On the positive side, the Chicago White Sox came out of their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers still within striking distance of the Cleveland Guardians for the American League Central Division title.
They can make some hay in the division starting on Tuesday when they host the Cleveland Guardians in the first of three games at Guaranteed Rate Field.
On the negative side, the White Sox picked up no ground on the Guardians as the season winds to a conclusion with just 15 games left and the Southsiders 3.5 games back of Cleveland.
In fact, the White Sox lost a half-game in the standings after taking two of three from the Tigers, including Sunday’s 11 to 5 victory. The deficit was three games prior to the White Sox extra innings loss on Friday night.
The Chicago White Sox did what they needed to do in their series against Detroit.
Interim manager Miguel Cairo opted to be aggressive Friday by not bunting the runner over to third in the tenth inning.
He then compounded the problem by not intentionally walking Victor Reyes with first base open and one out to set up a double-play situation. Reyes made the White Sox pay with a game-winning sacrifice fly.
History almost repeated itself on Saturday as the two teams went extra innings again but the White Sox managed to escape with a 4-3 win. Sunday, there was no second-guessing anything as the bats came alive for a blow-out victory.
The White Sox need to carry over the offense from Sunday into the series on Tuesday if they plan to put a dent into the Guardians’ divisional lead. For the season, the Guardians have outscored the White Sox 74-61 in their 16 previous matchups.
What the White Sox can’t do is leave runners stranded on the basepaths. On Friday, the White Sox were an abysmal 2-12 with RISP and weren’t much better on Saturday when they went 3-12 in that category.
Cleveland is not the type of team the White Sox can let off the hook by failing to take advantage of situations with guys on base.
They don’t make too many mistakes and if the White Sox strand as many runners as they did in the first two games with the Tigers, they can kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
All things considered, the pitching wasn’t too bad over the last three days. Lucas Giolito wasn’t great but he was better than he had been of late.
Davis Martin turned in a terrific performance Saturday before yielding to the bullpen which helped notch the victory. The White Sox used 12 total pitchers in each of the first two games yet yielded only 2 earned runs.
Martin was bumped up to Saturday from a scheduled Sunday start (he was originally brought up to fill in for Michael Kopech) to replace Johnny Cueto who was scratched from his start on Saturday due to dizziness resulting from the flu. Kopech is set to miss two starts and possibly the rest of the season due to inflammation in his right shoulder.
All hands will have to be on deck if the White Sox hope to be playing postseason ball in October.