The renovation began Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
If the Chicago White Sox are going to salvage this crazy and confusing season, the players realized at 5:00 pm that they were on their own.
they responded by defeating the lowly Kansas City Royals, who proved to be even more inept defensively than the Sox.
Lance Lynn took the mound Wednesday afternoon in the decider, hoping to give the Sox back-to-back series wins against the AL’s two worst teams, which would put them two games over .500.
After ongoing debate about what the Red Sox needed to acquire before Tuesday’s trade deadline, the front office made only one move in the past 48 hours, acquiring left-handed reliever Jake Diekman from the Boston Red Sox.
General manager Rick Hahn spent a good chunk of his post-deadline media scrum talking about his disappointment of not being able to reach another agreement. It was almost as if he was apologizing to the players for not doing what GMs usually do when their team is in a three-way battle for the division at the deadline.
Manager Tony La Russa, who didn’t speak before the game because the Sox decided not to make him available, had a different point of view. Asked later about his reaction to the Red Sox’s lack of movement, La Russa said they were “very pleased.” with the acquisition of Diekman, and the players were happy that Hahn did his best.
“We talk about it just because they communicate,” La Russa said. “Rick was down there talking. The effort is what counts in that clubhouse. I mean, that’s the reward for the guys, to know (Hahn tried). “
“Because, as you saw, a lot of clubs were very active, and even until the last minute (the Red Sox) they were looking for something that went somewhere else. So we had a very good attitude knowing that they were behind someone and they are very satisfied with what they did.
La Russa noted that the Sox were without injured left-handers Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet and said the lone left-hander, Tanner Banks, was “more of a starting pitcher” than a reliever. She said Diekman was “an exceptional gift to us” going down the stretch.
“We like what we have,” La Russa said. “We just have to stay healthy.”
White Sox analyst and former slugger Frank Thomas said after Monday’s loss to the Royals that watching the White Sox lose these days is “like death by 1,000 paper cuts.”
However, the Sox would still have to win the AL Central despite themselves.
As aggravating as it may be, the Sox have all their key pieces back with the return of Luis Robert and a relatively easy path to the playoffs, but nothing is easy for this team.
Hahn’s request for an infusion of “swagger” was answered in Tuesday’s first inning when the entire bench erupted to dispute a limit call by plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. The whole stadium heard them.
Starter Lucas Giolito admitted the swagger has been lost this season.
“I would say a little bit, just because of the things we’ve been dealing with this year,” he said. “But if there’s a game to bring back the swagger, it’s definitely tonight. We show it there.”
Giolito did not elaborate on “the things” they have been dealing with. A short list would surely have to include injuries, the inability to get on a hot streak and daily controversies involving La Russa’s decision-making, commentary or drowsiness during his turn on the bench.
The Red Sox knew what they were getting into when they brought La Russa back to the bench after a nine-year absence, but last season’s good run made the signing a non-issue in October. Now, the Red Sox don’t feel like the media is treating La Russa fairly and they voiced that to me Tuesday after I tweeted that La Russa wasn’t speaking before the game, predictably drawing dozens of responses about “time to the NAP”.
The Sox said the 77-year-old La Russa was unavailable because Hahn was scheduled to speak, although he could have shadowed Hahn, as he usually does.
Perhaps, but they seemed more concerned about the brief clip of La Russa closing his eyes, taken from Monday’s NBC Sports Chicago broadcast. It went viral on Twitter Monday night and spawned articles in the New York Post and various media outlets on Tuesday. The video was even discussed on the Red Sox’s premier radio station, ESPN-1000, which objectively covers the Red Sox the same way Marquee Sports Network should cover the Cubs.
La Russa did not fall asleep. She apparently was affected by the homeostatic drive to sleep, the feeling of pressure to go to sleep. This happens to many and he was immortalized by Jackie Gleason in an episode of “The Honeymooners” in which he fights his eyelids from closing as he watches television.
When it happens, either you give up, like Ralph Kramden did, or you give up, like La Russa did.
But the damage was done. The memes will be there forever. It was a bad look for La Russa, but he has thicker skin than most managers, so he’ll be fine. The Sox’s napgate of hope is over, as did the intentional walk to Trea Turner on a 1-2 count and other La Russaisms.
In a season where Sox players have been accused of sleepwalking, it was just another day on the South Side.
But the replay gives them a chance to put everything that happened before Tuesday in the past. Each game will be the biggest of the season for the Red Sox, who could return from the upcoming road trip to Arlington, Texas, and Kansas City, Mo., first.
Close your eyes for a second and imagine that.
Don’t forget to open them again.