They can’t all end the way that you want. It would be preferable, though, if they didn’t end by nailing the runner on what should be a game-extending double play.
Cleveland dropped the first game of the road trip to the Chicago White Sox 4-3. Emmanuel Clase earns the odd distinction of losing the game without allowing an earned run. An infield single, a walk, and a throwing error by Yu Chang on what should have been an inning-ending double play made the difference.
Let’s start with nice things
Franmil Reyes continued to produce even if he wasn’t blistering the ball tonight. He reached on a hit-by-pitch in the second inning and scored when Eddie Rosario later homered. Reyes tied things up with a late sacrifice fly, too.
Jordan Luplow earned two singles in the leadoff spot. Meanwhile, Chang added a hit, a run, and a walk to his resume.
The bullpen also shined again. After taking over in the fifth, four pitchers combined to allow no earned runs. Tonight, the Bullpen Monster featured Phil Maton, Cal Quantril, Bryan Shaw, and the aforementioned Clase.
But then there were terrible things
Baseball, you know?
McKenzie struggled with his control a little bit today. He threw 76 pitches in four innings; 45 of those were strikes. While he walked only two batters, that is an awful lot of work to force yourself to do each time you record an out. Two hits and two walks looks fine, but when you throw an average of five pitches to each batter you are letting them see way, way too much, too quickly.
This came to a head when Adam Eaton launched his three-run home run in the third.
It will take time for McKenzie to adjust in his first full season. He didn’t have his best stuff tonight, and that’s okay. He finished what he could and the bullpen put the team in a position to win.
The offense only scored three runs, and they did it against a starter who stepped in for a late scratch. Yes, the White Sox managed to go lefty-righty-lefty-righty. Yes, they have a good bullpen. However, the team went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base overall.
You are going to lose baseball games if you don’t hit with runners in scoring position. That’s what happened tonight. While Chang nailing the runner with his throw is unfortunate, he’s also a middle-infielder learning first base. I hope he takes it as simply a learning experience, since this is a game in April and he’s one of the few people who hit the ball today.
Hitting with runners on-base, I hope. Meet here tomorrow at 8:10 p.m. ET again against these same color-depleted woolen stockings of the greater Chicagoland region.