White Sox mistakes came in three flavors Saturday: They made defensive errors, struggled to move runners and used questionable tactics in a 6-3 loss to the Cubs.
It was like the Neapolitan ice cream of bad baseball at U.S. Cellular Field, but with more retching.
Take, for example, the situation the Sox had in the fourth inning, with the game tied at 1-1, one out and runners on the corners. The opportunity arose after a Kris Bryant error at third, but the Sox failed to cash in. Back-to-back strikeouts by Carlos Sanchez and Tyler Flowers ended the threat.
“The mistakes we made they took advantage of, and we didn’t,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “They had a couple miscues there, and we had some guys in scoring position that we didn’t take advantage of. You have to be able to take advantage of those when a guy like [Jake] Arrieta is on the mound.”
The Sox gave up the lead in the next inning after intentionally walking leadoff man Dexter Fowler with two outs and a runner on second. That decision allowed Kyle Schwarber – who owns a .519 slugging percentage and .852 OPS against left-handers – the chance to single in the go-ahead run.
The white-hot Cubs, who went on to win their ninth straight, never trailed again.
Next came Anthony Rizzo’s fly ball to center field in the sixth, which Adam Eaton ran to, waited under and lost as it fell to the ground behind him. Rizzo later scored the go-ahead run on a Jorge Soler single.
“It was a tough play,” Eaton said. “When it went up, trying to communicate to everyone that I can’t see the ball. As scary as it is, you don’t see it until it hits the lights. At that moment in time, I saw the ball. I didn’t hear Melky [Cabrera] and I didn’t really know where he was, so the center fielder in me said I need to catch the ball here.”
The South Siders have made strides defensively after a putrid start to the season, but Saturday’s loss was the Sox of old.
Cabrera threw home on Soler’s sixth-inning RBI single, and the ball sailed over Flowers’ head for an error that allowed the runner to advance. Starting pitcher Jose Quintana wasn’t there to back up the play, either.
Quintana put together his usual quality start, going six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk.
The Sox were only able to offer Quintana two runs of support before he departed. He now owns a 30-34 record in his career with the Sox despite a 3.52 ERA.
“That record, you can throw it out the window, because he’s much better than that record,” Ventura said. “I love the kid. He’s a competitor. When he goes into a game the other team knows they’re in for a fight, and he’s grinding the whole way.”
The Cubs put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh off three Sox relievers – Jake Petricka, Zach Duke and Matt Albers.
The ugly night didn’t end there.
Ventura was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Joe West.
There was also a fan in left field who threw a can of beer onto the field at Schwarber as he chased after a base hit.
“I guess that’s what this series is all about,” Schwarber said.