Tonight the Chicago White Sox began a 15-game stretch vs. teams better than .500, starting with the New York Yankees, who have a respectable 19-12 record on the road despite half of their roster being on the injured list, including behemoths Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
White Sox starter Iván Nova’s control came into question right away, with a dreaded leadoff walk in to D.J. Lemahieu. Nova pitched around the early traffic, but in the second inning. Didi Gregorius came home on a wild pitch and Clint Frazier singled in Brett Gardner, putting the Yankees up, 2-0.
Flipping back to the first, Yankees starter J.A. Happ had a scary moment when José Abreu’s line drive single — with an 111 mph exit velocity — came careening back towards Happ’s throwing arm. Happ composed himself enough to coax a fly out from James McCann to exit the inning undamaged.
In the fourth inning, Nova flailed a bit further, surrendering a two-out single to Gleyber Torres; five pitches later, Gardner golfed a Nova pitch well below of the strike zone and yanked it out to right, doubling the Yankees lead to 4-0.
After 29-year-old James McCann was made fun of on his birthday with a stat box presented by AARP (strange, he hasn’t been teased for his Russian dancing in the dugout yet, right?), Happ’s control issues began to emerge; a single from Tim Anderson followed by two consecutive walks packed the sacks for José Rondón — who was forced into a pop-up to strand the bases full.
Rally killer. Right? Game deflater. Right?
Luckily for the White Sox, opportunity reappeared right away, in the fifth inning, as Yolmer Sánchez scored on a Leury García double to finally get the Sox on the board. With two on, up came Tim Anderson.
It might be the right time to pause and remind you that TA has been murder on J.A. in his career.
Oh, hey, Timmy found a low Happ fastball he liked, aaaaaand BOOM.
That crack of the bat was so tasty.
Leury García continued to have himself a night, exhibiting some great patience during a really terrific at-bat to lead off the seventh inning. After falling behind 0-2, García worked the count, fouling off five pitches to keep himself alive. Then, on the 11th pitch of the sequence, Adam Ottavino left a hanging slider that forgot to slide, instead grooving right over the plate. You’ll never guess what happened next.
Now that's how you cap an 11-pitch at-bat! pic.twitter.com/tTg0uYChHT— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 14, 2019
One thing that must be addressed is how the bullpen was so lights-out, you’d think it was an early bedtime. Josh Osich did some LOOGY things, Evan Marshall did some Evan Marshall things.
Kelvin Herrera’s eighth inning was dead cool, considering he’d have to face the Voit-Sánchez-Gregorius part of the Yankees lineup. The out pitches were especially fun:
- Voit thought he was going to get a fastball bouquet? Nah. Herrera changed speeds.
- Sánchez chased a 4-seamer.
- (Gregorius singled, but whatever. Next.)
- Torres bit on a nasty cutter.
It was a satisfying eighth inning to watch.
But perhaps the sweetest bit of tonight’s game: Aaron Bummer recorded his first career save.
And that, my friends, is a 5-4 win!
One tidbit worth mentioning is that the Sox walked seven times today, which means they’re practicing more patience at the plate. Great news.
The White Sox improve to 33-34, which to you math heads means one (1) game under .500. Happy Lucas Giolito Eve to those who celebrate; Game 2 against Those Yankees starts at 7:10 PM CST, the aforementioned Giolito will face CC Sabathia. Catch this game televised on NBC Sports Chicago, and on the radio at WGN 720. Ashley Sanders has the SSS coverage, and you better believe she’s gonna pack some sunglasses in anticipation of celebrating .500.