It turns out there are limits to things. Limits to how long a team can stay in a game when failing to produce against 12 innings of fluff pitching (the game was 14 innings long but some of these pitchers were actually good), limits to how many one-run leads they can cough up, and limits to how many saves their proven closer can blow in the same series. Limits are everywhere, and even against the broken down and scuffling Royals, this dreary affair was limited to 14 innings.
1. Matt Albers, an absolute tomato can for three and a half months, was the limit of how far into the bullpen the Sox could dip before things went irretrievably south.
Albers allowed a groundball leadoff single through the five-six hole to Christian Colon–drafted before Chris Sale and still with more World Series WPA than that guy–and allowed Lorenzo Cain to free himself from the shame of a previously 0-for-6 night. Cain dropped a liner in front of J.B. Shuck, Colon scooted around to score, and everyone was finally allowed to go home.
2. The game was extended when David Robertson blew his second save in as many nights in the 11th. After falling from ahead to issue a leadoff walk to Eric Hosmer, the Royals gave him a free out on a bunt, forestalling his command failing him and the Sox for one batter, until Salvador Perez smacked a game-tying double to the right-center gap to put the game at 2-2. Robertson has now blown four of his last eight saves, six of 33 save opportunities on the year, and his peripherals have been generally really bad all season. It’s a concern!
Robertson’s latest screwup prevented Tim Anderson being the hero for flaring a two-out bloop over Hosmer’s head for a go-ahead RBI single in the top half of the inning, so now we just have to focus on him striking out five times.
3. Jose Quintana had a pinnacle Jose Quintana start, and bless him for it. He glided through two perfect innings with barely any effort to open the night, pitched over a galling Frazier error on a would-be inning-ending double play ball in the third, and took a shutout into the eighth until a one-out Paulo Orlando double chased him because he was protecting a 1-0 lead with 97 pitches on his tab.
Nate Jones came on in relief and immediately allowed a game-tying double to Cheslor Cuthbert, and then it truly became a Quintana start, and a no decision. Quintana pulled into a tie with Aaron Sanchez for the AL ERA lead on the night.
4. The White Sox sole tally of the first nine innings came off the power bat of Shuck, who swatted his fourth home run of the season in the third off Ian Kennedy, and later added a run-saving over the shoulder catch in center in the fifth. Shuck had four career home runs in 850 plate appearances coming into the season.
Efforts to add an additional run in the seventh were thwarted when Omar Narvaez–instant offense these days–was thrown out at home on a close play following a single from, of course, J.B. Shuck. Replays indicated Narvaez might have gotten his hand in before the tag, but the call stood.
5. Robin Ventura managed to order the first two intentional walks of Alcides Escobar‘s season. Teams have typically decided to attack the typically light-hitting shortstop, who is scuffling through an especially bad .251/.280/.307 season, but Ventura dodged him in the ninth with the winning run on second, so that Jones–against whom Escobar would be extremely overmatched–could blow away the even more hopeless Raul Mondesi Jr. to end the inning. Mondesi was clearly worse, and there’s an element of being haunted by what Escobar pulled off in the ninth the previous night, but it was beyond needless, and they needed to play another inning to win anyway.
Ventura did it yet again in the 11th in an identical scenario, only Ned Yost simply pinch-hit Christian Colon, who has the same season numbers as Escobar. When Dan Jennings was finally allowed to face Escobar with the winning run on third in the 13th, he struck him out to escape the inning after a Jarrod Dyson leadoff triple. It was probably the best moment of the night!
Team Record: 54-59
Next game is Thursday at 7:15pm CT at Kansas City on WPWR
Lead Image Credit: Denny Medley // USA Today Sports Images