Walk-off walk? Oh, you betcha, we got all kinds of ugly here for you.
We started to get into on Monday, when LennyG opened our bests and worsts with a delightful dip into both flavors. On Wednesday, it was a peaceful stroll through a whole batch of top contests courtesy of the SSHP staff.
Today, it gets a little ugly: here, in chronological order, are the worst of our worst.
March 28 — Royals 5, White Sox 3
The season was over before it started, thanks to the front office’s offseason additions. Let’s take a look at some highlights from Ricky’s 2019 Opening Day lineup: Yonder Alonso at cleanup, Daniel Palka in the six-hole and Tim Anderson batting seventh. Seventh! But let’s not bury the lede here. Jon Jay would have been the Opening Day leadoff hitter if it weren’t for the injury no one really knew he had or how or when he suffered it. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t see Machado’s pet goldfish anywhere in the March 28 lineup. For the record, Nate Jones and Dylan Covey came on in relief, too. Aside from all the brutal headlines off the field going into the season, we still had to watch the Sox take on the lowly Royals on that brisk, foggy Kansas City afternoon.
Now, I always get excited for Opening Day, regardless of how embarrassing of an offseason my team executes. But the 2019 first game excitement slowly dwindled after Eloy’s first at-bat. Jiménez, in his big league debut, was in his swing-at-everything phase and could not handle Brad Keller’s off-speed pitches. He was also sandwiched between Alonso and Palka (a combined 0-for-6 that day), which is something that should just make you laugh, really. Carlos Rodón (remember him?) was good, not great. The Royals scored three runs off Rodón, and only two of those were earned thanks in part to the three errors his team committed behind him. The Sox were down 5-0 heading to the top of the ninth. Happy Opening Day! Granted, the Sox scored three and had the bases loaded with two outs, but even that situation made this game the worst of the year. The last batter was Yolmer Sánchez, who would not have even been in the lineup if it weren’t for the failure to sign Machado in the offseason. (Yes, Machado did not have a great year, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’d rather have him up than Sánchez with the bases loaded). Sánchez hit a lazy fly ball to end the first game. So, yeah, Opening Day is my choice as worst game of 2019. (Mike Gasick)
May 4 — Red Sox 15, White Sox 2
The White Sox got on the board in the first inning, grabbing a 1-0 lead on a single by José Abreu. Unfortunately, that was as good as things got for the White Sox. After retiring the first eight batters he faced, White Sox starter Manny Bañuelos did the impossible and surrendered 10 consecutive hits with two outs. Carson Fulmer, who came on in mop-up duty, also imploded, allowing five runs (three earned) while only recording one out. The Red Sox ran the score up to 15-1 by the fifth inning. I won SoxMath that day, but it kind of felt like I didn’t. (Joe Resis)
June 15 — Yankees 8, White Sox 4
Decimated by the dreaded Yankees 8-4, the White Sox only scored when it was all but over in the eighth, three on a James McCann dinger. The Yankees actually used an opener, which apparently mystified Sox hitters, and the home team should have done the same, because Reynaldo López got blasted for five runs in six innings. The Sox demonstrated very strongly why they’re a bad team, reverting to form against a mish-mash of Yankee pitchers by drawing no walks and striking out 16 – count ’em, 16 – times, with every starter contributing at least one whiffaroony. Bye-bye .500, never to be seen again, though the Sox flirted with achieving mediocrity a few times before indulging in a nice long losing streak that left it out of reach. And did I mention this humiliation was against the hated Yankees? (Leigh Allan)
July 12 — A’s 5, White Sox 1
There wasn’t anything particularly memorable about this 5-1 loss, but it was a microcosm the White Sox struggles in the second half of the 2019 season. The White Sox managed 10 hits in the game (good), but all 10 hits were singles (bad), and only led to one run. Hitting singles wasn’t a problem for the 2019 White Sox, but other types of hits and scoring runs were. Mike Fiers pitched to the tune of 7 ⅔ innings, one run on eight hits, a walk, and four Ks. Producing runs was a big problem for the Sox all year, and especially in the second half. Iván Nova pitched six innings, giving up four runs on 10 hits, which isn’t good, but isn’t a disaster either. But for the 2019 White Sox, that type of performance gets you beat. The Sox went 30-45 in the second half of the season after going 42-44 in the first half, and July 12 was a sign of things to come. (GuitarSox)
July 16: Royals 11, White Sox 0
What does it say that when given this “Best and Worst” assignment, I chose to complete this writeup first? Cleansing, I guess, or just so very Sox fan. Anyway, the White Sox had a miserable July, going 4-15 after the All Star Break. After predictably getting swept by the A’s in three games, the Sox went to Kansas City, where surely they’d right themselves. Wrong! They preceded to lose all four games to the freaking Royals, with this stinker epitomizing the entire lousy month. Glenn Sparkman pitched a complete game …wait, who’s Glenn Sparkman? That would be the same guy who finished the season 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA, a 1.507 WHIP, and a measly 5.4 K/9. The White Sox burnished all of those numbers with eight strikeouts and a lowly five hits (two of them coming off the bat of A.J. Reed, so, yeah, that was pointless). The White Sox pitching trio of Dylans Cease and Covey, and Josh Osich, meanwhile, gave up 14 hits, including an inside-the-park home run to Whit Merrifield. Osich had a particularly terrible eighth inning, with a walk, three hits, and four earned runs. Yuck, all of it, just … yuck. The Sox would finish the season 9-10 against a Royals team that lost 103 games. Yuck. (Lurker Laura)
September 15 — Mariners 11, White Sox 10
In the middle of September during the 2019 White Sox season, one would not expect to find the most frustrating game in an almost pointless season, but that’s where it is. Iván Nova started the game and looked fine through three innings while the Sox offense was, of course, being shut out. Then the fourth inning happened. Nova was only able to get one out, while allowing five runs. Oddly enough, none of them came via homer, but it was just an onslaught from Seattle hitters as one after another got a hit. However, the Sox actually showed some resiliency the very next half-inning. They scored eight runs, as home runs from Adam Engel and Welington Castillo accounted for seven of them. Sure it was a fun inning, but the highlights were from Engel and Castillo; by this time in the season, it was nothing to be excited about. The Sox did extend their lead to five, and things did seem to be lining up for a win, but it started to fall apart quickly from there.
Hector Santiago, who was doing well for his outing, finally broke in the eighth. He allowed three runs and it was the late-inning bullpen to the rescue. Kelvin Herrera came in, almost immediately allowed a homer, and was pulled. Jace Fry then came in and walked a batter on four pitches, and was pulled. Then Jimmy Cordero came in and actually did some good, striking out the only batter he faced, but again after just one batter, he was pulled. Finally, Josh Osich came in and got out of the inning, but of course before he did, that runner Fry allowed on base scored to tie the game 10-10.
The Sox did not do anything in the top of the ninth, but José Ruiz came in for the ninth inning to keep the tie intact. Normally, it would have been Alex Colomé; however, he allowed a walk-off homer to none other than Omar Narváez in the previous game, so it was somebody else’s turn to lose the game in dramatic fashion. Ruiz proceeded to load the bases with just one out, so he really needed a ground ball or a strikeout; he induced neither. With the count 1-2, Ruiz threw three straight balls to walk home the winning run, a truly pitiful performance as tens of people watched in Chicago. (Darren Black)