Minnesota’s bright and shiny young players were better than the White Sox’s bright and shiny young players on Thursday, with the Twins winning 4-0 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
José Berríos was nearly unhittable — for any team, really, but certainly for one struggling at the plate the way the Sox are. Berríos rang up 11 strikeouts, showing ridiculous breaking stuff and great command. Only Nicky Delmonico, Yolmer Sánchez, and Tim Anderson managed to garner hits. As if that weren’t enough, Berríos gave up zero walks, and only has one in three starts this season. The young righthander is going to be somebody that Sox fans dread seeing on the schedule for some time to come.
Meanwhile, speaking of guys the Sox are going to dread seeing, Byron Buxton had a hit, a walk, two stolen bases and a run scored.
All the offense the Twins needed came in the third inning. Buxton started off with a single, and, after a review which confirmed that leather straps on a glove do not count for tagging purposes, stole second. Jason Castro then hit a fly ball to center field, which Adam Engel fielded just fine, but with an opportunity to catch Buxton advancing to third, threw badly offline. Brian Dozier then hit a sharp grounder to Anderson, who had a clear chance to get Buxton at home; however, he couldn’t get a good handle on the ball and made a throwing error. A single by Mauer would complete the inning’s scoring.
White Sox starter Lucas Giolito continued his struggles with command, issuing five walks, but managed to battle just enough to keep the game within reach. But in the seventh he was dealt some additional damage, as Aaron Bummer gave up Mauer’s 2,000th career hit, allowing two inherited runners to score and effectively putting the game out of reach.
The Sox looked nearly hopeless against Berríos and the two relievers sent in to close out the game. Again, only Sánchez and Anderson managed to escape without a strikeout (a nice positive sign for Anderson, actually), while José Abreu and Matt Davidson each whiffed twice. Worst of all, Engel and Yoán Moncada racked up three strikeouts apiece. Moncada’s last K was looking, and fans in forums everywhere will continue their angsty hand-wringing.
It was another one of those games wherein off-diamond action provided the most entertainment. At one point, Benetti and Stone were discussing the fact that Tyler Saladino was the Sox’s backup catcher for the evening. There ensued the following exchange (edited for brevity):
Stone: Tyler can really extend his career if he’s a credible emergency backup, because no team can afford the luxury of having three catchers on the roster.
Benetti: Last year, Geovany Soto found out Tyler was interested in catching and gave him some instruction on how to play the position.
Stone: If you want to really know what it’s like to be a catcher, hit your knee with a hammer over and over again, so you can get used to the pain.
Benetti: Parties at your house must be really fun.
Also, in the seventh inning, Paul Molitor threw a hissy fit when the Sox’s bullpen door wouldn’t open, thinking the Sox were doing some gamesmanship to squeeze in a few more warmup pitches, or such nonsense. Yes, because pretending the bullpen door is stuck is going to help their hitting problems. Settle down, Paul.
Today’s three moments of note ...
This rebuild might actually work: Giolito moved the needle a little bit in the right direction, earning a quality start, if not the win.
I watched so you didn’t have to: Both of those throws in the third were pretty bad.
This is what it feels like to be a Sox fan: Being asked to recap some games for a website, and in the two games you’ve recapped so far, the Sox have scored zero runs.
[Ed. Note: Lurker Laura has had a phenomenal start to her rookie campaign, but if this shutout mojo continues much longer she will have to grab some bench, at least until the Great Thaw.]
The White Sox and Twins are set for game two of this four-game series tomorrow at 7:10, Reynaldo Lopez versus TBD (sure to be a Sox killer), but if they play a game before Sunday, I’ll eat my parka.