As Majors players rested over Memorial Day weekend, the statisticians were deep at work modeling out playoff scenarios with only two regular season games left for each team. The only spot locked at this point is the number one seed and accompanying 7th or 8th pick in next year’s draft for the White Sox. The Sox downed the Orioles on Tuesday night and then bested the Dodgers on Thursday to push their record to 11-1 and secure a 4th consecutive regular season title.
But in a similar fashion to last year, there could be major swings in seedings this week. The Athletics currently hold the second seed with an 8-4 record. They have two tough games this week with the Padres, winners of three in a row, on Tuesday and the White Sox on Thursday. The Dodgers and Red Sox are on their heels with 7-5 records each. The Dodgers, however, hold the tie breaker over both teams. One game back are the Padres at 6-6. Even though the Padres currently sit in 5th place, with wins over the As and Red Sox this week and a little help from others, the Pads could leap frog all the way to the #2 seed.
While seeds 2-5 could go to any of four teams, so too could seeds 6-8 also go to any of three teams, the Cardinals, Orioles or Diamondbacks. Interestingly, these teams all play each other this week as they jockey for position. The Diamondbacks and Orioles play on Tuesday night at 5:00 on the Skillings turf. In order to have a chance to climb out of the 8th seed, the Diamondbacks need to win on Tuesday. They come in having pulled off a victory over the Athletics last Wednesday night.
There are three games at Nutile on each of Tuesday and Thursday this week and also a 7 pm Wednesday night tilt between the Cardinals and Orioles. The snack shack will be open.
Game summaries from last 10 days:
Friday May 20 – Red Sox at A’s
The A’s and Red Sox squared off in a matchup on Field B to cap a busy week for both teams and featured a matchup of veterans Daniel Driscoll for the A’s and Sam Pandolfo for the Sox. The As would be playing shorthanded though, with only 8 players taking the field, and it almost caught them early as the Red Sox came out swinging. But Shane Doherty made great plays covering left and center and tracking down an opening drive by Jovic Stachelski and then gunning out Harry Condon who was trying to go from first to third on a Pandolfo double. The A’s escaped the inning only giving up 1 run and responded with two of their own in the bottom of the first with singles by DeChristoforo and Max Brown.
The teams would trade a couple of runs in the second with both pitchers preventing big innings, but both teams would score 4 in the third. The Red Sox rally was led by Stachelski who got things going with a single and Max Wilcken and Grady Sullivan produced run scoring singles. The bottom half for the A’s featured hits from the rookie Dean Roberts to get things going, and then consecutive hits from Damon Ramonos and BZ. The A’s led 10-6 heading to the sixth but the Red Sox wouldn’t go out without a fight. Will Bailey led things off with a single and he would come around to score on a fielder’s choice by Stachelski. After Harry Condon reached on an error, the Sox had the tying run at the plate with Sam Pandfolfo stepping to the box but he would be denied a chance for theatrics after getting hit by a pitch. Max Brown then struck out the final batter, stranding the tying runs on base with the dangerous Jack Silberhorn waiting on deck. The A’s and Red Sox both wound up going 1-2 on the week.
Tuesday May 24 – Orioles at White Sox
Nathan Wan toed the rubber for the White Sox on Tuesday and would record a rare feat in the second inning (more on that below) while his summer league teammate River Maclin pitched for the Orioles. The Orioles’ Noah Biel reached on an error and Maclin walked in the first to put some pressure on Wan with only one out. Wan was able to get a strikeout for out two, however, and then catcher Leo Gannon gunned down the lead runner at third base in an attempted advance on a passed ball to end the threat. In the bottom of the first, the White Sox got to work. Gannon reached on a HBP and Adrian Lupien laced a double to left field with one out. Leo D’Agostino singled past second baseman Carlos Nouel to drive in the first run and then Wan helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly for run number two.
Wan settled down nicely in the second and recorded three strikeouts on nine pitches, a so-called immaculate inning. Such an inning has only happened 41 times in the history of MLB, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Wan would go on to pitch four scoreless innings, walking one and striking out nine.
In the bottom of the third, with the score still 2-0 White Sox, Gannon would single in front of a Lupien walk and a Wan fielder’s choice. Evan Wilson then scorched a two run single to left field, scoring Lupien and D’Agostino. After a Dylan Sala single, Dylan Murtie drove in a run with a groundout and Billy Byrne drew a walk that would force in the 6thrun of the night for the Sox.
The White Sox would add eight more runs in the 4th and 5th. Sala came in to pitch the 5th and 6th innings for the Sox who went on to win 14-4.
Brendan Carson and Gus Toomey pitched in relief of Maclin for the Orioles.
Tuesday May 24 – Cardinals at Red Sox
The Cardinals struck for two runs in the top of the first inning as Cormac Burkhart showed off his speed on a two-out triple that scored Moby Myers and Eli Krogmeier. The Red Sox answered right back in the bottom of the first as Sam Pandolfo followed up a single by Tim Dean with an outfield hit that scored them both.
In the top of the second, Christian Sochat crushed a ball to the center field fence and later scored on a single by leadoff hitter William Ferrari, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
The pitching settled in from there as Owen Richardson, William Ferrari, and Christian Sochat threw well for the Cardinals. Tim Dean, Jovic Stchelski, and Jack Silberhorn toed the rubber for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox battled to tie the game in the fourth, as Harry Condon led off the inning with a double and later came around to score on a two-out single by Jovic Stachelski.
The game was tied heading to the bottom of the fifth when Tim Dean hit a leadoff single and Sam Pandolfo followed with a walk. Max Wilcken then hit a one-out double that scored Dean and Pandolfo. Wilcken then scored on a double by Grady Sullivan, and Sullivan crossed the plate on an RBI groundout from Harry Condon, giving the Red Sox a 7-3 victory.
For the Cardinals, William Ferrari, Eli Krogmeier, and Nolan Byrne all reached base multiple times, and Max Richardson showed impressive skills behind the plate, including an amazing throw to nail a would-be base stealer.
For the Red Sox, Stachelski, Dean, Pandolfo, and Sullivan all reached base multiple times. In the postgame huddle, Wilcken told teammates that his game winning hit was powered by a pregame meal of Swedish meatballs.
Thursday May 26 – Red Sox at Diamondbacks
The final Majors game of the 2022 season to be played on the B diamond also turned out to be the longest game of the 2022 Majors season. In a game that lasted over two and a half hours, 10 pitchers combined to throw 333 pitches, as the Red Sox won a slugfest against the Diamondbacks, 17-9.
The Red Sox scored two in the first on a triple by Tim Dean and hits from Sam Pandolfo, Jack Silberhorn, and Grady Sullivan. The Diamondbacks answered back in the bottom half of the inning with two runs of their own, as Cole Cassidy and Will Brown both crossed the plate on a double off the bat of Cisco Romero.
The game remained tied through the second inning, and then the action started. The Red Sox scored 5 in the third, 4 in the fourth, and 6 in the fifth, to take a 17-3 lead. The big hits during the Sox outburst came from Sam Pandolfo, Grady Sullivan, Max Wilcken, and Luke Bailey.
The Diamondbacks responded with some fireworks of their own in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ben Mucci, Caleb Davis, and Octavio Marino all reached base to start the inning. Cole Cassidy then doubled in two of those runners and Liam Stendardo followed with a two-run double of his own. That’s when the Big Cat, Will Brown, stepped to the plate and tattooed one over the left field fence all the way onto the infield of the C diamond for a two run home run.
Following the home run from Brown, Max Wilcken took the mound and put out the fire. Jovic Stachelski then pitched a scoreless sixth inning to close out the win for the Red Sox.
The game featured excellent work behind the plate from a trio of catchers on both teams. Will Brown, Cole Cassidy, and Justin Guidara handled the catching for the Dbacks, while Jack Silberhorn, Nicky Ulbricht-Puopolo, and Max Wilcken got the job done for the Sox.
Sam Pandolfo and Grady Sullivan both reached base five times for the Red Sox, while Jack Silberhorn reached four times, including a double off the silver monster in left field.
Thursday May 26 – White Sox at Dodgers
In the final regular season game of the season between these foes, William Fiorentino started for the White Sox and Kaden Flummerfelt for the Dodgers in the nightcap on C. The White Sox started hot with the first six batters reaching base successfully including four singles by Fiorentino, Adrian Lupien, Leo Gannon and Nathan Wan and walks by Ben Ragosa and Leo D’Agostino. This led to four runs crossing the plate and one runner thrown out at home on an attempted advance on a passed ball. With two outs, Dylan Murtie singled to center field and the Sox had a 5-0 lead after the first half inning. In the top of the second, the White Sox would add another run thanks to a single by Fiorentino, a double by Ragosa and another single by Lupien. The Sox would get another runner thrown out at the plate, however, and took a 6-0 lead into the last half of the second inning.
Fiorentino worked efficiently through two innings before the Dodgers got on the board in the 3rd. Parker Tammaro and Darren Shaw sandwiched singles around a Will Kueggler walk to load the bases. Charlie Ihrig and Kaden Flummerfelt each reached on errors that would score two runs a piece and Dodgers were back in the game at 6-4 after 3 innings.
Rami Flummerfelt relieved Kaden in the second inning and then worked beautifully through the rest of the game for the Dodgers. He allowed only one run on 85 pitches through 4 and 2/3 innings of relief, striking out 9 while walking 3.
Trailing 6-4 after three innings, the Dodgers would get runners in scoring position in each of the 4th and 5th innings but Fiorentino closed out the 4th and Evan Wilson would pitch a scoreless 5th inning for the White Sox despite the base runners. Wilson would settle down for a 1, 2, 3, 6th inning to secure the victory for the White Sox and clinch the regular season title.