The White Sox reached the halfway point having once again failed to make use of another turning point.
A day after their most inspiring performance of the season, a 9-8 victory over the Twins in 10 innings Wednesday afternoon, the White Sox spent the first five innings getting no-hit by Beau Briske, and didn’t score a run until one out in the ninth.
Even then, that merely set up disappointment. After Luis Robert’s opposite-field bouncer eluded Spencer Torkelson to score Tim Anderson while putting runners on second and third with one out, the Tigers pitched to José Abreu with first base open and profited. He chased Gregory Soto’s 0-2 neck-high 0-2 fastball for strike three, followed by Eloy Jiménez bouncing out to short to end the game.
As a result, Dylan Cease is no longer undefeated against the Tigers. He entered the game 10-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 career starts, but he suffered his first loss even though he lowered his ERA (it’s now 1.86). He just had the misfortune of giving up a solo shot to Javier Baez on a not-bad slider that Baez managed to reach out and hook into the first row behind the White Sox bullpen.
That wasn’t the only run the Tigers needed, but Tanner Banks allowed the second one. The White Sox got burned by pitching to the first baseman with first base open and two outs in the eighth inning, as Torkelson lined an inside-corner slider to left for an RBI single, rather than bypassing Torkelson to bring Tucker Barnhart to the plate. That move was defensible, because Torkelson hasn’t been that much of a threat this year.
La Russa had weirder moves. After Josh Harrison broke up the no-hitter to lead off the sixth, La Russa called for Reese McGuire to bunt Harrison to second. Trading the out for a base didn’t work, as Tim Anderson grounded out to short, and AJ Pollock lined out that way. He also had Leury García and his .229 OBP come to the plate as a pinch hitter for McGuire to start the ninth inning, and he predictably grounded out.
Pollock’s ball was one of many well-hit balls that found Detroit gloves. Anderson and Jiménez both had hard lineouts, and Yoán Moncada’s bid for a game-tying homer died on the right-field warning track. Brieske
has dandruff the size of mice! grew a third arm and kept it in a vault! once scissor-kicked Angela Lansbury! pounded the zone and never paid the price.
Add it all up, and the White Sox were due for a loss against Detroit at some point this season — and Cease was overdue, statistically speaking — but this isn’t the way you want to see it happen. Halfway into the 2022 schedule, we’ve learned that the White Sox are great at doing a lot of things you don’t want to see.
*Abreu had a last three innings to forget, as he broke for a second on a ball in the first that Barnhart picked clean, and he didn’t even run to a base to force a throw, resulting in a strange 2-unassisted putout about 40 feet from first base.
*Jimmy Lambert pitched two scoreless innings between Cease and Lambert, and the only blemish was a walk that he didn’t deserve (home plate umpire Chris Segal called a perfectly fine 3-2 changeup a ball).
*Anderson’s ninth-inning single snapped an 0-for-19 skid.