Like last year, the White Sox only do one thing consistently well, but it's hitting, so everyone's pretty happy about it. Saturday's game was mostly defined by Hector Noesi getting roasted in the first inning and the Sox never making it all the way back out of his hole, but the unsteadiness of the Astros pitching staff kept them in shouting range throughout a 6-5 loss.
Early, it looked as if the Sox had finally happened upon their first true Hector Noesi start. A start that immediately revealed the foolishness of giving starting opportunities to a repeatedly failed pitcher, and ended in a four-hour long blowout that sapped everyone of the will to live or keep the failed pitcher on the roster.
Noesi allowed the first four batters of the game to reach, and gave up a line-drive home run to the fourth guy, Jason Castro. It wasn't a grand slam, but that's still the formula for giving up four runs. He allowed two more baserunners in the inning before escaping, and still provided no more insight into why he's so consistently hittable with lively mid-90's stuff.
Yet he mysteriously stabilized to complete five more innings with only a Dexter Fowler solo bomb on his tab, then even more mysteriously was left in to start the seventh, where he gave up a leadoff single that later scored, aided by Scott Downs skipping pickoff throw through Adam Dunn's legs. Noesi finished with six strikeouts to three walks, but two of those free passes came in the first inning. So he was good, when he wasn't dreadful. Aren't we all.
Houston starter Jared Cosart was one of the top prospects in baseball when he was in the lower minors because he possessed nutty stuff and it was assumed his control would settle down. It never did, and it really started hampering how much hitters were fooled by his nutty stuff. He walked three batters in the second inning alone, and threw a wild pitch, as the Sox scored two runs with a Dayan Viciedo single as their only hit.
After using two sac flies in the second inning, the Sox manufactured again as Beckham scored on a leadoff double in the third with groundouts from Conor Gillaspe and Jose Abreu pushing him along.
But the big knock eluded the Sox all afternoon and evening. They stranded runners on second in the fourth and fifth, and after getting the rare positive baserunning play from Alejandro De Aza (stole second after a leadoff single in the sixth), Josh Fields (no, not that Josh Fields) struck out Tyler Flowers and Moises Sierra, and got the otherwise brawnyBeckham to tap out to second to ruin it.
The only rally came off a truly terrible-looking and recently-acquired Kyle Farnsworth, who coughed up two runs behind two more walks, a booming double to the gap from Alexei Ramirez, and a two-out hot-shot grounder from Beckham that just squirted by Marwin Gonzalez at short. But even here, a rippling liner to the right field corner from De Aza teased the Sox. Newly-arrived George Springer flagged the ball down and limited what was nearly a game-tying homer to a sacrifice fly. Gillaspie was left in with a two-out chance to tie the game in a dreadful matchup with LOOGY Darin Downs, and couldn't transcend it.
Houston trotting out Chad Qualls as a closer induced giggles, but neither Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn nor Dayan Viciedo could do much with the veteran mediocre reliever. Konerko was playing after Abreu left the game with a bad ankle. Remember when he was supposed to take a day off for that?
Team Record: 21-23
Next game is Friday night in Houston at 3:10pm CT on WGN
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