Angels 5, White Sox 3: Late leads don’t mean what they used to

The 2020 White Sox went 30-2 when leading a game entering the eighth inning.

The 2021 White Sox have already matched that loss total three games in.

While the defense was responsible for the first one, this game fell on the shoulders of Evan Marshall, who couldn’t get a low sinker past Anthony Rendon for a single, hung a changeup to Jared Walsh for an RBI triple that tied the game, then failed on another low sinker to Justin Upton for a two-run homer for the final score.

Not that the defense was spotless. No, the White Sox just committed its embarrassing error earlier in the game. With a runner on first and two outs in the third inning, Lance Lynn induced a harmless pop fly to shallow center. Tim Anderson backpedaled and called for it, but in came Luis Robert calling him off. That’s his right, but he has to make sure he’s in position to make the catch.

And he was. So much so that the ball caromed off his head and into right center field.

David Fletcher scored all the way from first to tie the game at 2, and Rendon advanced to second when Adam Eaton’s throw hit the mound and sprung over Zack Collins’ head. The second error was almost as costly as the first, because Rendon scored on Jared Walsh’s more conventional single through the left side to make it a 2-1 game.

The errors also required Lynn to throw eight more pitches to get out of the inning. And it just so happened that Lynn could only last 4⅔ innings, having thrown 99 pitches by the time Rendon came to the plate for a third time with the potential go-ahead run on second when the game was tied at 2. In the process, Tony La Russa ended Lynn’s streak of 37 games with 100 pitches or more.

Another streak came to an end, but not until it already reached preposterous lengths. After going 5-for-5 in his first start, Yermín Mercedes opened tonight with three hits in his first three plate appearances. The first resulted in his first career homer, as he yanked an Alex Cobb splitter well over the left-field wall to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.

PERTINENT: The simple pleasures of Yermín Mercedes’ multiple swings

Two innings later, Mercedes found himself in the middle of a sequence of three strong plate appearances. He followed Zack Collins’ one-out walk by spanking a single through the middle. Luis Robert then came to the plate and rifled a single to left that scored Collins to tie the game at 2, which helped him make up somewhat for the blooper earlier in the game.

Mercedes then gave the Sox another lead in the sixth, following a Yoán Moncada HBP and a Collins single with his own drive to left center that one-hopped the wall. Moncada scored and Collins moved to third with nobody out. Alas, Robert popped out, Andrew Vaughn struck out, and Leury García grounded out to leave a run on the table. They could have used the cushion.

Mercedes’ streak finally came to an end in the eighth, battling Tony Watson to a full count before flying out to center. Still, Mercedes sustained perfection long enough to stand alone.

Also, credit Garrett Crochet for doing what he could to get a lead across the line. He validated La Russa’s decision to pull Lynn by retiring all seven batters he faced, including three by strikeout. La Russa only needed to use two relievers on the night despite the short start. It just so happened that Marshall wasn’t up to the task.

Bullet points:

*Garciá went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and four stranded from the ninth spot. He also hit for himself to open the ninth for reasons I don’t understand, which turned out to be one of the K’s.

*Vaughn went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and four stranded from the eighth spot, with Billy Hamilton taking over for him again in the seventh. Hamilton ended up coming to the plate in the eighth and struck out himself. Somehow, left field is the one position without an embarrassing error thus far.

Record: 1-2 | Box score | Statcast

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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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GrabSomeBench

I’m with you on the failure to pinch hit for Garcia in the 9th. I’m not sure why he started but there is no reason to let him bat when we are down by two to open the ninth and Grandal, Lamb and Madrigal are sitting on the bench.
I also don’t understand the wackiness of the bullpen use thus far. Marshall is fine in the 6th or maybe the 7th but Bummer should be the 8th and Hendriks the ninth. If Hendriks wasn’t available because he was wasting pitches with a big lead the night before, that’s on the Hall of Fame Baseball Guy.

burning-phoneix

If Hendriks wasn’t available because he was wasting pitches with a big lead the night before,

I’m guessing Hendricks was already warmed up for the 9th as the lead was 7-6 before the 5 run top of the 9th changed the calculus.

Red_Hair_White_Sox

I was upset by Leury hitting for himself late on Opening Night, but this time I’m flabbergasted. TLR has made the same bad decision 2 times in 3 days.

Big fan of the way he is handling the pitching staff however.

burning-phoneix

Man, now even our Gold Glove CF has caught the embarrassing Error bug.

BenwithVen

I hate, hate, hate it when this team plays on the west coast. Something weird always happens that costs the Sox a game the and ball always seem to take a weird bounce.

It’s good to see Robert continuing to give good ABs. Yoan looked a bit better, but he still looked shook from the Platinum Sombrero. I’m guessing he sits for Lamb tonight.

MrStealYoBase

Yeah that’s an understatement.

It got overshadowed by the circus play, but the only reason Fletcher is on base to score there is because of that cue shot that died 2ft away from the plate.

OzzieBall69

I’m curious to know how bad the lighting was in Anaheim. I take the player’s word for it, but that seemed to come up multiple times throughout the past few days.

asinwreck

Bullpen meltdowns and shoddy defense. Tony La Russa definitely has this team prepared for a championship.

dwjm3

I went to bed after Luis botched the play. It appears I made a prudent choice.

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

Going to be a beautiful day in Chicagoland today for Easter. Every game starts between noon and 2pm. Perfect for listening outdoors. Oh wait, the white sox start at 730. C’mon. It’s cruel enough to have their entire first week starting at 830 and beyond…..could we please not get the first Sunday night game on top of that?

calcetinesblancos

I like how everyone was concerned about how Collins would do behind the plate; meanwhile balls are bouncing of the head of our CF.

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

For this to be a true White Sox outcome, he would have ended up on the IL for 6 months with lingering concussion symptoms. We should consider ourselves lucky. And it is really funny in slow motion, so we got that.

calcetinesblancos

I only saw it once, but it looked like maybe it hit the brim first? I hope he’s ok, but he should have just let TA take that one because he was already sitting underneath it. I know he thinks he can get to everything, but sometimes you have to use a little common sense.

soxfan

Collins did let two (?) balls get by him although neither amounted to much. He caught Lynn pretty well but Crochet’s movement seemed to give him more trouble. SSS notwithstanding, he seemed like a reasonably competent backup catcher after a bad debut as DH.

Trooper Galactus

His framing did not seem good. A few of Lynn’s pitches were necessitated by uncalled strikes. Seemed like the Angels had a better zone all night.

soxfan

I’ll wait for the statcast I guess. I don’t think he did a great job, but Stone said the ump wasn’t calling the low strike for either team and I’ve gotten the impression all series that now’s as good a time as any for the ol’ robo-umps to show up.

Trooper Galactus

The outside edge of the zone was pretty consistently denied White Sox pitchers, and I did not note the same happening to the Angels, but I guess we’ll have to see if the ump was indeed consistent.

MrStealYoBase

Marshall was fine. He only missed his spot once. The problem was that it ended up being the most consequential pitch he threw.

The fastballs to Rendon and Upton were paint. If they knew it was coming out speaks to tendencies and gameplan more than a failure to execute.

A split series in Anaheim is what I was expecting coming in and would go a long way to making you feel better about this start to the season.

Last edited 1 year ago by MrStealYoBase
soxfan

I don’t know if it’s supposed to make me feel better or worse, but the mistakes seem fluky as hell and the underlying quality of the team is still apparent. Good ABs from most guys, lots of strikeouts from the pitchers, excellent long relief.

I’m not worried about Robert’s defense or Moncada’s slow start. The only things I’m really worried about are who plays LF if Vaughn can’t step up at the plate and why is Garcia so prominently involved early. I assume the latter is a function of LaRussa wanting everyone to get involved but I don’t know what to think about the former (at least until Engel comes back).

GrinnellSteve

Sox have been victimized by unlucky outcomes on some batted balls, bad umpiring (It’s gone both ways, but seems to have been more consequential for the Sox.), boneheaded defense, and odd offensive game management.

The luck will probably even out. Perhaps the umpiring, too. The head-in-ass approach to defense and game management needs to end.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

If my math is right that’s nine straight losses dating back to last season when facing an RHP starter

Last edited 1 year ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers
humberpie

Collins to my eyes seemed surprisingly okay. Crochet seems pretty hot to handle for him, was worried about him taking that pitch to the throwing hand, but he was batting the next inning.

Seemed to not be getting the low strike, though not sure if that was just him or both sides. Anyone have pay better attention who knows?

Trooper Galactus

Are we watching the same guy? Ohtani stole a base on him and it wasn’t even close. Even with Lynn presumably holding a share of the responsibility there, not a good look. His framing looked poor, and not just on the low strike because there were some pitches where the ball cut right over the outside of the box that he didn’t get framed for strikes, and the Angels did not seem to suffer that same issue. His blocking didn’t seem great either, though that didn’t cost them in game terms. Maybe I’m just hyper-critical since I’m not a believer that he’s a major league catcher (or player, really), but I’m not encouraged by this game at all.