Rays 9, White Sox 0: A stinker

It’s fitting that this game ended with the score of a forfeit, because that’s kinda what it felt like the whole time.

The White Sox were never really in this one, even though the Rays started Chris Archer for the first time since April, and even though Archer left after two innings with a hip injury. Perhaps a parade of relievers from the deep Tampa Bay bullpen was the last thing a White Sox lineup without Tim Anderson needed, but Anderson probably shouldn’t be making that much of a difference.

Reynaldo López had the kind of start that generates regression. He didn’t pitch poorly, but sometimes when you attack hitters, they fight back. The Rays stung him for three runs on six hits over four innings. Credit López for not walking anybody, but the contact grew louder over the course of the evening, including three consecutive two-out hits in the third inning that effectively put the game out of reach. His ERA rose to 1.86 over the course of his 75 pitches, so he should be allowed some hardships.

The White Sox offense looked largely lifeless, struggling to put together productive plate appearances. They produced a double, six singles and two walks, but never in the right order. They slapped the occasional opposite-field single against a horde of righties throwing sliders away, but they lacked a finishing move every time. For instance, Yoán Moncada followed an Eloy Jiménez single with a ringing double to right, but it was hit too hard to score Jiménez from first.

In the eighth inning, Luis Robert and José Abreu reached on an error and a single, only for Robert to get doubled off second when Jiménez lined out to short. The Sox were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

The Rays went 5-for-13 in such situations, tacking on runs against the White Sox bullpen. Garrett Crochet left the bases loaded for Jose Ruíz in the sixth after a walk of lefty Brett Phillips, and they all came around to score on Francisco Mejía’s double over the outstretched glove of Brian Goodwin right. Ruíz started the seventh by walking two batters, and then balked one of those runners in. Ryan Burr opened the eighth with a grounder that took a nasty hop on Danny Mendick for a “double” that came around to score.

After the game, Tony La Russa called it a “stinker.” That about sums it up.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox split the season series with the Rays, 3-3.

*Josh Fleming earned a save by pitching the final three innings.

Record: 72-53 | Box score | Statcast

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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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ThisReallySox

Larussa is a clown ????

asinwreck

On the one hand, this was the worst-played game of the year. On the other hand, no one was severely injured.

dsbatt

I’m just getting really tired of seeing Andrew Vaughn and Cesar Hernandez hit. I struggle to see why the announcing crews gush all over Vaughn when all I see is someone who repeatedly fails with runners on. And say what you will about Garcia but at least he isn’t the double play machine that Hernandez is.

burning-phoneix

RISP is a team wide problem unfortunately. I don’t want to put it on Vaughn, he’s a rookie coming into a challenging situation with Eloy out and missed an entire minor league season but he improves month by month. August is his best month yet.

ParisSox

Conspiracy theory – LaRussa didn’t want to show too much to a potential playoff opponent. Though with all the advanced scouting and video tools in place I’m not sure how valid that theory is.

I’d like to see them win of course but I’m personally enjoying this stress free August. They are playing to set up October.

They will play a bunch of dregs in September with a full roster so that should be a fun playoff tuneup.

Sunshine and rainbows for everybody!

burning-phoneix

I don’t think its so much of hiding anything but rather just using the luxury of a big division lead to coast into the playoffs with as much rest as possible. I don’t know if it will help but it seems we’re destined to meet up with the Astros in the divisional series. Something which I’m not really looking forward to.

jhomeslice

I know they will be in playoffs which is great. Yet how many games they get to play at home may play an important factor in any outcome. While they have a big division lead, they have secured nothing as far as playoff seeding.

I think would be foolish to treat the remaining games like they do not matter just because Cleveland has no prayer of catching them. I like their chances at home a lot better than on the road in October.

texag10

Feels like we did the same thing last year and barely made it. I’d like to see a little more urgency about playoffs, division lead be damned.

knoxfire30

Bad game all around, the troubling aspect for me was yet again Ruiz failing in a high leverage situation, he has had his chances he doesn’t need to be used anymore in those spots.

Elena

Gregory Polanco has been made available by the Pirates to just pick up off a waiver. I could see him being an improvement in right field. He and Eloy would be best buddies.

Last edited 11 months ago by Elena
HallofFrank

There’s a reason why he waived by the worst team in baseball. He’s not good. He’s not an improvement at any OF position. He may not even be a top 10 OF in the organization.

Last edited 11 months ago by HallofFrank
texag10

I feel fairly confident in saying that he is worse defensively in RF than Vaughn would be, if he played there full time. The only redeeming quality Polanco has is that he stands on the right side of the plate. I would have said he hits left handed but that feels like its too generous.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

This team is being managed as if winning the division is the only goal. And they are playing to match that, no urgency or inspiration at all regarding how many home games they will play in October.

Maybe it will take a first or 2nd round exit in October to convince people that TLR isn’t good for this team. They won a ton of games last year with Renteria, who was as dimwitted a manager as there is. Nobody can convince me TLR is the right guy unless they win at least 2 playoff series. Even then I’m not convinced there aren’t any number of guys who would not be better, with better energy/fire and who are more connected to game situations than we’ve seen from TLR and his mistakes the past couple weeks alone.

Whatever this team does, it will be b/c of the players, like we saw Friday. I don’t think there is another manager in MLB that would not be comfortably in first with this team, with some if not most probably a few games better.

Last edited 11 months ago by LamarHoyt_oncrack
Right Size Wrong Shape

I think they are being managed in exactly the opposite manner from which you posit. They are being managed as if the division is a foregone conclusion, and that having the team healthy and ready for the postseason is the only goal. Which, by the way, I agree with.

mikeyb

Should home field advantage not be a goal at all? I truly don’t know, as I’m not used to rooting for a team with a cushion in the division. But it seems like out of all of the major professional sports, home field advantage is most significant in Baseball.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think it’s a reasonable position, I just happen to disagree with it. I think that home field should be a secondary goal to having your team rested and prepared for the postseason. I think having TA, Moncada, Robert, Abreu, et al going in with fresh legs and Rodon and Lynn going in with fresh arms for Game 1 is more important than where it is played.

Last edited 11 months ago by Right Size Wrong Shape
roke1960

I agree 100%. Tony has been thru this so many times- he is taking the long view here. They are the only AL team that has basically wrapped up their division. They can really set their rotation for the rest of the year. The Astros and Rays really can’t afford to rest because the A’s and Yanks are close enough to overtake them if they go into a prolonged slump. And none of those teams want to get into that 1-game crapshoot. The key is having your best 26 players players ready for game 1 of the playoffs, whether it is at home or on the road.

Esteban

The game on Sunday June 22 was a disaster. Desperate to see Abreu strike out up to 3 times in various games. The offensive cried for his absence. Kevin Cash taught TLR a lesson, how to give a shutout with various pitchers. It’s not clear to me what the White Sox can do in the playoffs. They have not beaten the Yankees or the Astros in their series, while against Tampa they have not looked much. I´d like to see Moncada and Cesar Hernández hitting the ball, Keuchel and the relievers throwing well. Hope for success next October.