Cannon tosses a gem, but bats struggle vs. Mariners

June 13th, 2024

SEATTLE – The White Sox have spent three nights in Seattle pondering a bright future while fighting through a difficult present.

That trend continued on Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners in 10 innings at T-Mobile Park. Another winnable game for Chicago slipped away by the slimmest of margins and obscured a promising development.

When Mitch Haniger's 70.9 mph blooper found outfield grass and scored Luke Raley to end the game and spark a Seattle celebration by first base, it had been three innings since Chicago’s No. 11 prospect, , had exited the mound from his fourth Major League start.

And while Chicago has lost the first three games of this series, two of them in walk-off fashion, Cannon’s seven brilliant innings should not be forgotten. Amid a season that is going nowhere in the standings, the White Sox young starting pitching is something for fans to look forward to.

“He’s got some weapons, he’s a really tough kid, and he’s got that mindset to put you away,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said of Cannon, who pitched seven innings and gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking one.

“He took a really big step forward tonight.”

If only the rest of the White Sox team could say the same.

Again, the offense couldn’t take advantage in certain key situations, like in the third inning when Korey Lee led off against Mariners right-hander Bryce Miller and doubled. Nicky Lopez followed and tried to bunt Lee to third, but he popped the ball up to third baseman Josh Rojas, and Miller, who pitched seven shutout innings, retired Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets to end that threat.

In the top of the 10th inning, Zach DeLoach’s groundout pushed automatic runner Danny Mendick to third with one out, but Lenyn Sosa grounded out to third and Mariners reliever Trent Thornton struck out pinch-hitter Andrew Benintendi, who was returning from a stint on the injured list.

On the positive side, Luis Robert Jr. made his presence felt with one swing. Robert, who is being eased back into the lineup after his own IL stint with hip problems, took most of the night off to rest but came back to lead off the ninth with his team trailing, 1-0. He blasted the first pitch he saw from right-hander Mike Baumann on a line over the left-field wall at 106.3 mph for a screamer of a game-tying homer.

“I’ve been feeling better every day,” Robert said through an interpreter. “It’s a matter of getting reps and taking it day by day.”

It remains to be seen if Robert will be in a White Sox uniform for the rest of the summer, with his name buzzing around the Trade Deadline hot stove.

But Cannon? He should be on the South Side for a while if Wednesday’s outing was any indication.

He mixed a fastball with movement with an effective sweeper and changeup combination. His one mistake came in the seventh inning against Raley on a changeup he said he shouldn’t have thrown.

But he said he learned a lot Wednesday, just as he had in his time in Triple-A prior to this outing.

“I felt like I had everything working for the first time up here as a starter,” Cannon said. “It’s about keeping consistency from start to start. I feel really confident about where my stuff is.”

The White Sox can only hope to regain the confidence of their entire team to finish off gettable games, especially when they’re so tightly contested.

“They’re playing hard, they’re young, they’re getting good experience in situations that will help them down the road,” Grifol said.

“It hasn’t happened, but these have been three good baseball games here.”