White Sox 4, Red Sox 3: Early runs barely hold up

With a sellout crowd of 34,365, a postseason-grade opponent in the Boston Red Sox, and a tight game that required all of the high-leverage relievers, this game had the makings of an October trial run, especially with a runtime of three hours and 48 minutes.

The White Sox passed, and because it’s a zero-sum game, no grade is necessary. Pass-fail should suffice.

A José Abreu three-run homer helped the White Sox build a 4-0 lead behind a resurgent Carlos Rodón, but some shaky defense and assorted contact-oriented luck required every bit of that cushion. The Red Sox were able to get the tying run into scoring position with two outs to spare, but Liam Hendriks managed to strand him there.

The White Sox restored their AL Central lead to 11 games while shaving two games off their magic number, which is now 12.

Perhaps the White Sox defense didn’t expect four innings of White Sox relievers to strike out only four batters, but it’ll probably want to tighten it up. The eight guys on the field didn’t have to work hard behind Rodón, who struck out seven over five innings and only suffered a solo shot worth of damage.

They were put to the test in the second half of the game, however, and they tended to complicate matters.

In the seventh, Brian Goodwin couldn’t catch up to a blooper down the line, playing a single into a leadoff triple. It came around to score on a groundout, after which Ryan Tepera gave up two legit singles to make it a 4-3 game. Still, it looked like Tepera would end his own mess when Yoán Moncada fielded Enrique Hernandez’s first grounder to third, but César Hernández double-clutched on the turn to give the Red Sox a fourth out (and potentially a fifth, depending on your views regarding Goodwin’s effort).

With Aaron Bummer already used to clean up Michael Kopech’s sixth inning (which featured more hanging sliders), Garrett Crochet had to enter to face Kyle Schwarber, and ended up getting a routine flyout to left.

In the ninth, Leury García did a nice job of flagging down Christian Vazquez’s up the middle, but he probably had a step or two to make a stronger throw, instead of the pirouetting bouncer that gave Vazquez enough time to beat it to the base (he was originally called out, but an easy review overturned it). Danny Santana followed with a grounder to the right side, but this time Hernández stopped it with a sliding effort for the huge first out. Another groundout to García froze Vazquez at second, and Hendriks rallied from a 3-1 count to get Travis Shaw to fly out to center, ending the game.

The sketchy effort was successful enough to preserve the win for Rodón, who looked more like his old self than his previous two outings. He reached 98 with his fastball and averaged 94, and it did most of the heavy lifting with nine of his 12 whiffs. He threw 62 of his 86 pitches for strikes, issuing zero walks and allowing three hits. One of those hits was a Bobby Dalbec homer in the fifth, and while Rodón recovered to end his start with three pop-ups, Tony La Russa probably thought it was a good time to call for the bullpen, because he might’ve sensed a larger timing-up afoot.

Two big two-out hits were enough to carry the day. In the third, Yoán Moncada extended the inning with a single off Tanner Houck to bring Abreu to the plate. Abreu took a slider and fouled off two fastballs, but when Houck spun an 0-2 slider intended to bite low and away, Abreu whipped it into the first row in left field for a three-run shot and a 3-0 lead (that’s probably a one-run double in the Coliseum).

An inning later, Gavin Sheets reached on a Jose Iglesias error, then moved to second on a Goodwin walk two batters later. Hernández grounded into a fielder’s choice that put runners on the corners, after which Luis Robert stayed with an 0-1 fastball off the plate and shot it into right field for the White Sox’s fourth and final run.

It seemed like the White Sox were in a position to do some damage on a COVID-compromised Red Sox bullpen, but they didn’t get another runner in scoring position until the eighth inning, when Moncada was clipped on the elbow with two outs for the second time on the evening, bringing Abreu to the plate with the bases loaded. Alas, Josh Taylor struck him out, and the end of the game was tenser than the White Sox would’ve preferred.

Bullet points:

*Three White Sox were plunked thrice overall, with Yasmani Grandal getting the other one. The White Sox also drew six walks.

*Besides Abreu’s homer, the five other hits were singles, which is why they only had six at-bats with runners in scoring position while stranding 11.

*Grandal was charged with an error in the third inning when Vazquez took second on a wild pitch. The throw was well wide of García covering at short, but it was right at Hernández … except Hernández seemed to have been screened by the runner or umpire, and the ball ended up deflecting off a self-defending Hernández and into right field for an extra 90 feet. Rodón ended up stranding him.

*The Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays all lost, while the Athletics and Mariners won. Just 1½ games separates five teams for the two wild card spots.

Record: 81-60 | Box score | Statcast

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
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.

Articles: 3566
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Olssox

“while the Athletics and Mariners won” works for now…

Joliet Orange Sox

Olssox – Great profile picture! As I’ve stated before, I would love to see the return of all the profile pictures. Many have not been reuploaded since Jim switched software and the old profile pictures were lost.

Last edited 11 months ago by Joliet Orange Sox
As Cirensica

I second this.

mikeyb

I was at the game, so it was tough to tell; was Rodon’s slider a little curve-ish tonight? He didn’t seem to be getting that big sweep that he usually gets, but it may have just been that he was bouncing a lot of pitches.

This was a pretty rowdy crowd. There were more empty seats than I’ve seen at some prior “sellouts,” but the crowd was lively and fun. Can’t wait for some postseason baseball.

ParisSox

I’ve been watching the Wild Card races which is something I never do. More out of spite for wanting to see the Yankees and Padres miss the playoffs. But it’s turned into something very exciting in both leagues.

jhomeslice

Can’t complain about Rodon looking pretty good and healthy, along with Eloy not missing an uncertain amount of time. Their bullpen does not have to dominate every time, they just have to win.

GrinnellSteve

Robert’s at-bats reminded me of last September. The RBI single was on a pitch 6 inches off the plate. He had no business offering at that. It was a jarring contrast to how locked in he’s been.

Eloy’s TOOTBLAN was unforgivable. He had no business straying. It sure looked for awhile like that and Abreu twice leaving the bases loaded was going to come back and bite us.

All’s well that ends well.

SaintCharlie5

Are the Sox getting beaned more than other teams? It sure seems like the league is literally trying to beat us into submission

Last edited 11 months ago by SaintCharlie5
calculatedsleaze

https://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/hit-by-pitch-per-game Sox are in the upper third. What’s going on in Cincinnati?

dwjm3

I’m fascinated to see how Rodon’s free agency plays out. I’m guessing he will get more than one year I just can’t see anyone going to three years with him.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I think depends completely if he stays healthy and does well the rest of the year. If he is a postseason stud, I think some team will take a gamble for 3 years. Maybe an incentive/innings related contract.

Will be interesting how it plays out, we can only hope he stays healthy and pitches like he did last night.

HallofFrank

For the first time I can remember, it’s fun watching a bunch of AL teams scramble for only a few playoff spots even though the White Sox aren’t one of them. It should be fun to watch these shake out.

DrCrawdad

Off topic – What’s going on with Sox parking? Last night we departed Ricobene’s at around 6pm. We headed south on Princeton thinking we’d park in one of the lots on the north end of the park. We spent a LONG time tied up in traffic around Cork & Kerry. We didn’t get into the park until the bottom of the 2nd.