Rienzo struggles continue, offensive struggles are pemanent
By James Fegan
Not a picture from this game, but basically the same thing. // Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It’s easy to cruise over the notion of the White Sox offense being a complete non-entity. It’s a landscape painting in the background of a dentist’s office; it’s constant and uninspiring, but it’s not what anyone is worried about.
Of interest, is Andre Rienzo’s steady slide down from a promising opening to a big league career. Besieged with control problems from the very start of his tortured four-inning outing, Rienzo needed help just to get to that fourth inning disaster that would open the door to the Indians’ easy 8-1 victory and end his night.
Michael Brantley whiffed at a 3-2 change to help Rienzo out of a bases loaded, one out jam in the first that a walk and two bloop singles guided him into , and Avisail Garcia made a leaping catch at the wall on a Jason Giambi deep fly to lead off the second. Overcoming his fear of the wall only momentarily, Alejandro De Aza made a leaping, possibly home run-saving catch at dead center, but not before a few balls beyond his help had broken the game open.
Standing on the left side of the plate, Asdrubral Cabrera lined something resembling a high changeup into the right field seats for a two-run shot, and with nary a single out in between them, Lonnie Chisenhall jumped on a hanging curveball and powered it out for a three-run blast to a similar, but more distantly-located spot in the right field seats to extend the Indians lead to 5-0. That was more than enough for the Clevelanders, who would nevertheless add a two-run single in the sixth from Carlos Santana off an erratic Charlie Leesman. Combined, Rienzo and Leesman combined for six walks in as many innings.
Baseball is a game where it’s hard to parse out individual quality from how it relates to the quality of competition. For example, is Ubaldo Jimenez really back to his old self (he had a 1.94 ERA for the second half coming in) or is the White Sox offense such a bus crash that there’s no way to tell?
Jimenez doesn’t have much beyond low-90’s heat to sling at anyone these days, but when his control problems are completely neutralized, possibly by the second-least patient offense in the American League, it’s all effective wildness. A two-out double in the seventh inning off the bat of Josh Phegley was the only White Sox extra-base hit of the night, and stood to be the offensive high point of the game until three-straight singles in the ninth chased Jimenez away two outs shorts of a shutout and led to a cathartic Phegley sacrifice fly.
The White Sox need to go 5-9 to avoid 100 losses.
Team Record: 58-90
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan