The Sox did something improbable on this date in 1959

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The Sox did something improbable on this date in 1959

Philip Humber's perfect game was certainly improbable; its finish (as JJ Stankevitz alluded to in his fantastic synopsis of the final at-bat) was equally remarkable. But on this day in 1959, something even more bizarre took place at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.

The 1959 White Sox was a team whose identity was earned by "strength up the middle" and a great pitching staff. Despite winning the pennant, they were 5th (out of 8 teams) in runs scored. So when the box score read 20-6 in favor of the Pale Hose after an April 22, 1959 game against the Athletics, it certainly wasn't the norm.

Much less amazing than the fact that they scored 20 runs was how they did it. The lone home run was hit by Luis Aparicio, who hit only six all year; a man who etched his plaque in Cooperstown with a legendary glove and a mountainous pile of stolen bases. That's not the most interesting thing about it.

Things looked grim after starter Early Wynn was knocked out in the bottom of the second after a Roger Maris homer made the score 6-1 Kansas City. The Sox rallied and took an 8-6 lead into the 7th inning, and what took place next will never again be duplicated on a Major League diamond; and this is how it went down:

- Ray Boone reached on a throwing error by shortstop Joe DeMaestri
- Al Smith reached on an error by third baseman Hal Smith during a sac-bunt
- Johnny Callison singled; Boone scored, Smith scored
- Luis Aparicio walked, then stole second
- Bob Shaw walked
- Earl Torgeson (batting for Sammy Esposito) walked, scoring Callison
- Nellie Fox walked, scoring Aparicio
- Jim Landis grounded out 1-2, Shaw forced at home
- Sherm Lollar walked, scoring Torgeson
- Boone walked, scoring Fox
- Smith walked, scoring Landis
- Callison was hit by pitch, scoring Lollar
- Aparicio walked, scoring Boone
- Shaw struck out
- Bubba Phillips (batting for Torgeson) walked, scoring Smith
- Fox walked, scoring Lou Skizas (running for Callison)
- Landis grounded out 1-3

That's right: 11 runs on one hit, three errors, 10 walks, and a hit-by-pitch; truly one of the most surreal sequences of events the game could ever produce.

White Sox offense stays in a funk in loss to Indians

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White Sox offense stays in a funk in loss to Indians

Early in their 10-game homestand, Jimmy Rollins said when the White Sox score a run for Chris Sale it can feel like four to opponents.

Ditto for the White Sox offense, which is stuck in a deep freeze.

Despite a little late noise on Wednesday afternoon, the White Sox couldn’t find their way out of a funk that has now lasted a dozen games.

Corey Kluber pitched seven sharp innings and the White Sox lost their third straight to the Cleveland Indians, falling 4-3 in front of 22,561 at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox -- who have produced three or fewer runs in nine of 12 games -- lost their fifth straight series, dropping three of four to Cleveland. The team’s lead in the American League Central has slipped to a half game after a stretch in which its lost 11 of 15 games.

Melky Cabrera got the White Sox within a run with a two-run homer off Byran Shaw with one out in the eighth inning. Jose Abreu also singled off Shaw to give him three hits for a second straight game. But Shaw got Brett Lawrie to foul out and Dioner Navarro grounded out to first base.

Indians closer Cody Allen retired the White Sox in order in the ninth inning.

One area the White Sox have improved upon this season is in giving themselves more opportunities to score. The team entered Wednesday with a .322 on-base percentage.

Kluber limited the White Sox to four at-bats with a runner in scoring position in the finale, allowing seven hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out nine.  

When the White Sox did have a chance to score, they didn’t take advantage.

Rollins made the final out of the third inning with a groundout with man in scoring position and flew out with two on to end the fifth. Adam Eaton struck out ahead of Rollins in the fifth and grounded out in the seventh with a runner in scoring position.

The White Sox are 18-for-90 (.200) with four doubles, a home run and 23 RBIs with runners in scoring position in their last 12 games.

An ineffective offense hurt White Sox starter Jose Quintana yet again.

He struggled early and found himself deep in a number of counts, but recovered to give the White Sox six solid innings.

Lonnie Chisenhall put Cleveland ahead for good in the second inning with a two-out, two-run triple to right field. Eaton just missed as he tried to making a spectacular diving grab, which allowed the ball to go to the wall.

The Indians added a run in the third off Quintana on a Jose Uribe sac fly.

Quintana retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. He allowed three earned runs and five hits with a walk in six innings. Quintana struck out eight. 

Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

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Adam Eaton's defense has forced White Sox to change plans for Avisail Garcia

Adam Eaton’s outstanding defensive play in right field has altered the team’s original plans to give Avisail Garcia some playing time there.

Through 47 games, Eaton has played at a Gold Glove-level for the White Sox. He leads all major league defenders with 14 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), according to fangraphs.com, which has made it impossible to play Garcia in the field. That has White Sox manager Robin Ventura considering other ways to get Garcia on the field, including taking fly balls in left.

“The emergence of Adam out in right field has made it different,” Ventura said. “It’s a different spot for (Garcia). Eventually he’ll be back out there, but right now, what works for us is Adam in right field.”

“Adam has been above and beyond what we really thought he would be in right field.”

Garcia, 24, has nearly been relegated to full-time duty as the team’s designated hitter in 2016. He has a total of 16 innings played in the outfield.

Last year, Garcia started 129 games in the outfield. But his collective struggles — Garcia produced minus-11 DRS in 2015 — with Eaton’s forced the White Sox to look for a defensive-minded center fielder this offseason. Whereas last year the White Sox outfield was 26th of 30 with minus-22 DRS, this season they’re fifth overall at 7 DRS with Austin Jackson patrolling center.

The team’s defense has been a critical part to the club’s early success, which makes it nearly impossible for Eaton to sit. Garcia could see time in right field on days when Eaton needs to rest. But he’s more likely to force Melky Cabrera to the bench for a day or two and has worked to prepare for such an occasion.

“He’s getting some fly balls out there,” Ventura said. “That’s probably going to be really the rotation starts coming in for him to be able to get out there and get on the field. Or if something comes up with Adam or we want to DH. I even thought of that the other night during the DH. Again, Adam feels like he’s good enough to keep going.”

Chris Sale's win streak snapped at nine as White Sox fall to Tribe

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Chris Sale's win streak snapped at nine as White Sox fall to Tribe

Chris Sale’s bid to win his first 10 starts of the season ended in spectacular enough fashion on Tuesday night for him to look at video.

The White Sox pitcher isn’t a big fan of reviewing footage of his starts.

But that’s exactly what Sale did after he endured the longest inning of his career and then some in a 6-2 White Sox loss to the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field in front of 21,550.

Cruising through two-plus innings, Sale needed 43 pitches to escape the third inning. He only recorded one more out and allowed six earned runs. Vying to become only the eighth pitcher in baseball history to win his first 10 starts, and just the second since 1920, Sale was tagged with his first loss for the White Sox, who have lost 10 of 14.

“I had to see what’s going on,” Sale said. “Just trying to get a feel for where I was at in my mechanics and all that, seeing what was going on. I saw some stuff and (I’ll) build on that and learn and move forward.

“I don’t know if it was more (command issues) or just being bad.

“I couldn’t really pinpoint anything. I couldn’t tell you this or that. I stunk. I was bad. It was embarrassing.”

Sale said he didn’t review footage because he thought he might have tipped his pitches against the Indians, against whom he’s now 5-7 with a 4.07 ERA.

Instead, he wanted to see why he “ran into a buzzsaw.”

With two outs in the third inning, Sale’s pitch count stood at 32, including only five in the frame. He had retired eight of the first 10 batters faced.

But what appeared to be another chapter in a spectacular start to Sale’s season quickly unraveled. He walked Jose Ramirez on 10 pitches and Francisco Lindor singled him to third. Mike Napoli followed with a two-run triple that fell in between Austin Jackson and Melky Cabrera and put the Indians ahead for good.

But the inning wasn’t yet over.

Sale walked Carlos Santana on seven pitches and Juan Uribe won a nine-pitch battle when he dumped a 2-2 changeup into right for an RBI single.

Chris Gimenez started the fourth inning with a solo homer off Sale — only the sixth he has allowed in 71.2 innings this season. Sale issued two more walks and an RBI single by Lindor knocked him out of the game.

“Any time you see that, you are surprised,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “This is an off night for him. The best part is it’s not anything physical as far as he was hurting. He had velocity. He probably had too much of it.”

Sale’s attempt to become the first starting pitcher to win 10 straight since San Diego’s Andy Hawkins in 1985 ended with his shortest start since Sept. 13, 2015. He allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out seven.

The biggest disappointment for Sale isn’t the loss of the streak but that he followed a doubleheader with his shortest outing of the season. Zach Putnam, Tommy Kahnle, Matt Purke and Dan Jennings combined for 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Sale.

“That’s what gets me the most,” Sale said. “We played two yesterday — I had to be big for the guys tonight and was the exact opposite.”

“I stunk. I was bad. I was terrible.”

Sale’s offense had to reverse its latest trend to save him from a loss.

Despite a nice showing from Jose Abreu, it didn’t.

Adam Eaton jumpstarted the White Sox with a leadoff solo homer against Josh Tomlin.

But Tomlin retired 23 of the next 28 batters he faced, including 12 in a row, to improve to 7-0.

The White Sox finished with six hits and scored three or fewer runs for the eighth time in 11 contests. They’ve produced three or fewer runs in 23 of 47 games this season and dropped to 7-16 in those contests.

“Right now it seems that way that we are streaky,” Ventura said. “Nice night by Jose, that’s a good sign to see him swinging it the way he did. You definitely want to see some more runs and things like that.

“But seeing him get going would be a nice shot inn the arm for us.”