Braves 5, White Sox 3: Freddie Freeman too much to handle

Before today’s game, the Chicago White Sox allowed 42 runs during the five-game losing streak. It was a Lucas Giolito start that began this slide, but he only allowed two runs over six innings. For a team in desperate need for a deep start, after Reynaldo Lopez was bounced in the first inning yesterday, Giolito tried to play the stopper role.

Unfortunately, Giolito and the White Sox had a difficult time with Freddie Freeman.

In the first inning, Giolito’s changeup appeared to catch the top of the zone against Ronald Acuna Jr., but home plate umpire Greg Gibson called it ball four. Acuna Jr. would steal second base, and would later trot his way home when Freeman drove Giolito’s changeup into the right-field bleachers for his 37th home run of the season.

Down 2-0, Braves starter Julio Tehran lost his command walking Yolmer Sanchez and Adam Engel in the second inning. That set the stage for Giolito to help himself. On a hanging slider, Giolito split the gap in right field which scored both Sanchez and Engel to tie the game. Giolito’s second career hit and his first two RBIs tied the game 2-2.

After Freeman’s home run, Giolito shut down the Braves offense. At one point, Giolito retired 14 straight hitters including an eight-pitch 1-2-3 fourth inning and striking out the side in the fifth inning on 13 pitches. Entering the sixth inning with only 60 pitches in tow, Giolito faced pressure after Johan Camargo doubled to lead it off.

Giolito would bounce back by striking out Acuna Jr. and getting Ozzie Albies to line out to Engel in center field. Facing Freeman for the third time, Giolito got burned throwing one too many high fastballs. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Freeman hit his second home run of the day (38th of the season) to straightaway center field, and the Braves retook the two-run lead.

Adam Engel led off the seventh with a single, and Giolito was pinched hit for Matt Skole. Giolito’s final line was 6 IP 4 H 4 ER 1 BB 7 K bumping his season ERA to 3.30. Facing Luke Jackson, Engel advanced to second base on a wild pitch, but Skole whiffed on a low slider for the first out. After Garcia struck out for the second out, Anderson walked to give Jose Abreu a chance to cut the deficit.

On a 2-2 slider, Abreu hit it hard enough to escape through the left side of the infield to drive Engel home, and the White Sox were down 4-3. It was up to Yoan Moncada to keep the rally going next, and fighting back to a full count, Brian McCann threw out Anderson who was trying to steal third base. It appeared that Anderson was initially safe, but it was too hard of a steal to keep his foot on the base.

That TOOTBLAN hurt the White Sox chances of tying the game, but Freeman delivered again in the eighth inning. Facing Aaron Bummer with runners on first and second with one out, Freeman singled to right field pushing the Braves lead to 5-3. Josh Donaldson was next in line and hit a screamer down the third baseline. However, Moncada made a great stab at turning the 5-4-3 double play ending the inning.

Braves closer Mark Melancon closed out the game by getting Sanchez to groundout to short, Engel to hit a comebacker, and stuck out Ryan Goins. White Sox losing streak extended to six games, one shy for the season’s longest streak of seven from July 12 to July 18.

Game Notes:

  • Adam Engel had a good day at the plate going 1-for-2 with two runs and two walks
  • Despite the baserunning gaffe, Anderson was 2-for-3 hitting his 26th double of the season.

Record: 60-76 | Box Score | Highlights

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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roke1960

The Anderson attempted steal was maybe the worst baserunning move I have seen in a long time. Let’s count the ways.
1. It was a 2-2 count with two outs. If he swings and misses the inning is over. If he gets a hit to the outfield, Anderson is scoring anyway. The pitch was a ball that made it 3-2, so he would have been running on the next pitch anyway.
2. The Sox cleanup hitter (and best hitter) was at bat.
3. Luke Jackson had been shaky that inning and this entire series and had already thrown 25 pitches that inning.
4. YOU NEVER MAKE THE THIRD OUT OF AN INNING AT 3rd BASE.

Timmy had been playing well lately. That was a baserunning mistake that you shouldn’t make in Little League, let alone the majors.

Unfortunately, we attended all 3 games. I am even madder at Rick Hahn now than I have been recently, and I didn’t think that was possible. This organization does not seem to care about putting a winning major league product on the field.

Marty34

I’d love to hear an explanation from Anderson. Way too many attempts to steal third with two outs by him. He’s just not a smart player.

iowasox1971

Anderson should have been pulled from the game right after that bonehead play. The message has to be sent: Stupid baseball will not be tolerated.

Equally stupid was pitching to Freeman with first base open in a 2-2 game. Freeman is a lefty hitter, and the Braves’ top hitter, who had already homered off our right-handed ace, and a right-handed hitter was up next. Giolito deserved to lose after grooving one right down the middle in that situation. Even if the manager didn’t order an intentional walk, Giolito should have realized he didn’t have to throw a strike in that situation.

This occurred a day after one of pitchers committed a balk on an appeal play at third.

When will our players learn how to play the game?

roke1960

With all the boneheaded play that is going on, why is Ricky the man that will lead this team when (if?) they are championship caliber. They just don’t play the game the right way. Being beaten because the other team is more talented is understandable. Being beaten because you are playing stupid baseball is not. Ricky needs to go.