And this? This is why you don't drop that first game of the series.
Coming into the game, if there was an expectation of disaster to come, it was equal parts the prospect of the Red Sox taking on Chris Sale as Clay Buchholz taking on literally any professional lineup. When last we left Clay Buchholz, starter, he was a total mess with little to recommend him, and it's not like he's had much opportunity for change.
So when Tim Anderson stood in and promptly made it 1-0 by sending the first pitch of the entire game into the Monster seats for his first career homer in the majors...Well, it seemed about right. Buchholz proceeded to give up a double to Adam Eaton in the next at-bat, allowing the White Sox to make it 2-0 before the inning was out.
But if Buchholz started the game looking a disaster, he ultimately finished it looking...mediocre, I suppose? He surrendered another homer before it was all said and done, but this was not the usual baserunner nightmare parade that we've seen often enough with him. It's a sad thing to admit, but five innings, three earned? The Red Sox would take even that every night from their #5 right now.
Partially, the reason that sort of performance is supposed to be acceptable is because the Red Sox offense is supposed to hit. But they did not do so tonight against Chris Sale. The Chicago lefty seemed wilder than usual at times tonight, but the Red Sox didn't really take advantage of that situation. Their one run made good on back-to-back singles to start the third--an inning where they'd see Hanley strand three baserunners at the end.
There was, in fairness, a decent amount of hard contact against Sale that went unrewarded. But this isn't so much about scoring one run tonight. That will happen. Chris Sale is quite good. And frankly the Red Sox came into this series kind of expecting to split it 2-2, with little hope of winning against the lefty ace.
It is, however, about scoring two total over the last two. That series split is only on the table now if Eduardo Rodriguez can overcome his struggles to outduel Jose Quintana. And even if he does perform well, it's still a question of if the Red Sox lineup can actually prove themselves capable of hitting again. For as amazing and historic as they were earlier this year, they're skirting average in June. And "average" just isn't going to get it done with this rotation, even if Clay Buchholz can provide it with the mediocrity it at this point frankly needs.