OK, despite their 1-3-8 record going in, the White Sox should have won this one, and it shouldn’t have been so close that an umpire wanting the long, long game to be over with and deciding not to call a balk on Felix Paulino to tie it up in the ninth saved the day.
After all, the Sox started almost their entire Opening Day lineup, and the Angels started a collection of scrubs, low minor leaguers and hot dog vendors. The one regular to appear was Shohei Ohtani, and he was pitching, not hitting — though he pitched like he should have been DHing.
Thanks to the lineup decisions, the Angels played defense like high-schoolers and ran the bases like Little Leaguers, which was all the Sox needed.
Ohtani flat didn’t have it, and after Tim Anderson’s leadoff double in the first went for naught, the Sox jumped on the multitasker in the second. Luis Robert led it off big time:
Luis Robert shows off his power. PUT IT ON THE BOARD! pic.twitter.com/iIXBMIn4XG— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 13, 2021
After that came an Adam Eaton deep fly to center that went in and out of the center fielder’s mitt, but was called a double; a walk; a Leury García pop-up to shallow right that went in and out of the first baseman’s glove but was called a single; a Yermín Mercedes walk; an Anderson single; a José Abreu walk; and a two-run Yoán Moncada single.
The Angels had scored two off Matt Foster in the top of the inning, but the big rally put the Sox up, 5-2, which, given the pitiful Angels lineup and how long Tony La Russa kept in the starters in his desperation for a win, should have been all she wrote.
Bernardo Flores Jr. couldn’t find the plate in the fifth, though, and gave up two walks, a single and a sac fly before being pulled for Alex McRae, who gave up another sac fly but was saved when one of the Angels’ atrocious baserunning mistakes got a runner picked off on that play.
That made it 5-4, but García had the big — it turns out, game-saving — blow in the eighth with his third hit, a homer to left that upped it to 6-4. Just for tension, though, Paulino gave up three hits to the scrubs of the scrubs in the ninth, making it 6-5, but got out of the jam thanks to that very generous ump who really wanted to go home.
The Sox pitchers other than Foster, Flores, and Paulino — Jimmy Lambert, Kyle Kubat, Ryan Burr, McRae and even Mike Wright — fared well, especially McRae, who went 2 2⁄3 with a walk and two K’s. Unfortunately, Foster is the one likely to be in a Sox uniform come April, and he showed pretty much nothing.
Offensively, Robert joined Garcia and Anderson in the multi-hit club, adding a double to his homer, and had a steal of third. And Abreu got a walk with his single, so maybe he’s starting to come around.
Interesting spring training moment — like Little League or high school, players taken out can be reinserted, but unlike high school, that includes pitchers, so after Mike Scioscia pulled Ohtani in the second, he sent him back in for three batters in the third.
Daylight Savings Time hits tonight, but Arizona doesn’t believe in such frippery, so tomorrow’s game will be at 3:05 p.m. Central. Hannah LaMotta is back on the call for us.
Who was the White Sox MVP of Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Angels?
This poll is closed
Tim Anderson: 2-for-3, R, RBI, 2B, K
Leury García: 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, K
Jimmy Lambert: IP, 2 K
Alex McRae: 2 2⁄3 IP, BB, 2 K
Luis Robert: 2-for-4, R, RBI, K, HR, 2B, SB
Who is the White Sox Game Goat of Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Angels?
This poll is closed
Bernardo Flores Jr.: 1⁄3 IP, H, 2 ER, 2 BB
Matt Foster: 1⁄3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2BB
Yasmani Grandal: 0-for-2, BB, K, 4 LOB
Eloy Jiménez: 0-for-3, BB, K, 3 LOB, assist
Felix Paulino: IP, 3 H, ER, 2 K, Sv, pickoff