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Royals 6, White Sox 2 (opener): A Series of Unfortunate Events

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Losing the MVP of the American League, two routine fly outs leave the stadium, and some turning against our ace created a sullen, irritable mood among Sox fans

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
Solemn Faces: A tough scene at the ballpark, as if the two other injuries to our superstars were simply not enough.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Very early, this game refuted my gamethread, how disrespectful.

The Chicago White Sox, right as the good times are rolling, fell on hard luck against the Kansas City Royals during this afternoon’s opener of today’s doubleheader.

To start with a positive note before we get to the ugly parts of this game, the White Sox did start the game with a first-inning run. Tim Anderson, as he does, got on base via a walk (and bat flip, off of Brad Keller!). A well-timed hit-and-run with Yoán Moncada at the plate put runners on first and third with one out. José Abreu, 2020 AL MVP, sent a fly ball to right field, which served as a sac fly to score Timmy.

Then, well, the game went downhill fast.

Top of the second inning, Jorge Soler singled. Following the hit, Hunter Dozier popped up the baseball, and as he moved out of Yasmani Grandal’s way (with his head down), he ran right into a hustling Abreu, who was also trying to make a play on the baseball propelling down to earth.

As I was watching the game on TV, that play occurred in slow motion, and I was yelling at my TV for Dozier to look up, but he could not hear me, and it was already too late. The collision knocked both players to the ground, and I was sick to my stomach.

We do know something that we did not know then, and with the preliminary testing, both players are day-to-day.

Baseball is a game of staying alert and allowing the fielder the right to make a play on the baseball. Dozier losing his cool and being angry on a pop-up tracking to fall in the basepaths, forgot that, and two injuries resulted.

With the crowd solemn, fearing the life of the Sox leaving with their MVP back in the clubhouse, the Royals struck on the first pitch after the injuries as Michael A. Taylor recorded a two-run home run ... a chintz-job home run with a .160 xBA.

Salvador Pérez followed suit in the third inning to Taylor. With two runners on, Salvy “launched” a ball to the same right field aided by strong wind as Taylor did, and he found himself with a .190 xBA, three-run home run.

These last two facets complemented with xBA is not to criticize the Royals for having some luck on their side; it is to ease the fretting surrounding the Lucas Giolito conversation. He is a fly out pitcher, inducing what should have been two routine fly outs, and he simply got unlucky. It’s another reason why advanced metrics and statistics exist: To quantify variables in a way that could not have been before.

Giolito’s pitching line for today looks like this: six innings, five hits, five earned, three walks, seven strikeouts and two home runs.

Here is Giolito’s line without the wind taking two routine fly balls out of the park: six innings, three hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.

These are two drastically different pitching lines, which emphasize how Giolito is still the ace we know and love. Yes, those two home runs are on his record, they will not go away; we now just have a better understanding on why they occurred.

Sharing the mound with Giolito, Brad Keller finally lost the nickname “Bad” Keller (for now). He went five frames with five hits, two earned runs, three walks and seven Ks, eerily similar to Lucas’s performance.

Unfortunately, the White Sox could not rally together to come back and win the game, but they have an opportunity for a win tonight.

Time to start a new streak, and get our MVP back. Game 2 starts at 7:10 p.m. CT. Colleen Sullivan has the recap, and Jeremy Karll completes his doubleheader Half-Case.

And to end on a positive note, in Tony La Russa’s postgame interview, he commented that Abreu is smiling and wanted to play tonight’s game. He won’t, but I’m still going to go cry happy tears.

Mama Abreu should be happy and relieved, too.