A missed scoop. A booted grounder. An ill-timed overboogie. Sometimes it’s the little things. Especially when it’s a tight, well pitched, mostly well played game. But the White Sox made just enough plays while the Rays didn’t, dropping the game 3-2, and dropping their overall record to 4-5.
With Corey Kluber on the hill, Wander Franco got his first sort-of off day as Cash penciled him in at DH.
The Rays tried something different today: they scored first. Leading off the first, Brandon Lowe worked a walk against Kopech, who is trying to transition from the pen to being a starter. After a Wander lineout, Randy reached on an infield single to third. A wide throw on the play by Josh Harrison allowed both runners to move up, thanks to some very fancy footwork by Arozarena.
Okay, if we’re talking about the little things, this was one where the Rays got away with one. Randy waited way to long to break for second, and most definitely should have been out. But he wasn’t! And Harold Ramírez made the White Sox pay for their poor execution, driving in BLowe with a sacrifice fly to left. 1-0 Rays.
But that would be it for a long, long time. The closest thing the Rays got to a second rally against Kopech came in the second, when Walls was hit by a breaking ball and then stole second. He was stranded when BLowe flew out to center.
On the mound for the Rays, Kluber was perfect the first time thorough the order, looking like the Klubot of old. He cruised through the bottom of the first, a long fly to the base of the wall by Abreu notwithstanding. In the second, he made Grandal and Jimenez look silly with some beautifully painted curves before retiring Leury García on a nifty 3-1 putout. He again set down the side in order in the third, getting a flyout from Harrison, a strikeout of McGuire swinging, and retiring Vaughn on a flyner toward the left center gap that Phillips ran down.
Things came a bit unraveled in fourth. The first Chicago hit came on a hard grounder third by Anderson. Diaz made a great play going to his left, then popped up and made a strong throw to first. But the throw one hopped the inexperienced first baseman Harold Ramírez, who was unable to make the scoop. This would be big, because with one out, Kluber’s pickoff throw was whiffed by Ramírez, sending Anderson to second. Kluber then hung a curve to Abreu, who did not miss it.
Abreu’s first bomb of the season! pic.twitter.com/C6qkjsjlSF— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) April 16, 2022
2-1 White Sox.
Next up was Grandal, who made a bid for extra bases, but Phillips made a leaping grab at the wall.
Kluber did surrender another hit, a single to Jimenez, but bounced back to strikeout García.
Kluber settled back in the fifth, retiring Harrison and McGuire easily. A double up the left field line by Vaughn put the White Sox back in business. But Anderson was unable to cash in, grounding out to third.
Kopech was done after five, giving way to Renaldo López. Wander Franco greeted the new pitcher with an opposite field double. Randy at the plate got ahead in the count 3-0. López came back to get Arozarena looking at a borderline call. A bat flip later, and Randy was quickly ejected. And in case you were wondering, yes, it was an appropriate ejection. After a Ramírez fly to center moved Franco to third, Yandy Diaz worked a walk after a long at bat. Margot then served a 1-2 fastball into right field, scoring Franco. When Vaughn was a little lazy getting the ball back in, Diaz took off for third and made the bag easily. When the throw in skipped away from Harrison at third, Diaz tried to stretch it to home. But Harrison got a good carom off the sidewall, and threw out Diaz at home by a bunch.
Given the situation, this is probably not an overboogie. It was definitely a risk, but probably a good risk by Diaz. Just that sometimes the bear eats you. 2-2 game.
Thompson took over for Kluber in the bottom of the sixth and got tagged for an unearned run. An error on Taylor Walls at short put Robert the leadoff man aboard. Robert then swiped second, before advancing to third on Abreu’s fly to center. Then with the infield in and the shift on, Grandal rolled one through the open left side. 3-2 White Sox.
A single through the hole by Jimenez put two on with one out. After a flyout by García, Harrison made a bid for a hit through the right side. But a diving stop by Lowe and an excellent stretch by Ramírez kept it a one run game.
José Ruiz took over for the White Sox in the bottom of the seventh and struck out the side in order.
Springs worked a scoreless seventh, giving up just a single to Anderson. He looked most impressive coming back in the count to strike out Vaughn, finishing him with a couple nifty change ups.
Bennett Sousa got the eighth for the White Sox. The lefty fanned BLowe, but left a hanging breaker up to Wander. Franco hit it hard didn’t quite get enough loft on it, and his flyner landed in safely Jimenez’s glove. JLowe — who had entered the game after Arozarena was ejected — followed and whiffed on three pitches.
Andrew Kittredge worked a three up, three down eighth, despite giving up a screamer to left by Abreu that found Lowe’s glove.
Liam Hendriks was on to get the save for the White Sox, and the Rays made it interesting. Leading off, Cash chose not to pinch hit for Harold Ramírez. Ramírez rewarded Cash’s faith, turning around an inside fastball and singling through the hole. KK then entered as a pinch runner. Then on an 0-2 count Diaz, Hendriks threw a 45 footer that skipped to the backstop, advancing KK to second. Unfortunately, Kiermaier then pulled an overboogie on the next play. When Diaz chopped a 2-2 headed back to the mound, KK inexplicably broke for third. He was thrown out easily.
Kevin Kiermaier • Ninth inning, down by a run pic.twitter.com/oKzzSXnb47— Thrown Out on the Basepaths (@tootblans) April 16, 2022
I don't hate baseball. Sometimes I do hate that I love it though.— John Ford (@kingofchapter1) April 16, 2022
To the Rays credit, they did not go down easily. After Margot flied out to short center, Brett Phillips singled to right, pushing Diaz to third. Ji-Man Choi then got the call to pinch hit for Zunino. With Choi up in the count, Phillips moved up on a ball in the dirt. The unfortunate part is, this allowed the White Sox then put Choi on, putting the game into the hands of Taylor Walls. Walls demonstrated a great batting eye to get ahead in the count, but eventually went down swinging.
It’s another 2:10 start tomorrow, with Vince Velasquez going for the White Sox against the always dangerous TBA for the Rays.
EDIT TO ADD: