White Sox lose to Dodgers after disastrous fifth inning rally

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Sox observations: Disastrous 5th inning sinks Cease originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The White Sox achieved what seemed to be impossible heading into Thursday’s series finale against the Dodgers. They not only scored a run on Tyler Anderson, they put up four runs against him. That put them in the driver’s seat for a series win, but the Dodgers are very good at baseball, and they kept coming at the Sox in waves. The Sox never quit, and nearly pulled off an improbable comeback by scoring two runs in the ninth inning, and getting the winning run to the plate. But in the end they fell short, and it was a 11-9 loss, with the Sox dropping back to three games under .500. Up next, a three game set at home against the Rangers, who have lost six of their last eight games.

FATAL FIFTH FOR DYLAN CEASE

His first time and a half through the Dodgers lineup, Cease had to grind for outs, but he did well to keep their offense at bay. Despite a higher pitch count, he never allowed more than one baserunner on at a time (with a little help from a caught stealing), and kept up his high strikeout rate. When the Sox got out to a 4-0 lead after four innings, it looked like Cease was set up for a hard-earned win. Instead, things fell apart in the fifth inningー although it wasn’t entirely his fault.

After allowing a single and a walk to Cody Bellinger and Gavin Lux, Cease could’ve had an inning-ending double play. But Burger booted the ball, and the inning rolled on. Two batters later, with two runs already in, Cease could’ve had another inning-ending groundout. This time Trea Turner legged out an infield hit, and once again the Dodgers kept the line moving. From that point on, Cease seemed to lose his stuff. He surrendered another double, and a walk, and then his day was done. In the end he gave up six runs, none of them earned, in 4.2 innings. Over his last three starts, Cease has thrown 16.1 innings and given up nine runs, with zero earned runs. Woof.

WHITE SOX END TYLER ANDERSON’S SCORELESS STREAK… AND THEN SOME

Sox hitters had a tough task ahead of them Thursday with Tyler Anderson on the bump. Coming into the game, Anderson had thrown 26 scoreless innings, and had a gaudy 53/6 K/BB ratio on the year. But one wacky triple from Josh Harrison in the third inning opened the floodgates. A few moments later, Danny Mendick was able to send a ball over to the right side of the diamond, plating Harrison and ending Anderson’s streak at 28 innings. In the fourth, the wheels really came off for Anderson, however. In order, Josė Abreu walked, Jake Burger roped a single to left field, A.J. Pollock drove a ball over the right-center wall for a ground-rule double, and Yasmani Grandal walked again. Anderson was pulled, the Sox scored two more runs shortly after and Anderson ended his day with four earned runs in just three innings.

DANNY MENDICK, JAKE BURGER PACE THE OFFENSE

With Tim Anderson on the IL, and every batter not named José Abreu or Andrew Vaughn struggling at the plate, Tony La Russa needed to find a spark from somewhere in the organization. He seems to have found it in two guys who were playing in Triple-A last month: Danny Mendick and Jake Burger. After trying several guys at the top of the lineup, Mendick may be the man to stick until Anderson returns. In the leadoff spot, he’s hitting 5-18 this year, with one walk and five runs. He also managed to drive in Thursday's first run with a sacrifice. Meanwhile, all Burger has done is mash over the past week. In the last seven games, he’s played hero, going 8-19 with three home runs, three doubles and seven RBI. La Russa doesn’t want any hitters thinking too far into the future, and certainly not guys who have been up and down between the big leagues and the minors. But if each man keeps hitting and producing at a consistent rate, they could play themselves into more permanent roles with the team.

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