It was less split squads than splat squads on Tuesday, as the Chicago White Sox dropped two more games, to fall to 3-8 for the spring.
Fortunately, all you have to do to avoid excessive distress over Cactus League games is remember that last year the Sox went 16-12, a pace that would have won the AL Central, so there really is no carryover to the regular season. We hope.
The big splat was against Cleveland, an 11-0 slaughter where the highlight was Dylan Cease managing one workmanlike inning in his first outing of the year. He gave up two hits, but ran his two-year spring scoreless streak to 7 1⁄3 innings.
Jordan Stephens had an even better day, two innings of one-hit ball, with the hit erased in a double play.
The other five Sox pitchers couldn’t get through without a run, with Bernardo Flores, Thyago Vieira, Donn Roach and Jordan Guerrero all really getting hammered, and Kodi Medeiros giving up a Carlos Santana solo shot.
As the score would indicate, offense highlights were nonexistent at Cleveland — five singles, three walks, and only three at-bats with anyone in scoring position.
Meanwhile, back home, the loss to a San Diego split squad was closer, at 7-4. Three of the Padres runs came off starter Lucas Giolito, but he really didn’t look bad — much of the damage came courtesy of the Sox’s trademark horrible defense. José Abreu played matador on a grounder, and Wellington Castillo managed a passed ball and two throws to bases that looked like he was trying to toss souvenir t-shirts into the stands. Good thing we didn’t try to pick up any of the several well-regarded catcher free agents during the offseason.
Among the rest of the pitchers, Jace Fry recovered from his disastrous last outing with a 1-2-3 inning, and Carson Fulmer had by far his best day of the spring, giving up one run on one hit, striking out four, and surviving a line shot off his body with no apparent ill effects.
And there was definite Eloy joy. Jiménez not only swatted a two-run, opposite-field homer, but made a great diving catch of a liner to his right. No doubt, once he works on his defense in Charlotte in April, he’ll make that catch look easier.
There is no word on sending Castillo down to Charlotte to work on his defense, but there was a nice sign from possible future catcher Zack Collins, who raised his spring average to .364 with a two-run shot in the sixth.
It’s a good thing the pitching staff and defense gave up at least two days’ worth of runs on Tuesday, because tomorrow is the White Sox’s first off-day of the spring. The club returns to action vs. the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
After the game, the White Sox made five reassignments to minor league camp: Bernardo Flores, Jordan Guerrero, Nick Madrigal, Luis González and Blake Rutherford. None are on the 40-man, and thus none of the designations come as a shock.
The White Sox have 58 players remaining in major league camp: 29 pitchers, six catchers, 11 infielders and 12 outfielders.