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There Is No Easy Part Of The Schedule When You’re The White Sox

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JULY 01: Seth Brown #15 of the Oakland Athletics trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run off Keynan Middleton #99 of the Chicago White Sox in the bottom of the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum on July 01, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

There was a time earlier this season when the Chicago White Sox were the most dangerous team in baseball, not in the sense that they were "competitive" or "good" or "winning" "baseball" "games," but rather in the sense that anyone playing for or against them was in physical danger of injury, usually on some Three Stooges–type shit. Those days are thankfully over. Now the White Sox are merely very silly.

The AL Central is (once again) wide open, with none of its teams particularly skilled or successful, but instead falling somewhere on the spectrum with the Twins' inevitable first-round exit at one end and a sign warning Don't look directly at the Royals at the other. This leaves a lot of room for the division's creamy middle to be technically in the hunt while losing most of their games, often in funny ways. Like say a pitcher named Bummer giving up a walk-off wild pitch, as happened earlier this week.

But that is the Angels; for all their Tungsten-Armed cursèdness, they have big-league talent and they are attempting to win baseball games. The same cannot be said of the Oakland Athletics, who are playing out the string for roughly the 245th straight game. A team like the White Sox—maybe not very good, but also not strictly terrible, and in a weak division—needs to and ought to beat up on teams like the A's. Chicago was 1-4-1 in its last six series, all against teams at least at or near .500, before heading to Oakland this weekend, and fairly desperately needed some Ws. They have lost the first two.

Ah, but merely losing two games to the A's would not be blogworthy, unless I were intent on being incredibly rude to the Athletics. It's how they lost Saturday's 7-6 thriller(?) that earns them a place here. It looked over, in the White Sox's favor, when Tim Anderson, having an absolutely cursed season, appeared to hit a grand slam in the eighth for his very first dinger of the year and a six-run Chicago lead. But it wasn't to be; the ball was just foul, and ruled as such on replay review. Anderson would pop out on the next pitch. It would be the fourth time the White Sox left the bases loaded in these two games.

In the bottom half, the wheels came off. A walk and a two-out double by Esteury Ruiz put the tying runs in scoring position. Joe Kelly would then balk in a run, and a little Keystone Kops infield single by the next batter would plate the other. Tie game.

The White Sox mounted a bit of a threat in the ninth, but Luis Robert managed to get hung up and thrown out at third on a double-steal, sending this one to extras. That's where Elvis Andrus, who entered in the ninth as a pinch-runner, would make his presence felt. Unlike so many of the White Sox's defensive foibles this year, you can't blame this one on someone being a natural DH playing out of position (i.e. any position). While Andrus may be below-average defensively at this point in his career, he is at least a middle infielder by trade. So if you want to just chalk this one up to a bad bounce or divine intervention, have at it.

“That was a tough one today, a real tough one,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. The A's were on pace to break the 1962 Mets' loss record before the Sox came to town; they no longer are. One might be tempted to call this the most brutal loss of the season for the Pale Hose, to which I'd point out that it's barely July: This was merely the most brutal loss of the season so far.

Bruh, the A's are getting jokes off on you.

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