For part of Monday afternoon, the Chicago White Sox were trending towards the wrong end of the story.
Kansas City Royals starter Cole Ragans showed pinpoint control and knocked out the first 13 batters at Kauffman Stadium. Yoán Moncada broke the quest for perfection by throwing a single down the middle and scoring an out in the fifth set.
The Sox ended with three goals in a 12-1 loss in front of 10,646 spectators. Ragans allowed one hit and batted out seven in six scoreless innings.
“He’s got five pitches,” said Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn. “The boys are throwing hard in today’s game, but it’s not every day you see a left-handed player throwing 98 (mph) and mastering his stuff.”
Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Ragans, who was named August’s American League Pitcher of the Month on Sunday, was “pretty electric.”
The other two Sox hits — a double by Lenyn Sosa and an infield single by Trayce Thompson — came in the eighth.
Court chasing and hitting groundballs has been a problem for the Sox all year. According to MLB Statcasttheir 33.1% pursuit rate is the highest in the majors and their 46.4% groundball rate is the highest in the AL.
The Sox failed twelve times on Monday on the sidelines.
“If you hit groundballs in this league, you’re not going to do well,” said Grifol. “We need to step up baseball. This guy did a good job of keeping the ball down and bringing up the ground balls. But you still have to make adjustments and get the ball up in the air.”
The Sox have lost six of their seven losses, while scoring two runs or fewer in five of those losses.
“Just trying to push the ball forward, that’s the biggest thing,” Vaughn said. “Put it in the gap and try to cause damage. Just hit good shots and make a good swing.”
The Royals hit three homers — two against starter Jesse Scholtens — while the Sox (53-85) fell to a season-high 32 games under .500.
Asked about the overall performance, Grifol said: “There will always be inconsistent performances in games like this. Am I OK? No I’m not. Am I going to address it? Yes, I am.
“I’m not going to get too involved with it. I didn’t like it for the most part and we’ll take care of it.”
Luis Robert Jr. is targeting a return on Wednesday
The Sox midfielder was sidelined for the third straight game with right quadriceps cramps. Ahead of the game, Grifol said Robert was “fit for everyday use” and unlikely to play on Tuesday.
“He’s feeling a lot better, that’s really encouraging,” said Grifol. “We might shoot for Wednesday. That would be perfect as Thursday is free and we can go back to his normal schedule on Friday. The most important thing is that he is doing much better.
“The spasm was so severe that it lasted for a few days. And we just want to make sure he’s perfectly healthy, that’s all.”
Grifol said substitute Jimmy Lambert has had ankle problems “for a while”.
The Sox put the right-hander on the 15-day injured list with a right ankle infection. He walked out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Tigers while facing his second batter.
“It was clear he felt a little uncomfortable pitching yesterday and there’s no reason for that, so the doctors are going to see him and we’ll see where that goes,” Grifol said.
On the same move, the Sox recalled right-hander Declan Cronin from Triple-A Charlotte.
Seby Zavala destined for use
Before the game, the Sox recalled Zavala from his injury rehab assignment in Charlotte, reinstated him from the injured list and designated him for the assignment.
Zavala went to the IL on Aug. 3 with a left slash strain. He hits .155 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 66 games this season.
“We gained a couple of catchers in those (deadline) trades and one is obviously Korey Lee and the (September) roster unfortunately only has 28 and we can’t promote three (catchers),” Grifol said. “He has no more (minor league) options. It’s unfortunate. He is of great value to someone. If we had another place it would probably be here, but we don’t have that place.”
The Sox selected Zavala from San Diego State in the 12th round of the 2015 draft. He has a .205 career average with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in four seasons with the Sox.
He hit three home runs, including a grand slam, in a game on July 31, 2021 against Cleveland. Zavala hit a home run and a crucial walk before Tim Anderson’s game-winning home run against the New York Yankees in the opening game Field of Dreams game on August 12, 2021 in Dyersville, Iowa.
“I like him in terms of catching,” said Grifol. “Obviously he didn’t have the year offensively that he wanted. But he knows what he’s doing there, he knows how to use a staff and I only expect great things from him.”
https://www.twincities.com/2023/09/04/chicago-white-sox-cant-get-off-the-ground-again-in-a-12-1-loss-in-kansas-city-their-6th-defeat-in-7-games-and-85th-of-the-season/ The Chicago White Sox are struggling to bounce back from a 12-1 loss in Kansas City – their sixth loss in seven games and 85th of the season