Getting wiped the floor with stinks. Getting wiped the floor with by your crosstown rival that is ten games below .500 stinks even more.
It was a rough game for the Sox tonight, and quite honestly, one of the most pathetic performances of the year. The offense was horrific, the defense was very shaky other than Dayan Viciedo gunning down Ryan Sweeney at home plate in the seventh (what in the world is Cubs third base coach David Bell thinking there by the way?), Jose Quintana wasn’t very good, and the bullpen was even worse.
If you have a strong enough stomach to read even further, here’s what we can take away from this one …
SAMARDZIJA SHUTS US DOWN
I’ll preface this by saying that as a White Sox fan and also a die-hard Michigan football fan who absolutely despises Notre Dame, Jeff Samardzija has got to be one of my least favorite athletes. However, you have to give a man his credit when it is due, and Jeff Samardzija was flat-out dominant tonight.
Yes, one can say that shutting down a team with an offense ranked near the bottom of the league like the White Sox isn’t much of an accomplishment, but with the stuff he had tonight along with the command he had, Samardzija probably shuts anyone down.
Out of all of the White Sox games I have been to, I think this one had to have been the most times I’ve seen the Sox offense have broken bats. Samardzija had to have broken at least five or six (just going by how the crack of the bat sounded).
Samardzija was around 96-97 with his fastball all night, and was throwing his full repertoire for strikes early in the count. He got ahead of almost every hitter and then got them to chase pitches out of the zone late, which is what good pitchers with good stuff do.
It’s hard to imagine that this was just his third win on the season, but I guess that’s what pitching on a team with a bad bullpen will do to you.
JONES LAYS AN EGG
Speaking of bad bullpens, Nate Jones continued his epically bad May by giving up three runs upon entering the game in the seventh inning tonight. I’m not quite sure where this man’s head has been at this whole month, but he now thinks he can just blow away major league hitters with fastballs on every pitch. His ERA in May is in the high-9’s because of it.
Going along with that, one of the most interesting parts of the game I thought was the mound visit of Don Cooper in that seventh inning (yes it was that bad, a mound visit was the most interesting part of the game). Cooper flat-out laid into Tyler Flowers during his pow-wow on the bump, which would lead me to believe he was not at all happy with the way Flowers was calling the game.
I’m starting to think we Sox fans aren’t the only ones that are growing tired of Tyler.
The defense also was not very good tonight, and three plays really stick out in my mind.
We’ll go in chronological order and start things off with Alexei Ramirez basically taking a nap in the first inning and forgetting to cover second on a Starlin Castro stolen base attempt.
In case you aren’t familiar with the typical defensive strategy for defending a stolen base, a shortstop usually takes the bag when a left-handed hitter is up, while the second baseman takes it when a righty is up to bat. This is because it makes things easier for the catcher, as he can see the man covering the base the whole way.
Whatever the reason may be, Alexei Ramirez had a brain fart and did not cover the bag when lefty Anthony Rizzo was at the plate. I was just glad to hear Robin Ventura after the game that these kind of mental lapses can’t happen out there, and I really hope someone let Ramirez know this kind of garbage is unacceptable. It ultimately cost the team a run in that first inning.
Play number two came at the hand of Tyler Flowers, whose defense is supposed to be his strong suit. After totally whiffing on a pitch back in the first inning behind the plate (didn’t see this happen, but Zach let me know about it), he made a wild throw on a drop third strike to start the seventh inning.
The runner (ex-Sox player Ryan Sweeney), ended up being thrown out at the plate later in the inning, but executing a simple play may have gone a long way in terms of letting Jones settle in on the mound.
The last play is one that live, I thought was pretty uncatchable. However, after seeing some replays, Alejandro De Aza has got to catch that ball in center field on Anthony Rizzo’s seventh inning triple. He committed that cardinal sin of an outfielder: he got caught drifting, and it cost him big time.
This defensive lapse is a microcosm of the season Alejandro has had so far, as he hasn’t really done the job in the field or at the plate. While the White Sox have been playing better of late, De Aza needs to start chipping in a bit more if this team wants to be around come September.
QUINTANA’S OFF NIGHT
Jose Quintana didn’t have his command tonight, and it showed. Q was chased out of the game after the sixth inning, and he was probably lucky that he only allowed four runs based on how hard he was hit. His outing was a bit of the opposite of Samardzija’s in the sense that he found himself behind almost every hitter, and that is what got him into trouble.
It doesn’t matter who you are facing, if you get behind a major league hitter, you are going to have a rough night.
I fully expect this to just be an off night for Jose, as his stuff was still there and he’s obviously been brilliant lately. We should see a nice bounce back start in Oakland this weekend.
NO HITTING + NO BULLPEN = NO COMEBACK
In a nutshell, what I’m taking away from this game is what I’ve really been drawing from this team all season: they are one of the worst teams in baseball playing from behind.
This is because right now, they do not have a very good offense, and they have a pretty bad bullpen to go with it. You have two guys back there that have been reliable in Jesse Crain and Addison Reed, and obviously those two give you the best chance at success if they pitch with a lead in close games.
Therefore, it’s going to be very hard for this team to come from behind until they either A) start getting on base more consistently or B) start getting some performances out of people in that bullpen not named Addison Reed or Jesse Crain.
IT’S JUST ONE GAME
It may seem like I’m pretty upset about this one, but the reality of the situation is the White Sox lost to a pitcher who was just on his game tonight. This is a team that has played some great baseball lately, and losing one game isn’t the end of the world, even if it is to a team like the Cubs.
We've got Chris Sale going out there to face Edwin Jackson tomorrow. Everyone knows what Sale is capable of, but even though Jackson hasn’t been good this season, we also know he has great stuff that can shut down a team as well. Hopefully, the Sox have a horrible taste in their mouths after this one, and we head to Wrigley with a split.