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My curling league runs on Monday nights, so I’m never more disconnected from the White Sox when my draw time aligns with first pitch. When I get off the ice and check my phone, I’m usually left to solve the question “Why does everybody hate the White Sox tonight?”
Looks like tonight had three answers:
Lance Lynn’s start: Three batters into his outing, Lynn had a runner on first, two outs and a pitch count of 10. After the inning, the White Sox trailed 5-0. Seven consecutive Guardians reached, starting with the inning’s second infield single, followed by a seeing-eye single through the middle, a broken-bat single to center, and a palpable two-run single off the mound.
While there was plenty of bad luck (none of the nine first-inning batted balls qualified as “hard-hit”), Lynn contributed to the cause with a pair of walks, and only one swinging strike over 39 pitches.
Lance Lynn’s finish: Lynn started the fifth inning on 90 pitches. He’d retired eight in a row at one point, but his scoreless fourth involved stranding two runners on a 103-mph groundout from Josh Naylor.
But whether it was more the doubleheader looming on Tuesday or Tony La Russa’s general faith in veteran pitchers regardless of recent history, Lynn got a chance to face three batters in the fifth. They went single, hit-by-pitch and a ringing Nolan Jones double, and Lynn went from maintaining a 5-4 deficit to leaving with the Sox trailing 7-4. Jones then scored on a single by Matt Foster’s second batter for the final score.
The offense’s general effort: The White Sox looked briefly inspired during the third and fourth innings. In the third, Tim Anderson kept the inning alive with an opposite-field single, and Yoán Moncada followed by getting on top of a 90 mph cutter and heaving it over the wall in right center for a three-run shot.
An inning later, Eloy Jiménez drew a six-pitch walk to move José Abreu into scoring position, and AJ Pollock cashed him in with a single off the glove of a leaping José Ramirez to make it a one-run game.
Other innings featured nothing. They opened by going three-up-three-down on six pitches, and they only used up seven in the ninth. Out of the 34 plate appearances the White Sox had over the course of the evening, 21 ended on three pitches or fewer.
Two of them came with runners on the corners and nobody out in the seventh inning, when they chased Quantrill from the game. Seby Zavala popped out on Trevor Stephan’s first pitch, and Anderson swung at all three he saw, grounding into a double play. Stephan only needed four pitches to get three outs, and then he pitched a 1-2-3 eighth on 10, which must’ve winded him.
Sox hitters consumed just 114 pitches over the nine innings, while the White Sox threw 152 over eight.
I’m still catching up on the finer points of the game. If there’s anything worth citing, let me know.
*Leury García was charged with an error when his relay throw home escaped Seby Zavala, and Lance Lynn — who spent multiple such plays floating around the middle of the diamond — wasn’t backing up.
*Joe Kelly struck out two and threw 13 of 18 pitches for strikes during a scoreless sixth, so that’s something.
*Former White Sox prospect Alex Call made his MLB debut in the seventh inning, lining out to center against Kelly.
*White Sox pitchers plunked three Guardians, so we’ll see if five games over four days breeds contempt.