Rays 5, White Sox 4: Clutch problems persist

Rally fizzles in ninth inning, just like so many others over the last week

Good news! The White Sox actually came up with multiple hits with runners in scoring position.

Bad news! They still had an awful day in the clutch department.

Trailing by one in the ninth, the White Sox had runners on second and third with nobody out against Alex Colome. Three harmless bouncers later — Yolmer Sanchez to the mound, Tim Anderson to a three-infielder left side and Leury Garcia to first — the Rays ended their eight-game losing streak while extending the White Sox’ skid to four games.

The impotence in the ninth inning brought their tally with runners in scoring position to 2-for-16 on the day, resulting in 12 runners left on base. Avisail Garcia had the roughest day of them all, going 0-for-5 with seven stranded, but it was a team effort.

A quick inventory:

First inning: After Chris Archer loads the bases with a walk, HBP and walk, Sanchez delivers a sac fly, but Anderson strikes out.

Third inning: Yoan Moncada doubles to lead off the second, but Avisail Garcia grounds out on the first pitch, after which Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico strike out.

Fourth inning: Anderson and Leury Garcia single with one out, but Tyler Saladino flies out and Omar Narvaez goes down swinging.

Eighth inning: Leury Garcia singled and Saladino bunts him  over (an OK call considering Saladino’s struggles). Narvaez draws a walk against Sergio Romo, foreshadowing potential struggles against Moncada, who came to the plate 2-for-2 with two walks. But Moncada swings over slow sliders for a strikeout, and so does Avi Garcia for his third inning-ending out of the day.

Ninth inning: See above.

The last two innings were crushers because the Rays bullpen has been struggling, and the White Sox came through during the gap in the inventory. In the fifth, Nicky Delmonico made it a 4-3 game when he hammered an 0-2 hanging Archer slider over the right-field wall for a two-run shot.

An inning later, Narvaez spanked a low-and-outside fastball over Denard Span’s head in left to drive in Leury Garcia, once again whittling the lead to one. Those were the kinds of hits the White Sox had been missing, and those were the hits the White Sox continued to miss only innings later.

There isn’t any consolation with such a performance, but the Rays would’ve been muttering similar things to themselves. They could’ve scored more than five runs, considering the offense generated 14 hits and three walks and went a more respectable 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Miguel Gonzalez threw 93 pitches and only got two swinging strikes, with the contact growing louder as the game advanced.

The White Sox defense limited the damage by cutting down three runners at the plate. Speedy Mallex Smith was twice a victim, mitigating the impact of his 4-for-4 day at the plate. Anderson threw him out at home on a contact play in the fourth inning, and Abreu foiled his attempt to steal home on Luis Avilan’s pickoff throw to first. He was convinced that his slide beat Narvaez’s swipe tag, but the out call was upheld.

In between, Leury Garcia gunned down Matt Duffy from center field to deprive Wilson Ramos of an RBI single in the eighth.

Gonzalez allowed four runs over his 4⅓ innings, which actually lowered his ERA to 8.68, but dropped his record to 0-2. Aaron Bummer also continued to have problems, allowing two singles to lefties and the decisive fifth run.

Bullet points:

*Delmonico committed his first error of the season by overcharging a rolling single, allowing the trailing runner to take second. It didn’t result in a run.

*The game was delayed by 21 minutes because the White Sox grounds crew had to remove a ton of snow. With the Rays not coming back to town this year, they managed to get the game in, while the Cubs’ home opener was postponed.

Record: 3-6 | Box score

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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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You forgot the fan murdering tag

2 for 15 with RISP including 2 late crucial ones at the end. Just incomprehensible


Good to see Yoan on base 4 times.


I realized before Opening Day that 2018 was going to be another year “Mired In Mediocrity” (as Hahn would say). But this start of the season is just pathetic. My only hope for this year is things get so bad here (over 100 losses) that there will be changes made in top management. Hahn will finally be gone. This is his 6th year as GM. I think his record speaks for itself. If he was the GM in New York, Boston, St. Louis and the Cubs and had been as bad there as he has been here he would have been gone by now.


You can debate whether there should have been FO changes after 2016. But I don’t think 100 losses in year 2 of a stated rebuild would get any GM fired.



Patrick Nolan

It can’t hear you.


I was really surprised when JR renewed Hahns contract in 2017. I assumed Hahn wouldn’t be back. I was wrong, unfortunately.

Patrick Nolan

Nevermind. I guess it can hear you.

WBWSF, ya gotta lighten up! They’re just going through a rebuild. There’s going to be bad losses like this. Look at the positives — like that Moncada looks great, Anderson is off to a good start, and Reynaldo Lopez has shown command of his pitches.

We shouldn’t fret about losing a game started by Miguel Gonzalez or extremely temporary struggles with runners in scoring position.

Worth pointing out that this game was Chris Archer vs. Gonzalez. We were not favored! Yet the team had many chances to win anyway. That’s pretty encouraging!

Trooper Galactus

Party pooping on the party pooper there, pnoles.

As Cirensica

Also, playing at frigid temperatures hurts everybody.

Although I do agree that the KW/RH team shouldn’t be here since a while ago.


If this group is going to win 72ish games AND they are going to continuously improve throughout the year, then it stands to reason that the first months will be awful. So, it looks like we are on track and like it or not, it just not happening overnight.

I griped about this rebuild concept over the Winter and caught hell for it. The love fest, I mean Soxfest is what got under my skin thinking Old Man Cominksy was probably envious that somehow they slashed payroll, promised better times in the future and everyone away excited about a bad year on the horizon.

So I am out of sync with others. I was ticked off earlier but I am passed it now and all us fans who have been killed off will have to rise from the ashes at a later time.

Get the Phoenix T shirts ready- they will sell, just not in May.


Anderson has had some promising moments so far this year, but his baseball IQ is lousy. 


comment image

Trooper Galactus

How so?

Patrick Nolan

Just pointing out that the justification for asking your DH to bunt here is the same as the justification for asking a pitcher to do it.

Leury Garcia singled and Saladino bunts him over (an OK call considering Saladino’s struggles).

So….maybe don’t DH Saladino. I highly doubt Davidson was wearing himself out from all the not-fielding he’s been asked to do lately.

Patrick Nolan

DH Castillo then.

Worst-case scenario, Narvaez gets hurt, Castillo has to catch, and you have to put someone into your lineup who should bunt with a runner on first with no one out.

Greg Nix

Carrying a discussion over from the gamethread, I think Cordell splitting time with Engel in center and Davidson at DH would be a better use of Saladino’s roster spot. 

I get the “Cordell needs to play everyday” argument, but the guy’s 26 and the team is only going to have so long to give him a look before Jimenez and/or Tilson and/or someone else deserve major league AB’s. I’d like to see him get a shot now. They can always send him back down if he struggles. All it costs them is Saladino.

Or to your point, Kevan Smith would also be a better use of the roster spot once he’s healthy. 

As Cirensica

Let’s give at bats to players that could matter in the future. Maybe we will find our Marwin Gonzalez. I am sure Saladino ain’t. He is a waste of roster spot if he can’t hit, and Saladino’s only usable asset (His glove) can’t be of use if he DHes.


May be an uninformed, silly question but why was Tilson good enough to get a shot two seasons ago but not now?

Patrick Nolan

Two years ago it was basically a decision between him and JB Shuck.

There’s more interesting people around now. The fact that Tilson has played barely any baseball since two Julys ago hurts his case as well.


I think Leury should be starting in CF. His defense looks great out there and he looks decent at the plate. How well can Cordell play third?


This is the takeaway I had too. I’d rather see Davidson swing away than Saladino bunt as a DH. We do have some talent developing, and Renteria seems good at motivating the players, but his decisions (and apparent love of the bunt) make me wonder if he is our Dusty Baker.


I hate Sox losses. 

Trooper Galactus

Then you’re in the right place.


I live the mood swings here.   It’s 162 games people.  Yeah the loss was very frustrating and they are on a losing streak. But remember that they will win again and even have a winning streak and some point.  

With that said, is the effort there?  Most definitely yes.  Are the young guys learning and performing or starting to perform?  Moncada, Anderson, Lopez, Giolito – most definitely yes.   

Patience young grasshoppers.  

Trooper Galactus

I’m not really that concerned about them going on a winning streak so long as some of the young guys perform. Timmay’s been pretty solid thus far, Moncada’s numbers are rising, Lopez was phenomenal, and Fulmer was better than expected. Helps offset struggles from Giolito and Engel and Davidson starting to plummet back to Earth.

Ted Mulvey

RE: Giolito, I am curious to see how he performs once the whether warms up. Stone has mentioned repeatedly that the cold may be affecting his grip on the curveball and location on other pitches, thus some of his present problems.


His curveball looked bad last summer. No exaggeration, one of the worst I’ve seen in Major League Baseball. So many spiked directly into the ground. I still think the guy has #2 starter potential, but that only happens if the curve becomes a usable pitch.

Ted Mulvey

Yup, it didn’t look good last season. Looked better in Spring Training, though. Fangraphs had an article about some changes Giolito made that may have helped. We’ll see, I guess.

Lurker Laura

Let us pause for a moment and appreciate the awesomeness that is Roger Bossard.

[moment of silence]

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled dour.


the White Sox grounds crew had to remove a ton of snow.

You’re actually understating it!