The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The White Sox have become known as an old, slow, team that relies on homers to win games, and they didn't do much to dispel that notion in Tuesday's 4-2 opening day victory over the Royals.
There was the bases loaded nobody out situation in the second, when the Sox used 4 hits (all singles) to get just 1 run. And there were three outs made on the basepaths, including two by Jermaine Dye. But Jim Thome's 3-run homer erased a 1-run 8th inning deficit, and sent everyone home with nothin' but good feelings, just as he did in game 163. Just as the Sox did to bring home 90 victories last season.
Fields, Getz Ready for Prime Time; Wise, not so much
The White Sox opened camp with holes at three spots in their lineup, 2B, 3B and CF/Leadoff. By the end of camp there was little question as to who had rightfully staked claim to 2B and 3B while CF/Leadoff appeared to be their biggest hole. Opening day only reinforced that point.
Josh Fields picked up AJ Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez, each of whom flew out to shallow left field with the bases loaded, in the second inning when he got a gift from Gil Meche. Meche's best pitch is probably his curveball, and thankfully the ability to hit breaking balls is arguably Fields greatest skill as a batter. Meche got Fields to a 2 strike count, when basically any fastball in the zone is almost assured of getting Fields out, but Miguel Olivo called for the curve. And Fields was all to happy to rip the ball to left for a base hit to drive in one.
Chris Getz also got a bit of a gift, this time from Mike Jacob's glove. Getz hit a ball hard, but not that hard down to first that scooted just off the glove of Jacobs and just far enough out of Mark Teahen's reach and into right field that Getz could turn on the speed, turning a play that's should probably have been an out into a hustle double.
Meanwhile, Dewayne Wise was just terrible at the plate, striking out in each of his first 3 trips to the plate before popping up 2 bunt attempts in his final at-bat.
Fields got the Sox winning rally started with a bunt. Yes, a bunt. He noticed Alex Gordon playing well back at 3B, and decided on his own to drop one down. After Wise' poor impersonation of a useful major league batter, Guillen put on the hit-and-run with Getz at the plate. Getz showed his superior contact skills pulling his hands in on a slider that would have been a ball and fisting it out into right field for a bloop base hit. Fields, who must have been saving up all of his positive baserunning plays for the regular season, got a great read and easily cruised into third, setting up Thome's homer.
I have no clue why Kyle Farnsworth was allowed to face Thome, but who am I to question the decision making of the great Trey Hillman.
In all honesty, Wise's struggles (as long as the Sox win) combined with Getz and Fields picking up the middle of the lineup's slack is about the best scenario you can ask for from the Sox. I think we can all agree that giving Wise (or even Anderson) 100+ extra at-bats -- the difference between batting first and batting 9th -- is a bad situation, and anything that makes the Sox shift from their thinking that CF and leadoff are connected like Siamese twins is a welcome development. They'll be better off in the long run, and the sooner they realize it, the better.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention what can only be described as a workmanlike effort from Mark Buehrle. He didn't have his usual great control, walking three and hitting two other batters. He had to battle through each of his 5 innings. But he kept the Sox in the game, and that's about all you can ask for.
And hey, it was better than the Sox last two opening day starts.
Because out in the open is as good a place as any to discuss this...
In the future, like for the remainder of the season, I'll try to post a quick recap within 15-45 minutes of the end of the game. That was unpossible today, as I had to run out to UPS to ship some hashish. But it's my intention to write less substantial recaps, because, really, who wants to read a recap? I won't be able to do so for every game, but I'll be sure to let you guys know well in advance so you can take care of your own post-game thread.
I'd rather focus on more substantial pieces like the Statistical Propsect Evaluation Primer. All I'm doing is giving myself an out to write about what I want in lieu of writing about what most have you have already seen. You should still see the same amount of content here, maybe more; but hopefully you'll see a rise in quality.