Friday’s play-off scores
And now, a few takeaways from Friday’s action.
The Bullpens decide on the Astros-Chisox 2 game
The Astros beat the White Sox by a 9-4 (box scoring) final on Friday afternoon in Game 2 of their American League best-of-five division series. The Astros now have a 2-0 lead with the series heading to Chicago on Sunday. The two teams traded leads in the first five innings. The White Sox took the lead in the first when Luis Robert scored on the choice of a defensive player to make it 1-0. Houston first tied the game in the second set on a Kyle Tucker single, then took the lead later in that frame on a sacrificial fly from Chas McCormick. The White Sox pushed three through the plate to take a 4-2 lead in the fifth, but once again the Astros roared and tied the game at 4-4 on a Yuli Gurriel single.
From there it was all Houston.
Neither starter Lucas Giolito nor Framber Valdez finished up to five innings, meaning the game was ultimately left in the hands of the relief corps. The Astros rose to the challenge; the White Sox did not.
Five Houston relievers combined to throw 4 2/3 shutout frames. Chicago also had to use five relievers, but rather than a clean sheet, Aaron Bummer and Craig Kimbrel ended up with twisted numbers.
Indeed, Bummer and Kimbrel allowed five runs on five hits in a total inning of work. Bummer, for his part, allowed three singles that gave the Astros a 5-4 lead. Kimbrel then came in and gave Carlos Correa a brace to make it 7-4, then a two-point shot to Kyle Tucker to put the game out of reach.
As we’ve noted elsewhere, for as busy as the White Sox relieving pen appears on paper, they tended to melt during the regular season. They did it again on Friday – and notably without using Michael Kopech. When asked about Kopech’s absence from manager Tony La Russa, he provided the following blunt response:
Down 0-2 in the series, the story is not on Chicago’s side. The White Sox will now need three straight wins to avoid elimination in the Division Series. According to Andrew Simon of MLB.com, there were 32 instances in the 2-2-1 format era where a road team lost the first two games. Only three of those teams returned to win the series. Conversely, 19 of those teams were swept away in three games. We’ll see if the White Sox can prove to be the exception on Sunday afternoon.
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