White Sox punctuate avoiding 100 losses by firing their hitting coach
By James Fegan
The Royals received surlyErik Johnson
early on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
There are enough games in baseball–a large enough sample–for low probability events to finally just string together, which is what the White Sox were waiting for to grab a win and avoid a new plateau in infamy.
When I say “low probability events, I mean stuff like Marcus Semien and Jordan Danks going back-to-back in the second inning on 96+ mph fastballs from Yordano Ventura, Erik Johnson taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, and most importantly the White Sox responded to their hitting coach getting fired for helming the worst offense in the American League, by pounding out four home runs and winning 6-5.
The White Sox would need every single one of the six runs they broke out for, since Johnson early-game dominance wore out in a hurry. Mike Moustakas ended his no-hitter and shutout in one blow in the fifth by taking a do-nothing slider out to right field. Johnson nearly blew the entire 4-0 advantage the back-to-back shots and two-run Adam Dunn blast to center had staked him to when Billy Butler hit another do-nothing sub-90 mph offering deeper than deep to left field to bring the game to nervy 4-3 score.
Another single and a walk ended Johnson’s night after 5.1 innings, but thanks to some speciality work on lefties and righties and work from rookies Charlie Leesman and Daniel Webb, the White Sox escaped the sixth without any further damage, with Webb continuing on for a perfect seventh. That provided enough cover for another rookie outburst to extend the Sox lead as Conor Gillaspie turned around a fastball from Tim Collins and rocketed it into the Bullpen Sports Bar for a two-run bomb.
In once again destroying the margin for error, Matt Lindstrom couldn’t claim to be another victim of the stiff breeze out to left field. Salvador Perez tomhawked a meaty fastball from Lindstrom to the fourth row of the bleachers to bring the affair to 6-5. The razor-thin margin for error meant everyone had to sweat out a dog-tired Addison Reed grinding out a close save for his 40th of the year. He topped out at 93 mph, he walked the tying run and moved it over to second on a wild pitch, and his face looked like an egg plant. But he made it dammit, and so did the Sox.
Six of the nine hits the White Sox recorded came from rookie starters, with half of that weight being carried by Marcus Semien, who finished a triple short of the cycle on a 3-4 night. He’ll be one of the many rookies the next hitting coach has to work with, since Manto’s departure was announced by Hawk Harrelson in the middle of the broadcast, sending the beat writers rushing for confirmation. It’s hardly the most egregious scapegoating of all-time.
Team Record: 63-98
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan