Two former 2019 White Sox relievers toed the rubber in the first NCLS game of the season.
And, much like White Sox relievers did throughout the season, these two pitchers created some drama for their teammates and fans.
As the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers entered the eighth inning, the score was 6-1 Brewers. It seemed as if the Brewers had the game locked up.
Until the former White Sox relievers got the ball.
Xavier Cedeno took the mound to start the inning, but something seemed off from the start. (But any pitcher following Josh Hader would look a bit off.) His first batter was Yasmani Grandal and he hit a line drive to left field. Then, Joc Pederson – who is always trouble in the post-season – hit a fielder’s choice bloop that resulted in Grandal being tagged, but Pederson managing to outrun a double play.
Cedeno’s job was to get the outs. Not to give up singles. He didn’t do his job, so Craig Counsell pulled him after just two batters. Again, after the three outstanding innings that Hader had just completed, Cedeno looked like an amateur against the bottom of the Dodgers lineup.
So, Joakim Soria took over. And, he didn’t do any better.
Soria gave up a single to Chris Taylor. With two outs and two runners on, Soria appeared to get some control and struck out Justin Turner. After a mound visit to discuss the next batter, home run hitting Max Muncy, Soria followed the visit up with a walk.
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It was feeling eerily like the White Sox regular season at this point. Was no lead safe when these men were on the mound?
Counsell seemed to be reading the collective mind of White Sox fans everywhere and pulled Soria. It was an easy decision because Manny Machado was the next batter.
He put in Jeremy Jeffress, who looked like smoke was about ready to pour out of his ears. With the possibility of a $400 million contract on the line, Machado did what he does hit the ball. Two of the former White Sox relievers baserunners scored on one of the ugliest singles that Machado has hit all season.
There was still one out to get. And, Matt Kemp – the next batter – was able to get his very own RBI off of Max Muncy’s walk. The former ChiSox trifecta of baserunners had all scored.
Just like we watched all regular season until these two men were traded away. And, if you remember, these were the two better relievers who wore Sox uniforms in 2019. While it doesn’t feel good to watch players fail at doing their job, it was a bit of a relief to know it’s not just us.