The White Sox hit the ball hard, but had just three hits to show for it.
And another loss to show on their unraveling 7-12 season ledger, a 5-1 decision to an Angels team that won its sixth straight while handing the Sox their 10th defeat in 11 games.
Seven balls hit 100 miles per hour or more were outs for the Sox. But as they say, that’s baseball. And that’s the way it often goes during slumps like these. There is bad hitting, and there is bad luck. And good teams create their own good fortune.
The Sox are not a good team right now. They are hitting .180/.232/.282 over their last 14 games and scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their last 14 games.
“I don’t believe in luck,” Jose Abreu said through translator Billy Russo. “Luck doesn’t exist. But it seems like the other teams are playing with more players than us, like they have more players on the field than us.”
The Sox also made their major league leading 21st error, on catcher Yasmani Grandal’s throw to second on Shohei Ohtani’s stolen base in the eighth inning that shortstop Tim Anderson didn’t smother. The Sox have made errors in 10 of their last 12 games.
“We battled,” said starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, who gave up homers to leadoff man Taylor Ward and Ohtani in the first inning and finished with three runs allowed over six innings.
The two runs were all the Angels needed, even with fireballing right-hander Noah Syndergaard scratched as their start because of illness. A bullpen game was more than the Sox could handle.
“Our hitters were smoking the ball. Just got the short end of the stick there,” Giolito said. “I’m frustrated with myself for giving up another run in the sixth inning with two outs.
“It sucks, but we’ve just got to keep chugging along. I thought that we swung the bat pretty good, just couldn’t find any gaps.”
In the Sox’ defense, they have been ravaged by injuries, but other teams are banged up, too. To see their best hitter of late, Andrew Vaughn, take a pitch from Mike Mayers off his right hand in the ninth inning sent a shiver through the Sox bench. Vaughn was getting X-rays after the game but there was no word from the team Friday night on the results. He seemed to be OK, though.
After this latest loss, the theme in the players and from Tony La Russa was their luck could have been better, the preparation for this game was good and they at least brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning when Luis Robert batted with the bases loaded.
In the end, however, it was just another loss for a team that, after losing three straight series to division opponents, has three more games in a series with one of baseball’s hottest teams.
“The effort has been there, the guys are grinding,” La Russa said. “But whatever the reason, the quality of at-bats can get better, and they’re working on it. It’s starting to show results. I’ve learned a long time ago, if you try to explain yourself it sounds like an excuse. The less you explain, the less excuses people think you’re making. But our offense is going to be fine. We’re going in the right direction.”
Bench coach Miguel Cairo was ejected in the top of the ninth inning by plate umpire,David Rackley, Cairo’s his second career ejection as a coach.