Angels 6, White Sox 5: Mistakes loom larger after late rally

The one drawback of nearly erasing a 6-0 lead with a five-run ninth inning is the heightened attention on the ways the White Sox allowed those extra runs.

When Michael Lorenzen entered the ninth inning on 91 pitches angling for a shutout, and perhaps a Maddux at that, it didn’t necessarily seem to matter that the Angels tacked on two runs with two outs in the ninth inning when Josh Harrison whiffed on a short hop and let it clank off his shin for a Jo Adell “double” that gave the Angels a sixth run.

Then the bottom of the ninth unfurled, and … oops.

The White Sox denied Lorenzen a shutout when three of the first four hitters reached, with Leury García sending Lorenzen to the dugout with a two-run double off the base of the center-field wall. They then denied Raisel Iglesias a game finished, even though Iglesias started his appearance by striking out Reese McGuire.

Harrison drove in García with a double, then scored on Tim Anderson’s single, making it 6-4 and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of Luis Robert. Robert could only manage a grounder to the left side, but he beat it out by a split second. He was initially ruled out, but the White Sox continued when the play was overturned (more on that in a bit).

Iglesias’ labors continued. He fell behind 3-0 on Yasmani Grandal, pumped two quality strikes to load the count, but then lost the battle four pitches later after three foul balls and a changeup taken low. That loaded the bases, and while Iglesias got ahead of José Abreu 1-2, he nullified the advantage by drilling Abreu on the forearm to make it 6-5.

That brought Gavin Sheets to the plate, and Joe Maddon back to the mound. He called for Ryan Tepera, and Tepera did what Iglesias couldn’t by getting Sheets to roll out to first base to end the game.

In the end, the White Sox notched as many hits in the ninth inning as they did in the first eight (six apiece). They saw 38 pitches, or 41 percent of the total they saw over the first eight.

Perhaps there’s something they can take away from it and apply to the finale on Monday. Or perhaps they were just facing an unremarkable righty a fourth time and a closer who has been worked hard over the last week, and a fresh pitcher will undo all the work.

Their approach at the plate was mostly miserable. The White Sox struck out only three times on the day, but that’s because they swing at 15 first pitches, including five one-pitch outs.

On the other side, Dallas Keuchel threw barely half of his pitches for strikes (40 of 79), leading to five walks over five innings. He could’ve benefited from a few plays made — Harrison bobbled a double-play ball and had to settle for an out, AJ Pollock took an imprecise route that required a Willie Mays-like catch two feet from the wall that he couldn’t commit to — but his control dug his hole, and not his defense.

Subsequent pitchers didn’t help, as Ryan Burr, José Ruiz and Tanner Banks combined for four walks over 3⅓ innings. Banks allowed the two runs that Keuchel didn’t yield, but he has the honor of throwing the highest strike percentage on the White Sox’s side. Sure, it was only 25 of 44 pitches, but at 56.8 percent, that’s a superior clip to Keuchel (50.6 percent), Ruiz and Foster (50 percent apiece).

Bullet points:

*Robert’s infield single was the fourth call overturned at first base in one of the worst performances you’ll see from a field umpire. Sean Barber missed two calls for each side, as one fielder’s choice was turned into a double play after a review, while Taylor Ward had two 6-3s turned into infield singles on nearly identical plays.

*Gavin Sheets went 2-for-4 with a walk, but he led the White Sox by stranding five baserunners in his two unsuccessful plate appearances.

*The White Sox turned three double plays, including two started by pitchers.

*Keuchel has 11 walks to eight strikeouts over 15 innings.

Record: 8-13 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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jhomeslice

Hopefully Yoan will be quick to return after his homer today. I know the offensive woes can’t all be blamed on him, but still he is a big presence in the lineup esp with Eloy out.

Yolmer with 2 more hits today. I know it won’t happen but I’d love them to bring Yoan and Yolmer up in a doubly-Y package deal! Kelly pitched today as well, so hopefully Yoan, Cueto, and Kelly will serve as some kind of reinforcements for this team. They need all the help they can get.

Right Size Wrong Shape

*Yolbert

Trooper Galactus

Hard to give them credit for a one inning outburst when it was preceded by eight innings of more absolutely dead-ass baseball.

SocksO’Graham

All that first pitch swinging is reckless. Who is driving this approach? Don’t they have any metrics?

itaita

If im remembering right the metrics would say the Sox approach would be fine if they were not the unluckiest team in baseball by far.

Right Size Wrong Shape

It’s probably driving the low strikeout rate, but the cost outweighs the benefits.

As Cirensica

It is not April anymore. 5 games under .500
Only 6 teams have worse w-l record than the White Sox. SIX! We are in protected pick territory. I am confident better outcomes are in the future, but we can dig a hole big enough to make a comeback useless. We need to start winning more games.

metasox

My hope is that like in Moneyball the team eventually hits its metrics. My fear is that MN is just good enough to pile up wins against a weak division.

As Cirensica

If Buxton remains healthy and the pitching is adequate without being all star quality, the White Sox are in troubles.

metasox

MN could also add pitching mid-season

Trooper Galactus

I know we focus a lot on hard hit %, barrel rate, etc., but metrics ain’t exactly fond of low BB%, swinging at everything, and lousy defense.

Trooper Galactus

Thankfully the AL Central is an absolute shit-show right now and not only are two of those six teams in the division but they’re only 4.5 games behind the division leader. There’s still plenty of time but they can’t finish May any further in the hole than they already are, or else it’s time to start smashing the panic button.

As Cirensica

It’s a shitshow division for the Twins as well.

Trooper Galactus

Which is why they’re a whopping 4.5 games ahead of us.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Respect the hustle shown today to keep the season run differential reasonable

Kelly Wunsch N' Munch

8 innings of an absolute listless performance. Hardly made Lorenzen work till the 9th. Granted he was doing what our pitchers were apparently allergic to doing, and that’s throwing a 1st pitch strike. Kuechel has no precision. Constantly pitching from behind in the count. He doesn’t have the stuff to survive pitching from behind. But to echo what some have already said, the offense has been absent. It was nice that they showed some life in the 9th after digging themselves into yet another hole. Hoping that can be a springboard to jump start them into better baseball. That error at 3rd by Harrison (at least I hope they changed the scoring to an error) looms large. Once again too much incompetence to overcome.

calcetinesblancos

Need a managerial change.

Trooper Galactus

Dude, if you made a list of all the people in this organization that need to be shown the door it’d look like a blown up CVS receipt.

knoxfire30

So to just go 90-72 which likely won’t get the bye or home field the sox need to play 582 ball rest of the way and go 82-59…. certainly not impossible but they have dug themselves a hole. Their margin for error keeps shortening as they keep losing series/games….