MLB: Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers

Rangers 6, White Sox 5: Bullpen shows signs of vulnerability in Texas

For the second straight game, the White Sox bullpen coughed up a lead to the Texas Rangers, falling 6-5 and bringing their record to 23-12.

  1. For the first time all year, the White Sox fell in a game started by Mat Latos. Of course, this was bound to happen, and looked increasingly inevitable in Latos’ last two starts, where he allowed four runs in five IP in consecutive starts. In Wednesday’s game, Latos neither had good stuff or command, resulting in season highs of five walks and five ER in just 5.1 IP while failing to retire a batter via strikeout. Despite this, Latos left the game with a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but the runner on third he left to Dan Jennings scored on an Ian Desmond single with two outs. Jennings then allowed Desmond to score with two outs on an Adrian Beltre single, giving the Rangers a lead they would not cough up.
  2. After hitting his 11th home run of the year, Todd Frazier made a spectacular play by diving into the stands to catch a Prince Fielder foul pop. Frazier, unfortunately, slammed his jaw into a seat that had been left vacant by fan, and came up holding his chin with his glove in obvious pain. Fearing the worst, Hawk Harrelson abandoned Steve Stone in the broadcast booth and sprinted to the clubhouse, where he learned (and subsequently reported) that Frazier broke no bones but bit through his lip, which would eventually require five stitches to sew up. Carlos Sanchez replaced Frazier, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout, retired twice in a runner on first, nobody out situation.
  3. For the first time this year, the White Sox bullpen showed vulnerability, blowing four different leads it was brought on to protect in the three game series. While the Rangers offense is potent, and David Robertson and Nate Jones are unlikely to scuffle like they did on Monday night with any frequency, the ‘pen’s recent woes seems to justify a recent Ken Rosenthal report that the White Sox are looking into acquiring a reliever. The bullpen’s underbelly is soft, and when the back end of the rotation cannot make it deep enough for set up men to be used, pitchers like Dan Jennings and Scott Carroll are thrust into situations they aren’t always capable of holding down.
  4. As the pitching staff ran into its first real struggles this year, the offense seems to be rounding into form. The White Sox scored five or more runs in three consecutive games for the first time all year, bringing their scoring rate to an above-league-average 4.4 runs per game. Despite ultimately losing this three game series (which notably was on the road against a strong Rangers team) this is certainly an encouraging sign.
  5. The White Sox now move on to face the scuffling New York Yankees in the Big Apple, sending Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Miguel Gonzalez against a team that is scoring the fourth fewest runs per game in the American League. If Sale and Quintana can continue to pitch as they have, and the White Sox can jump on the weak part of the Yankees pitching staff, they should be able to return to their winning ways.

Lead photo credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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