Say it isn’t so, Sox; Tigs spoil sweep in ninth


So, the season is running out, and my plan to write yesterday’s doubleheader an inning at a time, in 18 voices, was ruined by rains.

I thought about throwing a few voices into this single-game story and see where it goes, but eh, that’s half-assing, and while half-assing is an appropriate way to encapsulate the 2019 Chicago White Sox — still in line for a possible 90 losses, people — I’ll run these fun tricks out when it feels right; maybe jump on it earlier in the season. Or pull the ol’ 1,000-word, one-sentence recap out of the bag. (It was a successful year for robots, less so for the 18 one-act play doubleheader. Alas.)

So yeah, the White Sox managed to both dash a perfect season leading after eight (59-0 entering today … not 59-0 leaving this nightcap) and keep that 90-loss season alive when Alex Colomé snatched defeat from win and allowed a pinch-hit three-run homer to John Hicks, of the Thrown Out By 70 Feet at Home Plate in the Opener Hickses. That turned a 2-1 near-win into a 4-2 deficit, with a pinch-rocket by Yoán Moncada (sadly, just a solo shot) providing the 4-3 final.

In the top of the ninth, Tim Anderson took our minds off of his impending batting title with his 26th error, and TA’s errant throw to first to the leadoff man did become was in fact the tying run of the game. Meatball takes on Anderson’s future in Chicago, activate!

Otherwise, the most exciting thing about this game was a #SoxMath controversy that I am too dim to understand, but the gist was that Jason Benetti’s question was uncommonly vague and the “correct” answer was in fact wrong. SSHPers Lauren Wilner and Ashley Sanders both buzzed in with the correct “wrong” answers, or LWilz was wrong-right and Ash was right-wrong. See? I told you. It was both the most exciting part of the game, and something I cannot understand. But seriously, however many SSHPers end up in the #SoxMath iso booth at SoxFest for the big prize, be sure to be geared up with our stuff. And in fact, anyone planning to attend, if you are game to cover the Fest, I think via SSS or SSHP we can get semi-press passes. I doubt I can ask for dozens, but, point is, when the weather gets so cold you can’t feel your toes — is it that cold up there already, people? — we’ll talk.

OK, back to the game. Zack Collins had a two-run single in the second to open scoring, and from there, the White Sox offense was pretty much ineffectual. There was only one extra-base hit, an Adam Engel double. The team fell back into One True Outcome mode otherwise, with a handy nine Ks. What was kool about this klatch of Ks was the White Sox had nine different hitters in the game strike out (and shockingly, none was from team K leader Moncada, who had just that one at-bat in the ninth). Le whiff especíal goes to Daniel Palka, who lost his shot at one last bout of PALKMANIA when he struck out on a battery of wild pitches to end the game pinch-hitting in the ninth; average tumbles down to .111.

Good enough news for Anderson at the plate, though; he went 0-2 with two walks to fall to .337, but the major league batting title is essentially his. It would take a 5-for-5 day from DJ LeMahieu combined with an 0-for-5 from TA to him to lose it. A 4-for-4 and 0-for-4? Nope, Tim still wins. (Duh, yeah, I did the math, you think they gave me this SSHP Grand Poobah job for being cute?)

José Abreu has the AL RBI crown locked, seven up on Xander Bogaerts. As for the MLB title, Abreu is three behind Anthony Rendon, so that’s not looking too likely.

Aside from Colomé spitting the bit (meatball takes on the Seattle trade being a bad one, activate!), the South Side arms were plenty sweet, with Iván Nova, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Jimmy Biceps going 8 ⅓ innings with five hits, one run, two walks and eight strikeouts.

At long last, the season finale hits tomorrow afternoon. TBA (the initials of three White Sox relievers?) taking the ball for the White Sox. At stake: A batting title for Anderson, RBI title for Abreu, avoiding 90 losses for the White Sox, and giving Ashley Sanders a chance to finally break out the sunglasses emoji over on South Side Hit Pen!

Game is at 2:10 Central, on NBCSCH and WGN-AM.

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Actor (final credit: murdered by Albert Einstein in "Carnage Hall"), musician (Ethnocentric Republicans), and Nerf hoops champion, Wiffleball aficionado and onetime bilingual kindergarten teacher, Brett Ballantini also writes about baseball, basketball and sometimes hockey, publishing at the NBA, MLB, NHL, and for Slam, Hoop, Sporting News, the Athletic, and others. He was CSN Chicago’s Blackhawks beat writer for their first Stanley Cup season of 2009-10, and took over the White Sox beat after that. He currently is the editor-in-chief of South Side Hit Pen and managing editor of SB Nation's South Side Sox. He also wrote a book about Ozzie Guillén but is running out of space, so follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and he'll probably tell you even more about himself than you ever wanted to know.

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9 months ago

So, if Tim gets a hit at some point in todays game, he pretty much clinches the batting title?

Ashley Sanders
Ashley Sanders
9 months ago

I believe if Tim goes 0-for-5, then D.J. still has to go 5-for-5. So, yes