Simply put, the Chicago White Sox are very, very good. They have the best run differential (+79) in Major League Baseball and are now sporting a 34-18 record as they continue to compete for the best record in the American League with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tonight the White Sox managed two Home Runs off of Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the top of the 5th inning to take a 2-0 lead. Nomar Mazara and Tim Anderson provided the long balls in the inning.
The Reds couldn’t manage any runs in their turns at-bat despite threatening in each of the first three innings. They left seven runners on base in those first three frames.
Mazara and Anderson had the two long balls, but that was all the White Sox could manage off of Bauer through his seven innings of work. However, they would quickly tack on some insurance runs when David Bell turned to the bullpen.
Back-to-back-to-back home runs have left the home crowd shocked and silent in Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/TaUko0G10l
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 20, 2020
Robert Stephenson entered the game in top of the eighth and gave up back-to-back-to-back Home Runs before recording an out in the inning. Tim Anderson started the parade off with his second bomb, then Yasmani Grandal, and Jose Abreu followed him up with Home Runs of their own to give the White Sox a comfortable 5-0 advantage.
That 5-0 score would hold for the final as the White Sox snapped the Reds six-game winning streak. It was the Reds seventh shutout through 53 games in 2020. The loss dropped the Reds back below .500 to 26-27 on the season.
Tomorrow’s rubber match will get underway at 1:10 p.m. Eastern Time with Michael Lorenzen taking the mound for Cincinnati versus Dylan Cease of the White Sox.
More of the Same From Trevor Bauer
It is an awfully nice feeling to be able to hand the ball to a starting pitcher and know you are getting somewhere between six and seven innings of excellent work. Trevor Bauer has done that time and time again for the Reds this season, but unfortunately only has a 4-4 record to show for it.
Tonight, Bauer earned a tough-luck loss surrendering just two runs, both solo Home Runs, over the course of seven innings. The Cincinnati offense provided zero runs of run support for Bauer after giving him just one run in his no-decision on Monday.
The National League Cy Young Candidate now has an ERA of 1.80 despite just a 4-4 record. Two of his wins came via complete game shutouts.
Offense Reverts Back to Old Ways
The Reds have spent much of the 2020 season with the worst batting average in Major League Baseball. After hitting .241 during their six-game winning streak they actually climbed out of the cellar into 29th place on the team batting average list. However, their .213 average would still be the third worst of any team since 1900.
This evening, Cincy managed just six hits and left nine runners on base. Seven of those nine came in the first three innings alone as I have already mentioned. With runners in scoring position the team was just 1-10 at the plate. The one hit came in the bottom of the second off the bat of Aristides Aquino but Nick Senzel had to be held up at third base.
After the three Home Runs off of Stephenson it probably wouldn’t have mattered much, but the Reds should have been able to push across a run or two early on in the game to give Trevor Bauer a little bit of run support.
The Reds have absolutely gotten themselves into serious playoff contention thanks to the six-game winning streak and winning seven of their last nine games. In a crowded National League playoff picture there will be a lot of scoreboard watching during the final week of the season.
As things stand this evening, the Reds are now a game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for second place in the National League Central. However, Cincy is technically holding on to the final wild card spot as the #8 seed in the NL thanks to a winning percentage tiebreaker over the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants.