On March 30, 2019, Eloy Jiménez got his first career hit with a single in the top of the second inning. Where were you when it happened? It wasn’t the sharpest hit (78.3 mph exit velocity), but he will gladly accept it, as will all White Sox fans. He also singled later in the game (99.6 mph exit velocity this time), as he finished 2-for-4.
Unfortunately, Jiménez’s first two hits, and a late reawakening from the offense, couldn’t prevent an 8-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
Reynaldo López, in his first start of the season, dodged traffic throughout the frigid afternoon. He pitched out of trouble in the second, catching Martin Maldonado looking at a 3-2 fastball with runners on second and third and two outs to escape, though he threw 25 pitches that inning. López could not escape trouble in the third, however, as Adalberto Mondesi doubled home Billy Hamilton to drive in the first run of the game. The Royals added a pair more on a Ryan O’Hearn single with the bases loaded and one out, to complete a three-run inning. Prior to the two-run single, Soler was credited with a single on a Kansas City Special, but it seemed like a catch that either Tim Anderson or Jiménez should have made.
After an easy fourth inning for López, Alex Gordon drew a walk and was promptly driven in on a sharp double down the left field line by Soler. This RBI double chased López from the game. His final line: 4+ innings, four runs (all earned), six hits, four walks, two strikeouts. Not his finest performance, though his defense hardly did him any favors.
In the sixth, José Abreu put the White Sox on the board with a three-run shot to turn it into a one-run game. It was the first home run by the White Sox in 2019, and it seemed to shake the bats out of their game-and-a-half slumber.
Unfortunately, the bullpen could not hold the Royals in check, as they allowed four more runs in the bottom half of the sixth. Whit Merrifield hit a single off Nate Jones, plating a pair of runners that Manny Bañuelos was responsible for. Later in the inning, Soler (yes, him again) hit a two-run double off Jace Fry to drive in Merrifield and Gordon, who Fry had just walked. That double extended the Royals lead to 8-3.
The Sox rallied for three more in the top of the seventh, as Leury García doubled home Anderson, and Yoán Moncada followed with a two-run homer. This home run reduced the Kansas City lead to 8-6.
Moncada has been seeing the ball quite well in the first couple of games, easily the White Sox’s leading hitter with a .500/.556/.875 slash line.
Unfortunately, Moncada’s home run was the last time the White Sox would score. Castillo and Anderson would lead off the ninth with back-to-back singles, but that was as close as they would get, as the Royals shut the door to win, 8-6.
The loss drops the White Sox’s record to 0-2 in this young season. They are back at it tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. CT to wrap up the opening series against the Royals. Lucas Giolito is tomorrow’s probable starting pitcher, and he is expected to face Jorge López. The game will be available on WGN-TV and radio, and Ryan Matte (the former Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.S) will make his season recapping debut.