Chris Sale struck out 14 Houston Astros Friday night. He allowed no earned runs on five hits over eight strong innings.
And he lost.
Only the Sox could find a way to lose a game like this. In fact, Sale became just the third pitcher since 1912 to strike out 14 batters in a losing effort. When a guy accumulates 14 Ks and still loses, that's proof positive he's got a crap team playing behind him.
How could something like this happen? Well, Alexei Ramirez isn't a good shortstop anymore. That's how.
Ramirez committed two errors in the same inning. Those errors were sandwiched around a walk and an infield single, giving the Astros the only two runs they would need in a 2-1 victory.
The Sox could have overcome those two errors if they could have managed three runs off journeyman left-hander Erik Bedard, whose ERA was up over five until the Sox rolled into Houston. Bedard fired six innings of one-run ball and earned the win. Yet another opportunity for the Sox to "tip their cap" to a pitcher that everybody else in the league hits.
These days, it seems White Sox offense is the cure for whatever ails bad pitchers. Bring the Sox your tired and your poor, and they'll lower his inflated ERA with no problem at all.
In a season like this, you get used to losing. The Sox are 28-36. They've probably got another good 50 or 55 losses in them before the year is over. But every now and then, a loss galls you more than some of the others.
This loss Friday night was an example of a galling loss. When a starting pitcher turns in the kind of effort Sale turned in, that should be an easy win -- especially playing against a Houston team that owns the worst record in the league.
But that's not the way it works for the Sox. This season, they have put on a clinic in beating themselves. Perhaps Friday's loss was the worst one of all.