CLEVELAND — There’s no shame in not raising a banner. The White Sox were one of 28 teams that didn’t.
They were one of two teams in the city not to raise one, though, so there is some organizational and territorial wincing in that. And baseball’s other flag ceremony, after the Cubs’ on Monday night, took place before their eyes Tuesday. It happened inside their very own division, where the Indians of the American League Central continued their home domination of the Sox by winning 2-1 in 10 innings after raising the AL championship banner.
Rings were handed out. A sellout crowd gave adoring, deserved approval as the Sox, picked by most to finish at or near the bottom of the division in 2017, joined the spectators and watched at field level.
“When you see another team do that, it adds motivation, and it puts a little chip on your shoulder,’’ said right-hander Nate Jones, the longest-tenured player on the Sox’ roster. “You want that to be the White Sox.
“You think to yourself, ‘Why not us? Let’s get it. Let’s get after it. Let’s do it.’ ’’
The rebuilding Sox, who fell to 2-4 in the young season, are quite far from being on the right side of these things. It has been 12 years since they celebrated their World Series championship, with one playoff appearance in the interim.
“Unfortunately, we’re on this side watching them, but maybe it’ll be a little motivation,’’ manager Rick Renteria said.
There is a plan in place, at least. In the meantime, the Sox will try to keep up with the Indians of the world with the roster they have to work with.
“You want that for yourself, too, for your team,’’ said third baseman Todd Frazier, who came out of a 1-for-17 slump with a double and game-tying home run against an otherwise-unflinching Carlos Carrasco (seven innings, four hits). “You see the glories of winning, and it’s pretty cool. To sit there on the other side and say it’s not exciting to watch, it’s a travesty to say that because everybody dreams of doing that.’’
There seems to be nothing worse for the Sox than playing at Progressive Field, where they have lost 25 of their last 37 games. The repeated beatings here and from the rest of the division, as well, finally convinced general manager Rick Hahn, vice president Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to give up on failed, half-measured attempts at winning.
A second consecutive good start in as many outings from James Shields (5⅓ innings, one run on a homer by Francisco Lindor in the first inning) and scoreless bullpen work from Zach Putnam, Jones (despite three walks, one intentional) and David Robertson gave the Sox a chance to spoil the Indians’ home opener. Edwin Encarnacion hit into inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded in the sixth and eighth innings. But Tommy Kahnle gave up a two-out walk to Lindor and a double into the left-field corner by Michael Brantley in the 10th.
“I thought we played well,’’ Shields said. “They have a good bullpen over there — [Andrew] Miller, [Bryan] Shaw, [Cody] Allen at the end — and I felt like we did a good job of hanging in there as long as we possibly could.’’
The Sox have eight games left on what promises to be a challenging trip that continues against the Twins and Yankees after two more games against the Indians.
“With that kind of crowd and emotion, I thought we did well,’’ Shields said.
“We did a nice job of keeping ourselves in it,’’ Renteria said. “We came up a little short today. Tomorrow’s another day.’’
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