It’s good to know the White Sox can accept notes.
Just like Friday afternoon, the White Sox came away victorious. Just like Friday afternoon, the White Sox once again scored four runs through nine innings at Wrigley Field via two runs early, then two runs later via the long ball.
But this time they shaved off the completely extraneous 77 minutes that bloated the final few frames of Friday’s game, and the result was a far tauter viewing experience.
Carlos Rodón picked up where Lance Lynn left off, throwing five dominant innings and striking out 11. He looked rejuvenated from his few extra days of rest, but Tony La Russa still played it carefully. When Rodón needed a little more effort to close out the fourth and fifth innings, he ended up pulling Rodón after a leadoff walk.
Just like Friday, Michael Kopech, Aaron Bummer and Craig Kimbrel handled the bridge to the ninth. This time Kopech stranded the inherited runner, keeping runners frozen on the corners with a popout and a groundout. Aaron Bummer handled the seventh by himself, and this time Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, striking out two after starting with a loud flyout to center.
With the lead swelling to four and the bullpen holding the margin, Ryan Tepera closed it out instead. Maybe you’d prefer to have a pyrotechnic climax of a Liam Hendriks save, but it’s better to have too little tension than too much.
It seemed like the White Sox offense had a larger cushion in mind when they greeted Adbert Alzolay with two runs in the first. César Hernández poked a single through the hole on the shifted left side, Eloy Jiménez beat out a dribbler down the third-base line for his own infield single, and Yoán Moncada drove both in with a ringing double off the wall in left center.
Alas, Alzolay settled in and the White Sox didn’t score again until the eighth inning, when Hernández and Abreu went back-to-back off Trevor Megill.
Rodón needed no larger margin. He hit the mound with a livelier fastball and didn’t really relent, throwing it for 59 of his 78 pitches, getting 12 of his 19 swinging strikes. His slider also generated six whiffs on eight swings, and not a single one of the 25 was put into play, so the combination allowed him to shelve the changeup.
A third pitch might’ve been helpful in starting a third time through, but the at-bats grew longer over the course of a hot and humid afternoon. After a 23-pitch fifth and a six-pitch walk to open the sixth, Tony La Russa called for Kopech, who this time kept the game scoreless. The other three relievers followed suit.
*Hernández is now hitting .345/.457/.552 over his first eight games with the Sox.
*The White Sox didn’t walk once while striking out nine times, but the Cubs struck out 17 times against two walks.