The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim take game one against the Chicago White Sox, dropping the Sox to a 7-12 record. Like many of you, I am simply losing my patience. When the South Siders do make hard, good contact with the baseball, it is almost always an out. Otherwise, it appears to be numerous amounts of ground balls for many of these power hitters, and a lot of first-pitch swings resulting in first-pitch outs. This recipe does not create success; instead, it creates a foul-tasting loss.
This discrepancy between #WhiteSox xBA/xSLG vs. actual BA/SLG is getting tiresome already. Would like it if actual production started happening soon.— Joe Resis (@JResis) April 30, 2022
It would be very nice to see actual production. We’re restless, and the Sox must be too. This is championship-window time, not expected championship-window time.
Fortunately, our ace remains our ace. Lucas Giolito did his job this evening. Going six innings and keeping this offense-heavy Angels lineup to three runs allowed Lucas to notch his first quality start of the year.
Two of those three runs given up occurred in the first. Lucas hung a curve ball to Taylor Ward for a left-center field shot, and Shohei Ohtani, who is just so much fun to watch, took Lucas deep to the deepest part of the ball park two outs after Ward.
After the first, Lucas settled in and straight-up dominated. Over 99 pitches, Giolito saw 15 whiffs and 18 called strikes. He tallied seven strikeouts, but he did surrender seven hits and one walk. The third run he gave up during his outing occurred in his final inning, the sixth. With Ohtani on first, Anthony Rendon took a pitch to the right-center field wall for an RBI double with two outs, to make it 3-1. But Gio picked off Rendon at second, and that was that.
Yet, the South Side Sluggers couldn’t complement Lucas’s outing. Tim Anderson did lead off the first inning with a double, and Yasmani Grandal sent him home on an error off of a grounder up the middle into the shift that squeaked through to center field.
But Grandal would be the last Sox baserunner until the seventh inning, when José Abreu reached on a single two outs into the inning.
The Sox tried, but couldn’t buy a hit:
First inning Abreu, 106.7 mph exit velocity, .630 xBA —> double play ball
Fourth inning Abreu, 103.9 mph exit velocity, .930 xBA —> fly out to Mike Trout
Fifth inning Luis Robert, 114.8 mph exit velocity, .960 xBA —> line out to Trout
Luis Robert's flyout to Trout was the first field out on a batted ball at 115 mph/19° since 2019— Jay Cuda (@JayCuda) April 30, 2022
Jake Burger, 109.2 mph exit velocity, .300 xBA —> ground out
Seventh inning Andrew Vaughn, 111.3 mph exit velocity, .770 xBA —> line out to Rendon
Abreu, 110.2 mph exit velocity, .390 xBA —> base hit
When the Sox do hit the ball well, they just aren’t dropping for hits. For some of you, these mean nothing (because you see outs). You want production. For others of you, this pains you (because you can quantify the bad luck), and you want production. The Sox can make quality contact — but can they work counts, hit consistently, and earn results? We are almost a month into the season, and it’s dark in this tunnel, but I’d like to think we’ll see some light. Yes, let me be cliché, but if this persists into May, I will be very, very sad and frustrated, as if I’m not already.
This is where I’d like to say that the Sox did start stringing together hits for a rally-inducing comeback win — but that was simply not the case.
Bennett Sousa (eighth) and Ryan Burr (ninth) contributed a run for the Angels in each inning they worked, but those runs turned out to be inconsequential given the White Sox offense tonight.
Yes, with one out into the ninth, Tim Anderson notched an oppo base hit, Vaughn took a baseball to the wrist (he seems OK, but was getting X-rayed postgame), and Abreu walked to load the bases. Down 5-1, one big swing would tie the game. However, as the season has gone, Grandal worked a full count, then struck out. Back in the lineup for the first time in over a week, Robert took the fifth pitch he saw to shallow right field for a snowcone fly out, ending the game to a 5-1 Angels victory.
All I can do is ask: Where was this sooner? The rally is nice, but the offense needs some consistency, and it needs to actually produce runs. Take these baserunners and long counts, and continue the ninth inning momentum into tomorrow’s game. That could be the spark.
Vince Velásquez will pitch opposite to José Suarez for tomorrow’s 3:10 p.m. CT game. There will be a lot of runs tomorrow — and the Sox better score the most.