White Sox try to bore Reds to death and fail, 7-3
Okay, let's be real clear about this — if you had any doubts that Dane Dunning needs to be Chicago's No. 3 starter in the playoffs, give 'em up. And if Reynaldo López shows much of anything Tuesday against Cleveland, he probably should be rescued from the purgatory of Schaumburg to be No. 4.
You definitely do not want Dylan Cease pitching against a team that can hit if it can possibly be avoided.
Cease's amazing luck so far this year (if you don't trust me, trust FanGraphs) couldn't overcome a pitiful performance in Cincinnati, dragging the Sox to a 7-3 loss to a team that's tied for the worst batting average in baseball, and 28th in runs per game.
Not that Cease raised that batting average — he tossed a no- hitter for his 3 ⅔ innings — but the lowly Reds didn't have much chance to hit the ball, because he was busy walking seven of them and hitting another.
In what must be the season high for boredom, Cease almost got away with it, thanks to Tucker Barnhart inexplicably swinging at the first pitch and grounding out in the second inning, after Dylan had loaded the bases on two walks and an HBP, and Eugenio Suarez striking out on six pitches nowhere near the zone (showing why he's well below the Mendoza line), and then Mike Moustakas failing to run out a grounder that would have gotten him on base thanks to a throw from Nick Madrigal that pulled José Abreu off the bag after two walks in the third.
But Cease started the fourth with three straight walks and turned the wildness over to Ross Detwiler, who managed three more walks (one intentional) and another HBP before the inning ended with five runs scored and one hit: a single. No team had managed that many runs on one hit in more than a century. Detwiler later gave up two runs the old-fashioned way in the fifth on a single and an Aristides Aquino 428-footer.
And — get this — this all was despite the fact the strike zone, while meandering, was overwhelmingly in favor of pitchers.
That's 10 walks and two HBP through four innings — and Steve Cishek would add another pass and another hit batsman in the fifth, to bring the totals to 11 and three. Cishek managed not to give up a run, though, a rare feat for him.
The trio threw 162 pitches to get through six innings — 80 by Cease, (just 37 of them strikes despite the enlarged zone and some very bad swings), 44 by Detwiler (25 strikes) and 38 for Cishek (21 strikes).
The Sox did manage to score despite striking out 14 times against Michael Lorenzen and three relievers, on a Madrigal infield single RBI and an Abreu double in the fifth, and an Edwin Encarnación opposite-field shot in the eighth, so all was not for naught.
Three good things
Ricky Renteria took Tim Anderson out of the game during an at-bat in the seventh after Tim grabbed his right thigh after a swing (it was just a cramp, and Tim should be fine). And Garrett Crochet hit 101 mph on the gun again in an inning of relief, though this time he got no K's and gave up his first hit. Oh, and José Ruiz had another good inning.
The Sox now head to Cleveland for a four-game series, which is the team the South Siders are currently on track to play in the first round of the playoffs as well.