With the plague plaguing the St. Louis Cardinals, and their series vs the North Siders canceled, ESPN shifted Sunday’s Sox series finale vs Cleveland to the Sunday Night window on the big network, and the starting aces for both teams didn’t disappoint, but neither figured in the decision, as the Sox home woes continued with a 5-4 loss to Cleveland in extra innings.
Lucas Giolito. Aside from a shaky third inning when he allowed two runs on three hits and one walk, he was stellar, striking out nine Cleveland hitters, on four total hits in seven innings of work. He did walk five batters, but a couple double-play ground balls helped his case. However, cutting down on the free passes he issues will be something to work on going forward. Unfortunately, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, as Cleveland tied it up in the 8th, and Giolito was saddled with a no-decision.
Ricky Renteria’s lineup management. Yasmani Grandal made his first appearance somewhere other than DH or catcher this year, taking Jose Abreu’s spot at first base, while Abreu was the DH. It didn’t negatively affect either hitter, as Grandal put the Sox ahead in the sixth, doubling home Yoan Moncada, who walked earlier in the inning. Earlier in the game, Abreu smashed a hanging breaking ball deep into the left-field bleachers.
James McCann. He had a good night behind the plate, helping Giolito navigate through a rocky 3rd inning, and he contributed with the bat, going 3-for-4 with a long solo-home run in the 6th and an RBI single in the 10th. We know Giolito does well throwing to McCann, but this was the first time this season he had done so. And the result was not unlike what we saw in 2019 from both men.
The ’83 throwback unis. Nice to see these threads get some air time on national television, and the broadcast crew showed them some love too. The Sox have been wearing them at home on Sunday’s for several years now, but with the Sox not playing on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN since 2013, these digs haven’t seen the bright lights in a long time.
Evan Marshall. The Sox bullpen has been very good this year, but unfortunately, Marshall wasn’t able to hold the one run lead, allowing a Franmil Reyes RBI double in the 8th. You’d have to think that if Aaron Bummer were healthy, he’d have gotten the ball in the 8th.
Eloy Jimenez. The Sox young left-fielder has only recorded a hit in four games this season, and Sunday night was another one of those 0-for’s, as he failed to record a hit in four at-bats. Those four games in which he has recorded a hit have all been multi-hit efforts, which is the only reason his average is above the Mendoza-line. For the Sox to contend the rest of the way, Jimenez will have to do a better job getting on base.
Home field advantage. The G-Spot hasn’t been friendly to the Sox so far this year, as the Sox dropped to 2-6 at home. They’ve been much better away from 35th and Shields, going 6-2. They’ll have to figure out their home woes soon in order to stay in contention for a post-season bid.
With that, the Sox head to Detroit, to take on a Tigers team that has done better than most people expected this season. But these are road games for the Sox, so that could work in the Sox favor. They’re 8-8 overall, and somehow, that only leaves them 2 back of first place Minnesota just past the quarter pole.
Pitter patter, Road Warriors…