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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.
*The White Sox split the season series with the Rays, 3-3.
*Josh Fleming earned a save by pitching the final three innings.