Astros 6, White Sox 5: That felt winnable

The White Sox certainly have their holes, but until this current worst stretch of the year that has now seen them lose five of six, they could not be accused of repeatedly wasting winnable games.

1. Matt Albers is not in the midst of his best stretch, but had started the top of the 11th trying to hold a 4-4 tie, by winning a difficult war against Jose Altuve, and got to 0-2 on George Springer, before splitting the plate and getting taken back up the middle for a single. Even with that setback, Albers got niche preseason MVP pick Carlos Correa to go down on strikes, but saw Springer advance into scoring position when he stole second on the swing, and the Sox arguments that Springer interfered with Alex Avila‘s throw fell on deaf ears. That type of bad break lends a sense of doom to an inning, but one that did not really take hold until Albers was once again 0-2, this time to Evan Gattis, before splitting the plate again and allowing the decisive two-run bomb to left. Albers has now given up runs in his last three times out.

2. Somehow on a night they scored five runs in a game started by the reigning AL Cy Young, the White Sox defined their evening with missed scoring opportunities. A furious 11th inning rally capped by an RBI double into the right-center gap by Adam Eaton put the tying run on second, but with Dioner Navarro already spent, the Sox were stuck with an awful matchup with Avila facing three-quarter lefty Tony Sipp, who struck him out with a full count slider to end it.

That came after the White Sox tied it in the ninth, when Austin Jackson led off with a hustle double to right-center and scored on an Eaton sacrifice fly, but Carlos Sanchez was stranded at third when an over-aggressive Jose Abreu couldn’t lay off outside sliders from Luke Gregerson and grounded out weakly.

Abreu also ended the seventh whiffing at a Ken Giles slider, capping a blown opportunity to jump out ahead after Dallas Keuchel walked the bases loaded in his final inning of work. After Keuchel walked the first two hitters of the inning on eight pitches, Robin Ventura had Tyler Saladino bunt–ineffectively–only for Keuchel to continue to show he had no concept of the strike zone and load the bases after Saladino’s sacrifice only got Jackson gunned down at third. At that point Giles swooped in just in time to whiff Jimmy Rollins and Abreu to extinguish the threat.

3. Despite getting perfect game’d for 11 outs, the White Sox rallied against Keuchel, with Abreu breaking up the no-no by launching his sixth home run of the season out to dead center in the fourth. Navarro and Saladino launched back-to-back two-out doubles in the fifth to tie the game at 2-2, and Eaton gave the Sox their only lead of the night when he sprayed an RBI single to right to cap the two-out rally. Sanchez, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the seventh, contributed the only other multi-hit game.

His entry into the game had a sour note, however, as his pinch-running for Navarro went unused when both Rollins and Abreu struck out in the seventh. Sanchez also forced Avila into the game, who could not be rescued from the game-ending matchup with Sipp in the 11th, unless Ventura wanted to be extremely reckless with an under-the-weather Todd Frazier, who did not play due to illness

4. A Carlos Rodon start was certainly had Tuesday night. Committed to unleashing more velocity to work his way out of his funk, Rodon touched high-90s with regularity, struck out seven while flashing some of his best sliders, and somehow managed to limit himself to just one walk on the night (an intentional one) despite throwing less than 60 percent of his pitches for strikes. Given how much Rodon relies on hitters chasing his insane slider, he lived out of the zone even more than that figure implies.

Despite avoiding those typical pratfalls, Rodon had to settle for the least satisfying quality start with three earned over six innings, due to two wall-scraping solo shots to left from Tyler White; the first on a center-cut 96 mph fastball, the second on an outside changeup that White still managed to pull just enough to tie the game up at 3-3. At least Rodon left the game cursing to himself rather than shaking his head in defeat.

White would go on to add a leadoff double in the eighth that would lead to the Astros taking a 4-3 lead when his pinch-runner came around to score.

5. Nate Jones got the first two outs of the seventh, but the second one hurt quite a bit. He took a liner off the bat of Correa on a comebacker to the mound and left the game with a bruised left foot. His X-Rays were reportedly negative and he is said to be day-to-day. They can not easily cover his absence.

Team Record: 24-15

Next game is Wednesday at 7:10pm CT vs. Houston on CSN

Lead Image Credit: David Banks // USA Today Sports Images

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2 comments on “Astros 6, White Sox 5: That felt winnable”

M Kow 1

That was a hard loss to take. Games like these can turn your stomach in October and be the difference between home field advantage in the playoffs and the wildcard slot

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