The Chicago White Sox need to make sure they do the little things in this series.
Blown calls, bad defense, and a robbery in left field were all the Oakland Athletics needed to overcome the Chicago White Sox in Game 2. Despite almost staging a valiant comeback, the White Sox are now staring down the barrel of an elimination game.
Being stymied by Oakland starting pitcher Chris Bassitt for most of the game was not enough to shake the White Sox confidence. “Playoff time is all about momentum and who has it and who doesn’t” was a quote from Yasmani Grandal, who hit his second home run in as many days. “By us kind of bringing it back and putting it on our side, I think puts us in a pretty good spot tomorrow.”
Confidence is great but the White Sox need to do the little things right if they want to win the first winner take all postseason game in White Sox history. Details were not something the White Sox did well in Game 2.
They spotted Oakland a 2-0 lead after the usually sure-handed Nick Madrigal made an uncharacteristic error that would have been the final out of the inning. Tommy La Stella and Ramon Laureano scored as a result. Later, Dallas Keuchel missed his spot and Marcus Semien made him pay by driving the pitch over the center-field wall and the A’s doubled their lead.
The White Sox had a chance to cut into the deficit in the 3rd. They had two runners on with one out but Mark Canha made a spectacular play robbing Yoan Moncada of two RBI’s. However, it could have been a sac fly if not for some sloppy baserunning. The previous batter, Tim Anderson, singled to right field while Nick Madrigal was stealing second. Madrigal failed to locate the baseball or look at the third base coach and cost himself an extra-base as a result. He would have scored on Moncada fly out if he was on third base.
In the seventh inning, the White Sox had a chance to score again but Zach Collins struck out stranding Nomar Mazara and Adam Engel. Eloy Jimenez not playing also loomed large because he would have been nice to have at the plate instead of Collins, who was sent down to Schamberg earlier this season.
In the eighth, the White Sox cut the lead down to three with Jose Abreu on first with only one out. Nomar Mazara struck out (albeit on a bad call) followed by Luis Robert going down on strikes to squash the rally attempt.
Tomorrow, the White Sox will likely trot out rookie Dane Dunning or some sort of opener. If the White Sox wants any chance of winning Game 3, their defense must be superb and the pitchers have to do their part. The offense cannot strand runners and they have to put the ball in play. Putting pressure on the defense is huge in the postseason and striking out 10 times as a team will not get the job done. The little things add up and it ended up being the difference in Game 2. Hopefully, their lessons have been leaned and the White Sox can use them to fight another day.