Don’t blame Reynaldo Lopez (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, and a nice grab on a vicious line-shot comebacker in the sixth). The White Sox starter had some control problems with those five walks, but when his pitches were near the plate, the Tigers did little with them.
All of the damage came in the first inning, with a single by Leonys Martin, a stolen base, and a passed ball to put Martín on third (the broadcast team of Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone called it a wild pitch, and I’d tend to agree, but Gameday is calling it a passed ball). With two outs, Miguel Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly just deep enough into center field to score the run.
Cabrera’s peak may be gone, but he’s still capable of getting the simple things done. After all, did the White Sox get a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases with one out? No, no they did not. Nicky Delmonico hit a soft line drive to shortstop Jose Iglesias, and Welington Castillo grounded out to Iglesias.
The Sox had a few other opportunities, but continued their struggles with men on base:
- In the second, Tim Anderson singled and stole second. Unfortunately, Yolmer Sanchez struck out during the steal, and Yoan Moncada followed him with his first of two Ks on the day.
- In the seventh, Delmonico drew a walk, but Castillo ground into a double-play.
- And in the last stand that was the ninth inning, Avisail Garcia reached on an error, followed by a GIDP by Jose Abreu and a struck-out-looking from Matt Davidson to end the game.
New guy Bruce Rondon was definitely worth watching, striking out all four Tigers he faced, with at least one 100 mph fastball and a changeup at 91 mph.
Aside from Rondon showing real promise in helping the bullpen, the most interesting part of the game was this: In the fifth inning, Chuck Garfien called up to the booth to tell Hawk and Stone that, to stay warm, Sánchez covered his body with Vaseline before the game.
During all of those bouts of Sox hitting futility, Hawk and Stone actually had a few interesting conversations (Hawk’s 20-games plan might work out, as the duo can save all the good stuff for a condensed period of time). Among the highlights: Ichiro’s fielding prowess, the “finesse home runs” of Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks, and Roger Bossard saying that this weekend’s weather and Disco Demolition were the worst field conditions he’d faced.
During the the postgame show, Bill Melton previewed the coming series with the Tampa Bay Rays with, “This is a good matchup for us. They’re not hitting anything, and neither are we.”
There you are.
Finally, for my recap recurring feature, I’d like to present today’s standout moments (both good and bad) in three categories:
This rebuild might actually work: Anderson had another stolen base, and a nifty tag to foil Dixon Machado’s steal attempt in the fifth.
I watched so you didn’t have to: Abreu grounds into a double-play with nobody out in the ninth.
This is what it feels like to be a Sox fan: Sox lose when giving up only two hits.
The White Sox welcome the 1-8 Rays, losers of eight in a row, to Sox Park tomorrow afternoon. Originally a night game, the starting time was moved up to accommodate a possible visit from the Snow Miser tomorrow evening.