It took a little help from Mother Nature and a whole lot from home plate umpire Larry Vanover — but mostly a sudden turnaround by Vince Cy Koufax Ryan Feller Velásquez — as the White Sox outwaited the Angels and a storm for a 4-0 victory.
The White Sox offense got started right away against Angels lefty Jose Suarez, with Tim Anderson taking the first pitch 389 feet for a 1-0 lead. Amazingly, that was all the scoring until the fifth inning, as two of the most unlikely pitchers to ever engage in a pitchers’ duel did just that.
The dueling trophy went to Velásquez, however, as he blew through a tough lineup until a deluge made him stop.
Velásquez came in with an ERA best not mentioned in polite company, but went 5 2⁄3 innings, giving up four singles and no walks and striking out six, and was engaged in a 10-pitch battle with Mike Trout that stood at a 2-2 count when Vanover called for the tarp.
At the point of the rain delay, the White Sox were up 4-0. And that’s mostly because Luis Robert, who had been in a horrible slump before missing a week with a groin injury, got his first hit since returning to the lineup Friday night, a nifty 412-footer in the fifth, with Josh Harrison and Anderson aboard.
A little rain doesn't bother Luis Robert. pic.twitter.com/vWOaj99C3m— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 30, 2022
Before that blast, Joe Maddon showed that when you’re only 68 years old, you just don’t have enough experience to manage in the majors. Suarez developed a blister in the fourth with the Sox up 1-0 — a perfect opportunity to call for a reliever and have him granted all the time he needs to warm up, perhaps enough to get to the downpour and get the game paused. Instead, they just played on. Didn’t matter, since the storm didn’t last long, but it’s sad to see a youngster not grasp the nuances of the game that our HOFBP has mastered.
After an hour or so of relaxation, Tanner Banks came in to extinguish Trout with a grounder, and Aaron Bummer finally had a nice outing, cruising through the seventh.
Kendall Graveman came in for the eighth and gave up two singles, bringing up Brandon Marsh. The count ran to 3-2, at which point Vanover, who must have had a hot dinner date, decided to take over and make sure that Trout (on deck) would have no chance to tie the game and delay things further; Vanover called Marsh out on a pitch that was about as close to third base as home plate. While that was far from Vanover’s only terrible call, it was the biggest one. Thank you, Larry.
It being a day for pitching turnarounds, Liam Hendriks joined Velásquez and Bummer in the winners’ circle, giving up just a walk in the ninth.
Pitchers and Robert weren’t the only ones to have a breakout game. Harrison had a single and a double and made a beautiful leaping grab of a liner to end the game, and AJ Pollock matched Harrison on the offensive side.
With the win, the White Sox end April 8-12. Dallas Keuchel will be the next pitcher to try for a turnaround, as he faces Michael Lorenzen of the Angels on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Central. No downpour is expected.