The White Sox’ 2021 World Series aspirations ended with a 10-1 loss to the Astros on Tuesday, dropping the American League Division Series 3-1.
After losing the first two games of the ALDS at Houston, the White Sox’ two games back at Guaranteed Rate Field were must-win. The South Siders avoided a sweep with a win on Sunday, but on Tuesday they failed to force a Game 5.
“If we don't wind up winning 11 more games this month,” general manager Rick Hahn said at the end of the regular season, “we will have not have accomplished everything that we felt this team is capable of doing.
“Obviously, we need to be blessed with some good luck and some good health along the way. But there was this confidence going back to spring training that this team could get itself into this position today, much less the one we envision for ourselves over the next month.”
The White Sox did achieve franchise history, making it into the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time. After last year’s Wild Card Series exit, however, the White Sox were determined to make a deeper run.
As the AL Central champions, the White Sox’ 2021 playoff journey began in the ALDS. It lasted just four games.
On Tuesday, down 2-1 in the series, the White Sox got off to a promising start. Southpaw Carlos Rodón was the first White Sox starter this postseason to hold the Astros scoreless through the first two innings. Rodón’s velocity had dropped late in the season as he battled shoulder soreness and fatigue, but on Tuesday his fastball touched 99 mph.
The White Sox scored first, as Gavin Sheets blasted a solo homer to center field. He became the third rookie in franchise history to homer in a playoff game, joining Tadahito Iguchi and Luis Robert.
The third inning, however, turned the tide of the game. Rodón loaded the based with two walks and a hit by pitch. Then, he gave up a two-run double to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, forfeiting the lead.
Reliever Michael Kopech replaced Rodón and got out of the two-out, two-on jam. But the next inning Kopech was charged with three runs.
Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who was dominant in Game 1 last week, limited the White Sox to one run. But the home team squandered an opportunity to rally against the Astros bullpen when Houston manager Dusty Baker pulled McCullers after four innings.
The Astros advance to the AL Championship Series, where they’ll face the Boston Red Sox. The White Sox will be packing up and heading home for the offseason.