The Chicago White Sox fell to the Cleveland Indians in extra innings on Tuesday night for their third straight loss.
It was Reynaldo Lopez facing off against Cal Quantrill at Progressive Field, and despite Lopez's decent outing, the Sox bats were quiet until the late innings.
Cleveland got on the board early when Cesar Hernandez smacked his third homer of the season in the first inning to give the home team a 1-0 lead. This was the only run Lopez would give up in his five innings of work.
It took the Sox until the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1. Jose Abreu clobbered his 19th home run of the year off of new reliever Adam Plutko.
There would be relievers swapped in and out through the ninth as the game remained tied heading into extra innings. At first, it looked as though the Sox had this game taken care of, but slumps tend to do weird things to teams with leads.
Due to the 2020 extra-inning rules, James McCann started the top of the tenth on second base as Adam Engel came to the plate. He continued to take advantage of the sparse playing time he does see with an RBI triple to left-center to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. Nick Madrigal later singled him home to extend the advantage to 3-1 heading into the bottom of the frame.
An important note, Alex Colomé entered the game in the Tribe's ninth and was scheduled to go back out for the tenth after throwing just six pitches, but back spasms between innings kept him out of the game. Matt Foster filled that void with Roberto Perez at second. Francisco Lindor just missed tying the game with a deep drive to center. Perez scored to make it 3-2. Foster then walked Hernandez and was replaced by Jose Ruiz to face Jose Ramirez. The Indians' slugger, with one swing, walked off the Sox and clinched a playoff spot for the Cleveland franchise. The 5-3 final was a heartbreaker if you're a Sox fan.
With this loss, the South Siders' division lead shrinks again to one-half game over the Minnesota Twins and three games over Cleveland with five games remaining. Tonight's matchup for game three of this four-game set features Lucas Giolito and Shane Bieber. First pitch is set for 5:10 PM CT.
Losing three games in a row is never fun, but the Sox seemed to pick a terrible time to experience their worst slump of 2020. Luis Robert has just six hits in September and Yoan Moncada's numbers have surely taken a hit as well. When the team is pitching well, which hasn't been as often as one would hope the past week or so, the bats are silent. When the bats have found some life, the pitching staff can't throw strikes and gives up the home run ball like it's their job.
There are no fans that are happy with this team right now. Needless to say, they need to pick it back up tonight because even after these two, the Cubs come to town for the season's final three games. And for the record, as of right now, the White Sox are still the second seed in the American League, so they would be facing the Cleveland Indians if the playoffs started today. Make no mistake, there's plenty of time to turn this around and feel confident heading into the postseason, but that's easier said than done.