White Sox can't sweep Blue Jays, fall below .500 again

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Sox observations: Giolito shelled, again originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox still can’t quite crack the .500 threshold, but they’re getting closer. The team had an opportunity to not only sweep the Blue Jays on Wednesday, but also to secure a winning record for the first time since May 25 when they were 22-21. But coming off of Tuesday night’s 12-inning victory, and with Tim Anderson taking a doctor-mandated off day, the team came out flat and fell 9-5. Regardless of the missed opportunity, the White Sox have been playing much better baseball lately, and will try again to break through for a winning record when the Orioles come to town.

LUCAS GIOLITO SHELLED, AGAIN

Giolito hasn’t been quite right throughout the month of June. He’s fallen behind in counts and been forced to throw hitter-friendly pitches. When he’s been hit, he’s been hit hard. And on Wednesday, the Blue Jays offense, which had been stymied by Dylan Cease the night before, broke out in a big way. Toronto hitters managed to hit five balls with an exit velocity of 100 mph or more against Giolito. They hit two balls with an exit velo over 105 mph. That resulted in 11 hits and seven earned runs in just five innings, capped by a Bo Bichette grand slam. Giolito’s ERA has now ballooned to 9.00 in June.

INJURY BUG BITES AGAIN, AND AGAIN

With Tim Anderson returning to action on Monday, Liam Hendriks’ rehab progressing well, and Eloy Jimenez’ rehab assignment restarting in Triple-A, it seemed like the White Sox were finally starting to become a healthy team again. But as they took one step forward, they took two steps back. It started in the second inning when Danny Mendick collided in foul territory with Adam Haseley, when the two converged to make an out. He needed to be helped off the field and was taken out of the game with right knee discomfort. Two innings later, Adam Engel exited too, with right hamstring soreness. It’s unclear what caused Engel’s injury, since he struck out in his previous at-bat and didn’t need to run the basepaths. During the game there was no update on the severity of either man’s injury, but if either one misses significant time, it will be a blow to the team’s depth.

MANY RELIEVERS REST

If there’s any silver lining to be found in the big loss, it’s that most of the bullpen got to take a breather. With Liam Hendriks nursing a right forearm strain, the rest of the relievers have been tasked with taking on a bigger burden, especially in high-leverage situations. That was accentuated in the Blue Jays series, as each of the previous two games ended up being one-run margins of victory. Tack on Tuesday’s 12-inning affair, with no day off scheduled until next Thursday, and the opportunity to rest several relievers may have been a blessing in disguise.

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