White Sox 7, Orioles 6: These teams deserve each other

The White Sox split the doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles tonight, which means they also split the season series.

That’s not great. Especially when they needed the assistance of a Baltimore brain fart — and needed to hurdle another bad Rick Renteria squeeze idea — to set up Yonder Alonso’s two-run walk-off single.

Leury García started the ninth by drawing a walk off Evan Phillips, and professional efforts were difficult to find after that. Adam Engel bunted him to second, and reached himself when Chris Davis thought about cutting down the lead runner, only to change his mind and leave himself with a poor throwing position to get Engel at first. A swinging bunt from Yoan Moncada against lefty Paul Fry moved both runners into scoring position, and when Renteria called for José Rondón, Brandon Hyde called for righty Miguel Castro.

Before the doubleheader, Renteria talked about the difficulty of playing smallball against live arms like Castro’s:

So of course he had Rondón try to squeeze home García. He fouled it off to put him behind 1-2, and then swung at a changeup off the plate. Hyde then intentionally walked Abreu to bring Yonder Alonso to the plate against a righty, and Alonso sliced a single to left to bring this game to a merciful and more respectable end.

The late rally put a win on Thyago Vieira’s record for his two scoreless innings, so he made the most of his 26th man appearance. It also got Aaron Bummer off the hook, as he would’ve been tagged with a loss he didn’t deserve thanks to two Tim Anderson errors that put the go-ahead unearned run on the board.

Bummer pitched his ass off. He entered a game tied at 5 with Iván Nova’s runner on second and struck out Jonathan Villar to end the sixth. Bummer then tried to clean up his own mess after he allowed a leadoff single in the seventh. First, he induced a double-play ball from Dwight Smith Jr., but Anderson let it skip under his glove, so it was two on and nobody out.

Bummer bounced back by striking out Renato Nunez, then got Davis to hit a weak grounder to second. It was a slow-developing play, but Davis’ baserunning is slow-developing itself. Yolmer Sánchez flipped to Anderson, whose momentum crossing the bag carried him into the path of the sliding Rio Ruiz. Anderson still had plenty of time to get Davis, but his jump-throw sailed well wide of first and allowed the run to cross the plate.

Capping it off, Bummer got one more grounder to short, and Yonder Alonso had to dig out Anderson’s throw. Anderson now has eight errors on the season, which is my only reservation about his decision to go big on fun without regard for the rest of the league. He might want to remember that double plays are just as enjoyable as bat flips.

Bummer might not have faced as tight a situation if Iván Nova didn’t turn into Dylan Covey the second time through the order. He gave up a three-run homer to Stevie Wilkerson in the fourth inning to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead. The Sox responded to that one with three of their own, but a massive blast by 26th man Anthony Santander tied the game in the sixth.

Nova went two innings longer than Carlos Rodón in Game 1, but he gave up nine hits and two walks over 5⅔ innings. Fastball command is still a problem, and Baseball Savant says he only threw 13 cutters out of 102 pitches, although I question the classification on the Wilkerson blast. Statcast called it a cutter, but it had the velocity and action of his changeup, dropping right into the hitting zone of a lefty’s uppercut swing.

The White Sox offense worked Andrew Cashner hard. They scratched across a run in the second on an Adam Engel infield single, and Jose Abreu tagged him for a no-doubt solo shot in the third. An inning later, Abreu capped off the most enjoyable moment of the doubleheader.

Cashner started the inning with two strikeouts, but Engel’s line drive left of center dropped past a diving Joey Rickard for a triple. Yoan Moncada worked a five-pitch walk, and so did Nicky Delmonico to load the bases. Up came Abreu, who got ahead 3-1 before chopping a changeup foul to load the count. With all runners in motion, Cashner tried a third changeup of the at-bat, and Abreu stayed back long enough to spank it through the middle for a two-run single.

Check that — a three-run single. Nick Capra waved Delmonico home as the ball came into second, and despite the repeated pleas of catcher Austin Wynne, the relay home was not immediate and Delmonico scored with a dive to put the Sox ahead 5-4.

Outside of a Delmonico outfield assist — he cut down Smith at second base when both runners tried tagging on a fly ball to left for the second out of the fifth — the highlights crashed to a halt, at least until the ninth. Gabriel Ynoa and Phillips combined to strike out seven White Sox from the fifth inning through the eighth, allowing only an Anderson single that was erased by a Welington Castillo double play.

Bullet points:

*The two teams combined for nine errors over the two games, with the Sox committing five of them.

*The Sox struck out 16 times, including three-K games for Delmonico, Castillo and Ryan Cordell.

*Engel raised his average to .239 with three hits, two of them infield singles.

*Abreu in the six games against the Orioles this year: 12-for-27, two homers, four doubles, 13 RBIs.

Record: 13-15 | Box score | Highlights

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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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joseValentinsMustache

If management isn’t going to invest in the team then I’m not going to invest in management.

KenWo4LiFe

Thanks for calling out Anderson’s piss poor defense. In a major role reversal I felt I was the only one that cared for a while there. He has been brutal at shortstop. 

Neat_on_the_rocks

I’ve been put on blast a few times in other places for pointing out Tim’s atrocious defense.

What is so maddening about Tim is that he is an elite defender. He can make incredible defensive plays, and fairly consistently.

But he makes unacceptable errors time after time after time. He did the same exact thing to start last year, but the second half of the season he finished incredibly strong defensively and cut them out.

The fact that they are back again is a very troubling sign. It certainly suggests that Tim will be a streaky defensive player his entire career.

Trooper Galactus

Coming from you this is laughable.

knoxfire30

The amount of errors and missed plays by two “major league” teams yesterday was astounding. These teams should be paying people to watch. Sox have havent taken advantage of a tremendously easy schedule to start the year… now the look ahead to May where the redsox indians twins and blue jays await. Good luck.

5742mail

Does who ever that makes the batting order have a clue? Is Adam Engel feeling the heat? Luis Robert is coming.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Engel is doing the best he can, he’s just bad. He’s going to have to fight to stay in the bigs for as long as he’s there, so I’m not sure any extra heat can really be applied.

PauliePaulie

14 of next 21 vs. last years playoff teams.

Lurker Laura

Lots of whom are playing poor baseball themselves right now.

NorthSideSouthSider

Our innings eating veteran is not eating enough innings. Just incredible that Nova is serving in that role much worse than Shields did.

knoxfire30

at the top of the list of things I never want to hear again

1. We dont want to outbid our selves

2. Innings eater

Innings eater just means bad at pitching for 5 innings at a time. Its the dumbest excuse around to justify someone being a bum on the mound. Two three decades ago sure some value was to be had by a guy soaking up innings in a losing effort, but that was when bullpens were 3 to 5 guys not 8.

Covey, Santana, Nova, Fulmer can all go 3,4,5 terrilbe innings every 5th day. That offers no value to a team trying to win games. Nova is a 9 million dollar waste of space.

Neat_on_the_rocks

A positive value “innings eater” is someone who goes ~6 innings per start at a sub 5 ERA. That is exactly what Shields did last year and it had value. Its a guy who is not a good pitcher but can at least go 6 innings and keeping the game within reach, most of the time.

Nova has not been that guy yet but traditionally that is exactly who he is. Sadly it looks like he may just be done. Sox will give him until June but if he looks this bad in June they’ll DFA him.

knoxfire30

Yea I may be alone, but I find no value in that. You are excusing a guy for being bad to below average cause he does it for an extended period of time…

PauliePaulie

And yet he’s averaging more innings per start than our ace.

PauliePaulie

Was Fegan trolling Renteria, or us?

roke1960

That may have been the worst played doubleheader I’ve ever seen. But there were a couple of positives in game 2: Adam Engel had a great game- a big triple to start a rally, and great hustle to first to beat two throws. And Thyago Vieira looked really good. If he can throw strikes, he’s got electric stuff.

Trooper Galactus

Engel now has a .677 OPS. Basically, if he can sustain that, he’ll have fulfilled our hopes and dreams for him.

roke1960

It would be so much easier to justify him if we had a 4-man bench. He would be really valuable then.

knoxfire30

26 man rosters next year….

yinkadoubledare

I would have actually understood (though disagreed) if Ricky had called for Moncada to bunt. Disagreed because even though he was batting from the right (i.e. wrong) side, he’s a good hitter and I prefer letting good hitters hit, but moving the winning run to 2nd and tying run to 3rd with one out isn’t a terrible idea.

But Rondon bunting once they had the runners on 2nd and 3rd, with the infield in, was dumb as rocks, and a total “play not to lose” rather than play to win move. If you have no confidence in the guy putting it in play against a righty pitcher, you shouldn’t have sent him in to pinch hit in the first place, because you had to have known that righty was coming in from the pen the second you took out the switch-hitting Steaks and sent up Rondon.

And don’t even get met started on the squeeze in the first game.

roke1960

Ricky’s in-game decision making is atrocious.

Lurker Laura

Yeah, even if you are a huge fan of bunting, that call w/Rondon made absolutely no sense.

jb98

For the life of me, I can’t understand why he was playing for a tie with a taxed bullpen in the second game of a doubleheader. 

Lurker Laura

Even Benetti and Stone were speechless. They usually come up with something to say (that’s their job), but there was silence.

Lurker Laura

Stone, while not as critical as in his days on the North Side (which got him fired in the end), still often comes up with something that indicates he didn’t like the move. “That didn’t go the way Ricky had hoped” or even “Not sure why the Sox chose to do that with the infield pulled in,” but he didn’t say a word.

NDSox12

I was only able to watch the 9th inning, so perhaps I missed something… Was there a reason why Garcia pinch hit for Cordell rather than Engel? As it turned out, that decision paid off. But it didn’t make any sense to me at the time.

karkovice squad

Ricky probably was playing the hot hand. Engel was having himself a game and Cordell is barely hitting Engel’s weight.

Which is, um, a reason.

roke1960

I think the league has caught up to Cordell. He was 0-3 with 3 strikeouts up to that point. And he is 1-21 with 10 Ks in his last 7 games.

karkovice squad

If Nova’s now just a 1-pitch pitcher, maybe time to see if he can be their 2nd setup guy out of the pen. Salvage some value by dictating matchups and not over-exposing him.

polishwith

Perfect title to this piece, Jim.