White Sox walked off by Guardians

Luis Robert Jr. drove in four runs, but the Sox fell to 24-63.

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Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr. celebrates after hitting a two-RBI single against the Cleveland Guardians.

The Sox’ Luis Robert Jr. celebrates after hitting a two-RBI single during the seventh inning against the Guardians on Tuesday in Cleveland.

Jason Miller/Getty

CLEVELAND — Watching a documentary about 1960s baseball over the weekend was a reminder of a nostalgic element of the game that disappeared a long time ago.

The lesson: Don’t get too close to your favorite players on your favorite teams today. They won’t be around much longer.

So it goes for the White Sox — especially these days. They brought you Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Ozzie Guillen and Harold Baines, among others, as players who wore Sox pinstripes for the bulk of their careers.

But in this era, and in this awful season — in which the Sox dropped to 24-63 with a 7-6 walk-off loss to the Guardians on Tuesday night — 2023 All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr. and 2024 All-Star pitcher-to-be Garrett Crochet might be too good to stay.

So don’t get attached. Don’t develop an affection for Crochet, the major-league strike-out leader. Or Robert, who hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth inning against the Guardians and a tying two-run single in the seventh.

The Sox are rebuilding, again, after their last rebuild prematurely bottomed out with players thought to be worth investing jerseys in.

Thinking about a Robert shirt? A Crochet jersey? Think twice before swiping that Visa. They might be wearing Dodgers uniforms, or those of another team, next season, if not sooner. If they aren’t going to be around when their contracts are up, the Sox might be better served adding to their collection of prospects by trading them now.

With Eloy Jimenez’s and Yoan Moncada’s combined $39 million in club options for next season not getting picked up, Sox ownership could consider a lucrative extension for Crochet, building around him with promising young arms already on the pitching staff and at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Why not keep Robert, who’s under control for $15 million in 2025, $20 million in 2026 (club option) and another $20 million in 2027 (club option)?

There are no sure things when it comes to prospects. Crochet and Robert are — although a case could be made for wanting to see more from Crochet, as excellent as he has been but with only 18 major-league starts coming off elbow and shoulder problems.

In any case, the Sox inched closer to the much-anticipated July 30 trade deadline with their first loss of the month in their first game of the month. Andres Gimenez singled leading off the ninth against Michael Kopech (2-7), advanced to second on a groundout and then to third on a wild pitch when Kopech’s cleat got caught on the mound.

“Bad time for that to happen,” Kopech said.

Gimenez scored on Bo Naylor’s sacrifice fly to medium center with no play from Robert, who caught the ball flat-footed.

“He hit the ball and I caught it, that’s it,” Robert said, through translator Billy Russo, about why he didn’t attempt a throw. “I didn’t have a chance.”

“He’s playing in because there’s one out,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Ball was hit 309, 310 feet, he’s playing in, he’s going back. Even if he runs back and comes in, there’s no play there. If we’re going to dissect that, we’re making something out of nothing. You’re not going to throw that guy out from there.”

Starter Chris Flexen, another Sox pitcher who might get traded, gave up six runs but only three earned in his 16th start. A balk led to a run in the fifth, and shortstop Paul DeJong’s throw to third base hit Josh Naylor for an error, allowing Naylor to score and opening the door to a three-run sixth that put the Guardians in front 6-3.

Flexen gave up a homer to Daniel Schleemann on an 0-2 pitch in the third.

In the seventh, after Lenyn Sosa’s double cut the deficit to 6-4 and put runners on second and third, Grifol had Tommy Pham pinch-hit for catcher Korey Lee. Pham was called out on strikes and didn’t like it, and Grifol got ejected. But Robert came through with his tying single.

Still, the division-leading Guardians enjoyed their fifth walk-off victory. The Sox haven’t won a series opener on the road.

“This would have been a really good one, coming back twice and being able to steal this one,” Grifol said. “We’ve got to be able to clean those things up.”

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