Series Recap: Sox Split with Cincy Despite Stingy Pitching Performances

The Reds scored one run, on seven hits, but still managed to salvage a split.

Despite the White Sox pitching staff only allowing one unearned run on seven hits in their two-game series with the Reds, they’re still leaving Cincinnati with a series split thanks to some questionable choices by Tony La Russa.

Game 1 - White Sox 9, Reds 0

My Dad called me around Noon on Tuesday to tell me to place a bet on Dylan Cease hitting a home run against the Reds last night. I was half asleep from the night before, so I groggily logged in to Barstool Sportsbook but couldn’t find that prop bet.

Later on, he texted me to place a wager on Cease getting a base hit. I found the bet on PointsBet and slapped $20 on it because the old guy had a hunch, and I tend to trust his hunches.

Cease, coming off a gem in his previous start against Detroit where he went the distance and struck out nine in a seven-inning nightcap of a doubleheader, was looking to stay sharp.

Not only was Cease sharp on Tuesday night, but he also did it all in a lopsided victory over the Reds. Cease held Cincinnati scoreless through six innings of work on just three hits while striking out 11, and all he did at the dish was go 3-for-3 with a double, two singles, and a run scored.

Cease cashed in on Dad’s call that afternoon, and the White Sox thumped the Reds, 9-0. Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, and Nick Madrigal combined for eight hits and eight RBI on the evening, and Dylan Cease (3) now has as many hits as Jake Lamb (3) does — in 25 fewer plate appearances.

Game 2 - White Sox 0, Reds 1

I’ve been pretty frustrated with Dallas Keuchel’s early returns in 2020 — 4.65 ERA over 31.0 innings — but his performance on Wednesday afternoon was pretty damn good.

Keuchel was, well, Dallas Keuchel — an absolute ground ball factory. The Reds put 21 balls in play and only came away with a pair of hits with all that contact.

Jose Abreu played a huge role in Keuchel’s success against the Reds, making a handful of plays, including all three outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Keuchel finished the day with seven scoreless innings, turning the ball over to the bullpen with the two sides locked in a zero-to-zero tie.

Unfortunately, Sonny Gray was equally strong for the Reds on Wednesday, holding the White Sox scoreless through seven innings.

The game would go to the 10th inning, where Tony La Russa essentially gave Cincinnati the ballgame with some wonky decision-making, or as Tony himself has referred to it as previously, “lousy managing.”

  1. La Russa left Liam Hendriks in the game as the runner at second base to open the frame, not knowing that the extra-inning rules allowed for the spot before the spot occupied by the pitcher to be utilized to keep the pitcher off the basepaths. Instead of sending Jose Abreu out to second base, he stuck with Hendriks.

  2. La Russa sent Leury Garcia to steal second base, despite insisting that Liam Hendriks wasn’t running at third base no matter what. Garcia was thrown out easily for the second out of the inning, taking away the ability to score Hendriks on a sacrifice.

  3. La Russa left Billy Hamilton, who doesn’t have a hit since April 6, in the game to hit with Zack Collins, Danny Mendick, and Adam Eaton, all available on the bench. Hell, Dylan Cease was available on the bench, and he just as many hits as Hamilton does this season.

The Athletic’s James Fegan admirably took it to La Russa in the post-game media session as it pertains to La Russa not knowing the rules that have been in place since the start of last season.

After La Russa tried to sidestep the question, Fegan ensured that if La Russa wasn’t aware of the rule before, he was now reading it to him verbatim. La Russa replied, “I guess you know the rule better than me.”

Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

On the bright side, the White Sox continue to throw the hell out of the baseball as a staff, especially the starters. After Dylan Cease and Dallas Keuchel combined to toss 13 scoreless frames in this series, the White Sox rotation has a league-best 2.87 ERA through 156.2 innings of work this season.

It’s an off day for the White Sox on Thursday, followed by a weekend tilt with the Royals in Kansas City.

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