John Means came back to earth in his fourth big league start. Like his Orioles pitching peers, it was the home run that did him in. Over five innings, the rookie allowed four runs on six hits, including two home runs, one walk and two strikeouts.
The lefty was not bad, per se. He just did not seem to be quite as in control as he had been in previous outings. The change-up wasn’t as biting. The location wasn’t as precise. Means just did not have his best stuff. It happens. Welcome to life at the highest level!
Following a 1-2-3 first inning, James McCann led off the second with a single before being forced out at second base on a Yoan Moncada fielder’s choice. Means nearly worked out of trouble, forcing Jose Rondon to pop out. But Yonder Alonso made him pay for a mistake in the middle of the plate. Manny Machado’s brother-in-law launched a line drive into the right-center field bleachers to score Rondon and gave the White Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Adam Engel led off in the third inning and also reached via a single to set the table for a long ball. Engel reached base on a bunt single that Chris Davis fielded cleanly at first base, but then whiffed on the attempted tag on Engel. That was a mistake that would come back to bite.
Tim Anderson, bat flipper extraordinaire, stayed hot at the plate with his six home run of the season. It was Means’s trusty change-up that defied him, remaining hung in the middle of the plate like a batting practice fastball. Anderson smacked it into the Chicago night sky to give the home team their third and fourth runs of the game.
Let them know who your AL Player of the Month is. pic.twitter.com/WgbSOrktYg— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 30, 2019
In between the two Chicago long balls, Orioles catcher Pedro Severino made his own jaunt around the bases with a wall-scrapper into the bullpen in right field. Entering this season, the backstop had just four career home runs over 105 games. He has doubled that amount in 14 games as a Bird.
The O’s offense blew a gold opportunity in the fifth inning. Severino walked and then moved to third base as Rio Ruiz reached second on a pair of throwing errors by White Sox infielders with no outs. According to FanGraphs, the Orioles should have scored about 1.92 runs from that scenario. Instead, they did not score at all. Richie Martin struck out, Jonathan Villar lined out and Renato Nunez flew out to end the last real threat.
Chris Davis did what he could to make up for his poor tag attempt earlier with a pair or RBI singles. In the sixth, he brought Dwight Smith Jr. home with a base hit to left field before being thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. In the eighth, another single to left field by Davis scored Smith Jr. again to draw the Orioles within two runs.
The deficit would have been just one run had Tanner Scott not lost the strike zone in the previous frame. The flame-throwing lefty came on in relief of Yefry Ramirez and immediately struck out Moncada, but then allowed a single and two walks, bringing in the White Sox fifth and final run of the day.
The Orioles could not must any more offense as they went down in order in the ninth inning, losing 5-3 to the White Sox. The struggles against the AL Central continue.
These two sides will meet up again for game two on Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. EST in Chicago. Andrew Cashner (4-1, 4.18 ERA) will start for the good guys. He will be opposed by Ivan Nova (0-3, 8.42).