Sox Insider

Madrigal explains costly miscues in Sox playoff loss

Sox Insider

So many of these young White Sox are getting their first taste of the postseason and the bright lights that come with playoff baseball.

And several of them are still getting their first taste of Major League Baseball, period.

Take Nick Madrigal. Wednesday's Game 2 of the White Sox opening-round playoff series against the Oakland Athletics was just his 31st game as a big leaguer. Like with so many of his teammates, he's not yet a finished product.

Of course, he's not going to use that as an excuse after he made a series of miscues in the White Sox 5-3 loss on Wednesday.

RELATED: Why White Sox late rally in Game 2 might win Game 3 vs. A's

Madrigal won't look back on this as one of his favorite days playing baseball, that's for sure, even if he did end up with a pair of hits and a run scored in his second career postseason contest.

He made not one but two errors in the field, the first allowing the A's to score a pair of runs, and had a bit of trouble on the base paths, which prevented the White Sox from scoring a run.

In the end, Chris Bassitt's silencing of the White Sox bats through seven innings and Dallas Keuchel's early exit after allowing a couple home runs had far more to do with the end result than Madrigal's mistakes. But the young second baseman talked them out anyway after the game.

 

The A's loaded the bases with a trio of first-inning singles off Keuchel, the third cut off by Tim Anderson and preventing a run from scoring. Keuchel got the ground ball he needed to dance his way out of danger from the next batter, but the ball took an unfortunate hop on Madrigal and bounced off his glove into right field, bringing home a pair of runs and putting the White Sox in an early hole.

"It was kind of frustrating," Madrigal said. "I feel like I had a good read on it. I saw it the whole way, and at the last second it sure enough just caught the lip exactly right and popped up a little bit.

"That's something I'll keep in the back of my mind tomorrow taking ground balls and figure it out a little bit more. Just kind of one of those things, it happened perfectly, and it's frustrating."

Despite the tough-luck hop, Madrigal was charged with an error, and after the game, he was asked if he thought he should've made the play.

"Yeah, I think I should make it," he said. "I think I'm always going to say that, though. If I can get my glove on it, I feel like I should make the play. I've always been that way. It's something I'm going to learn from, and it's right back tomorrow."

Two innings later, Madrigal led things off with a base hit against Bassitt, and Anderson followed with another single that seemed to set up a run-scoring chance for the White Sox, by then in a 4-0 hole. Madrigal has made going from first to third a habit since arriving in the majors, but he didn't do it this time, Anderson's single coming as Madrigal was attempting to steal second base. Madrigal slid into second and had no idea where the ball was, believing the A's infielders actually might have been trying to trick him, and he even made a move toward returning to first base.

It didn't seem like a huge deal in the moment, but when Yoán Moncada flew out to the left-field wall on the next play, Madrigal wasn't in a position to score. Two more quick outs followed, and the White Sox didn't get anything after the back-to-back hits to start the inning.

"It was a straight steal," Madrigal explained. "Usually you can hear the sound of the ball off the bat to know it's in play. For whatever reason, I didn't hear the ball hit the bat. So I kind of thought maybe they threw down to second, or once I heard all the commotion, I thought maybe the ball was in the air. Usually when the infielders are deking you, it's in the air and they're trying to get you at first.

"In that situation, I've got to look at my third-base coach and see what he's saying. That was my mistake on that one. Again, something I'll learn from."

 

Madrigal's unfortunate afternoon wasn't over there, as he made a throwing error later in the game, that one not having any impact on the score. But for two plays to loom large in what ended up being a two-run game, that hurts.

That said, Madrigal also was part of the positive reason it ended up being a two-run game. He started the White Sox ninth-inning rally against A's closer Liam Hendriks, picking up a two-out base hit. Anderson followed with a single, Moncada with a walk to load the bases, and Yasmani Grandal drove in his third run of the game with a bases-loaded walk. José Abreu hit the ball hard but grounded out to end the game.

Still, though it didn't win Game 2, the White Sox spent their postgame media sessions discussing how valuable the momentum was when it came to winning Game 3, the winner-take-all series-decider to be played Thursday.

Madrigal ended up with a multi-hit game in just his second career postseason bout, not a bad way to rally after his error put the team down early.

"There was a whole lot of game left. I was hoping to come back and win that game. So that little miscue in the beginning didn't matter," he said. "I understand that I can't get down, because the ball's going to find you no matter what, I've learned that over the years.

"I was frustrated, but I understood that the team needed me and just try to get right back out there."

That's a good and important attitude to have because the White Sox will need him again Thursday with the season on the line.

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