White Sox

White Sox fall to Rays, lose for sixth time in seven games

White Sox fall to Rays, lose for sixth time in seven games

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The White Sox didn’t have much luck on the offensive end on Wednesday and they had trouble catching the ball.

You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to realize that formula isn’t going to win you many games.

Too many early mistakes and not enough firepower to combat them sent the White Sox to their sixth loss in seven games as they fell 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 9,313 at Tropicana Field. Mike Pelfrey took the loss, though his defense made several key mistakes during a three-run third inning by the Rays.

“We actually have played decent baseball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We played a couple games you could say ‘That was an ugly game.’ We’ve been in games for the rest of them, just haven’t scored enough runs to overcome some deficits. But I think the guys are still playing pretty hard. Today, that wasn’t an ugly game, we just weren’t able to score enough runs to stay ahead.”

Before Wednesday’s game, Renteria stressed the importance of clean baseball for all teams, regardless of talent.

Early on, the White Sox didn’t play clean at all.

Tim Anderson committed an error in the first inning, though Pelfrey was able to work around it and leave the bases loaded. Pelfrey stranded two more runners in the second inning to keep the White Sox ahead 1-0.

But the Rays got to Pelfrey in the third inning and his defense didn’t help matters any. Evan Longoria singled to start the third and Logan Morrison doubled. Pelfrey struck out Steven Souza Jr. and intentionally walked Colby Rasmus to load the bases. Tim Beckham followed with a single to right and Avisail Garcia bobbled the ball before his high throw allowed both runners to advance into scoring position. The bobble also allowed Longoria, who had stopped at third, to score the go-ahead run.

Rasmus then scored on Daniel Robertson’s fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 when Kevan Smith was late to apply the tag after a nice throw home by Todd Frazier. Smith thought he made the tag in time but plate ump Bill Miller called safe. The White Sox didn’t challenge, Smith saying there wasn’t enough evidence to make the call.

“I knew Frazier was going to come home if he broke,” Smith said. “There was a bat in between me and (Rasmus), so that kind of worked to my advantage. He just kind of slid around it and I think on the replay there wasn’t enough … I thought I got him in the shin/knee area in plenty of time. But if you go back and look at the replay there wasn’t enough to show that I had him before his foot got the plate and we just couldn’t challenge it.”

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Pelfrey got out of the inning and pitched into the sixth. He allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits with three walks (two intentional) and four strikeouts.

“That was maybe the worst my stuff has been since I’ve been here,” Pelfrey said. “Command was pretty shaky, and for the most part I tip my hat to them for keeping me in the zone, making me throw the ball over the plate and not chasing outside of the zone. They made it tough on me. It was a grind, an absolute grind and a struggle, but I don’t necessarily think I gave in. I kept trying to make pitches to limit the damage, but I was a little off. Tampa didn’t help the matter by grinding through it. I struggled, but we got through it.”

The White Sox scored an early run against Tampa Bay rookie Jacob Faria but didn’t have much else. Jose Abreu singled in Leury Garcia in the first to put the White Sox up 1-0.

But Faria, who made his major league debut, settled in as everything the White Sox seemed to hit hard found a glove. Garcia lined out twice hard — the hit percentage of similar balls is 73 and 80, according to Baseball Savant. Abreu also lined out to third to end the sixth inning.

In all, the five hardest hit balls by the White Sox, all with a 44 percent or better of becoming a hit, were outs. Faria allowed a run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.

The White Sox fared no better against the Rays bullpen as three relievers combined to retire eight of nine hitters.

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Twins def. White Sox 10-4
Record: 28-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (4.0 GB of Twins)

W: Rich Hill (4-4)
L: Reynaldo Lopez (5-2)

Game summary: All good things must come to an end. In the case of the White Sox' winning streak, things have come to an abrupt end. A day after the Twins put up 11 runs in the first two innings, Minnesota jumped on Chicago early again.

Reynaldo Lopez failed to make it out of the fourth inning. The Twins harassed him with singles a plenty, including RBI base knocks from Alex Avila and Miguel Sano in the second and fourth innings. Then, the big blow came from Jorge Polanco, whose grand slam gave Minnesota a 7-1 lead before the final out of the fourth. Lopez' day came to an end. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth. Yoan Moncada added a couple more runs on a late two-run blast but the White Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins to fall four games back of the division leaders.

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White Sox lineup

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3 (.316 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, R (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, HR (12), 2 RBI, R (.261 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4 (.261 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, 2B (.298 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4 (.298 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-4 (.232 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, 2 HR (21), 2 RBI, 2 R (.309 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Top first

Luis Arraez grounded into double play, Byron Buxton scored. 1-0 MIN.

Top second

Alex Avila singled to right field, Josh Donaldson scored. 2-0 MIN.

Bottom third

Yasmani Grandal homered to left field. 2-1 MIN.

Top fourth

Miguel Sano singled to left field, Eddie Rosario scored. 3-1 MIN.
Jorge Polanco homered to right field, Sano, Max Kepler and Avila scored. 7-1 MIN.
Nelson Cruz homered to center field, Arraez scored. 9-1 MIN.

Bottom fifth

Grandal homered to center field. 9-2 MIN.

Bottom sixth

Yoan Moncada homered to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 9-4 MIN.

Top eighth

Polanco homered to left field. 10-4 MIN.

Notable performance: With his two homers on Saturday, Grandal now has 21 on the season, which trails only teammate Eloy Jimenez for the team lead. Grandal is third in the AL in RBIs (49) and leads the league in WAR (4.5). Not too shabby for the eight-hole hitter.

Next game: Sunday, May 31 - Game 60: Twins vs White Sox (Devin Smeltzer, 6-2, 2.42 ERA vs Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.78 ERA)

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

“Realistically, I don't know if they could be pitching much better than they have.”

By the end of Game 4 of the ALCS, Joe Buck had a different way to summarize things.

“The dominance continues.”

Realistic or not, the White Sox starting rotation was just plain unhittable in the penultimate series of the 2005 season.

First it was Jose Contreras, setting the tone in a losing effort in Game 1 and coming two outs away from a complete game. Mark Buehrle followed with what he called — to that point, before the no-hitter and the perfect game — one of the best games of his career. Game 3 saw Jon Garland take the baton and stifle the Los Angeles Angels. And then it was Freddy Garcia, dealing as the White Sox cruised to a Game 4 win.

And so while the Fox broadcast spent an awful lot of time on supposed controversies, missed calls by the umpires and breaks for the White Sox, let’s face it: Those Angels weren’t hitting that pitching staff.

After the way Game 2 wrapped up, with A.J. Pierzynski swinging, missing and running to first base in a baffling display that for some reason worked, controversy was a storyline. And boy, did it get milked in Game 4.

Now, this isn’t to say that there weren’t missed calls or that the White Sox didn’t experience a couple breaks in this contest. There were. And they did.

After the Angels chopped the White Sox lead to 3-1 on an RBI hit in the second inning, they still had two men on with only one out. But instead of a rally, Steve Finley hit into an inning-ending double play. His bat, replay clearly showed, hit Pierzynski’s glove on the swing, meaning by rule he should have gone to first on catcher’s interference and loaded the bases. Instead, he turned around to argue while running out the ground ball, hence the double play.

He should have learned from Pierzynski and just busted it down to first base, leaving the details to be sorted out later. No call came, and Finley was out, the Angels’ rally stopped.

The White Sox lead back to three runs in the fifth inning, Scott Podsednik — who had a remarkable game, on base four times with two stolen bases and two runs scored — was seemingly picked off at first base. But the call was safe, and he scored later in the inning to extend a tight three-run game to a four-run game.

But did it really matter? Would any of it made a difference?

Garcia was on point, just like his three rotation-mates before him. He allowed just two runs on only six hits, walking one. He did that 2005 White Sox thing where he pitched fast, pitched to his defense and pitched the Angels into a whole bunch of outs.

You can point to the breaks all you want, attempt to stir up controversy. But the White Sox pitchers were so good that nothing was stopping them as they marched to a pennant.

The only thing that could, as we saw in Game 1 of the series, was an equally strong pitching performance on the other side. That’s exactly what Paul Byrd turned in against Contreras in that first game, and a White Sox lineup that slugged against the Red Sox in the ALDS was stymied. A sick Jarrod Washburn did his best in Game 2, with some help from a terrific crop of relievers, only for Pierzynski to flip the series on its head. In Games 3 and 4 in Anaheim, the Angels couldn’t match Garland and Garcia. An awakened group of White Sox bats hung a crooked number on John Lackey in Game 3 and had the same rude greeting for Ervin Santana — a future member of the South Side rotation, however briefly — in Game 4.

The old sports cliche goes that defense wins championships. In baseball, pitching wins championships. It did in 2005. And no amount of supposed controversy was going to change that.

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 5 of the ALCS, airing at 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago.


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