The Sox kicked off Game 1 in the series against the Houston Astros today at 7:11 p.m. The game time temperature was 52 degrees, the north, northwest winds were at 16 miles per hour.
The Sox knew early in the day that Todd Frazier was likely to miss the game, but Sox manager Robin Ventura would neither confirm nor deny whether he’d show up, “come in and hit, hit a homer and win the game.”
He ended up coming in, but didn’t play. Many of the fans, on the other hand, stayed home. The total game attendance was 13,481, well below the Sox average.
The first few innings saw strong pitching from both Carlos Rodon and Dallas Keuchel, something that would diminish by the second run-through of the lineup, but nonetheless, a strong start.
But despite a strong pitching effort, the Sox defense fell short almost the entire game. The first error came in the second inning, and the second error came later in the game when Austin Jackson dropped a ball in center field that was practically passed to him.
The second inning also brought the first score on the board for the Astros in the form of an RBI by Jason Castro.
Despite a few hits from the Sox, Keuchel pitches a perfect inning.
And both teams had a pitcher to be proud of thus far.
Despite a so far solid game from both sides (minus a defensive error from the Sox), some people were a little disappointed with the atmosphere of the stadium.
But if this was anyone’s game, it was Astros’ Tyler White’s. Spoiler alert. He had two homeruns (one in the fourth and one in the sixth) and a double. It was his career first multi-homerun game and he brought the score to 2-0 in the fourth.
The Sox followed it up with homerun from Abreu in the bottom of the fourth. I’m pretty sure this was the only point in the game Sox fans were proud of Abreu, who had multiple missed opportunities to bring in runs that would have saved them [spoiler alert] from a 6-5 loss.
Like I alluded to earlier, the defense was a detriment to Rodon’s stellar pitching during the first third of the game. Jackson’s error was the second in the game, following a recent 13 day error-free streak by the Sox.
It was in this inning, though, that the Sox offense started to take shape. They took the lead for the first time, propelled by the bottom of the lineup and brought to the top with RBI’s from Tyler Saladino and Adam Eaton.
Rodon finished a solid night in the sixth inning, only to (spoiler alert) allow bullpen pitching to give up runs throughout the rest of the game.
Nate Jones was perhaps the only bullpen pitcher who won’t be blamed for such a close game tonight. Jones was hit early on by Carlos Correa’s line drive. Coaching staff replaced him with Zach Duke.
At the bottom of the seventh, Keutchel communicates it’s time for him to relax. Bring in the bullpen.
Abreu fails to bring them home.
The bottom of the eighth saw a few changes in the field.
And Astros’ Jose Altuve broke the tie with an RBI, solidifying a lack of faith in the Sox relief pitching.
The bottom of the eighth was low key, and didn’t add anything to the board for the Sox.
The bottom of the ninth, though, brought both David Robertson, who went on to pitch a perfect two innings, and a run on the board from the Sox, tying the game and leading the teams into bonus baseball.
The tenth inning was uneventful, but one intriguing observation was made:
In the eleventh the Sox look to Matt Albers, who ends up throwing a 0-2 count pitch to Evan Gattis, who crushes a homer and brings the score to 6-4. Post-game Alex Avila addressed the pitch.
“Matty’s bread-and-butter is the sinker, and that one just didn’t sink like the previous ones in that at-bat. He had a pretty good one going today and that one just ended up staying up and Gattis ended up putting a good swing on it.”
The Sox entered the bottom of the eleventh and found hope in an RBI double from Adam Eaton, but failure by Alex Avila to bring in extra runs cost the Sox the game. Well, that, and defensive errors as well as an unreliable bullpen.
Despite this, post-game Alex Rodon refrained from blaming his team for mistakes made that lost them the game, despite his strong start on the mound.
“I’m getting there, getting better, just giving my team a chance to win,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got to do. It’s a close game. We just lost. We battled back, played hard. We play hard every second out there. This team’s good.”
The Sox will play the Astros tomorrow at U.S. Cellular, a 7:10 p.m. starting pitch. Ventura said post-game to expect both Nates Jones and Todd Frazier to play.