The White Sox had blown a few late leads with everybody but Liam Hendriks on the mound, but this time a game finally shaped into a traditional save situation that allowed the White Sox’s best reliever to take the mound with a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
And Hendriks blew it as well.
Hendriks gave up a solo shot to Carlos Santana to send the game into extras. The Royals got their runner on second home with a couple of bunts, although had Garrett Crochet not spiked his throw to home into the turf, the second bunt wouldn’t have worked. In the bottom of the 10th, the Sox’s runner did not advance. Adam Eaton couldn’t get a bunt down, and then struck out. Zack Collins struck out, and Nick Madrigal grounded out to end the game.
After going undefeated with ninth-inning leads and against left-handed starters in 2020, both streaks are dead.
The White Sox could have done a little more against lefty Mike Minor and the Kansas City bullpen. While they only managed five hits, they also drew nine walks. Alas, they went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, with Leury Garcia’s flared double over third base the only hit. They had harder-hit balls, but Luis Robert’s double hit the top of the left-field wall, and others died in front of the track.
Only two balls carried far enough. One was Santana’s in the top of the ninth. The other was Adam Eaton’s in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitting for Andrew Vaughn against righty Jesse Hahn, Eaton worked a 2-2 count and then hooked a slider just inside the right-field foul pole to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead.
La Russa followed a good hunch there. Unfortunately, it rendered moot the idea to pinch-run Nick Williams for Yermín Mercedes after his leadoff walk, and so Williams came to the plate instead of Mercedes with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. At least Williams was a better runner on second for the top of the 10th, although that mattered little, too. Eaton’s bunt attempt also appeared indecisive.
Everything made Dylan Cease’s afternoon more or less a sidebar. It was a step forward in terms of stuff — six strikeouts over 4⅔ innings, with his fastball doing a lot of the damage. Unfortunately, a first-inning error by Yoán Moncada and a blown call by Todd Tichenor required Cease to throw 12 extra pitches, and by the fifth inning, his slider wasn’t really a threat. He ended up losing the 1-0 lead with three singles over the course of four batters, and La Russa pulled him one out short of five for Michael Kopech.
That said, Kopech made Cease’s start successful enough by getting the game through seven. He was once again sensational, retiring all seven batters he faced, including three by strikeout. However it happened, two Sox pitchers carried a 1-1 game into the eighth. It’s just a shame Aaron Bummer compounded the White Sox’s high-leverage problems by giving up a run in the eighth. He walked ninth-inning lefty Nicky Lopez, then gave up a single to lefty Andrew Benintendi for KC’s first lead of the game. Kopech might be the only reliever who looks at the top of the game right now.
*Collins gunned down three runners. He picked off Hunter Dozier at second after Dozier wandered from the base after losing track of the count. He also nabbed Whit Merrifield, with an assist from Merrifield losing contact with the bag while sliding, and Danny Mendick holding the tag. His SHOTHO of Benintendi was all him.
*Madrigal made a really nice turn on a difficult double play for a needed point in his favor defensively.
*Mercedes’ hitting streak is over, but because he drew three walks.
Record: 4-5 | Box score | Statcast
Bummer! Feel like that’s the most appropriate word.
Feels pretty bad when the strength of the team keeps coughing up late leads! Cmon damnit, where’s that killer instinct? We keep finding ways to lose games instead of finding ways to win them.
I knew I didn’t like the idea of a free runner on 2nd base in extra innings, and now I know why. Crochet started the inning and gave up the losing run in the 10th without allowing a hit, HBP, walk, error, or unintentional walk. It shouldn’t be possible score solely on the basis of multiple sacrifices.
Crochet’s spike throw home was an error, but you’re right–a better bunt would have gotten the job done without any failings from the pitcher.
I still don’t mind the rule because there’s no excuse for our team failing to come right back with a run in the bottom half. Royals executed; Sox didn’t–so the Sox lose. I’m certainly happier than I would be if I had watched 4 extra innings of boring baseball before the Sox found a way to lose.
I am (probably) a minority, but I do like the rule…well… I don’t like the rule per se, I just dislike more 17 innings and 6 hours games. I read on twitter a reply to Josh Nelson suggesting to implement the men-on-second- rule starting in the 12 inning or something around that. I think that’s a good idea.
I also don’t oppose to tie games. Half point (game) to each team. Thing is that I really dislike long extra inning games.
IMO, if they’re going to ruin extra innings bc they’re afraid of the one game per year that goes to 14 or whatever, they should just jettison the whole thing. No more extra innings. All ties after nine innings are decided by HR derby. It’d be stupid, but would it be more stupid than this abomination?
I wonder if there’s a good reason they didn’t have the free runner on 1st instead of 2nd. At least in that scenario, he couldn’t be sac’ed all the way home. Perhaps a man on 1st and no out doesn’t move the run-expectancy needle enough?
Anyhow, it feels like the team’s is taking some unlucky lumps in the early going. In every week of games during every year, some teams fall on the bad side of luck. The errors aren’t unlucky but some have come at unlucky times (or on unlucky days). Santana barely hit out a decent pitch. Extras under this format are sort of a toss-up. Hendricks will save a bunch of games. The pen is still really exciting.
We’ll be fine as long as the Vaughn-Collins-Madrigal-Mendick-Garcia lineup arcs don’t last all year.
We have well demonstrated that a man on 3rd, with no outs, doesn’t necessarily change the score- so there is the argument against a man on 1st.
A man on first is typically the first requirement of the double play so that isn’t necessarily speeding up the game either.
I’d prefer a tie. It keeps extra innings from fouling up the next game outcomes when bullpens get depleted.
So looking at the math (and I’m sure its not 100% accurate to the current environment):
With no outs and no one on: 0.53 runs scored
With no outs and a runner at first: 0.94 runs scored
With no outs and a runner at second: 1.17 runs scored
Not a huge difference between a runner on first or second apparently.
Those are average runs scored per inning I would assume?
I wonder how they would rate in likelihood a run scores. Perhaps that difference would be greater.
Welp, TLR managed this game about as well as anybody could have hoped, and still every move blew up in his face. Thoroughly deflating, but can’t fault the strategy employed.
[ x ] doubt
I mean, he made good decisions in game but why the hell was Leury leading off?
I was referring to in-game decisions.
I thought the decision to sac bunt madrigal in the bottom of the eighth (with collins at first of all people) was pretty mind boggingly stupid but aside from that he was fine.
Blown scoring opps+Blown bullpen+Only 5 hits=VERY BAD LOSS PERIOD
This is what it looks like when 2.5 of your best players are hurt.
I’m glad I watched the Masters instead.
Cease looked better
Madrigal turned a good double
Kopeck might be the best of the bunch in the pitching core so far
I get queezy when I see bummer arrive on the mound and for good reason
Healthy or not, we keep seeing enough bad mixed in with the good that the result is tainted. We will stay under .500 healthy or not until we stop beating ourselves.
Even with the injuries, the bad defense, the very bad hitting with men on base, if the bullpen had done it’s job the Sox would be at least 7-2 right now. The bullpen will be fine. Hendriks, Bummer, Heuer, Crochet, Kopech are studs. Let them settle into their roles and they will be a strength of this team. No reason to act like the sky is falling.
Yes. Very glad our bullpen is not like the Twins.
The Twins have six relievers with a 0.00 ERA across 20 combined appearances (22.1 IP). Colome blowing two saves has been their primary issue.
Was that “out of the basepath” call challengeable? I’ve gone back and watched it frame by frame. Madrigal’s foot is to the right of the chalk when the ball is fielded and he never steps more than one foot into the grass to avoid the tag:
https://www.mlb.com/video/cg-kc-cws-4-11-21?t=condensed-games (at 6:46-47)
And even if he’s out of the path, he’s within the baseline when the ball is thrown. In either circumstance, how does Collins not end up on 2d base? That call was outcome determinative and likely cost the Sox the game.
I think because out of the basepath qualifies as interference the runners stay where they are.
I realize batting average isn’t the best stat, but when your team is simultaneously running a league-best OBP while basically every regular not named Yermin Mercedes is batting near or below the Mendoza Line, it seems like that’s a source of a lot of wasted opportunities.