With their big ninth inning Sunday, did the White Sox come to realize they really can hit the ball, and carry the excitement and mashing offense forward?
Or will they suffer from an adrenaline drain because the rally fell a run short, and sink back into their torpor?
Only The Shadow knows.
And, while he’s at it, maybe The Shadow can provide some answers about Sox starter Dylan Cease.
Will Cease fall back into his historic pattern of overwhelming bad teams (career 20-7, 3.41 ERA vs. teams worse than .500) while being overwhelmed by good ones (4-12, 6.10), or will he continue the breakthrough he made against Tampa Bay on April 15? Will he continue to be totally discombobulated and lose concentration and command when some little thing goes wrong, like a bad call or losing a no-hit bid against the Royals to a fifth-inning dribbler last time out, or will he finally learn to just ignore such things?
Cease will be facing Angels hurler Patrick Sandoval, a heretofore journeyman who somehow this year has gone three starts and 15 innings without giving up a run. How? Only The Shadow knows.
Sandoval is a lefty, a breed the White Sox tend to hit very well, but while his platoon splits this year are fairly wide, it’s only because lefties have no hits against him, while righties have managed a .214 average. Over his career, the splits have been fairly even, probably because his five-pitch repertoire includes a changeup that he throws a quarter of the time and gets a lot of whiffs with.
Sandoval will be facing a White Sox lineup without lefty masher Andrew Vaughn, still out after being hit on the right wrist with a pitch Friday.
Only AJ Pollock has faced Sandoval more than twice, and he’s 1-for-5 with a homer.
Cease will get a break as well, with Shohei Ohtani out of the lineup after what he described as a minor groin ache after trying to beat out a double play yesterday.
Trout is the only Angel with more than two at-bats against Cease, and he’s 1-for-3.
Two more questions for The Shadow: Will we be able to match the four overturned calls at first base of yesterday, and, in a battle at the top, will Joe Maddon make more managing mistakes than the HOFBP?
The two White Sox who fell victim to the return to a 26-man roster were Anderson Severino and Danny Mendick, who had the third-highest OPS on the team behind Vaughn and Tim Anderson. But it would be burning a lot more money to send down one of those flailing and failing at the bat, so Mendick gets the frequent flier miles.
First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. Central, with only moderately crummy weather — a cloudy 52°, with light winds toward left. The usual suspects will be covering the game.