A theme is building so far this 2019 season: The Chicago White Sox are just good enough to still lose.
Yeah, yeah, it’s just the third game of spring, and the Cactus League is meaningless. But wins are wins, and in the context of a game recap, well, you gotta say something.
There was some bad stuff in this game, beyond the dude who was hitting fifth for the San Diego Padres.
Bernardo Flores, who some of us hope against hope can continue his career as a Mark Buehrle doppelganger and pitch his way into the White Sox rotation sooner than later, had a rough first spring start, two earned in two innings, including a mammoth home run surrendered to Aderlin Rodriguez. Flores added a walk and two Ks. James Fegan caught some of his pitches early:
The bad news for the White Sox is that Flores gave up a sizable bomb a couple batters after this. The good news is he spun a curve past Tatis Jr. before getting him to pop out pic.twitter.com/qCkYyfWcty— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 24, 2019
You’re not going to see this mentioned during the cinematography portion of the Oscars tonight, but here’s Bernardo Flores finishing off Luis Urías as part of a perfect first. Sat 90-94 on the stadium gun and threw the curve for strikes pic.twitter.com/h0HTUF433X— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 24, 2019
More bad news came in the second inning, when Daniel Palka strained his hamstring running the bases. Daryl Van Schouwen brings us a significantly less swaggy Danny P:
Palka says hammy issue is minor. Says he didn’t hydrate properly. pic.twitter.com/5hUrDLyhA4— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) February 24, 2019
Rodriguez clocked his second Peoria-rocker on the afternoon in the fourth, this time off of Aaron Bummer:
That shot put the White Sox down 4-0, which set the stage for another White Sox comeback, their second in two days.
Ryan Cordell clobbered a Pedro Avila pitch pretty much where Rodriguez had put his earlier, and the San Diego lead was trimmed to 4-1 in the fifth. An inning later, Zack Collins turned no-outs, bases full into a second run, with a ground out to second.
In the seventh, with runners on the corners and one out, Matt Skole grounded to first but hustled out of an inning-ending double play, allowing Blake Rutherford to score from third.
So, let’s just stop the recap to talk about Rutherford today. He subbed in for Palka after Mr. Smash came up hobbling in the second, and all Rutherford did was go 3-for-4, with an RBI double in the eighth. Two days in, it was easily the best spring training performance of any White Sox so far.
James McCann, getting his first start at catcher today, was a mixed bag. Two hits, making a mockery of the shade thrown in the gamethread over him hitting fifth. Flip side, he’s committed the only White Sox “error” of the spring (passed ball) and is also 0-for-1 in catching runners after Manny Margot swiped second off of him and Bummer.
The White Sox did fall short of tying the game, as Hunter Renfroe hit a solo shot off of Caleb Frare in the sixth to give San Diego its fifth run. But overall, the late men in the bullpen had a solid game, as Juan Minaya, Frare and Matt Foster combined for 4 1⁄3 innings, two hits, one earned, zero walks and seven Ks.
Tomorrow, the White Sox head to Scottsdale to take on the San Francisco Giants, and I believe it will also be the recap debut of Leigh Allan. The No. 5 starter competition starts off officially, as Manny Bañuelos and Dylan Covey are both expected to pitch, facing a guy who seemed like he’d never pitch again after his White Sox stint, Derek Holland, “the Dutch Oven.”