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No split decision: White Sox drop two

One-run losses vs. Dodgers and at A’s get the Cactus League season off to a prickly start

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago White Sox
Burrden, beast: Ryan Burr had the best outing of the day for the White Sox: two innings, one hit, two Ks.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll bypass the well-deserved negativity hovering over the Chicago White Sox side of Camelback Ranch for the moment in order to recap today’s pair of one-run losses, 7-6 at home vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers and 6-5 in Mesa at the Oakland A’s.

Starting in Camelback, the White Sox fell behind 6-0 quick, as starter Donn Roach saw the magic he spun for all of 2018 evaporate faster than frost on Arizona outfield grass, getting knocked out of the box with two outs in the first. Three of the four Dodgers hits against him were doubles, contributing to a two-walk, four-ER tally for the day.

Carson Fulmer came in to bail Roach out of the first and pitch through the second, and while all reports indicated the old (Vanderbilt) Fulmer was out on the mound, lean, mean, and all Big-Bird crazy with the gawky mechanics, unfortunately the box score was indicative of the new (2018) Fulmer: 1 13 innings, one hit, two earned, a walk, no Ks.

Fulmer was nonplussed, however, telling reporters afterward that “actually, I felt really good. Just comparing it to the last couple of spring trainings, my stuff is more electric, got a lot more swing and misses. Just getting in that adrenaline, kind of getting that feel back, it’s just something you can’t really train for. All in all, I think I filled up the zone pretty well being out there. I tried to take as many positives as I could.”

It got a lot better for the bullpen, as only one earned run passed through, a Joc Pederson solo shot off of Jordan Stephens in the fourth. All told over six innings: five hits, one earned, one walk, five Ks. The firefighting crew consisted of Stephens, José Ruiz, Ryan Burr and Thyago Vieira.

Down 6-0 in the second, the handful of Camelback fans not wearing visiting Dodgers blue were getting a little restless, but the White Sox ended up rallying and giving them good reason to stick it out through a 52° day. (Of course, by the time the serious comeback was on, the majority of White Sox roster regulars were already showered and gone from Camelback, but the point is, there was a comeback!)

First the White Sox nibbled, with Jon Jay’s first hit coming as an-excuse me dribbler straight up the middle for an RBI single in the third. In the fifth, third baseman D.J. Peterson erased all bitter memories of that guy the White Sox didn’t get this week by clubbing a two-run screamer out to left.

In the seventh, Trey Michalczewski ran the ol’ second-baseman-error offense and made it good for a run, scoring Jameson Fisher and trimming the L.A. lead to 7-4. In the ninth, with all the White Sox beat writers relocated to vacated big-bux seats behind home plate, the White Sox put on a show, rallying for two more runs (a Chris Johnson single, scoring Michalczewski and Danny Mendick) before Fisher looked at three straight strikes to end the game with the sacks packed.

At Hohokam Field, another close game played out in reverse for the White Sox. Chicago jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Yoán Moncada led off the game with a double, and two outs later Daniel Palka doubled him in.

An inning later, with the score knotted at 1, Moncada singled in Seby Zavala to put the White Sox right back up. In the fourth, the White Sox added two more, on an Adam Engel groundout and a Leury García grounder to second that Jurickson Profar fumbled. White Sox scoring finished for the day in the sixth, when José Rondón doubled to score Yeyson Yrizzari.

It was a tougher pitching day all around for the White Sox in Mesa, as all five pitchers who saw action gave up at least one earned run (both starter Jordan Guerrero and relievers Randall Delgado and Colton Turner one over two innings, Evan Marshall two in one inning, and Zach Thompson one in one). All in all, it was nine hits surrendered over eight innings, six earned, and eight Ks against one walk. Not great, not atrocious.

Here is actual evidence of one of the games being played, Moncada’s first two hits of his 2-for-3, one run, one RBI, one K day:

As a few have pointed out already, there were no errors over the 17 combined innings the White Sox played today, which is pretty cool for the first day out. Also Zavala, who went 2-for-3 with two runs at the plate, threw out ex-Sox Marcus Semien at second base on a steal attempt.

Tomorrow, the White Sox head up the road to Peoria to take on our favorite new sworn enemy, the San Diego Padres. Bernardo Flores gets the start for the South Siders.

A year ago, the White Sox also lost to the Dodgers in their Cactus debut.