Monday, June 11, 2018

Game 66: Chicago White Sox at Red Sox (June 10, 2018)

Remember when I said that anything less than a sweep of the lowly White Sox was a disaster? Well, here we are on Monday morning and yes, it was a disaster. It was a cold and rainy Sunday for me and my family...games were cancelled and we stayed inside and relaxed all day. It was a perfect setup to watch the Red Sox but given how it turned out, I almost wish I hadn't witnessed it.



With 8-2 Rick Porcello on the mound, it seemed as though the Sox would build off of the comeback win the day before and take this series before heading out on the road. However, the disturbing tendency Boston has had lately of giving up runs in the first inning continued when Porcello gave up an RBI double to Jose Abreu to quickly put the White Sox up 1-0. Rafael Devers tied it up in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single of his own, but in the third inning Porcello walked in a run (something that is brutal to see no matter what level you're playing at) and gave up another in the sixth. The 3-1 Chicago lead certainly didn't seem insurmountable although the way Boston has been swinging the bats lately, perhaps it should have. When Andrew Benintendi scored on a fielding error in the seventh to pull Boston within a run, it looked like the comeback was about to begin, but despite loading the bases twice late in the game, the Red Sox couldn't capitalize (where have we heard this before?). To add insult to injury, Chicago added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth off Matt Barnes when Daniel Palka scorched a two RBI double to center field. The final score had the Red Sox going down in defeat 5-2.

We all know it's a long season and that it doesn't do to overreact, but this weekend's series against a White Sox team that had only won 20 games coming in was, in one word, pathetic. Embarrassing is also another fitting way to describe it. While Porcello wasn't great, he wasn't bad either, and usually on a day when your starter only gives up three runs you should be in decent shape. It's just that they couldn't muster any offense all day and the lack of timely hits is what really killed them. I had said a week ago that the team's depth showed that they could weather the absence of Mookie Betts and that's been true to a point, but this weekend's lifeless display against an awful team showed that they've perhaps reached the limit of how long they can go without Mookie. They're damn lucky that the Yankees also lost so that they didn't lose any ground in the division. I also wish Alex Cora would stop trying to shoehorn Blake Swihart into the lineup every day. Whether it's been his call or there's been a push from management to try and boost his trade value, Blake just looks lost out there and is not helping (and oftentimes hurts) the team. Looking at the bigger picture, this team continues to bad trend of playing down to the level of their competition and of failing to take advantage of bad teams (especially at home).

This season is starting to take on a weird vibe whereas a month ago it seemed like this was the antithesis of the last two John Farrell-led years. 2018 is starting to feel a lot like the Farrell years where the Sox were in contention all year but never felt like they gelled. That cohesive and fun feeling they had throughout April feels so long ago now, doesn't it? It does to me at least.

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