Earlier today in Cooperstown, New York, Mr. White Sox Minnie Miñoso was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Some 764 miles west, in Chicago, the 2022 White Sox carried over the celebratory vibes with a gratifying 6-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians. It was a day of jubilee on the South Side, with the baseballs flying and the drinks flowing. Let’s break it down.
Ball go far, team go far.
The White Sox were able to get to 2020 Cy Young winner Shane Beiber early on, tagging him for five runs in the second inning alone. Everyone’s favorite second baseman and utility man extraordinaire Leury García got the party started, taking Beiber deep to right field and into the Guardians’ bullpen for a two-run blast that opened the scoring.
García’s blast was followed by back-to-back singles from Adam Engel and Tim Anderson, and the stage was set for AJ Pollock, who put three more runs on the board with a blast to left field.
According to my scorebook, Pollock was also the only White Sox hitter who was able to draw a walk today, but that’s a conversation for another time.
The final nail in the Guardians’ coffin came off the bat of Eloy Jiménez in the sixth inning, with a no-doubter solo shot that traveled 416 feet into the bleacher seats in left-center field.
Every single run that the White Sox — or Guardians, for that matter — scored today was the result of a home run. Let’s face it — home runs are fun and exciting, and today’s game was a reminder that Frank Menechino be damned, the 2022 White Sox can be fun and exciting.
Is Dylan Cease our ace? Many people are saying this.
(It’s me. I’m “people.” I’m saying that.)
Look, I don’t mind handling a little push-back on this: If the White Sox make it to the playoffs, Dylan Cease is my Game 1 starter. I’ve seen his greatness, and I have grown accustomed to a certain standard of living. Today’s game was a great example of how even on days when Cease doesn’t have as much command as normal, he can still work through lineups and get the outs he needs to secure a win. Cease allowed seven hits, but kept the Guardians off the board all afternoon, throwing 97 pitches and striking out four during his six innings of work.
Cease becomes the first White Sox starter to reach double-digits in the win column, improving his record to 10-4 and dropping his ERA to 2.03.
Today’s win was the last game of a crazy, 19-consecutive-game run that the White Sox had to face the two teams on top of them in the AL Central: the Guardians and the Minnesota Twins. Depending on who you talk to, this stretch of games against their divisional foes was either going to be the break-out or break-down moment for the South Siders. As it turned out, it was kind of neither. The White Sox went 10-9, and at the end of it, were able to pull to within one game of the second-place Guardians, and just four games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.
Which, for the 2022 White Sox, is nothing to sneeze at.
As we look ahead in the schedule for the next 19 games, the Good Guys face a slew of teams who are well under .500 and should be easily handled: the Rockies (43-52), A’s (35-62), Royals (38-57), Rangers (42-59), and Tigers (38-58). It is almost three weeks of pure butter.
So, in other words, if the White Sox were waiting for a serendipitous blessing in the schedule that would help them catch up to the Guardians and Twins, this is it.
Don’t take your foot off the gas, boys.
Today’s scorecard highlights:
- The game started off with a phenomenal catch in center field by the Guardians’ Myles Straw. It deserved commentary.
You know what? I’m going to show you the catch, too. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.
- Maybe I freaked out a little bit when Cease took a line drive off his leg. (He said he was OK, and finished the inning.)
- Liam Hendriks closed out the game for the White Sox in the ninth, and with that, the scorecard is retired for another week. See y’all next time.