First pitch slider. Did Luis Robert think it was gone the moment he hit it?— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) March 7, 2018
“When I was walking to home plate, I heard the crowd and they were chanting for me. It made me excited. I took a deep breath and focused. I was ready for the slider. He threw me the pitch and I hit it. When I hit the ball, I knew it was gone.” – Luis Robert on his grand slam pic.twitter.com/hAxqSi7CU8— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 8, 2018
Rebuild fever officially hit its pitch today, and for more reasons that Robert’s mere titanic blast to deliver a win to Ricky’s Boys.
The crazy-ass Yo-Yo 1-2 combination at the top of the order paid nice dividends and sure has the feel of an Opening Day first pairing. Yoan Moncada continues to take to the leadoff position like Jimmy Pesto to insults, delivering a perfect 3-for-3 day with a walk, two runs scored and a double, as well as some nifty play at second base. Yolmer Sanchez started again at third base and went 3-for-4, with two runs and three RBI, including a second-inning, two-run shot to get the White Sox right back into what was then a 9-3 game.
But so far, that just covers two of the four White Sox home runs. There were more.
In the third inning, Daniel Palka clocked a home run to right center that traveled an estimated 472 feet, nearly hitting the huge scoreboard that sits about 100 feet beyond the outfield fence.
And with two out in the sixth, Matt “Mr. March” Davidson socked a solo shot out to center, drawing the White Sox to within two runs, at 11-9.
The White Sox finished the game with 16 hits and hit .421 and slugged .763 for the contest.
Now, OK, the game started 5-0 Cincinnati, and through a frame and a half it was 9-3. So it wasn’t all wine and roses for the Pale Hose. Some of the pitching staff took it on the chin.
Miguel Gonzalez got the start, and was horrible. Nothing was working for him during his brief, eight-batter outing that saw El Jaliscience retire just two men and give up four hits, five earned runs and two walks. Unlike some previous wildfires started by White Sox pitchers this spring, this outing couldn’t be blamed on shaky defense. The 17 game score was all on Gonzalez.
Given Gonzalez’s status as the “reliable” veteran starter in the rotation, let’s hope today was just a blip. Unfortunately, it’s a blip that will permanently char his spring ERA: Gonzalez entered play at 0.00 and left with quite the crooked number of 16.88.
Chris Beck, scheduled to pitch the third or fourth inning, tossed like a man who’d hit the snooze button a dozen times, because he was not prepared for his early duty. Beck’s line: one inning, four earned runs on four hits, two walks, two longballs. Departing ERA? 10.80.
From there, things largely settled in for the White Sox hurlers, with the exception only of Aaron Bummer, who fell back to Earth after a strong start to spring, surrendering two earned runs on four hits in the sixth.
Jeanmar Gomez and Luis Avilan restored sanity to the game for the White Sox, bridging from the second to the fifth innings. Gomez allowing just a hit and a walk in two innings of work, while Avilan struck out three of the four batters he faced.
Nate Jones (who got the win) and Brad Goldberg (the save) held Cincy down in the eighth and ninth, and just like that, victory was snatched from defeat.
And it was time to go back to the clubhouse and celebrate Robert’s heat: