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Gamethread: Royals at White Sox

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Righting the ship, sidestepping the rain, and seeing a starter get to the sixth are all on today’s Opening Day agenda

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
See those cardboard cutouts in the seats? In 2021, those cutouts will be replaced by things we call “fans,” and they are made of human flesh.
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Hey there, everybody! It’s the home opener!

As the final task in the descent into madness that has been covering the first eight days of the 2021 season — 59 stories and counting since Opening Day in Anaheim a week ago — I am your host for today’s ballgame, expected to last around four hours but subject to change, as events warrant, e.g., the game simply never ends and we are trapped in another dimension like those floating mirror prison things in Superman.

Lance Lynn, of the “seconds” Lynns, takes the mound for his second start of the season, and home and White Sox debut. Through only partial fault of his own, Lance has had an inefficient start to his season. Tony La Russa dared remove Lynn before the husky hurler had chucked his 100th pitch on Saturday, but rather than drop a monocle folks should point out that a starter shouldn’t be hitting 100 pitches in the fifth inning, no matter how many Gold Glove headers or minor league Gold Glove yips prolong frames.

Anyhow, it’s a new day and new climes, so let’s anticipate the Tonka Truck hossing the hell outta the ball and exploring the full studio space of the sixth inning ... or even the seventh?

Here’s the lineup behind him:

LOTS being made about La Russa stating pregame that Andrew Vaughn is not part of the White Sox “core.” I am not a La Russa apologist, and I sure as hell didn’t see myself defending TLR in a public forum on Opening Day 2021, but is he? And is Vaughn already enough of the Abreu-Anderson-Jiménez-Giolito core that he should be chucked out into left field under the glare of the lights and slips of the surface, to play a spot he’s learning on the fly and put in position to fail. That seems like dumb managing to me.

Funny, we as fans implore athletes and more so front offices to be honest with us, and when they are, we balk and mock. “So Nick Williams is in the core?” THAT’S clever. If you want Robin Ventura bland, this is a good way to get it. Maybe the next manager will be Robby the Recapper.

Yes, as the hamstring virus ravages the White Sox clubhouse, it’s claimed another victim, Billy Hamilton. This is most unfortunate, because a layman’s estimate places Hamilton as consisting of about 73% hamstrings, thus the prognosis might not be good.

Nick Williams, who somewhat surprisingly remained with the White Sox after being cut at Camelback (presumably he had the cachet to opt-out if not breaking north, but I’m not contract law specialist), perhaps had advance word of the hamstring virus and knew he’d be back with the club quickly. At any rate, an actual professional outfielder (who didn’t have a bad camp, either) is starting in left field today for the White Sox, batting seventh.

Also, getting a vibe that rather than Nick Madrigal, Danny Mendick might end up as La Russa’s Eckstein.

Here’s the Royals, and no offense to all the series series previewers, who gives a hell. I find it hard to HATE the Royals. They’re just ... there.

Hell with ’em all, even Whit Merrifield, who seems like an OK chap but that cranky old racist Bill James just tweeted some sort of blanket compliment of him, so sorry Whitney, not down with you, either.

Hey, Brad Keller is on the mound. He won’t have to pee himself facing TA!

Ballgame is in just a few minutes, on NBCSCH and ESPN 1000 on the wireless.