Chicago White Sox can’t get off the ground again in a 12-1 loss in Kansas City — their 6th defeat in 7 games and 85th of the season
For a portion of Monday afternoon, the Chicago White Sox were trending toward the wrong end of history.
Displaying pinpoint control, Kansas City Royals starter Cole Ragans retired the first 13 batters at Kauffman Stadium. Yoán Moncada broke up the bid for perfection, lofting a single to center with one out in the fifth.
The Sox finished with three hits in a 12-1 loss in front of 10,646. Ragans allowed one hit and struck out seven in six scoreless innings.
“He’s got five pitches,” Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn said. “In today’s game guys are throwing hard, but a lefty throwing 98 (mph), commanding his stuff, you don’t see like that every day.”
Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Ragans, named the American League Pitcher of the Month for August on Sunday, was “pretty electric.”
The other two Sox hits — a double by Lenyn Sosa and an infield single by Trayce Thompson — came in the eighth.
Chasing pitches and hitting ground balls have been issues all year for the Sox. According to MLB Statcast, their 33.1% chase percentage is the highest in the majors and their 46.4% ground-ball rate is the highest in the AL.
The Sox grounded out 12 times Monday.
“You hit ground balls in this league, you’re not going to fare well,” Grifol said. “We have to elevate the baseball. That guy did a good job of keeping the ball down and inducing those ground balls. But you’ve still got to make adjustments and get the ball in the air.”
The Sox have lost six of seven, scoring two or fewer runs in five of those defeats.
“Just trying to drive the ball, that’s the biggest thing,” Vaughn said. “Put it in the gap, try to do damage. Just get good at-bats and put a good swing on it.”
The Royals hit three homers — two against starter Jesse Scholtens — as the Sox (53-85) fell to a season-high 32 games under .500.
Asked about overall effort, Grifol said: “In games like that you’re always going to get inconsistent effort. Am I OK with it? No, I am not. Am I going to address it? Yes, I am.
“I’m not going to get too deep in the effort. I didn’t like it for the most part and we’ll address it.”
Luis Robert Jr. aims for Wednesday return
The Sox center fielder was out of the lineup for the third straight game with right quadriceps cramping. Before the game, Grifol said Robert is “day to day” and probably wouldn’t play Tuesday.
“He’s feeling way better, which is really encouraging,” Grifol said. “We’re shooting for maybe Wednesday. Which would be perfect because Thursday’s off and we can go back to his normal schedule Friday. The most important thing is he’s way better.
“The cramp was significant enough to kind of linger for a couple days. And we just want to make sure he’s completely healthy, that’s all.”
Grifol said reliever Jimmy Lambert has had ankle discomfort “for a while.”
The Sox placed the right-hander on the 15-day injured list with right ankle inflammation. He left Sunday’s game against the Detroit Tigers while facing his second batter.
“It was clear that yesterday he was pitching with some discomfort and there’s no need for that, so he’s getting evaluated by the doctors and we’ll see where it goes,” Grifol said.
In the corresponding move, the Sox recalled right-hander Declan Cronin from Triple-A Charlotte.
Seby Zavala designated for assignment
Before the game, the Sox returned Zavala from his injury rehabilitation assignment at Charlotte, reinstated him from the injured list and designated him for assignment.
Zavala went on the IL on Aug. 3 with a strained left oblique. He’s hitting .155 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 66 games this season.
“We acquired a couple catchers in those (deadline) trades and one is obviously Korey Lee, and the (September) rosters unfortunately only carry 28 and we can’t carry three (catchers),” Grifol said. “He’s out of (minor-league) options. It’s unfortunate. He has major-league value for somebody. Probably if we had one other spot he’d be here, but we don’t have that spot.”
The Sox selected Zavala in the 12th round of the 2015 draft out of San Diego State. He has a career .205 average with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in four seasons with the Sox.
He hit three homers, including a grand slam, in a July 31, 2021, game against Cleveland. Zavala homered and drew a key walk ahead of Tim Anderson’s game-winning home run against the New York Yankees in the inaugural Field of Dreams game on Aug. 12, 2021, in Dyersville, Iowa.
“I like him catching-wise,” Grifol said. “Obviously, offensively he didn’t have the year he wanted to have. But he knows what he’s doing back there, he knows how to handle a staff and I’m hoping for nothing but great things from him.”
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