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Chicago out-belts Cleveland in extras to upstage divisional ambitions

The White Sox are not just the team to beat in the AL Central, but also a fabulous high tenor

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game One Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Did José Ramírez put it in play with the winning run on first base? Yes, but he hit it directly to reigning AL MVP José Abreu, who continues to lead the league in RBI this season. He added another one of those in extras, but it did not matter; Adam Eaton had his back with a two-run shot.

How did Cleveland respond? They scored. Once. Josh Naylor grounded into a double play with no outs and runners on the corner in the bottom of the eighth.

To me, that is the difference between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland this season. Both of these teams fight to win baseball games throughout every single inning that is played. One of them is just figuring out, uh, a few roster problems at this time. And how to field. Why is this happening? For reasons. Yes. I said reasons.

What reasons? Ah. Presumably, the reasons that exist, to which I just referred. I cannot discuss the content of such reasons as...Um. Please stop walking. No, ma’am, you cannot be on this side of the rope! Secu—

Scoring Summary

The Cleveland offense played a perfect game through the first two hitters. Cesar Hernandez lined a home run off the railing in left; Amed Rosario kept pace by hitting one halfway up the bleachers a couple of pitches later. Rodon scrambled out of the inning from there with three groundouts.

  • End of First Inning - 2-0 Cleveland

Cleveland gave the lead right back in the top of the second inning. Triston McKenzie forced Jose Abreu into a groundout before allowing a walk, a double, an infield single, and a double in that order. The double cleared the bases thanks to an error by Cesar Hernandez. Not content with what had already been gifted, the infield let one more score as a rundown went long.

  • End of Second Inning - 4-2 White Sox

Cesar Hernandez homered again to move it to within one. Meanwhile, Triston McKenzie completed a second straight dominant inning in the bottom half.

  • End of Third Inning - 4-3 White Sox

This is the briefest and best description of Cleveland’s fourth inning:

“That was ballsy” - Vachos

Here is a lesser one: Josh Naylor reached via single. Yu Chang smacked a long fly ball to right field behind him, and with two out Naylor dashed. Adam Eaton misplayed the ball initially, then threw on-time but off-line to home.

Ballsy? Indeed, but Mike Sarbaugh made a great call, I think. Ever hear “Million dollar play, ten-cent throw?” The other bit nobody ever says is that if you make a ten-cent play to begin with you’d better nail the throw. I don’t think that Eaton’s route was quite that bad, but Naylor definitely scored.

  • End of Fourth Inning - Game Tied 4-4

After allowing four runs in the second inning, Triston McKenzie evidently swore to never allow another so long as he lives. He struck out nine of the next ten hitters. The other grounded out. When he finally allowed another baserunner, it was Bryan Shaw who came in to clean up.

It wasn’t going to be a tidy job even if he completed it without incident. He advanced Yoan Moncada to second on a wild pitch, and then again to third on ball four to put runners at the corners. Yermin Mercedes grounded into a fielder’s choice but Cesar Hernandez bounced a throw off of Abreu’s helmet while trying to turn two. Oops. Moncada slapped home plate to make it 5-4 Sox, though Shaw did button things up from there.

Cleveland did respond in the bottom half. Naylor singled and moved to third when Rene Rivera singled as well. Bradley Zimmer then beat out a chopper for an RBI infield single. Carlos Rodon then exacted his revenge upon Hernandez with a strikeout to end the threat.

  • End of Sixth Inning - Game Tied 5-5

Things stayed frozen until Billy Hamilton received second base for free. He stole third with Abreu at the plate. A long fly ball turned this into the easiest sacrifice fly in history. While this frustrated many, it mattered a lot less when James Karinchak proceeded to allow a Yermin Mercedes walk and an Adam Eaton home run.

As mentioned, Cleveland responded with a run-scoring double play.

  • End of Eighth Inning and ballgame. White Sox win 8-6

Corner Pieces

  • Gulls began attacking the camera in the sixth inning as first reported by Pyrokinesis. They did it again in the eighth. I, for one, welcome our new fielding coaches.
  • Carlos Rodon threw Cesar Hernandez a 99 MPH heater just above the zone with a full count in the sixth. High heat remains the forbidden fruit.
  • Rene Rivera and Yu Chang connected to strike down base-stealing enthusiast Tim Anderson in the seventh. The throw was on time but a bit wide; Chang made a great pick and tag while absorbing a slide. Of course — a web gem in the middle of a three-error game.
  • Let me be clear — nobody quit today.

I think Triston McKenzie set the pace and everybody followed his lead by buckling down after a disastrous start. The tying run came to the plate with no outs and even put the ball into play. It is unfortunate that the White Sox are capable of fielding, which is another key difference between these teams. For now.

This is a very young baseball team. I believe they are making exactly the kinds of mistakes that young teams do. If you do not allow them to make those mistakes in June they probably will not overcome them in, say October.

But y’all, I’m gonna scream if they start that nonsense again here in five. Sheesh.

Wait, what?

Triston McKenzie, generally.

What’s next

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