Well, many White Sox fans would probably describe the end of Wednesday night's game as "upsetting."
The White Sox were again betrayed by their bullpen, which when asked to get four outs with a 4-0 lead delivered by Chris Sale, delivered a 5-4 walk-off loss in Boston after getting just two. Worse yet, the heartbreak came at the hands of two relievers Robin Ventura was hoping he could start to trust.
Jake Petricka came on with two outs in the eighth, with the Sox still carrying a comfy 4-0 advantage and Mookie Betts on third after a leadoff infield single that turned into a double when no one was covering second. Rather than overpower Dustin Pedroia with plus velocity coming from the right side, as hoped, Pedroia nailed an RBI single off Petricka, and came around as David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes boomed back-to-back doubles to bring an easy win to the brink of disaster.
Petricka likely would have worked the ninth if he had acquitted himself better. Instead, Javy Guerra gave his first stab as Sox closer and did so without a margin for error. He needed it. After inducing a weak foul out from Jackie Bradley Jr., Guerra plunked Betts on the elbow in a two-strike count, and never recovered. Daniel Nava banged a game-tying double off the Green Monster, and came around for the game-winner on the next at-bat as Brock Holt played the hero for Boston again with an RBI single to right field.
Chris Sale Day as a completely self-contained event...went fairly smoothly. The All-StarCandidate didn't have the sharpest stuff he's ever had in life through his 7.2 innings, striking out six, walking none and having a single run charged to him after Petricka allowed his inherited baserunner to score. Whatever mistakes Sale made were covered up by 95-96 mph velocity he trotted out frequently.
Ventura actually deployed Sale conservatively, pulling him in the eighth rather than letting him handle a high-leverage moment against a tough right-handed hitter he was facing for the fourth time in the night at over 100 pitches, and this is the thanks he gets. It's a shame.
White Sox offense came from loud solo shots in the first and second off Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa. Jose Abreu reached the center field seats in the first, and Gillaspie nearly matched his distance with his own blast in the second. The Sox added another in the fourth when Dayan Viciedo slapped a grounder through Mike Napoli's legs to score Gillaspie, and a two-out double Adam Eaton smacked over the head of Xander Boegarts with two outs in the seventh to score Tyler Flowers seemed like unneeded insurance at the time.
Team Record: 44-48
Next Game: Thursday at 3:10pm at Boston on CSN
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