Shortly after I made my first visit to Sox park back in May, I perused the schedule further to see what other games I might want to attend. I quickly discovered a Saturday evening game in Milwaukee against the Brewers to which I could easily envision family from the Green Bay area attending, and plans were set in motion to attend the July 24th matchup of Central Division leaders.
It promised to be a good matchup between two teams with very comfortable leads in their respective divisions, but I left Milwaukee realizing a couple uncomfortable trends that might not go away any time soon after the Brewers handed the Sox a 6-1 defeat Saturday night.
For one, the Sox played a very sloppy game. Three fielding errors contributed two unearned runs, but the biggest error was a baserunning error by Yoan Moncada in the fifth inning. On a dribbler not more than 40 feet from home plate by Leury Garcia, Moncada came racing home, and the throw was well wide, hitting the home plate umpire, but Moncada failed to touch home plate. After an appeal by Milwaukee, and a subsequent replay challenge, the run was taken off the board.
A Zack Collins walk with the bases loaded followed, which was the only run the Sox would get on the night, as pinch hitter Jake Burger struck out on three pitches and Tim Anderson flew out on the first pitch of that at-bat to end the only serious threat the Sox could muster against Brewers starter Corbin Burnes.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Sox when the very first pitch starter Carlos Rodon threw was launched into the right field bleachers for a solo homer. The first pitch of the bottom of the second also left the yard. The two unearned runs came in the fourth and made it 4-0 before two more solo homers by recently-acquired Rowdy Tellez in the sixth and eighth finalized the score on this matchup.
Sox manager Tony La Russa did mention the support from the Sox fans that traveled up from Chicago for these games and lamented that his team hasn’t played well enough in these first two games for those fans that made the trip.
But this effort does fall into a troubling pattern for the Sox: they’re a .500 team on the road at 23-23 and they’re sub-.500 against teams with winning records. Put those two stats together, and it’s easy to see how the Sox come up short in these first two games in Milwaukee.
If they’re gonna go anywhere in the post-season, those two trends are going to have to change, and quickly. Because all you’re gonna see in October is teams with winning records, and you’re gonna have to beat them away from home to get to the promised land.
If they don’t, they’ll be doing the same thing I’ll be doing in late October: watching playoff baseball on TV from home.