Six years ago, the White Sox squandered a six-run lead in the ninth inning to the Kansas City Royals, and I had the fortune of missing it. A couple of friends stopped by late in the game to help install an air conditioner, and after we completed the task, we walked over the Polish beer garden, because the White Sox were winning 7-1 and they weren’t Sox fans. I only found out the White Sox lost when my dad texted me “I am embarrassed for the White Sox and their multi-million $ closer.”
Tonight, my cousin was in town for a work trip and paid a visit, so I missed chunks of tonight’s Sox game while showing him around, then relocating to a bar. But because he’s a Sox fan and a bartender granted our request to switch a TV from the NBA playoffs to the MLB Network, I ended up catching the White Sox blowing this six-run lead in equally spectacular fashion.
My reaction as captured by the headline was the same both times, mostly because after doing this for 16 years, I’ve conditioned myself to not let the White Sox ruin my evening. If they’ve failed in a way that generates leaguewide interest, they usually deserve it.
Here, the White Sox committed four errors, including two in the ninth inning. The first error was more goofy than consequential, as Tim Anderson was late to deciding to cut off AJ Pollock’s throw from right field and ended up deflecting it past everybody. Bases were sacrificed, but nobody was supposed to be out on the play. The second error hurt, as Yoán Moncada biffed an easy opportunity to trade a run for an out. Instead of two outs, nobody on and the White Sox leading 8-4, they had that four-run lead with one out and one on.
That one out made all the difference, because Liam Hendriks entered with two outs and gave up a bases-loading single and a grand slam to Josh Naylor that tied the game before he could finally close the barn door.
(When Tony La Russa called for Hendriks for the sixth time in eight games, it brought to mind Joe Maddon calling for Raisel Iglesias for the fourth time in fifth games before the save situation arrived, and the White Sox nearly making up their own six-run deficit in the ninth. While I normally have a sense of how often things happen mathematically, I’ve never looked up the success percentage of a panicked, sweaty call for a closer in the middle of an inning that’s unraveling. It’s probably successful 95 percent of the time, but it feels like something goes smoothly once every 10 tries.)
When Moncada came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, I had flashes of him joining Gavin Sheets in somebody immediately atoning for a mistake. In the first inning, Sheets dropped a routine fly ball and allowed an unearned run and many pitches to accumulate on Michael Kopech’s tab. In the bottom of the inning, he hit a three-run homer off Zach Plesac to give the White Sox a 4-1 lead, which is where the score stayed until the Sox added on in the seventh.
Instead, Nick Sandlin was intent on not giving White Sox batters anything to square up. It resulted in walks to Moncada, Luis Robert and Yasmani Grandal around jammed popouts by Tim Anderson and José Abreu.
The combination brought Adam Engel to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Given Sandlin’s unwillingness to miss over the plate, I kinda wanted Engel to take four pitches. Instead, he swung at the second one, and while he smashed a firm grounder to the left side, José Ramírez smothered it with a dive and made a throw across the diamond to keep the game tied.
The White Sox had an even better chance to win the 10th, responding to a single Cleveland tally with one of their own before the first out was made, courtesy of Emmanuel Clase’s poor decision to throw home on a perfectly placed Reese McGuire chopper. They had the bases loaded with one out and the tying run 90 feet away, but Yoán Moncada and José Abreu both grounded out.
So at that point, the Sox had used up all the goodwill anybody could offer them, and Naylor ended everybody’s misery by tagging a hanging Ryan Burr cutter for a three-run homer in the 11th that decided the game and made history along the way.
And on both of Naylor’s homers, I could only groan out a laugh, because there’s no way to blow a six-run lead in the ninth inning in a fashion that isn’t deserved, and I wasn’t the one who did anything wrong.
Whether it’s a fly ball to right field, a grounder to third, or a six-run lead in the late innings, the White Sox shook a lot of confidence in things fans should feel comfortable taking for granted. It’s not your fault.
*Kopech pitched six runnings and allowed just the one unearned run, so he lowered his ERA to 0.93. He also worked around a Tim Anderson throwing error in the fifth by stranding runners on the corners with one out.
*Pollock hit his first homer as a White Sox, a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning hat seemed to push the game out of reach.
*Kendall Graveman was again conspicuously absent, as he neither pitched ahead of Hendriks in the ninth, Reynaldo López in the 10th or Ryan Burr in the 11th. Tony La Russa implied he was unavailable.
*Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless seventh in his debut, stranding a pair of two-out singles.
Record: 14-14 | Box score | Statcast
Being at the game was a very different experience.
I can’t believe they are 3-10 against the AL Central.
Well, the last couple years they beat up on their division and then exited meekly in the playoffs. Maybe they’re trying a different approach during the season to see if it changes their fate in the postseason.
My brothers are Cleveland fans (don’t ask) and one of them texted me, “I feel like the White Sox turn into the Bad News Bears when they play us.” I had no response.
My friend asked as we watched the game (up 8-2), if we win this we go to 7 straight? I responded with a laugh, unless they come up with 7 runs and hold us down in the 9th as this is Cleveland and bad things happen. This comment was because of the horrid defense. You don’t deserve to win games when you’re playing drops with the ball instead of catches. And of course when Liam was brought in, I predicted a home run to the first batter (I was a little early and 1 run off in my predictions).
This is why you need to run up the score in every game. This loss also reminded me of that Kansas City series and I just hope we can pull out a win against Cleveland this year.
Is there a chance to bring up a shortstop from AA and place Tim at second? Would that even make a difference..
what a way to ruin the good vibes lmfao
If you are going to lose, may as well do it in spectacular fashion
Fuck that. I hate this team.
Thank God I missed this *checks blood pressure*
So I can say, more importantly after crazy loss, is Graveman okay?
I laughed. Honestly, the Royals defeat Jim referred was my vaccine. I don’t get worked up over these losses anymore.
White Sox scored 9 runs.
Moncada is back.
Pollock started to put good swings
Joe Kelly looked filthy
Sure, the Guardians won this one, but we will be over them in no time. It’s a long season.
This is the truth. I’m more annoyed than angry.
I did not laugh.
I was at the game. This is a fundamentally unsound team. Sloppy, sloppy defense. It’s not just errors, there just seems to be a lack of focus and discipline on the field. It bit them in the butt last night: 12 runs allowed, but just 6 earned. I hope last night is a wake up call, because the AL Central is going to be much more competitive in 2022 than it was last year, and right now the Sox are at best a third place team.
You really do have to wonder what the hell is going on. Abreu missing picks at first base that were commonplace. TA suddenly being scatterarmed. Poor situational hitting in many spots in the lineup (I do wonder what Engle was thinking after hitting the second pitch, that wasn’t fat over of the plate, after those walks).
Tim can hit but is the proverbial meathead in the field. Yoan smiling after the error in the ninth sealed it. I knew it was over then. TLR should have turned to both those clowns when on his mound visit and thanked them them for the mess.
Yeah, you knew it was over then.
I don’t know how anyone can consider this team a serious contender. They certainly don’t play like one.
Plenty of blame to go around in this one, so I’ll highlight something no one is talking about:
TLR allowing Banks to go more than a week without an appearance while half of our bullpen was pitching until their arms fell off. The result is that Foster, Banks, and Henricks were probably all less effective than they otherwise might have been.
TLR mismanaging the bullpen? No, can’t be….
Despite his early success, I believe is considered more of a low-leverage guy. The team won 6 in a row that were close games. So, no need for low leverage. Any team with 9 in the bullpen and you will see guys going stretches without much work
This theory does not hold. Sousa close a game not long ago. SOUSA!
Sousa was prob #2 lefty with Bummer out
Which are the true TLR (2nd) era Sox: the 54-35 squad from the first half of 2021, or the 53-48 underachievers we’ve seen since?
The Sox fell apart last year because the great starting pitching – notably Lynn and Rodon- faltered down the stretch. And poor defense.
I think the pitching has a chance to be good in the second half this year.
But yikes, that defense!
Kopech, the new Quintana. (comparison over). Can he win the Cy Young win 0 wins?
Our legit HOF baseball guy really has his finger on the pulse of the team. Maybe he needs to try the George Costanza method and do the opposite of what his gut says.
“We didn’t lose that game because of our defense,” La Russa said
The defensive metrics of this team have gone down since The Russa took over. Is this just an arrogant assumption by an obviously out of touch manager that, players who have proved their skills don’t need to train those skills any longer?
Could he be any more out of touch with reality?
Was at the game. After the Mets comeback last week and all of the stats that were posted about how improbable a 6-run come back in the 9th is, we allowed ourselves to leave after the 8th considering the game was already well over 3 hours.
So I had the fortune of listening to everything that happened afterwards on the radio, which made it seem far less real to me. Just a dream.
In my world, the Sox got 6 strong out of Kopech, Yoan returned with a multiple on-base game, and Sheets and Pollock broke out of their funks with timely HRs with men on base. All is right in this world of my own creation and I wont hear otherwise.
Any word on Reynaldo’s early exit? Tight back or some such?
I’ve been a Sox fan since age 6 when my dad started taking me to games at Comiskey back in ’75. But I’m done. Being a fan of this team, and frankly this game, isn’t fun anymore. And I despise Reinsdorf and LaRussa. This is supposed to be entertaining, but it just makes me unhappy.
I wish you all well, and I hope you get some payoff for your investment.
I’m a few years older than you and I also despise TLR and Jerry and have done so for a very long time. In order for being a fan of the Sox (or any team really) to end up being worth it for me, I have to really enjoy the good times while never really letting the team have a negative effect on my happiness in the real world. I’ve met people over the years for whom their team losing makes them unhappy in the real world and I don’t know how they do it.
Being a White Sox fan qualifies.