Sports Illustrated jinx works online, too!
The Sports Illustrated jinx is renowned. But it has historically just meant sporting doom for whoever appeared on the cover. Turns out, it may work electronically as well.
SI's latest power rankings moved the White Sox all the way to the top of the American League on Friday. Wish they hadn't, because the ranking was followed by a dead-flat performance.
Well, dead flat except when we took time out for a little Crocheting. Which we'll get to, after a brief time out for the game itself.
Sox get bombarded by Reds, 7-1
Well, it was mostly Jonathan Stiever who got bombarded. In his major league debut Sunday, Stiever had been very impressive, recovering from a bad first inning to paint the corners and finish strongly in a short start.
This time, no recovery. Stiever gave up solo homers to Nicholas Castellanos, Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto — then, after two four-pitch walks, a three-run shot to Jesse Winker. He only lasted 2 ⅔ innings, and he was finding a whole lot of plate with all his pitches, which isn't a way to punch a ticket to the playoffs.
The bullpen shut out the Reds the rest of the way, except for Steve Cishek giving up a run on a Votto double, because giving up a run is what Steve Cishek does. Gio González tossed a nifty 2 ⅓ innings against a mostly lefty lineup, and he was followed by another guy, whom we'll get to in a moment, after we finish crying over the offense.
Tim Anderson got a day of rest, so Nick Madrigal hit leadoff and he appropriately did what Tim does and got a hit to start the game, and a double later. Unfortunately, that gave Madrigal one more total base than the rest of the team combined.
Madrigal's double to start the sixth was followed by a walk to Yasmani Grandal and a HBP for José Abreu, making it bases loaded and no outs and the middle of the order up. Two grounders and a strikeout later, the game had only been closed to 6-1, and the next nine batters got schneids.
Enough of a game to forget, so let's stick to our knitting — er, Crocheting
With Evan Marshall going on the IL — bad luck that, his place on the roster was taken by first round draft choice Garrett Crochet, and Crochet stuck the needle in the Reds. His first big-league — and first professional — pitch was a slider that bounced a few times and made a play for the dugout, but he recovered to mow through the sixth inning on 13 pitches, nine of them strikes, the fastballs firing up to 101. That's miles per hour, not feet.
Sure, it was the bottom of the order of a usually terrible-hitting Reds team, and two of the three batters were lefties, as is Crochet. But, hey, 101. And strikes!
So there was a glimmer of good in there. José Ruiz was also de-Schaumbergized and pitched a nice inning, but — sorry, José — the kid gets the kudos.
The win was the sixth in a row for the Reds, who climbed to .500 after a dismal start of the season. Tomorrow night is expected to be a battle of pitching heavyweights (that's figurative — Ruiz already pitched tonight — Trevor Bauer vs. Dallas Keuchel. May the best man win, as long as it's Dallas.