We set a very low standard for our favored baseballing entertainers if we continually invoke the 2013 White Sox as a standard to worry about clearing, or a brand of baseball that can be fallen into. But hell if these supposedly new Sox didn't fulfill the blueprint to a tee Saturday in Cleveland.
They lent unneeded difficulty to routine plays, they looked helpless for prolonged stretches against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson, their few offensive opportunities were demolished in comically ridiculous fashion, they sabotaged the efforts of White Sox starter Scott Carroll, and they lost, to the Indians, 2-0.
Carroll's limitations were on thorough display throughout the evening (zero strikeouts through six innings), but after the first couple of hanging curveballs were hammered for loud outs to deeper regions of Progressive Field, Carroll became rigorous about staying within them. Flicking his 87 mph sinker over the bottom of the zone, Carroll racked up eight more groundball ous, and was deprived of two more from the dribblers Tyler Flowers mishandled.
Flower s slipped while fielding a bunt attempt from Michael Bourn and wound up throwing a bouncer that Jose Abreu couldn't scoop in the third, but one-upped it by airmailing a Jose Ramirez bunt into right field in the fifth purely by just being too frantic. Ramirez would eventually score on a sacrifice fly for the second unearned run of the game, the first coming in the second when Semien undid Carroll's work pitching out of jam by dropping an infield pop-up that would have ended the inning.
Carroll doesn't have much. He can't reach back and blow away a couple of mistakes and he has to execute perfectly to dance around the extra baserunners his approach and skill level is naturally going to produce. He did that, and the Sox defense still goofed it up for him. At least he earned himself another go-round.
On offense...the Sox already miss Adam Eaton, just as another left-handed weapon against three-quarter monster Justin Masterson. Tyler Flowers' single to lead off the eighth was the only knock right-handers scrapped off Masterson, and he left the game shortly after it happened.
What little work the Sox could put together, they immediately eliminated. Adam Dunn was erased by a Dayan Viciedo double play in the second, then erased his own leadoff double in the sixth by getting thrown out at third on a groundball to his right. The Sox were gifted loaded bases in the fifth by an error, a walk and a hit batsmen, but Marcus Semien's bullet down the right field line was snagged by a diving and giggling and snorting and preening Nick Swisher for an inning-ending double play.
Worse than the rotten luck, was the rotten play of Jose Abreu. He mixed two hideous strikeouts with two seemingly accidental swings for groundouts, and swung at three curves a foot out of the zone to defang an eighth-inning scoring chance with Gordon Beckham and Tyler Flowers on second and third with two outs in the eighth. The post-dinger binge lapse in plate discipline is ugly, even if understandable.
With no immediate pitching help on the way and some initial offensive standouts normalizing, the Sox could be in a stretch that diffuses some early hopes of hanging around in the division race. Also, they have to play Cleveland again tomorrow.
Team Record: 14-17
Next game is tomorrow in Cleveland at 12:05pm CT on Comcast Sports Net
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