Yes, I know it’s a tie, but that was fun.
After bumpy starts from prospects Carson Fulmer and Michael Kopech, a strong outing was needed from the young pitching core. Lucas Giolito provided exactly that by going four-plus innings with eight strikeouts and only one earned run, on a hanging breaking ball in the third inning.
Giolito threw mostly off-speed pitches in his second outing this spring and he was effective. The curveball command and break looked like it was in midseason form. Many pitchers have attempted to combat the launch angle trend by hitters by throwing more breaking balls. Look for an increase in breaking balls from Giolito this season if he can continuously repeat his curveball like he did today.
And yet, unfortunately in a sense for Giolito, his teammate Eloy Jimenez outshined him this game.
In the top of the eighth, Jimenez came to the plate after missing a week due to injury and did not disappoint. He clobbered a hanging slider to the opposite field to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead. After the dismal news that Luis Robert will miss the next 10 weeks due to a thumb injury, Jimenez quickly raised the spirit of Sox fans.
Meanwhile, for actual major leaguers, Yolmer Sanchez had a good day at the plate. He was 3-for-4 with an RBI single in the fourth that tied the game 1-1. Yolmer is now slashing .379/.419/.655 as he solidifies his spot at third base.
Avisail Garcia continues to rack up hits after a strong 2017 campaign. He went 1-for-4 and drove in Adam Engel in the fifth to give the Pale Hose a 2-1 lead, but the bullpen could not hold it.
As spring winds down, more questions surround the bullpen than any other group for the Sox. Danny Farquhar, Juan Minaya and Rob Scahill each allowed a run as the bullpen blew the lead twice.
The lone bright spot was Nate Jones. He made quick work of the Cubs in the eighth inning, forcing two ground balls and one pop out. Jones extended his scoreless streak to four innings, as he continues his push to be the White Sox closer this season.
A tie is a tie is a tie, but with Giolito and Jimenez giving their best efforts of the spring and Nate Jones looking five years younger, this game provided high hopes for Opening Day and beyond.