TA ejected as White Sox frustrations boil over

July 30th, 2022

CHICAGO -- Josh Harrison didn’t see Tim Anderson’s seventh-inning reaction leading to the White Sox shortstop’s ejection during Chicago's 7-3 loss to Oakland on Friday evening at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Moments earlier, Harrison had homered off A’s reliever Domingo Acevedo, cutting the margin to 5-3, so he missed the argument between Anderson and home plate umpire Nick Mahrley. Anderson took umbrage with a called strike on the first pitch of his at-bat that apparently just clipped the top of the zone, per Statcast.

Anderson, who is the emotional leader of this squad, was expressing frustration concerning this at-bat, specifically. But in a way, it also could be representative of the frustration felt for much of this 49-50 squad's 2022 season.

“When you have a couple of pitches like that that might have gone against Tim tonight, sometimes you’ve gotta speak up,” Harrison said of Anderson, who chose not to talk postgame. “It might look like the bad guy. It wasn’t just him.

“I think there were a couple of [those] tonight we had. Pito [José Abreu] had a couple. It’s just voicing frustration for the whole team. We have to come back tomorrow. All that is wiped away. Nothing affects tomorrow. It’s a whole other day.”

Anderson, who finished 1-for-3 in the second straight White Sox setback, had a few words for Mahrley after the called strike. The two went back and forth momentarily before Anderson made one more comment, and Mahrley ejected him with the 0-1 count.

During Anderson’s more forceful following argument, his helmet bumped Mahrley’s hat, which the umpire pointed out. But manager Tony La Russa, who also was eventually ejected, didn’t speculate postgame if that situation would lead to a suspension.

“I think I saw the umpire moving forward quite a bit, which they're taught not to do that,” La Russa said. “I didn't see any contact that I know.

“Umpires aren't robots either. They can get emotional and they can get upset. But they're supposed to be the cooler head. Because if you try to take the emotion out of the game, it's not entertaining.”

La Russa was disappointed with Mahrley, adding he didn’t believe Anderson cursed at him during the initial argument.

“If you don’t allow a player to be emotional, [and] you have a bunch of robots out here playing, that’s not entertaining,” La Russa said. “That at-bat, I thought the pitches were questionable.

“He got upset. I think you need to allow players to spark, as long as they don’t cross a line. And that thing escalated before Tim did anything. He’s fired up. That’s the way he plays. That’s the way you’re supposed to play. I remember that umpires are human beings, too, and they can get upset. But part of their training is you've got to let players be emotional, as long as they don't get disrespectful or get vulgar.”

Lost in this seventh inning uprising was another rough home outing for the White Sox, who dropped to 21-28 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Chicago finished with a 53-28 record at home during the 2021 campaign.

After grabbing a 1-0 lead on Abreu’s run-scoring single in the first, Stephen Piscotty launched a three-run homer off Lance Lynn in the second and Oakland (39-63) never trailed from there. Seth Brown and Elvis Andrus also homered off Lynn (1-4), who allowed five runs -- four of them earned -- over 5 2/3 innings, but struck out eight.

“When you strike out as many as you did and don’t walk anybody, the stuff is there. I just got to keep the ball in the ballpark, and stop making mistakes,” Lynn said. “So it’s one of those ones, you take some positives from it, but when it’s all said and done, I've got to keep the ball in the ballpark.”

Harrison was questioned postgame about missing chemistry on this team or something missing overall from a group initially projected to repeat in the AL Central. But chemistry is not the issue, nor is this team’s fire, as shown by Anderson Friday night.

This group needs to play better baseball overall, more consistently over their final 63 games, while trusting each other and not trying to do too much on their own.

“Chemistry doesn’t necessarily translate to wins,” Harrison said. “It can, but at the end of the day, you can have the greatest chemistry and go out and play terrible baseball. You have guys who show up every day pulling for each other and I don’t think it’s a question.”