The Chicago White Sox may have ended the Cactus League with just a 12-17 record, but they closed out the spring in style, using a 14-hit attack to defang the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, 7-1, for their fourth straight win.
The game didn’t look like an easy win early, as Arizona’s Merrill Kelly, fresh from four years in Korea and slated to make it as the D-backs No. 5 starter at the tender rookie age of 30, coasted through the first two innings, with six straight outs on 14 pitches. But come the third inning, the Sox owned Kelly as much as he had owned them earlier.
The four-run rally started with Yoán Moncada driving in Welington Castillo:
Yolmer Sánchez then beat out a possible double play, allowing Tim Anderson to score, after which José Abreu ripped a double:
José Abreu looking heading into the regular season. pic.twitter.com/qdikmLhctF— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 26, 2019
Yonder Alonso then drove in a fourth run with a single. Most of the starters left after the big third, but Castillo stayed around long enough for an RBI double in the fourth.
Among the replacements who are headed to the minors, Nick Madrigal was the standout, going 2-for-3 with a double (pulled, no less), RBI and two runs scored, raising his average to .389. Danny Mendick continued to impress, with a hit to close out the spring at .361.
There were some pretty impressive spring numbers from the regulars as well, with Moncada ending at .358, Abreu at .323, and Anderson at .322.
Moncada was, if anything, more impressive in the field today, with a nice scoop on a bunt-for-a-hit attempt to open the game, and a fine over-his-head running grab of a foul pop-up to left. The move to third looks solid so far (fingers, toes, and other body parts crossed).
On the pitching side, Iván Nova cruised through three innings, the sole hit he gave up a homer by Jake Lamb, which followed what sure looked like it should have been a called third strike. He only needed 37 pitches, 27 of which were strikes, including three Ks. For the spring, Nova threw 19 innings without allowing a walk.
Five relievers held the Diamondbacks scoreless the rest of the way: Caleb Frare, Ryan Burr, Evan Marshall, Matt Foster and Codi Heuer. In what would be a really nice change for the Sox were it to continue, Frare was the only one to give up a walk, and there were nine strikeouts.
But, as we know, that was all just good fun. Playing for real starts Thursday in Kansas City, with Carlos Rodón on the mound against big righty Brad Keller, in a battle between two of the ALC’s three 100-loss teams in 2018. NBC Sports Chicago will have the game at 3:15 p.m. CT.
As for the momentum of winning the final four games of spring training, there was only one Cactus League team that could match that finish — the Royals, who won their last five in a row.