Moncada fielding woes spotlighted in loss to Guardians originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The tone of the White Sox’ season-jeopardizing 8-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians was set early.
After Steven Kwan did what Steven Kwan does best — led off the top of the first inning with a line drive single to right field — Amed Rosario stepped to the plate and tapped a soft grounder to third base.
Yoán Moncada fielded that grounder and fired to first, but in too casual fashion. Sprinting down the line, Rosario beat out the infield single, setting the Guardians up with two runners on and nobody out.
Unfortunately, Moncada’s tough day at the office was just getting started. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, he skipped a throw to José Abreu that could have sealed an inning-ending double play, but instead allowed an unearned run to score. The following pitch saw Andrés Giménez scorch a ground ball that deflected off Moncada’s glove for a single, allowing another run across.
Then, on the first pitch of the top of the third inning, Moncada and outfielder Andrew Vaughn nearly collided while chasing a Josh Naylor pop fly in shallow left. The ball kicked off Vaughn’s glove for an error and Naylor crossed home plate two batters later.
Predictably, that first inning — and Moncada’s role in it — were topics of conversation in acting manager Miguel Cairo’s postgame media session with reporters.
“He (Moncada) went and got it and he (Rosario) was safe at first,” Cairo told reporters when asked his vantage point on Rosario’s infield single.
Asked if he discussed the play with Moncada after the game, Cairo added: “After that I said something, but that stayed in the dugout and that stayed in the clubhouse. That’s something that’s between him and me and that’s it.”
Moncada also spoke to reporters postgame through team interpreter Billy Russo and went into a tad more detail.
“I didn’t want to get into the difficult bounce. That was my read of the ground ball,” Moncada said through Russo. “(I) just preferred to stay back and then tried to rush it at the end. But it wasn’t enough.”
Moncada later added that his conversation with Cairo involved him explaining his thought process on the play just as he had to reporters.
A blowout loss of Wednesday’s game’s magnitude does not come down to one player. Moncada, in fact, accounted for one of the White Sox’ two runs with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
But the sloppiness not only directly led to runs — the Guardians scored two in the first and three in the third en route to eventually building a 6-0 lead — they also added high-leverage mileage to starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Lynn allowed six runs in six innings, but only three of them were earned.
It was an extension of Tuesday night’s 11th inning, when Cleveland scored five runs with the aid of a handful of White Sox miscues on their way to a pivotal 10-7 victory.
“We didn’t play good. They played better than us,” Cairo told reporters. “They came to play today. We didn’t.”
The truth of those words was plain for all to see.
NBC Sports Chicago’s Tim Stebbins contributed.
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