Wow, did that win feel good. The Chicago White Sox were able to take the first game of their doubleheader today against the Boston Red Sox, 3-2. The game was a little too close for comfort at times, but there were many positives from the overall performance today, including clutch offensive hitting, defensive plays, and pitching.
I’m sure before you could even turn on the game, you saw that the score was 1-0. Well, that was because Tanner Houck’s parade was rained on with a pasta party from Tim Anderson, who hit a leadoff home run on the first pitch to make it 1-0.
Having Anderson back in the lineup really intensifies what this offense can do, and this isn’t the first time that TA has hit a leadoff home run, in fact, it was his ninth time in his career doing so. His first ever home run was also a leadoff home run — at Fenway Park back in 2016!
After that, Dallas Keuchel came in and did what he was supposed to do. After a 1-2-3 inning in the first and second innings, he allowed a double to Bobby Dalbec in the third inning, but the Red Sox were unable to score. In the top of the fourth, José Abreu singled, followed by Yasmani Grandal doubling high off of the center field wall to drive him in from first base and make it 2-0. Abreu was flashing his wheels on that play, so props to him as well.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, J.D. Martinez singled to center field, followed by another single by Rafael Devers to put runners on the corners. Luckily, there were two outs at the time, but Hunter Renfroe was able to sneak an infield single in past Yoán Moncada and Anderson to score Martinez and make it 2-1. To end the inning, Renfroe was picked off and caught stealing by Keuchel. Could some big breaks finally be coming the White Sox way?
As a matter of fact, yes. In the top of the fifth inning, Jake Lamb was able to smack a single, followed by Anderson hitting another single that was deflected by Houck and into center field. That would be the end of the day for the rookie, who went 4 1⁄3 innings and allowed six hits, three runs, and had two strikeouts. His ERA moved up to 4.35 after his start today.
Lefty Josh Taylor came in to face Adam Eaton, who struck out, leaving Moncada to pick Spanky up with two outs. Already having a busy day on defense, Moncada had a clutch single to give the South Siders a very much needed insurance run and make it 3-1.
We knew coming into this game that the defense would have a busy day considering Keuchel tends to throw a lot of ground balls, and Moncada also made an amazing, inning-ending double play in the bottom of the fifth to help hold the lead.
Defensive changes came in the bottom of the sixth, as Danny Mendick replaced Lamb and switched to second base, moving Leury García out to left field. Keuchel started the inning, but thanks to Fenway’s interesting metrics he allowed a home run to Enrique Hernández on a towering fly ball to right field, right around the foul pole. Keuchel got the hook, replaced by Aaron Bummer.
Overall, Keuchel had a very solid start against a hot offensive team, pitching five innings and allowing six hits with two earned runs and only one walk. This outing moved his ERA to 5.68, and hopefully that can whittle down even more in coming starts. Bummer was able to get Martinez to ground into another huge double play, after allowing a single to Alex Verdugo. Bummer then struck out Xander Bogaerts to end the inning.
Liam Hendriks came in to try and secure the save in the bottom of the seventh inning, and he did just that. Although everyone was holding their breaths because it was a close game, there was no doubt that Hendriks would get the job done. He got Devers to pop out, Renfroe to ground out, was slightly interrupted with a Christian Arroyo single, and an intense punch out of Dalbec to end the game.
You know it’s good when you see a Hendriks scream.
Overall, this was a great team effort. The defense was able to turn multiple double plays, the pitchers came in and did their jobs successfully, and the offense delivered in multiple scenarios with runners on base. Another thing to not forget is the overall hustle on the field today. Yermín Mercedes and Anderson were able to reach base on infield hits after sprinting hard down the line, and Abreu scored from first on a double.
Now at 7-8, we will see if the White Sox can win the nightcap and maybe get some sort of a win streak going.
Good news! Michael Kopech will be starting Game 2. Colleen Sullivan will have all the details for you coming up, with Jeremy Karll on the Six Pack. So get ready for some more Sunday afternoon baseball!