Cairo takes blame for Sox' gutting loss to Guardians originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Mere minutes after the White Sox suffered their most gutting defeat of the 2022 season, acting manager Miguel Cairo stepped to the microphone in front of a room full of reporters.
His message was direct: The 10-7 defeat his club suffered to the Cleveland Guardians Tuesday night, which placed the White Sox' playoff hopes on the precipice, falls squarely on his shoulders.
"I think I made a few moves I shouldn't (have) made. I think it's on me," Cairo said. "Today was on me. Our players fight. They fought hard.
"Today was on me. That was totally on me."
Asked three times to elaborate on the moves to which he referred, Cairo declined to delve into specifics. Although one can guess that the ill-fated bullpen deployments of Jimmy Lambert to start the seventh inning or Jake Diekman in the 11th qualify.
"I should have done a better job today. I didn't do my job, and I let my team down," Cairo said. "We gotta go and perform (tomorrow). I gotta perform too."
He later added that he "wasn't prepared."
This was a manager falling on the sword for a team that, with their backs against the wall, did fight. There was the three-run sixth inning that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Or the 10th-inning rally against star closer Emmanuel Clase that culminated in a two-strike RBI single by José Abreu that knotted the contest 5-5.
Ultimately those efforts fell short, leaving the White Sox five games back of the Guardians for the AL Central lead with only 14 games to play. Six games back if factoring in that Cleveland's win clinched the head-to-head tiebreak between the teams.
But Cairo's players pointed to lacking execution for that shortcoming, not his game management.
"No. We had a bunch of stuff," left fielder AJ Pollock said when presented with Cairo's comments. "I had a funky play in the beginning. I was trying to make an aggressive play and got caught in a weird spot and it was probably a double and it ended up being a triple and the run ended up scoring. It was a big run. Couple missed opportunities throughout the game. Couple of defensive miscues.
"No, I mean it was execution on our end for sure. Miggy, I thought he did a good job of getting the guys out there and putting guys in the right spots. We just didn't win."
Pollock went 3-for-5 with a home run and 3 RBI in the game. But he also stumbled tracking down a fly ball struck by Andrés Giménez in the second inning. Giménez logged a triple because of the miscue and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly.
That was the only run allowed by Dylan Cease in six innings of work. But despite exiting the game in line for a win, it was far from a sterling outing. Cease racked up 50 pitches in the first two innings, limiting his longevity even after he settled in to throw 57 pitches in the next four frames.
"I feel like we were ready," Cease said in response to Cairo's preparedness comment. "I think if anything me not being efficient — if I'm efficient maybe I go 7, 8 (innings) and save some (bullpen) arms. So I would say that's as big of a reason as why we lost as anything."
Plenty of other execution errors leap off the scorebook as well, mainly from an 11th inning that saw the Guardians post five runs and compel fans to flood the exits.
Diekman allowed three hits, sent two wild pitches to the backstop and walked one batter in the inning. Twice Guardians batters swiped third base — the latter of which featured a Seby Zavala throw skipping past Yoán Moncada into left field, allowing Cleveland to plate their 10th run.
What few faithful White Sox fans remained offered boos in response.
Wherever you assign blame, the loss lengthens the Sox' odds at an improbable run to a playoff berth.
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