Nationals 12, White Sox 1: Bad night for the bullpen

On September 19, 2014 Odrisamer Despaigne had the best start in his MLB career. Facing the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, Despaigne showed terrific command over seven scoreless innings striking out six while only walking one batter and allowing just two hits. It was the cherry on top for Despaigne in 2014 which he made 16 starts and finished with a season ERA of 3.36 with an ERA+ of 101.

Five years later, Despaigne has struggled to repeat that performance bouncing between San Diego, Baltimore, Anaheim, and Miami before starting 2019 with the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds AAA affiliate. With Dylan Covey on the Injured List, the 32-year old received another shot to prove his worth in the majors starting for the White Sox against the Nationals.

Despaigne made the most of it giving the White Sox a quality start only allowing three runs over six innings, but the offense couldn’t solve Anibal Sanchez and the bullpen imploded as the Nationals won 12-1.

It was a clean first inning for Despaigne but he ran into some trouble quickly in the second after walking Howie Kendrick, and Matt Adams singled down the right field line to put runners on the corners. The Nationals could only muster one run on a Kurt Suzuki sacrifice fly, but they struck first leading 1-0.

Trea Turner led things off in the third with a triple also down the right field line. Manager Rick Renteria called for the infield to play in hopes of getting a grounder from Adam Eaton that would prevent Turner from scoring or throwing him out at home. Instead, Eaton hit a shallow pop fly that maybe Yolmer Sanchez catches if he was playing at his typical depth at second base, but Charlie Tilson headfirst dive fell short. Turner scored easily, and Eaton picked up an RBI to make it 2-0.

Turner provided more fireworks in the fifth inning with a leadoff home run to make it 3-0, but the Nationals couldn’t muster any more runs against Despaigne. Allowing seven hits, Despaigne had the same amount of strikeouts to walks with two over 97 pitches. According to Baseball Savant, Despaigne threw six different pitches coming from multiple angles and deliveries.

Meanwhile, Anibal Sanchez was doing a terrific job of keeping White Sox hitters off balance inducing weak contact. Through the first five innings, Sanchez only allowed one walk to Tilson and an infield single to James McCann. A very pedestrian night for the White Sox bats finally awoke in the sixth inning with two outs.

Leury Garcia put a charge into a 2-0 cutter for a solo home run to center field, his third of the season. Very next pitch, Yoan Moncada hit a line drive single to right to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Jose Abreu was the tying run, but his grounder ripped towards third base was sucked up by Anthony Rendon for the 5-3 putout ending the threat.

Jose Ruiz replaced Despaigne in the seventh inning, and it was a rough go. After walking Victor Robles, Minaya was in a tough 11-pitch at-bat with Turner that resulted in a double down the left field line scoring Robles from first to make it 4-1. Josh Osich would replace Ruiz and ended the threat by striking out Juan Soto.

McCann tried to get a rally started in the bottom half with a leadoff single to the left field. He advanced to third on back-to-back groundouts from Eloy Jimenez and Yonder Alonso. With two outs, Tim Anderson hit a hard grounder, but reliever Tanner Rainey provided a kick save that deflected right to the second baseman Brian Dozier for the 4-3 putout.

Nationals gave themselves more cushion scoring twice in the eighth inning to make it 6-1, but whatever drama was left in this game had the spotlight shining on Turner. Just needing a single to complete the cycle, Thyago Vieira caught Turner looking at a 100-mph fastball perfectly placed on the outside corner.

That was the highlight for Vieria as his night got a lot worse in the ninth as he gave up two runs. Juan Minaya would try his hand getting outs and instead served up a grand slam to Suzuki. Turner even got another chance to complete the cycle but popped out to Sanchez ending a six-run ninth inning.

Game Notes:

  • Yoan Moncada left tonight’s game with upper back tightness and is day-to-day.
  • James McCann threw out two base stealers at second and third base.
  • Silver lining is the White Sox most likely won’t have to face Anibal Sanchez again this season. In two games, Sanchez season line against the White Sox is 11.1 IP 8 H 2 ER 8 K 2 BB.

Record: 31-34 | 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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Shingos Cheeseburgers

It sucks that the Sox won’t spend on free agents but will invest in an emotional time machine making tonight feel like the 2016-2018 seasons all over again 

PauliePaulie

Hope Yoan is OK.

TCBullfrog

Jose Ruiz replaced Despaigne in the seventh inning, and it was a rough go. After walking Victor Robles, Minaya was in a tough 11-pitch at-bat with Turner that resulted in a double down the left field line scoring Robles from first to make it 4-1. Josh Osich would replace Ruiz and ended the threat by striking out Juan Soto.

It seems that the reference to “Minaya” in this paragraph should be Ruiz?

jb98

Despaigne is the sort of pitcher you expect to see on your team in Year 1 of a rebuild, not Year 3. While he did a respectable job, it’s frustrating that innings are still being given to guys who are nothing more than cannon fodder. A couple of those types appeared out of the Sox bullpen in this game, too. 

roke1960

By now, Kopech, Dunning, Burr, Hamilton, Fulmer and Burdi should all have been on the major league staff. Unfortunately, due to injuries or ineffectiveness, none of the 6 are currently on the roster. Which is why we are seeing Ruiz, Osich, Despaigne, Covey, Banuelos…Hopefully by this time next year, 4 or 5 of the above guys will be with the Sox, along with Cease and maybe 1 or 2 others. Then these “guys who are nothing more than cannon fodder” should be history.