While Minnesota Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi was busy carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Wednesday, the Royals and White Sox were locked in their own version of a pitcher’s duel, wherein neither team hit particularly well and the pitching looks better as a result.
Should we take that as gospel given that the bottom six in the Royals order went 1-for-22 (albeit with seven walks), or do we give Carlos Rodon some credit? Rodon’s ERA on the season is hovering near 3.10 after his evening—but he also gets to pitch in the American League Central, which probably helps. Same for Eric Skoglund since his return from injury—he likewise pitched well tonight, his second outing since a lengthy DL stint, and his second appearance against a hapless Central foe.
This is not necessarily to bag on the AL Central, but it’s just that we’ve now seen the White Sox 19 times and aside from the season opener, when Chicago destroyed every pitcher the Royals put on offer, they’ve all been the kind of bland affair that runs together. A couple of times, Danny Duffy shoved. Alex Gordon drove in four runs once. The walk-off win is a misnomer, because involved Alcides Escobar’s walk-off sac bunt that was thrown into left field. I don’t want to see the White Sox again for a while, which is good because this was the last scheduled affair between Kansas City and the Pale Hose this year.
Because these teams can’t get enough of one another, this one was destined to go into the wee small hours. How they got there is my tail to tell and buddy, I am here for yet another round between these storied rivals.
Win or lose, the thing to remember about this game is that Adalberto Mondesi was the best player on the field. Sure, his competition for that honor was either Salvador Perez or Rodon, but neither had BERTO’s night. Son of Raul went 4-for-5, starting his night with a one-out double in the first inning that was immediately negated by a hit-and-run liner that settled into Ryan LaMarre’s glove in left field and he was able to easily double Mondesi off second to end the inning.
Aside from a Jose Rondon double play ball, not much happened in the second, but both teams missed big opportunities in the third inning. For the White Sox, it was failing to cash in on Adam Engel’s leadoff triple; he broke for the plate on Ryan Cordell’s tapper and was out on a good Whit Merrifield throw to more or less end the threat.
The Royals were more fortunate, even managing to scratch a run in their third, but more was there for the taking. Leadoff walks by Brian Goodwin and Ryan O’Hearn were negated by a 5-4 double play ball by Whit Merrifield to leave only the speedy Whit on the basepaths. One steal and a BERTO single later, Merrifield had the Royals first run. BERTO and Alex Gordon (single) then pulled off a double steal, but unfortunately Jorge Bonifacio flew out to end the inning.
The White Sox got on the board in the fourth; following an Avisail Garcia walk, Jose Rondon slammed a homer to left to put the Sox up one. The Royals answered in the fifth, and again Adalberto “Please, Raul was my father’s name” Mondesi was involved. O’Hearn led off with a walk, but was gunned at third on Merrifield’s double. Whit made it easy on Mondesi by stealing third, setting up the sac fly opportunity, but instead Mondesi slapped a single into right to tie the game up.
Tim Anderson led off the Chicago sixth with a single. Nothing happened. Ditto Chicago’s seventh, when Nicky Delmonico and Omar Narvaez delivered back-to-back one-out singles. An Engel groundout, intentional walk to Daniel Palka and Anderson groundout got reliever Glenn Sparkman out of trouble with the tie intact.
But so too did Chicago’s bullpen bend without breaking. Caleb Frare retired the first two Royals of the seventh without incident before walking O’Hearn. He was removed. Jose Ruiz walked Merrifield. He was removed. Aaron Bummer gave up a single to BERTO to load the bases, but he got to stay in the game and rewarded his manager’s faith in him by inducing a Gordon ground out to end the inning.
Nothing happened in the eighth, ninth or 10th. With one down in the 11th, Salvador Perez laced a double down the line into the left-field corner; Brett Phillips, who is fast, replaced Perez, who is not, on second to set the stage for a play at the plate. A walk to Alcides Escobar (LETHAL with the game on the line) and wild pitch moved Phillips to third and Esky to second. Here it comes. It’s coming.
Rosell Herrera hits a liner… right at Anderson, who doubled Phillips off at third.
Burch Smith coaxed two outs in the 12th, but you knew eventually that the Royals would dissolve into a puddle of sadness; when was the big question. It happened when Anderson launched yet another home run (his 43rd against the Royals this year, by my estimate) to make it 4-2 Sox.
Sweetie, you know the Royals didn’t score in the 12th. Goodwin flyout, O’Hearn strikeout, Merrifield groundout. BERTO on deck for the final batter.
A Strangely Ambivalent, “Why God Why?” Tweet of the Night
“As I say, neither team can figure out a way to get a run. On we go, to the 12th.” -Denny Matthews, whomst has seen some #Royals baseball in his life
— One-Finger Armstrong (@armstrongtr) September 13, 2018
The Bright Spot: BERTO
The Nadir: Tough to make a 4-for-5 stand up when everyone else went a collective 3-for-33.
The Next Step: Heath Fillmyer, who really isn’t all that great and got his butt handed to him by the Twins last Friday, will try once again to solve the enigma that emanates from the Twin Cities. Stephen Gonsalves has been even worse, so we’ll see how this glorified staff day goes.