Cleveland 7, White Sox 1: bullpenned
CHICAGO — Matt Foster pitched a perfect two innings in his first career start, but the rest of the White Sox bullpen couldn't keep Cleveland off the board in route to a 7-1 loss on Saturday afternoon.
About that ...
It turned out to be less of an opener day and more of a full-on bullpen day. As often happens on bullpen days, the pitchers gave up lots of runs. Despite pitching a clean third inning, Drew Anderson couldn't replicate his success in the fourth, allowing six runs to cross the plate.
More damning than the tallies was Renteria's decision to not have someone warming up before the damage was done.
"The plan was originally to get three or four innings out of [Anderson], but it wasn’t able to happen," Renteria explained postgame. "We were trying to get at least three, and the possibility of four."
After Cleveland's six-spot, Ian Hamilton came in and got the last two outs of the fourth, and kept it off the board for the rest of his outing.
It doesn't matter how many runs your pitching staff gives up if you don't support them with any offense. After a few offensive explosions from the squad earlier this year, scoring woes seemed a thing of the past, but here we are.
Earlier in the year, it looked like a new, patient approach at the plate was going to be a key element in Chicago's transformed offense. But after Saturday's game, the White Sox have now averaged over 10 strikeouts per game over their last five contests.
A banged-up lineup playing without Tim Anderson and Nick Madrigal is less than ideal, but this lineup still has far too much talent to be struggling like it is. It's not time to panic yet, but with a depleted starting rotation and an already-taxed bullpen, the offense will have to carry a significant amount of weight for this season to be deemed a success.
A Crown Jewel from Indiana
If all you knew about Zach Plesac before this season was that he's former Sox pitcher Dan Plesac's nephew and from Crown Point, Ind., you can now add something new to the list after Saturday's game.
He is now officially on the "players who kill the White Sox" list.
Earlier this season, Plesac faced the Sox and threw a casual eight shutout innings and paired that with 11 strikeouts. The Sox actually won that game, but all four of their runs came in the ninth, after Plesac had departed.
He added another six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts to his resume against the White Sox on Saturday afternoon. He is just another excellent young starting pitcher that Cleveland can tout to remain more than relevant in the AL Central.
This offense needs to come back, and fast. Injuries will prevent the starting rotation from being a strength any time soon. And although the bullpen has been largely effective, the White Sox have to be careful not to overuse them in a short season.
And criticize him or not, Ricky Renteria juts puts together his lineups — he's not the one with the bat in his hand.
Speaking of Ricky, here's his postgame media session after the loss, courtesy of the White Sox:
It's not like the Sox have been hitting into hard outs over the last few games. Plate discipline has apparently left Guaranteed Rate Field, and been replaced with the free-swinging days of earlier in the rebuild.
The Sox still will have a chance to win the series on Sunday night, in front of a national TV audience, in what should be an outstanding pitching matchup between Lucas Giolito and Shane Bieber. The rubber match starts at 6:08 p.m. CT.