More of the same
Cleveland participated in nine innings of a baseball game Tuesday night, giving their best effort in an 8-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox. They showed up to the stadium, took the field, and batted through the lineup a couple times, making sure everyone had an opportunity to contribute. They may not have won, but they all earned a paycheck, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Zach Plesac made it out of the first inning unscathed, a small but insignificant victory considering the White Sox would eventually bludgeon him with seven hits and six earned runs. He did last five innings though, so had Cleveland scored eight runs prior to his sixth inning exit, he would have been eligible for the “win” in spite of his inability to stop leaving his breaking pitches over the plate. Cal Quantrill took over in the sixth, inheriting a baserunner and allowing three of his own, including a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal to cap a four-run inning for Chicago.
Offensively, Cleveland certainly fared better against Carlos Rodón than they did a week ago, but failed to take advantage of his spotty command aside from drawing five walks. Their approach at the plate was better, but they simply didn’t have the bats to make the most of his mistakes. Rodón only allowed three hits and one earned run over five innings of work, striking out eight. His biggest mistake was a 2-2 fastball to Jordan Luplow in the heart of the zone, which Luplow launched into the left-field bleachers to end Rodon’s bid at another no-hitter in the third inning.
The White Sox all but gift-wrapped a big inning for Cleveland in the fourth. To start the inning, Amed Rosario reached base on a poor throw to first by second baseman Nick Madrigal. Next, Josh Naylor was awarded first base due to catcher’s interference. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch before Roberto Pérez drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Rodón struck out Yu Chang and Jordan Luplow, putting all of the pressure on Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez, to his credit, managed to sneak an RBI single past Yoán Moncada at third. But then, inexplicably, Naylor blew past a stop sign at third, oblivious to the fact that Tim Anderson had made a diving stop in shallow left field on Hernandez’s grounder. He threw home and Yasmani Grandal tagged Naylor for a maddening inning-ending out, killing their rally.
Cleveland loaded the bases again with one out in the eighth thanks to a pair of walks and another catcher’s interference call, but Cesar Hernandez popped a fly ball to shallow center field and José Ramírez scorched a liner into the glove of Andrew Vaughn at first base.
To their credit, Cleveland did create a low-pressure environment for reliever Sam Hentges, who made his big league debut in the seventh inning. He notched a pair of strikeouts before surrendering a solo home run to José Abreu, which he probably assumed was a rite of passage after watching Plesac and Quantrill serve up bombs earlier in the game.
Cleveland staged a minor rally in the ninth. Franmil Reyes notched his third single of the night, advancing to second on a passed ball. With two outs, Josh Naylor drilled an opposite-field double off the wall in left to score Reyes from second. Naylor came around to score on a Roberto Pérez RBI single up the middle, cutting the White Sox’s lead to 8-5. Chicago manager Tony La Russa called in Liam Hendriks to dispatch Jake Bauers for the final out of the game.