2020 OOTP sim: Mile-High nausea

Brett Ballantini

DENVER — Blowouts are one thing; gut-wrenching, fall-from-ahead losses are another. 

The White Sox squandered multiple leads, including a 5-2 vice grip early, and failed to score with the bases loaded in the seventh with one out and ninth with none out, in an 8-7 loss to Colorado on Tuesday.

As has been the case all road trip, the White Sox starter failed to last more than five innings. Matt Tomshaw was the latest culprit, lasting just five and turning what should have been a coronation lap in the fifth into a deficit the White Sox never turn back in their favor. 

But the real villains of this hideous game were the hitters, who despite pounding out 15 hits still managed to K 11 times against ... mediocre ... Rockies pitching. Clutch was almost completely absent, as the team left 13 men on base, Luis Robert and Tim Anderson pocketing six apiece.

It was a decent coming-out game for Yasmani Grandal, who entered play hitting .111. Grandal hit two-run shots in his first two at-bats, almost singlehandedly push the White Sox to that 5-2 lead.

Tomshaw, who struck out five against no walks but allowed six earned, singled up the middle in his first major league at-bat. But he made a costly gaffe in the third inning, when he fielded a sacrifice bunt with no one out and runners on first and second and tried for the force at third. The gambit failed, and two successive sac flies from the Purples knotted the score 2-2. 

Tomshaw also let up at the bottom of the order, as Colorado's seventh- and eight-place hitters (Brendan Rogers and Elias Diaz) both had hits in their first two at-bats against the southpaw.

The game could have been far more out of hand, had the Rockies not handed the White Sox an out in the fateful fifth. With runners at first and second and the score 5-5, Colorado attempted a double steal — with cleanup hitter Nolan Arenado at the plate. Lead runner Ian Desmond was easily extinguished by Grandal at third base. Arenado still singled to give the Rockies a 6-5 lead, but the damage was winnowed by the basepath aggression.

In the seventh inning, Eloy Jiménez singled, Robert whiffed, Nick Madrigal walked and Nomar Mazara doubled (part of a 4-for-5 night) to tie the game 6-6. With ducks on the pond, Grandal was intentionally walked. Anderson whiffed on three pitches, pinch-hitter Cheslor Cuthbert on four. 

And in the ninth, after the Rockies and White Sox traded runs and Desmond tipped the game in Colorado's favor with a titanic, 442-foot blast off of Carson Fulmer, the White Sox executed even more poorly.

Mazara led off with a base hit off of Rockies closer Jairo Diaz. Danny Mendick pinch-ran and couldn't get a good jump for a steal attempt. But Grandal worked a walk, and then Anderson's sac bunt attempt was so good it turned into an infield hit. 

With the bases full, José Abreu pinch-hit for Fulmer and struck out. Yoán Moncada forced Mendick at home with a tapper to second base with the infield in. And to top off the embarrassment, Zack Collins whiffed to end it and give the Rockies their seventh win in 28 attempts. 

Tomorrow, either Dallas Keuchel or Michael Kopech will start in the miniseries finale, where the White Sox will hope to escape playing the worst team in baseball with a split.

NOTES: After the game, Matt Tomshaw was demoted back to Charlotte to make room for the return of DFA'd Kelvin Herrera ... Herrera refused an assignment to Charlotte and will presumably be on the trading block while working out of the Chicago pen ... Tomshaw made five starts subbing for the injured Lucas Giolito and went 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.00 WHIP ... To make room for Tomshaw in the Knights rotation, the White Sox released Ross Detwiler, who was 0-3 with a 13.19 ERA in his first four starts in Charlotte.

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