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I had the opportunity to watch this White Sox game from the bottom of the second inning onward, but for the third time this week, they grabbed a first-inning lead with a multi-run homer, only to lose that lead in the next half-inning. This time, it was Gavin Sheets reaching double digits with a three-run blast off Merrill Kelly.
Once I saw the White Sox trailing 5-3, I waited to see if they could pull me back in with a rally. They didn’t, so I waited until after the game to catch up on what I needed to see.
Here’s a bullet-point recap for the rest:
*How the White Sox lost that lead was new, and the battery of Davis Martin and Carlos Pérez was at the center of it. The leadoff walk was Martin’s fault. The catcher interference was Pérez’s fault. The bases-loading single, the bases-loaded walk, and the two-run single on an ineffective two-seamer that tied the game were on Martin. The high slider that clipped off Pérez’s mitt and to the screen for a run-scoring passed ball was obviously attributable to the catcher.
*The Diamondbacks scored a fifth run on a fielder’s choice, and while another wild pitch bounced in front of him, off his shoulder and over the backstop, Josh Rojas had to hold up at third.
*Pérez’s struggles carried into the third, when Daulton Varsho’s pop-up in front of home plate landed harmlessly about 25 feet in front of home plate. Pérez didn’t have the strongest read on it, and he received no help from the infield, because Leury García was the lone infielder on the left side and playing a deep shortstop, more or less. It was scored a double.
*As disastrous as the second was, Martin and Vince Velasquez managed to keep the game within reach over the middle innings. A sixth run scored in the fourth when Velasquez issued a two-out walk and it came around to score on a ball on a single deep to the right-center gap on a 3-2 count, but the game remained within three runs for six innings where the Sox came to the plate.
*Martin featured a pitch that Statcast called a changeup, but it averaged 90 mph, which is 3-4 mph faster than what it had been in either the majors or minors this season. It looked more like a two-seamer relative to his fastball, and the Diamondbacks had no problems hitting it. He didn’t get a whiff on five swings, and he gave up two singles on it.
*The Sox responded with two whole singles off Merrill Kelly during that time. At least one of them was Pérez’s first hit, so there’s that.
*Jake Diekman allowed a seventh Arizona run in the eighth inning. He lost the leadoff battle against lefty Jake McCarthy when Elvis Andrus couldn’t get in throwing position quick enough after flagging down a chopper on the right side of second. He then allowed a stolen base to McCarthy, walked Carson Kelly, then gave up an RBI single to ninth-hitting Geraldo Perdomo.
*The White Sox offense finally awoke when Kelly started the eighth, with Romy González delivering an RBI double to the right-center gap and José Abreu singling him home. But much like the first inning, the Sox were worse for the wear just a half-inning later.
*Joe Kelly’s inning started similarly to Diekman’s, with an infield single that José Abreu’s diving effort knocked down but couldn’t contain. It ended worse. He walked Varsho, then took a McCarthy liner off the inside of his left knee for a bases-loading infield single.
*Reynaldo López inherited that situation, and all three runners came around to score — two on a Carson Kelly single, and one on a sac fly. Kelly’s ERA is now 7.00, Diekman has allowed 20 baserunners over 8⅓ innings in a White Sox uniform, and they’re on the books for $12.5 million between them in 2023.
*AJ Pollock was nearly beaned by a Luis Frias fastball on the first pitch of his ninth-inning at-bat. Tony La Russa glared into the Diamondbacks’ dugout while Pollock capped off an 0-for-4 night with his second strikeout. Lovullo didn’t seem especially fazed.
*The Guardians and Twins both won, so the White Sox are now five games back of Cleveland and two back of Minnesota.
*White Sox fans have set their sights higher than merely firing the manager.