The Braces’ Windy City Weirdness continued to be strong last night, as they absolutely lit up the ace
of the White Sox, Chris Sale, and took the opener of the three game series 11-8.
Freddie Freeman opened with a two out home run in the top of the first, which the Sox matched in
the bottom when fatman…err…Melky Cabrera singled home Adam Eaton. But, Matt Wisler settled
down and prevented further damage.
So, given a reprieve, Wisler immediately gave it all back, and more, in the bottom of the frame,
helped out by a number of blunders by his teammates. After getting the lead off man, Carlos
Sanchez doubled to deep left. Ender Inciarte, for some reason, thought he could nail Sanchez at
second. Now, with the number of times Inciarte has caught runners, I’m willing to extend the benefit
of the doubt to him, but it was puzzling not only to us viewers, but apparently to both Erick Aybar
and Gordon Beckham, neither of whom covered second. The errant throw allowed Sanchez to take
third. Wisler then induced J.B. Shuck to pop out to right field, but Nick Markakis and Gordon
Beckham misplayed the second out, which wasn’t deep enough to score Sanchez absent a noodle
armed throw, into a double. Tim Anderson, then singled Shuck to third.The next hitter was Adam
Eaton, who dropped a bunt down the third base line, as he fell down in the batter’s box as the pitch
was up around head level. Wisler, instead of letting it roll foul, tried to swipe tag Shuck, and couldn’t
hold on to the ball. A double steal and a Jose Abreu fly ball later, and it was 4-3 Chicago.
But wait! There’s more weirdness!
In the top of the third, Chase d’Arnaud led off with a walk, and was singled to second by Beckham.
Freeman then hit a rocket up the middle right at shortstop Anderson’s feet. d’Arnaud was hung out
to dry, and he guessed (wrongly) that Anderson caught it. Anderson, had in fact, trapped the liner.
He ran over to second, tagged d’arnaud, stepped on the bag to force Beckham, and threw to first to
complete the Sox’s THIRD triple play of the season. At this point, you could be forgiven for thinking
it couldn’t get any weirder. Not so fast, my friend.
In the top of the fourth, Nick Markakis crushed the third homer off Sale, his third in two nights.
Could it get weirder? Oh yes, ye of little faith.
In the Braves’ fifth, d’Arnaud walked to lead off, and Beckham singled him to second. At this point, I
was half expecting another triple play, but Freeman popped out. Markakis beat out a grounder,
Beckham being forced. Then Jeff Francoeur doubled home both runners, followed by doubles from
both the Greek God of Third Base, and Flowers. 8-4 Braves.
Wisler had settled in after the the second, but in the fifth, he gave up a lead off homer to Eaton to
straightaway center. (Eaton’s two hits travelled about 420 feet combined – 15 on his first, and 405 on
his second, I’m guessing.) After getting Abreu and Fatty, Todd Frazier hit a no doubter. 8-6.
After relieving Sale, Chris Beck allowed a lead off double to Ender, who was then doubled home by
d’Arnaud. So, with Aybar’s strikeout to end the fifth, the Braves had 5 doubles in a span of 6 hitters.
The Braves. The 2016 Braves. Yes, them. Weird, huh? Anyway, Beckham had an infield hit, Freeman
walked, and Markakis popped out. Francoeur then hit a rocket to deep left, that Cabrera caught, but
d’Arnaud scored, and Beckham went to third. Adonis singled him home. 11-6 Braves.
Joel De La Cruz relieved Wisler, and got out of the sixth, barely, but then hit Abreu with a pitch and
allowed a Fat Melky double. Frazier hit a sac fly, and when de la Cruz walked Brett Lawrie, Snitker
brought the hook. Chris Withrow came in, and got a strike out and a fly out to end the threat. The
final run came in the ninth, when Mauricio Cabrera allowed two singles to start, but traded the run
for a Frazier DP grounder.
Ho hum, just another routine 11-8 win against a 14 game winner. Nothing to see here.
(Told you it was weird.)