Mendick's scoreless 9th gives levity in tough stretch

June 7th, 2024

CHICAGO -- pitching a scoreless ninth during a 14-2 loss to the Red Sox Thursday night would provide a moment of levity across a 162-game season if the 2024 White Sox overall scenario wasn’t so sad.

This setback at Guaranteed Rate Field marked a 14th straight loss for the White Sox (15-48), setting a single-season franchise record. They have lost eight straight at home and have a 1-18 record over their last 19 making their 3-22 start to this campaign seem like a hot streak.

Mendick threw 15 pitches -- eight fastballs and seven referred to by Statcast as an eephus. He had a couple of those pitches check in as low as 34.3 mph, joking with home-plate umpire Jim Wolf how he was being squeezed before hitting in the bottom of the ninth.

“He liked that one. No, it was all in good fun. He knew that,” Mendick said. “Yeah, I mean, the situation is terrible.

“Do I enjoy doing it? Yeah. But no, you never want to be in a situation where you are down by that much. Tough one, for sure.”

Losses for the White Sox have come in all shapes and sizes during this miserable run. They had the lead in each of their last five games moving into Thursday, including advantages of 5-0 and 5-1 on the Cubs during Crosstown Cup action on Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Thursday’s loss went sideways on the second pitch of the game from Jake Woodford, when Jarren Duran launched a solo home run. The Red Sox (32-31) finished with 24 hits, marking the second time in six games the opposition has topped 20 hits against the White Sox.

“Today could be a little different, based on the score of the game,” White Sox shortstop Paul DeJong said. “But overall, I think the last week we've been playing a lot of tight games and just can't quite pull out that small margin of victory.

“We've got to do everything we can each day to win a game. That's what the other teams are doing to us and we have to match that intensity, to be honest."

Tanner Houck (6-5) no-hit the White Sox until Lenyn Sosa’s leadoff single in the sixth. Zach DeLoach picked up his first hit and RBI when he doubled home Sosa, and Andrew Vaughn homered.

Otherwise, there was nothing of note until Mendick took the mound in the ninth and then drew a walk when hitting in the bottom half of the frame, becoming the first White Sox player to be walked while he was in the game as a pitcher since Alexei Ramirez in Chicago's 17-6 loss to the A's on September 15, 2015.

“Definitely not ideal,” Mendick said. “You had that atmosphere in Wrigley. It was fun. Just didn’t go our way those two nights. But tonight, new series and Houck is good. He pitched well. So, just one of those nights you have to reflect on and everyone has to come back tomorrow and be ready to go.”

“We got down early, they came out swinging it,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “These games happen. And we faced a pretty damn good pitcher, too. We’ve just got to regroup and get back after it tomorrow.”