If I told you that James Shields would only give up two runs over six innings and Tyler Saladino would drive in three, you might be foolish enough to think that would be enough for the White Sox to hold on and manage to win a game against the Tigers. But then you’d remember that it’s 2016 and that’s just not how this works at all.
1. The Sox offense did that wonderful thing where they squander the hell out of scoring opportunities, managing to leave 15 runners on base, including getting two runners on with one out in the first inning without managing to score a run. This would be repeated in the top of the fifth, with two runners reaching base with no outs before Jose Abreu grounded into a double play and Todd Frazier grounded out to spoil the threat.
2. The good news is that the Sox did not seem to be entirely confused by Matt Boyd’s weak offerings, they just came up slightly short like they have all season. The top of the fourth had a nice moment with the bases somehow managing to get loaded with two outs and Saladino knocking a two-run single to center to score Justin Morneau and Avisail Garcia to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
3. This was crucial as despite the end results, Shields looked like 2016 James Shields throughout the game. He threw more off-speed stuff than usual, but it feels like late-career John Danks at this point where you’re just waiting for the killer to jump out of the closet and mercifully murder the quintagonist. Shields heroically managed to limit the damage to just two runs after Justin Upton’s home run in the bottom of the sixth, with six strikeouts to just three walks. It was something close to impressive, but the bullpen made sure it just didn’t matter.
4. Saladino hit a home run to deep left-center in the top of the seventh to put the Sox back on top and it was a fun moment that may have reminded you that everything isn’t completely terrible. Saladino has developed into a pretty useful utility infielder who won’t cost the Sox anything and has positive value, especially on a team that refuses to actually spend money on anything important.
5. But the bullpen. Dan Jennings, Tommy Kahnle and Chris Beck all pitched one-third of an inning and did not ruin everything, despite being well known members of the Ruiners Club. No, tonight that honor went to Nate Jones. Jones was ineffectively wild, walking J.D. Martinez on six pitches with none of the balls being anywhere close to the zone. He recovered initially by striking out Upton on three straight fastballs before grooving a pitch down the middle to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty deposited it into the right-center stands and that was that. The Sox went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, falling to 63-67.
Next Game: 6:10 p.m. Tuesday against the Tigers on CSN-Chicago.
Lead Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports