Not that winning or losing is a big deal in spring training, but it’s still nicer not to lose, so the Chicago White Sox ending their streak of three one-run losses, with a 4-4 tie with the San Francisco Giants, is a bit of a breakthrough. A bit.
But let’s talk about the second inning, facing genuine major league pitcher Derek Holland. Now, that would be nice precursor of the regular season to come:
- Yoán Moncada single (batting righty, yet — impressive, even though Holland is a reverse splits guy)
- Preston Tucker single
- Luis Robert triple (yes!)
- And, after Holland is knocked from the box, a Yolmer Sánchez RBI single
Four hits, three runs, involvement of players key to the future. Nice.
Next inning, Eloy Jiménez smacked an infield single off the pitcher’s hiney, and Moncada followed with an RBI triple — again, batting righty. Looking good. Hey, Moncada’s OPS is up to 1.834!
Unfortunately, that’s as good as it was going to look. The starters exited early, en masse after the fourth, and after that there was only a single by Leury García. Plus a couple of walks, including one by Zack Collins (who is really good at walking, but who then tried to steal second. There’s a reason catchers don’t try to steal much at the major league level).
Defensively, Collins and Wellington Castillo both threw out a runner, and the Sox continued their error-free preseason. They also turned three DPs.
As for the pitching, both Manny Bañuelos and Dylan Covey did well enough to make it to the next round of Last Starter Standing. Bañuelos gave up a homer to Yangervis Solarte in the first, but settled in to strike out the side in the second. Covey didn’t miss many bats, but he didn’t get hit hard, either, holding SF to three singles and no runs.
That led to Jace Fry, who had mostly looked good last year. Apparently, someone put a Star Trek deburnium-osmium force field in front of the plate when he came in, because Fry never threatened the strike zone on the way to loading the bases. One hit later, he was gone, with an infinite ERA.
In came Donn Roach, who hadn’t made it out of the first on Saturday. He induced a run-scoring double play, but then wild-pitched a run home to make it 4-4.
Kodi Medeiros pitched two innings and José Ruiz and Evan Marshall one apiece without problems to hold the game to a tie. That makes it three out of four games so far this spring where the White Sox bullpen was basically untouchable after the sixth or seventh.
Next up, a Kansas City Royals split squad visits Camelback Ranch tomorrow afternoon.
Did I mention that second inning?
Remember the Ricky Renteria hostage videos that would go up on Twitter etc. after most games last year? This year, Jiménez’s postgame takes might be more fun: