The White Sox collects a double head split against the Guardians but leave much to be desired

If the White Sox are frustrated with their constant struggle at home and against their MLS rivals, they don’t admit it publicly.

“There are a lot of seasons to play,” right-handed Johnny Cueto said through an interpreter after seeing his good start in vain in the first game loss to the Guardians. “We can’t keep our heads down. We have to keep playing and make the most of every day.”

But the days are waning, and Sox fans are becoming less impatient with head coach Tony La Russa, even after their separation from the young and struggling Guardians. Cleveland won the opening game 7-4 after giving up their 4-1 lead, and the Sox won the Cup of the Night 5-4 after letting 3-0 Edge slip away.

AJ Pollock eliminated twice, twice in the eighth inning in Game 2 on a 4-3 deficit, and Matt Foster finished off on his first tackle.

That left Sox (47-48) four games behind the division’s leading twins and two behind the Guardians in second place.

When Liam Hendrix was usually close to an All-Star, he collapsed during the ninth of the three-round decider of the opener, chanting “Fire Tony!” It arose around a guaranteed rate field.

It was hard to see how La Rosa was wrong because Hendrix gave up four strokes and sacrifice in the first six hits he faced. Hendriks have been superb recently, with the last 21 players he’s faced in more than 15 games retired before Saturday.

But Hendrix being human was more than some fans of a team expecting to turn into the AL Central title had expected at the moment.

“Fire Tony!” Cheers – back when the Bulls melted again in the seventh inning of the Night Cup, immediately allowing four runs after grabbing the shutdown from Lance Lane.

Lynn was brilliant when the Sox needed him most, allowing three hits in six goalless rounds in one of his best rounds. But Jose Ruiz and Reinaldo Lopez gave up the lead in seventh before the Sox recovered in eighth.

All this from a team that seemed to turn around when they won three of four on the road against the Twins heading into the All-Star Break. But then the Sox dropped two of the three to the rookie Guardians to dissipate some of the momentum – and forgive the fans – that they had.

“A tough loss. There wasn’t a lot of analysis,” La Rossa said after the opening.

But perhaps there is something to be learned from how the Guardians exceeded everyone’s expectations while the Sox did not live up to theirs.

Koito, a surprising bright spot in a mostly disappointing season, worked out problems all day beyond the fifth inning.

Together the Guardians did a run, a hitter, a Stephen Kwan RBI double, and Amed Rosario’s singles and four-run foul. One was not gained by right-hand man Gavin Sheets’ throwing mistake in Rosario’s strike—perhaps from the Revolutionary Guard’s opportunistic primary attack style.

They did it last year [too]La Rosa said. “We defend it better, but that’s one of the things they do – [be] aggressive to the rules.

What the Guardians don’t do is strike. They are the best contact team in MLB and have not gone out once in seven rounds against Cueto. It’s the first time in the 12th season that no one has smelled.

“I wasn’t trying to hit anyone,” Koito said. “I just tried to connect with others, get good players and play as much as possible.”

The Guardians pushed-tempo into the night cup, too, when Jose Ramirez and Andres Jimenez turned the clear singles left into a rowdy double.

At first, left-footed Eloy Jimenez—whose singles zombie Sox put Sox 3-0 in sixth—was late to return the ball to the field, and in the second, his throw was out of line.

“It’s a good team, a young team,” Koito said. “Everyone runs a lot, almost everyone. They know how to play the game. … They just take advantage of their abilities.”

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