The Indians José Ramírez scored off a bunt in the tenth last night to give the Indians the lead.
I'm a fed up Sox fan. I've watched every one of their sixteen games this season, and I've so far ridden the roller coaster through their 1-4 start, through their exciting six game win streak and now through their disappointing decline.
It's been since 2012 since the White Sox held a winning record and since 2008 since they made the playoffs. Year after year we wait in the offseason for next year. We've been waiting for years for the team we have today, only to be met with an offense that has struggled to score runs of late and a pitching staff that while stronger, can't seem to not walk guys.
The White Sox rank fourth as a team in offensive strikeouts, only one behind the third placed Indians. They have three players in the top 20 in baseball for strikeouts - Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal, and Yoan Moncada. The Sox rank near the bottom in baseball in walks at 22, so the mix doesn't bode well for a team that can be so potent offensively. But the Sox do give out walks on the mound - they rank ninth in baseball there with issuing 59 pass balls, one short of ninth place in baseball behind the Red Sox. As good as Giolito pitched last night, he had five walks and Marshall allowed the one fateful walk that became the tying run late in the game.
They may still be the reigning batting average champs, but that number has been dwindling this past week, as they have not scored more than four runs in a game since Monday when they beat the Brewers 6-4. Since their six game win streak was snapped on Tuesday, they have gone 1-4 and are now 2-6 at home. I never heard of a team playing better on the road than at home, but perhaps the absence of fans has something to do with that. I don't know.
In an ever heating up Central where a surprise Tigers now sit at second place at 8-5 and a Royals team that just swept the Minnesota Twins, the division is tighter than ever. I'm not convinced that the Sox may even have a winning record this year, much less make the playoffs. Granted, they have faced some of the best pitching over the last week, but they haven't shown me that their offense is living up to the hype as they continuously leave guys on base in key situations and give the other team multiple chances with walking guys on the mound.
And let's not forget the injuries. This team has to have the most injuries of any major league team. I blame the shortened second spring training. It has to be. I've never seen so many players get hurt in such a short period of time.
Then there's Renteria's bizarre management decisions. I think we can all cringe when he constantly changes up the lineup. Why move Robert out of the lead-up spot? Why have him hit behind Mazara? Why did you have Drew Anderson, who had a career ERA over seven pitch in a tight inning against the Indians in game two? After the game, you said that you expected to get three, maybe four innings out of him. Really? He got nothing but lit up in spring training and you expected three, maybe four innings? I know the Indians aren't hitting either, but they are an example of what a playoff team looks like. They know how to win.
After the loss yesterday, Renteria said again that he didn't like the new extra inning rule with the man on second. I don't like it either, but it's there. That's not why they lost. They lost because Moncada couldn't make that play in the tenth. They lost because Marshall walked Carlos Santana, who by the way, walked three times yesterday. Three, and he has a current batting average of around .170. They lost because Cleveland was smart enough to get a bunt down, something which I haven't seen the Sox be able to do in quite some time. Yes, the rain was unfortunate in that it may have messed with the Sox momentum.
But how often do you see the White Sox get our hopes up and leave runners stranded? How often do you see a player strikeout to end an inning or a game? So seeing Yoan strikeout to end yesterday's game came as no surprise there. I know he has a 20 game on base streak, going back to last season. I know he's a great player. But there is something about the Sox as a team right now where they are unable to situationally hit. Robert will be a terrific player, but he still needs to learn to cut down on the strikeouts and produce more RBI's. Where are Grandal's homers? Will Edwin be Edwin or another Adam Dunn?
There are so many questions regarding this team going down the stretch of this crazy season. They aren't out of it by any means, and now that they have a key series against a surprisingly good Detroit team, they can once again change the game in their favor. But it's been another rough week, and I'm a frustrated fan once again.