Astros 3, White Sox 2: Supply of big hits runs out

In case you were wondering what the last two nights would’ve looked like without late-inning heroics, here you go.

Although he fell into an early hole like Dylan Cease and Johnny Cueto before him the previous two nights, Michael Kopech pitched pretty well. Joe Kelly, Jake Diekman and Reynaldo López all threw a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

But while the White Sox offense out-chanced the Astros, they couldn’t do much with their opportunities. The White Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and grounded into three double plays, including one that killed a golden moment with the bases loaded, which is how they came up one run short this time around to end their five-game winning streak.

The game turned — or stopped turning, more precisely — in the bottom of the fourth. After Kopech got touched up for a couple runs during a three-hit, two-double rally in the top of the inning, the White Sox had an answer against Framber Valdez. Eloy Jiménez singled, José Abreu walked, and Yoán Moncada smashed a double off a diving Alex Bregman to score Jiménez while putting runners on second and third.

A five-pitch Yasmani Grandal walk backfilled first base to load the bases with still nobody out and the Sox trailing 3-1. Four pitches later, the rally was over. Josh Harrison grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and Adam Engel struck out on three pitches. One run scored on the DP, and I was a little surprised that Jeremy Pena didn’t go home with it, but trading the run for the extra out held up.

The Sox grounded into double plays in the sixth and seventh innings as well, but they managed to avoid a twin killing in the eighth, as Dusty Baker tried a different bridge to Ryan Pressly. Ryne Stanek walked Jiménez with one out, after which Luis Robert entered as a pinch runner. José Abreu then half-swung an infield single to the gap on the left side. Moncada had a chance to be a hero for the third consecutive night, but while he got ahead 2-1, he ended up looking at fastballs on the inside and outside corner for the strikeout. Yasmani Grandal then got ahead 3-1, but he swung at ball four above the zone and popped out.

Pressly had no such issues, ending the game with a strikeout of Romy González, who had to hit for himself in his first game back in the majors since Gavin Sheets entered for Engel a batter before.

The Sox couldn’t get Kopech off the hook, so he’ll have to settle for a quality start while he record fell to 4-9. José Altuve took advantage of Kopech early, drawing a four-pitch walk, stealing second and third base and scoring on a sac fly for a first-inning lead. Kopech then tightened it up. He suffered the two-run fourth, although the second run scored when McCormick threw his bat at a pitch well outside and connected for an RBI double somehow.

He only got seven whiffs on 90 pitches, but he also only needed 90 pitches over six innings, so he gave Tony La Russa length without being particularly taxed.

Bullet points:

*Moncada had a maddening game. He had a great at-bat and an awful one, and he lost track of the outs in an inning when he took his time recording the force at second on a potential double-play ball, only to make a fantastic play on Chas McCormick’s bunt attempt.

*A kid ran out on the field late in the game and gave Adam Engel a brief hug. No word on his BAC.

*González started at shortstop with Leury García on the IL, and he doubled in his first at-bat back from Charlotte, so he didn’t come away empty-handed.

*Speaking of shortstop:

*The Twins and Guardians both won, so the White Sox slipped back into third, with a game separating each team.

Record: 61-57 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
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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vanillablue

Thought it was a little weird that Sheets pinch hit for Engel rather than Gonzalez, but probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

Go get Andrus.

calcetinesblancos

Engel arguably looked more lost at the plate last night.

itaita

Also the deep fly Eloy hit that died on the warning track sucked as well since he looks locked in and off the bat i thought he nailed it. Unless the last game is a total shitshow ill be happy with a split considering how this team played the Astros the last couple years.

ParisSox

I’m looking for all this tenseness to catch up and be fully released in a pounding of the Astros lesser pitcher tonight.

ParisSox

This has been some great baseball. I’ve been waking up early to watch the replay without looking at the score. Fun, tense games.

Last edited 1 month ago by ParisSox
Augusto Barojas

What would be interesting if they signed Andrus is it would be their first taste of having a SS who is even average defensively. His WAR identical to TA. He’s not a terrible hitter either when he’s right. I wonder if it might become apparent that TA is not a great fit for this team if he is stuck at SS and forces them almost by himself to be a below average defensive team. A weak defensive SS really puts the team at a disadvantage, esp with how bad their outfielders are. I’ve said before, if he played a bit of outfield I cannot imagine that he would not be better than Vaughn and Eloy with some time out there.

calcetinesblancos

Pretty frustrating game, but you can’t win ‘em all. They really did piss away some golden opportunities though, and you just knew that letting Altuve waltz around the bases uncontested was going to bite them in the ass later.

I really like Romy Gonzalez, and I still don’t understand why they brought Leury back.

Augusto Barojas

They brought Leury back because Hahn and Tony are assclowns. I could have seen a 1 year deal with the intention of playing him 1/2 the games he’s started, but how they’ve used him and signing him for 3 years is insane.

calcetinesblancos

Definitely a move that had everyone scratching their heads, not just Sox fans.

BenwithVen

Its such a White Sox move though. They reward loyalty above all else.