good job of creating traffic on the basepaths all afternoon, and they did it again in the top of the seventh by loading the bases on two walks sandwiching a single. Alas, Zack Collins popped out and Robert lined into a 6-4 double play, as José Abreu broke toward third for some reason and got aught off second. That ended the Sox’s hopes.

The Sox’s first bases-loaded situation went a lot better. They’d let Justin Dunn dig holes earlier in the game, but they couldn’t keep him there. Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the fifth, the strategy finally proved unsustainable for Seattle. Dunn walked Billy Hamilton, and then Eaton two batters later. A double steal opened up first, and Jake Lamb filled it with a walk to load the bases.

Up came Abreu, but fresh off a second grand slam, he came well short of a third by popping into the infield fly rule. Yasmani Grandal picked him up by taking four pitches. Dunn’s eighth walk of the game tied the game at 1, and prompted Scott Servais to go to the bullpen for Will Vest. Zack Collins foiled the move by shooting a single through the left side that scored two for a 3-1 White Sox lead.

The Sox then tacked on a run an inning later. Nick Madrigal shot a grounder just inside first base for a leadoff double, then scored two batters later on Danny Mendick’s single.

Keuchel, who battled inefficiency early before settling into the middle innings, came out for the sixth on 86 pitches. But he walked Marmolejos to start the inning, and it all went downhill from there.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox walked 10 times, but they’re only 5-5 in the last 10 games they’ve done so.

*Hamilton grabbed at his left hamstring after swiping third on the double steal. He stayed in the game long enough to score his run, but Andrew Vaughn replaced him in left field afterward.

*Aaron Bummer and Liam Hendriks pitched the seventh and eighth just to get work.

*Abreu also stole a base to give the White Sox three of them. They finished a net +2, because Robert was picked off second by the catcher on a designed play after a pulled back bunt.

*Grandal had an error on catcher interference.

Record: 3-4 | Box score | Statcast

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MrStealYoBase

By my count the bullpen has been asked to cover 28 innings over the first 7 games. Hendriks has pitched 2.1 of those, and 6 of those 7 outs were low-leverage.

If they are doing some self-reflection after this road trip, I’d start with that.

metasox

Lots of talk about the Ks from guys like Rodon and Giolito, but those 10 pitch at-bats add up. I don’t know if they will look at inducing more weak contact. The defense has contributed to the problem, but some of that will have to get tightened up

MrStealYoBase

I meant this more as a focus on the second part about barely using the $54M man that was their major off-season add, and letting other guys flounder in high-leverage spots. But if the starters want to be more efficient, that would definitely help.

I think the modern philosophy of workload management early in the season means that a lot of bullpens are going to be taxed. But if that’s the case, you should be leaning on your best guy more than they have.

metasox

I understand the point. But looking at pitch counts, it isn’t just workload management. The starters could use more short innings.

HallofFrank

I agree completely. I just seriously cannot understand the rationale for going to Foster in the 6th instead of Hendriks or Bummer when *Hendricks and Bummer were going to pitch no matter what.* it’s more understandable (or forgivable) to try to get by in the earlier innings without those guys because you might extend the lead and not need them. But why why why wait if they are coming in no matter what? There were 2 guys on base!

Has anyone heard TLR respond to this? Are we simply never going to see the best relievers in the most important situations?

knoxfire30

It definitely should of been Bummer.

tommytwonines

TLR admitted he screwed up with bullpen management in the sixth. Pretty emphatic about it, actually.

HallofFrank

He did, but from what I saw he was referring to leaving Foster in too long. Which is a problem, but a different kind of problem.

I’d like someone to ask him: “the next time you’re in that situation, would you consider bringing in Bummer or Hendriks?” I’m worried those guys are going to be 8th / 9th inning guys no matter what.

Hulksmash

There’s surely a lot of fine commentary to be had concerning the Sox, but all I can muster is this: This team looks like s**t. Can’t run, can’t field, and things are so bad we’re down a Billy Hamilton.

Milky✌️

If Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit, Tony’s Boys.. well

Milky✌️

Fell into a post-work nap after the 5th. Turns out that was wise for multiple reasons

itaita

This loss is on me. I had to run to the store at the end of the 5th and when i got home it was right in time to see the final out of the disasterpiece.

ThisReallySox

When Robert was picked off, why was Hamilton trying to bunt with no outs. I don’t know if it was called or done on his own, but that was dumb because Dunn could not find the plate at all at that point

Last edited 3 years ago by ThisReallySox
calcetinesblancos

That’s what you do when you can’t hit.

Ivan Calderon

Great question! Jason even asked Steve this before the first pitch to Hamilton. Jason was wondering whether Steve thought Billy should take the first pitch before showing bunt since Dunn was not showing control. Before Steve could fully respond, the moment degressed into the mess that became Robert being picked off.

Trooper Galactus

Mike Tauchman is 0-for-1 with 2 stolen bases. Maybe we should have made that trade after all. Seriously, though, this is absurd. LaRussa doesn’t want to burn Hendriks late in a tie game, but can’t be bothered to use somebody other than his two lowest leverage relievers when up by one in the sixth?

mrridgman

I wasn’t crazy about the TLR hire but felt he deserved a chance. This game was a bullpen management disaster. Bummer pitched “just to get work”; where was he (or Crochet) when the Seager at-bat cried out for them? Rickie’s playoff game 3 doesn’t look so bad now.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

| Rickie’s playoff game 3 doesn’t look so bad now.

Nah, it definitely still looks bad

dat gummit

Just feels like the same mistakes, same pattern, over and over. Let’s see some progress this home stand!

soxygen

I kept wondering if Foster could have taken half as much time between pitches and ended up with the same results. Lordy, that man really takes his sweet time.

knoxfire30

Even Jason Binetti had an awful night…. Robert was out by a lot on the pick off play but Jason was the only one who apparently didn’t see that, then he thought a thumb guard was a baseball, and of course he has gone total cub fan at this point with any ball in the air thinking its a homer…. rest up Jason we need you better for todays opener!

Red_Hair_White_Sox

Remember he is watching on TV like the rest of us. There were a few flyballs that I thought were gone as well…until they hit that pesky ~marine layer~

knoxfire30

You cant miss all the time. And that wouldnt explain how on everyone else tv robert was out by a lot and a baseball doesnt look like a thumb guard. He had a rough night on the call.

FlyingSpaghettiMonster

Which is worse: that Ethan Katz may not have TLR’s ear because he’s not Dave Duncan? Or that the bullpen management has been so terrible because TLR has been listening to Katz?

BenwithVen

The defense is the most frustrating thing to watch, and it seems like everything is an issue out there. Mishandled balls, bad throws, lack of awareness and communication. it doesn’t help that there seems to be a flare that drops into no mans land every game.

Normally, I would be thrilled with a 3-4 west coast road trip, but this team should have at least been 5-2 coming home. Hopefully, being in their home park will clear whatever fog is hanging over this team.

Soxfan2

We made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade last season. We are expected to make a deep run in the playoffs this year. And yet, I am not having fun watching this team. The defense, baserunning and bullpen management have been awful.

Root Cause

Maybe they need to have the bullpen pitchers names listed by ability rather than alphabetical order. I’d like to see a little more Hendricks and a little less Foster.