Apr 17, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the fifth inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Honestly, this is starting to sound like a broken record. A Chicago White Sox pitcher does relatively well or even better (such the case Thursday), and the bullpen comes in and gives up the go-ahead runs, leading to a White Sox loss.
Welcome to exactly what happened on Thursday night at US Cellular Field, as the White Sox lost to the Boston Red Sox, 3-1, falling to 8-8 on the season.
This was also the first series loss at home of the season for the White Sox.
Apr 17, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross (3) tags out Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn (44) during the seventh inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Before we talk about the bad news, let’s talk about how well Chris Sale pitched for the White Sox on Thursday for a no decision.
Sale went 7.0 innings and only allowed one earned run, a home run by Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning with two outs.
The White Sox left-handed ace allowed just that one hit and walked three, as he had a no-hitter through five innings in his pitcher’s duel with Jon Lester, who also was perfect through five innings.
Sale finished with 10 strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 2.30.
Lester was the winning pitcher, moving to 2-2 on the year. Lester went 8.0 innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits and no walks, along with nine strikeouts.
Yes, it was a pitcher’s duel, and both starters did their a wonderful job, but the White Sox bullpen was, in a word, bad.
Ronald Belisario was the culprit this time. He pitched just 1.1 innings of relief, and he gave up two earned runs on three hits and two walks.
Belisario struck out one, as his ERA stands at 12.91 on the year. Scott Downs watched a ball roll in the infield, going nowhere near the foul line, allowing one of Belisario’s runners to score.
Downs pitched 0.2 innings, giving up one hit. His ERA is 10.80 on the year.
This bullpen needs even more work. I know they won’t be perfect, and I don’t expect them to be, but they managed to ruin seven solid innings of baseball by Sale with their performance.
Donnie Veal already got the ol’ heave-ho on Thursday, as he was designated for assignment, but if this continues to happen, I don’t think the White Sox will hesitate to make another move with this bullpen, until they can find the right guys who will compete at the highest level.
Other White Sox thoughts/facts
• Congrats to Alexei Ramirez on this new White Sox record of starting a season with a 16-game hitting streak, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. Ramirez got the hit with two outs in the ninth inning, off a first-pitch fastball. He was 0-for-3 before that hit.
• It was good seeing Paul Konerko in the starting lineup at first base, even though he was 0-for-4 and is batting .077 on the season. No matter how low that average gets, he’s still “The Captain.”
• Chicago had eight hits and no walks on Thursday. The Red Sox finished with five hits and five walks.
• How good will Bogaerts be this season for the Red Sox? He’s going to be fun to see progress this season.
• Tyler Flowers led the White Sox at the plate, going 2-for-3 with one run.
• The save for the Red Sox went to Koji Uehara, his third of the season.
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