When Michael Kopech departed this game after two outs, slamming the ball to the turf in frustration after what turned out to be an event with his right knee, you probably wouldn’t have expected a burned-out pitching staff to limit the Rangers to three runs through nine innings, especially when none of the White Sox’s high-leverage relievers pitched any of them.
Reynaldo López, fresh off opening two innings two days ago, once again got the game into the third with no score. Johnny Cueto, pitching long relief on short rest, gave up two runs on his first two batters in the second, then had a rough three-batter sequence for another run in the third, but settled down to finish five and gave the Sox offense a chance to tie the game.
Tanner Banks, back from Charlotte and tapped to throw in high-leverage, walked his first two batters, then recovered to post zeroes in the eighth and ninth. Kendall Graveman finally appeared in the 10th — which is the correct call for a team’s best reliever, which he turned out to be with Liam Hendriks revealed unavailable ex post facto — and stranded the first Manfred Man.
And yet the White Sox still lost, because after a nice little two-out rally in the first inning, they could not score without assistance from a miserable Rangers defense.
In the seventh, they managed to close a 3-1 deficit only because Ezequiel Duran booted what should’ve been an inning-ending double play ball, and Nathaniel Lowe overranged to his right and deflected Andrew Vaughn’s grounder away from Marcus Semien, who would’ve been in position to field it.
And after Duran atoned for his error with a three-run blast off José Ruiz in the 11th inning, the White Sox might’ve only come up with run on a defensive-indifference-generated sac fly, but Charlie Culberson and Eli White collided on Danny Mendick’s drive to left center. Culberson lost it in the sun, and while White made a fantastic effort to range from one gap to the other, all he had to show for it was a dive into a sliding Culberson’s midsection. Two runs scored, Mendick reached third on the painful triple, and he scored on AJ Pollock’s bloop single to tie the game at 6.
Unfortunately, after Matt Foster yielded a two-run single to Jonah Heim in the top of the 12th, the gifts dried up. Instead, Luis Robert decided to hand an out back by getting thrown out at third attempting a pointless tag-up on Jake Burger’s warning-track fly to left. He came off the bag on his feet-first slide, and while he might’ve been determined safe had the original call gone his way, he was initially ruled out, and the call stood after replay. He deserved to be out on thought process alone.
And even if Robert didn’t make that mistake, the Sox lost all rights to victory when they failed to capitalize on Graveman’s scoreless 10th. José Abreu nullified the Manfred Man with a double play, and nobody could make up for it.
*Jon Gray became the first pitcher to strike out 10 White Sox this year, doing so over six innings.
*Seby Zavala made his first appearance of the year and was out on a grounder where hustling out of the box might’ve made a difference.
*Dylan Cease warmed up late, but La Russa said after the game that it was just to get work in for his start on Tuesday. I’m not so sure. All of this seems like news for a roster about to collapse.