Cleveland Baseball Team stuffs White Sox, 7-4
This was not the hot offensive team we've become used to this summer. Today's game had a 29% team K% — not the worst they've had, but it sure wasn't great to watch. What really isn't helping is that these final few games seem to be when Luis Robert has decided to forget how to hit, with a September batting average of .100.
Not helping matter for the offense was some shaky umpiring. Dan Bellino and his floating strike zone were behind the plate, no worse for wear after tossing Josh Donaldson from the game on Thursday for dirt-kicking shenanigans. And with Angel Hernandez at first tonight, expect tomorrow's strike zone to be set to "shuffle."
But umps aside, the White Sox played like they had checked out of the season, having already clinched a playoff spot. Who needs the division title? Either way, the magic number to be AL Central champions is still four.
The South Siders struggled with capitalizing with runners on base. Despite the bases being loaded in the first, the Sox failed, inviting Cleveland to jump out to an early lead.
Dane Dunning had a shaky start, giving up a three-run homer to José Ramírez on a poorly-located, 3-1 fastball in the first. White Sox Talk summed it up thusly:
Dunning's command just was not there tonight, telling manager Ricky Renteria after the game that he felt he was missing some of his spots by a "foot or a foot-and-a-half" tonight. Dunning threw 102 pitches in his last start, so fatigue could be an issue. He was up to 71 pitches going in to the fourth.
José Abreu, RBI king, came through with a two-run single in the fifth to cut the Cleveland lead to 4-2. Right afterward, Eloy Jiménez tied it up with a two-run blast to center. For those who are interested in those things, the EV for Eloy's homer was 103.6 mph, and it flew a solid 386 feet. Easy power.
After Carlos Santana blasted a two-run home run in the fifth, giving Cleveland the lead back at 6-4, the Sox weren't able to climb back. Chicago's pitching was pretty solid for the most part, but the offense wasn't there to back it up. The Sox running hot/cold offense-wise could prove to be a problem, as they move in to the postseason against better pitching. The White Sox had a mini-rally off Wahoos closer Brad Hand in the ninth, with Tim Anderson barely missing a two-run blast when Cleveland center fielder Delino DeShields Jr. made a terrific leap at the wall to bring it back.
Stats for People Who Like Numbers
- Dunning tried his best, going four innings with five strikeouts.
- WPA leaders were Jiménez (.293), Ramírez (.229), and Santana (.219).
- Exit velocity was topped by Josh Naylor, with a 107.2 mph double.
- Team BABIP for the day was .381
- Jace Fry's ERA continues to climb, sitting at a solid 4.02.
- Edwin has a solid poker face. Is he happy? Sad? Angry? Who knows, but it's the same expression at all times.
- Terry Francona was out with his ongoing health issues, with Sandy Alomar Jr. stepping in to manage in the meantime, and we wish Tito the best.
- Yasmani Grandal left the game with a bruised hand. X-rays were negative and he's considered day-to-day.
- The first ejection of the White Sox season came in the top of the ninth, when James McCann disagreed with a called third strike. Ricky was tossed right after. Neither kicked dirt.
Drown your sorrows tonight, Sox fans. Monday sucks, and tomorrow's another day. Cal Quantrill, makes his first start with Cleveland, facing a resurgent Reynaldo López. Gonna need to sneak tomorrow's win out, with the tougher Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac (who has killed the White Sox this year) pitching Wednesday and Thursday.