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White Sox 5, Cubs 4: A very long afternoon

This was fun for a while, until it wasn’t.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I have a question.

It’s the 12th inning of the Cubs/White Sox game, tie score, runner on third, one out. David Ross has brought Christopher Morel in from center field to have a five-man infield. This is fine.

My question is: Why would you not walk Jake Burger and Jose Abreu to load the bases? Then your five-man infield could possibly have a force play at the plate. I just don’t understand why that wasn’t done.

In the end, it didn’t matter, Burger singled in the winning run and the White Sox defeated the Cubs 5-4 in 12 innings, taking the season series and the Crosstown Cup (the latter, for anyone who cares), and the Cubs’ sad record in one-run games dropped to 4-12 — thus they are 15-15 in all other games, basically the .500 club I thought they were, except when the game’s decided by one run.

Sigh.

For a while, the first seven innings, this was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel between Marcus Stroman and Dylan Cease, with some good defense on both sides, and that’s a joy to watch. The pace of play is quick, the pitchers are dealing, and the fielders are fielding.

Let me show you some of the Cubs’ defense behind Stroman.

Here’s a nice grab by Patrick Wisdom in the second inning [VIDEO].

This nice sliding grab by Rafael Ortega ended the third [VIDEO].

Stroman helped himself on this bunt attempt in the sixth [VIDEO].

On the very next play, Andrelton Simmons bobbled this ball, but tagged second base for an out in the sixth [VIDEO].

Stroman had left the game by the time this play happened, but Morel made an outstanding grab with a runner on in the eighth [VIDEO].

If not for those plays, this game probably goes the Sox’ way long before it did. Give Stroman a lot of credit, he had Sox hitters off balance all afternoon and of the 21 outs he recorded, nine were by ground ball.

Before I get to the run-scoring parts of this game, I want to show you the play on which Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was injured in the fifth [VIDEO].

It looked like Anderson, in trying to make that throw, landed awkwardly on his right leg. It was reported he had a groin injury which would be evaluated again tomorrow. It didn’t look good when he was helped off the field.

Let me say this right now because I know Sox fans are likely going to read this. Tim Anderson is a great player, the Sox’ best player and a team leader and from all accounts a great guy, and also a potential MVP candidate. I hate to see anyone injured playing baseball, and the game of baseball will be lesser without Anderson playing. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The Cubs finally pushed a run across the plate in the seventh. With two out, Rafael Ortega walked and stole second. Nico Hoerner was intentionally passed, and P.J. Higgins hit a ball that could have ended the inning, but... [VIDEO].

Could the Cubs record nine outs without giving up a run? (Rhetorical. You already know the answer.) Stroman got out of a jam in the seventh, Mychal Givens threw a scoreless eighth helped out by the Morel catch you saw above, and though the Cubs got a runner to third with nobody out in the ninth, he was stranded.

David Robertson came on for a save opportunity, and allowed a one-out double. A ball that should have been an easy comebacker out was thrown away by Robertson (and generously scored a hit for Adam Engel), putting runners on first and third. Then Robertson wild-pitched in the tying run and the game headed to extras.

The Cubs put across two in the top of the 10th. Nico Hoerner was the Manfred man, and Higgins tried to sacrifice him to third, but there was no one covering third. Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez then turned and threw wildly to first [VIDEO].

Happ scored and Higgins wound up on second, where he was sacrificed to third and scored on this single by Morel [VIDEO].

That ... usually ... should ... be ... enough, a two-run lead in the 10th. But Scott Effross allowed a run-scoring sac fly to make it 3-2, and then he issued a walk, which is something rare for him. an RBI single followed to tie the game.

The Cubs pressed on and scored a run in the top of the 11th on this sac fly by Alfonso Rivas [VIDEO].

Patrick Wisdom followed with a single, but Ortega hit into a double play to end the inning.

Robert Gsellman, basically the last guy the Cubs had available (they were trying to avoid their lefties against the Sox), allowed a run in the bottom of the 11th to tie it again 4-4, and the Cubs could not score in the 12th, and it ended off Gsellman in the bottom of the 12th on an RBI single by Burger, and this is where we came in — again, I simply don’t understand why the bases were not filled to create a possible force at the plate. If you’re going to play a five-man infield, at least give them a chance!

Here’s your Cubs starter for Game 1 against the Brewers at 12:05 p.m. CT tomorrow:

Oh, and just in case you’re keeping track on the above tweet:

Well, why not. They’ve tried lots of other folks, could just work. A 40-man roster move will be needed to add Swarmer, so we’ll see what happens. Drew Smyly will start Game 2, at 6:40 p.m. CT.

Ethan Small, who will also be making his MLB debut, will start for the Brewers in Game 1. That ought to be interesting. Aaron Ashby goes for Milwaukee in Game 2.

Just to wrap things up: The Cubs played well against the Sox, but just couldn’t get enough runs and enough good bullpen work in the late innings Sunday. It’s farewell to the crosstown rivalry until 2023 and on to a nine-game homestand (in seven days) against divisional rivals. It’ll be busy around here!