Saturday’s game featured just nine combined hits, two runs, three errors and 16 baserunners, yet still managed to tip the scales past three hours in length.
Smack dab in the dog days of spring training, you might begin to understand why beat writers start to turn the daily grind of games into a bit of a death march. Still beats being at home and in the snow, though.
The Chicago White Sox were on the hind end of a 2-0 shutout at the hands of Los Angeles Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin, who breezed through three innings of two-hit, two-walk ball looking like Rollie Fingers’ hippie grandson, or the new lead singer of a relaunched Three Dog Night. Six L.A. hurlers followed Gonsolin, working an inning apiece and having a comically easy time with the Chicago offense; the White Sox, in fact, were hitless after the fifth inning.
On the Sox side, the arms acquitted themselves just about as well. Iván Nova (4 1⁄3 innings, four hits, two earned, homer, three Ks) is looking more and more like James Shields II, with flagging (low-90s) heat and less grunting. The big fella was upbeat postgame, and generally sounds like he’s executing his intended game plan on the mound, so make of that what you will.
While the White Sox bullpen has been hot-and-cold over the past grew games, today it was lights-out, throwing a collective 4 2⁄3 scoreless innings, with one hit, one walk, and six Ks. After Nova and up until the leadoff man in the ninth inning against Carson Fulmer, the Dodgers were in fact hitless.
That said, the bullpen usage was a Ricky Renteria wet dream, as the jefe burned through seven pitchers to get the 14 outs post-Nova. Renteria hocked a double-LOOGY in the game, bringing on Josh Osich for his White Sox debut to end the seventh with a K and the scuffling Caleb Frare to end the eighth with same. Fulmer issued a leadoff hit in the ninth, followed by a walk — then struck out three straight.
Offensively, there wasn’t much to write home about. Leury García batted leadoff and started in left field, and accounted for half of the White Sox hits — two. García is up to .382 with a .910 OPS on the spring. Yolmer Sánchez had one hit (up to .321 and .745), and Tim Anderson the other (.389, 1.044).
The White Sox had no extra-base hits, left eight on base, and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
A mixed bag on defense, as Daniel Palka committed his first error of the spring when he misplayed what should have been the third out of the fifth inning. The flub accelerated Nova’s hook from the game.
But a couple of innings earlier, there was this gem, by the new/old keystone combo of Sánchez and Anderson.
With Yóan Moncada holding down a solid hot corner, the White Sox infield has the makings of a markedly improved unit.
(Just don’t let any balls squeak through to right field.)
It’s a battle of aces tomorrow at Salt River Fields as Talking Stick, as presumptive Opening Day starters Carlos Rodón and Zack Greinke face off in their second-to-last spring tuneups. Catch the radio broadcast on WGN 720; Hamster will be on coverage, with her gilded prose.