As an internet baseball writer and computer owner, there's a certain pain in focusing on a lack of hustle as the difference in the result of an entire game. But such was the nature of the White Sox attack against Trevor Bauer, that Conor Gillaspie lazily jogging back to first base after a second inning flyout and getting doubled off could account for a 3-2 defeat in the first half finale in Cleveland.
Javy Guerra, throwing some 90 mph slop to Yan Gomes that got sliced just hard enough to rattle into the right field bullpen for a go-ahead two-run eighth inning bomb, is probably a more traditional scapegoat for another dispiriting loss, but surely we've looked into this "White Sox bullpen bad" issue enough. Handing over a 2-1 lead on the road in the eighth to Javy Guerra is the result of just much offensive ineptitude as handing over a 2-1 lead to Jesse Crain, one just has a better safety net.
Gillaspie's lackadaisical return took a runner off the basepaths, and rendered the magic of back-to-back singles from Tyler Flowers and Leury Garcia that inning irrelevant. As a result, the only Sox offense came in a two-run eighth that Gillaspie also started. He reached on a one-out single off Cleveland's Bryan Shaw, took second on a wild pitch and scored the equalizer when Gordon Beckham poked a grounder up the middle. After Beckham moved up to second on a groundout, Leury Garcia's second hit of the game (!) gave the Sox the briefest of leads.
Jose Abreu, who raised his average to .292 with three singles on the day (lowering his slugging percentage) couldn't square up the one hittable slider he got from Cody Allen in the ninth, and the Sox went down quietly.
Lost in this, is another curiously fine outing from John Danks. He allowed just a single run on the day, on a ground ball single from Gomes in the second inning that just barely kicked off the edge of Carlos Sanchez's glove. He faked the beat writers out by even coming out for the seventh given how maxed out he looked after six, and although he missed precious few bats (four strikeouts in all), he revved up for two crucial ones to end the second to leave the bases jammed with no further damage, and otherwise allowed very few hard hit balls and kept things mostly on the ground. He'll enter the All-Star break with a 3.99 ERA somehow. Is he good now? His stuff doesn't look it most of the time, and most of this numbers don't either, but he's preventing runs from being scored.
--Trevor Bauer, pitching at a pace that makes it seem like he's stalling until reinforcements can show up, struck out 10 in 6.2 innings, which nicely covered up the 11 baserunners he allowed.
--Carlos Sanchez settled down in the field after an early error in his MLB debut, but looked generally overmatched at the plate. For now at least.
Team Record: 45-51
Next Game: Friday at 7:10pm vs. Houston on WCIU
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