Let’s be straight about this. The Cubs, as currently constituted, are clearly an inferior team to the White Sox. Thus, the Sox were — and ought to have been — prohibitive favorites in this series. I thought maybe, with Kyle Hendricks starting, the Cubs might have a shot at winning Friday’s game.
After a 16-minute rain delay, four hours and 27 minutes of baseball and one spectacular blown save by former Cub Craig Kimbrel, the White Sox put together a four-run 10th inning and defeated the Cubs 8-6, though they needed three of the four runs once the Cubs scored in the last of the 10th.
Whew! Let’s go back to the beginning of this fairly ridiculous ballgame, which got underway 16 minutes late due to a little popup shower that passed over Wrigley.
Hendricks threw pretty well, but was touched up for two runs in the fourth. Here’s where I couldn’t help thinking, “Kris Bryant would have made that play,” on a Jose Abreu single, or “Anthony Rizzo would have made that play,” when Seby Zavala singled past Frank Schwindel to drive in a run.
But those sorts of thoughts aren’t worth much, since those guys aren’t here anymore.
But Hendricks threw six innings, allowing just the two runs and striking out seven. It was a good outing for him, and many times Cubs teams would win with Kyle pitching like that.
This team, though, got shut out for six innings by Lance Lynn and got just three runners past first base in that time. One of the three hits the Cubs had in the first six innings was the first MLB hit by the newest Cub, Greg Deichmann, so that’s worth a look [VIDEO].
Tony La Russa, inexplicably, left Lynn in to throw the seventh and it showed. Andrew Romine singled and went to second on a walk. He advanced to third on a fly to right and then David Bote drove him in [VIDEO].
So it’s 2-1 and maybe the Cubs have a chance. Oddity about that RBI:
David Bote: Cubs' first-ever pinch-hit sac fly against an American League opponent (home or road, including the Brewers, also including World Series).— Doug Kern (@dakern74) August 6, 2021
In the eighth, Trevor Megill struck out the first two hitters he faced, but then gave up a single to Zavala. That’s when David Ross made the inexplicable decision to call on Kyle Ryan, which turned Cesar Hernandez over to hitting righthanded.
Uh... that’s Hernandez’ power side. Eleven of his 18 home runs this year, coming into this game, had been hit off LHP (in 134 AB), compared to seven in 264 AB vs. RHP.
Well, you know what’s coming, Hernandez’ 19th homer, which made it 4-1 White Sox. (And let me reiterate something I have previously said, I have seen enough of Kyle Ryan, thankyouverymuch.)
Craig Kimbrel, just traded to the South Side last week, then entered to throw the last of the eighth.
Matt Duffy greeted Kimbrel with a single. Ian Happ flied to left, then Schwindel single. Tying run at the plate! Deichmann popped up, which brought up Romine [VIDEO].
That might be one of the most absurd home runs in Cubs history. First, coming into this game Romine had 10 career home runs... in 1,338 MLB plate appearances. His last one before Friday was more than four years ago, July 14, 2017, off another former Cub, Jeff Beliveau.
Meanwhile, Kimbrel had allowed just two earned runs... all year. Until that hit, which scored three earned runs. His season ERA jumped from 0.47 to 1.14 with that one hit.
And the game is tied! (Never mind that the Cubs might have won the game right there if Hernandez bats lefthanded in the top of the inning.)
Codi Heuer gave the Sox nothing in the ninth, and with one out in the bottom of the inning, Duffy singled — and stole second, talking about ridiculous things. But Happ struck out and the game went to extras.
Manuel Rodriguez, who we all hope will turn into a solid late-inning option, threw to four batters in the 10th and it did not go well. Brian Goodwin hit a home run, giving the Sox a two-run lead, including the placed runner. An error and a couple more hits plated a third run, and Michael Rucker tried to bail Rodriguez out, but eventually gave up an RBI single to Tim Anderson, making it a four-run Sox lead.
The Sox, having used both of their “co-closers,” Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks, settled on lefty Garrett Crochet in the bottom of the 10th.
He immediately turned a four-run game into a two-run game by serving up the first Cubs homer hit by Schwindel [VIDEO].
So now it’s a two-run game and... maybe?
But Crochet retired Deichmann and Romine and that brought up the pitcher’s spot. The Cubs had run out of position players so Zach Davies was sent up to bat.
Give Davies credit, he sent a drive to left-center, but it was caught to end the game [VIDEO].
And please give us the universal DH next year so we don’t have to see such nonsense anymore.
As I said at the beginning of this recap, the Cubs are clearly, at this time, an inferior team to the White Sox. But give them a lot of credit for not quitting, and especially for putting together a rally like that against Kimbrel. The game was certainly entertaining, even if the result wasn’t what we might have wanted.
The teams will meet again Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Adbert Alzolay will start for the Cubs and Carlos Rodon is the scheduled starter for the White Sox. Game time is again 1:20 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network (and also on NBC Sports Chicago with the Sox announcers).