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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Oh, To Be 1917 Again

July 29th vs. the Cleveland Indians

Sox Office Smash Hit:
Back to the Future Part III
Marty went back in time trying to save Doc Brown. The Sox went back to 1917 trying to save their dignity.

Short Take:Despite Melky Cabrera's four hits and Jose Abreu's 3-run homer, the Sox lost to the Indians 5-4 in a parade of lousy pitching and with a brigade of runners left on base.

It's too bad, really. A beautiful evening, a big, lively crowd, and a real chance to break the Indians' eight-game winning streak -- and the White Sox gave that chance away. The South Side minor league team lost to the defending AL champs 5-4.

I can report with some authority on the quality of the evening and the ebullience of the crowd, having been in attendance. It was 1917 throwback night celebrating the centennial of the Sox's World Series win over the New York Giants. The first 20,000 to show up received replica 1917 jerseys, and I can also report without fear of contradiction that it is a handsome garment. Combined with the 1917 cap I got at an earlier giveaway, I'm the spitting image of Pants Rowland.

Ah, Pants Rowland. Skipper of the 1917 World's Champions and winner of the first King of Baseball award. You know what made him the winningest manager in 1917? He had a real team to work with, a group of athletes that had both talent and baseball instincts. They won 100 games that year, and that in a season with only 154 games. No doubt Rowland was good, but it's easier to look like a maestro when you've got the strongest squad in professional sports.

Whereas. Fast forward 100 years to 2017 and observe Rick Renteria, the hapless commander of the good ship Hahn, condemned to set sail with a crew of lubbers that can't find the anchor. Tonight's contest was a demonstration of what happens when a good team comes up against a poor team. Corey Kluber started for the Lake Eries, and that fact lowered our expectations. But tonight Kluber had spurts of mortality, giving up four runs on nine hits in 6-1/3 innings. He also struck out 12 in that time, which one might expect given who he is and who the White Sox are.

Three of those runs came courtesy of Jose Abreu's 19th homer, a three-RBI line drive that was shot into the left-field seats in the third inning. The fact that Kluber allowed two runners on base before facing Abreu was remarkable in itself. The Sox scored the fourth run on back-to-back doubles by Alan Hanson and Tim Anderson in the sixth. That run tied the game and gave the nattily-dressed crowd hope for an actual win.

But the Sox pitchers showed up and spoiled the party. Miguel Gonzalez started and gave up four runs of his own before he exited after six innings. From that point it was a parade of has-beens and never-were's to take the mound, testimony to the depleted condition of the Sox pitching staff.

First it was Tyler Clippard, the Yankees' throw-in from the Frazier/Robertson/Kahnle-for-prospects trade. Watching Clippard pitch, it's easy to see why the New Yorkers were so eager to make him part of the deal. In fact, I'd guess they would've been happy to make him part of any deal at all. He had trouble finding the strike zone; that is, when he would get around to throwing a pitch. Every interval found him casting long, panoramic looks about the field as he struck a pose as if modeling for a bronze statue. He made an error on a comebacker to the first hitter he faced, then gave up a walk and hit a batter to load the bases. He squirmed out of it, interspersing a strikeout, a groundout, and a flyout. Mercifully, he didn't come back after occupying space in the seventh, and we still had a 4-4 tie.

Next we had Jake Petricka, who looked good for two batters in the eighth, then gave up a walk and a single before being replaced by Aaron Bummer. Bummer is so new that his name doesn't appear in the scorecard, something we're likely to see a lot of this year as a parade of "who's-he?" are brought on board. Bummer gave up a walk and single in the ninth after two outs, and was relieved by Gregory Infante. "Relieved" is the wrong word -- "usurp" might be more accurate. Infante's first pitch hit the batter to load the bases. Incredibly, the very next batter was also hit by a pitch to force in the Indians' lead run. Infante got the third out on a fly to left, and walked off the field to the derisive cheers of a cynical crowd.

The Sox went down quietly in the ninth -- nothing to see here. Some things of note:

  • Melky Cabrera got four hits, three singles and a double. Too bad there was no one on base. But he did score on Abreu's home run.
  • Matt Davidson struck out four times and grounded out to end the game.
  • Our boys left the bases loaded in the seventh, and had runners on first and third with one out in the eighth; you guessed it -- nobody scored.
  • Wahoo left fielder Michael Brantley hit a ground-rule double to lead off the fifth, which unbelievably was called a home run by second base panjandrum Clint Fagan. 30,000 people on site and many thousands more on television saw plainly that the ball bounced from the warning track into the seats, but Fagan's stubborn myopia clouded his vision. The Sox demanded a review, and it took the council of elders in New York just seconds to rule that it was a double. I mean, really -- the Sox can lose the game on their own. They don't need umpires handing over home runs to the other team.
  • Yoan Moncada was hit in the knee by a pitch from Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller. It was briefly scary watching Moncada on the ground, but after Herm Schneider's ministrations he trotted slowly to first.
Oh. . .did I mention that this is a rebuild year?

This is tough to watch, and it has to be even tougher on Renteria. He dealt with this when he babysat the North Side pretenders, and after sitting next to Robin Ventura for a year he's been given this flock of pigeons. I hope too that Jose Abreu is a patient man. Until Moncada and Anderson reach their potential and the other hopefuls show up, he's the closest thing the Sox have to a real ballplayer. I doubt that Pants Rowland could do anything more than Renteria. Except that "Pants" is a much cooler nickname than "Ricky."

Man, I think I'll go to the lobby and get some popcorn. This movie's not good enough to watch.

submitted by tebman.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Jose Abreu

An exciting, line-drive, three-run homer off Corey Kluber. One of few highlights.

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Totally Biased Game Recaps

September 29... The Last (And Lost) Weekend

September 24... Covey Captivates, but Kluber Cruises

September 22... At Least They Won't Clinch Here

September 18...Klubered, but Not Clobbered

September 16... Baltimore Blanked

September 10... Thrown Away

September 8... Anaheim Annihilation

September 3... Power Special

September 1... 18 Strikeouts Later, the White Sox Lose

August 30...Leaky Bullpen Bombed by Boston

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