Welington Castillo picked a good time for a first hit with the White Sox, perhaps because he picked the best count.
Castillo was 0-for-8 on the young season when he came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs in the eighth inning. Brandon Maurer started him with three straight pitches out of the zone, including one that tempted to bring #WILDPITCHOFFENSE into play.
Maurer’s fourth pitch — a 94 mph fastball — was also out of the zone, but it must have been where Castillo looked for it. He took a pitch that was up and just off the plate and hammered it to right field, where it caromed off the top of the wall. While he missed the homer, the two-run double put the White Sox up 4-3.
Joakim Soria nailed down the save in the ninth, in part because Castillo thwarted Alcides Escobar’s sac bunt attempt. He charged the nubbed bunt and threw an off-balance strike to second in time to get Alex Gordon for the first out.
I have to mention that Castillo then let a good Soria curveball get through his wickets to get Escobar into scoring position with two outs. That changed the complexion of his battle with Jon Jay, whom Soria walked to bring Whit Merrifield to the plate, but Merrifield flied out to center to end the game.
Yoan Moncada started the fateful eighth with a solo shot off Maurer, a satisfying answer for the previous at-bat, when he struck out after Rick Renteria called for a bunt on the first pitch. The first Sox run since the first inning made it a 3-2 game.
Avisail Garcia followed with an infield single that Escobar couldn’t corral, although he was cut down on Jose Abreu’s grounder to second. Matt Davidson drew a walk to put the go-ahead run on, although pinch-running Tyler Saladino represented it. Both runners moved up on Nicky Delmonico’s chopper to first base, and both ended up scoring on Castillo’s double.
That changed the story of what had been a quiet night. On a cold night, both offenses went icy after the first inning, with the Sox on the more frustrating end of a low-scoring game. Davidson put the Sox up early with an RBI single, but Delmonico popped out and Castillo struck out to limit the damage to a single run.
The Royals overcame that margin immediately because Lucas Giolito couldn’t find the zone. The first four Kansas City batters reached for the second straight game — a Jon Jay single, a hit by pitch and two walks, the second of which tied the game.
The Sox used two mound visits in the inning, and Don Cooper’s took. Cheslor Cuthbert’s flyout to center scored one run, but Paulo Orlando grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Sox could’ve knocked Ian Kennedy out of the game earlier after racking up his pitch count, but he quieted the Sox’ bats over the last three frames to go six. He outpitched Giolito, who survived six innings himself without his good stuff, but fell behind further due to additional mistakes.
Giolito had two outs and nobody on in the third when grooved a 3-1 fastball to Mike Moustakas. The subsequent liner rattled around the right field corner for a triple. Still, Giolito got ahead Lucas Duda 0-2. Alas, when he tried to put him away with a curve, he hung it instead. Duda jammed himself, but he was able to muscle it into shallow center, just out of reach of a diving Adam Engel. The RBI single made it a 3-1 game.
Despite allowing four walks and an HBP over six innings, Giolito only threw 89 pitches, shortening the game for Renteria and his better relievers. The White Sox’ bullpen outpitched Kansas City’s, as Danny Farquhar, Nate Jones and Soria all contributed scoreless innings.
Renteria hasn’t called Soria his dedicated closer, so it’s worth noting that while Jones pitched the eighth, he did face the 3-4-5 part of Kansas City’s order.
*Moncada pulled an Adam Dunn at the leadoff spot. He walked and scored to start the game, struck out and homered.
*The bunt attempt was frustrating because it followed two singles, including a great bunt by Engel that caught KC’s defense off-guard. It put Moncada on path for a strikeout, and then Garcia grounded into a double play.
*Tim Anderson stole his first base of the season and rather easily.
*Renteria is 2-for-2 in using Leury Garcia as a defensive replacement for Delmonico.
*The White Sox are the only undefeated team in the American League.
Record: 2-0 | Box score
Game 1 had a very good strikeout rate for Sox hitters. Game 2 league average-ish.
I had a theory that Delmonico lost some power with the shoulder injury (1 XBH since coming back), but his exit velocity has actually been above average.
Love the comeback tag, the Renteria-bunt tag not so much.
If Giolito ever figures out how to throw his curveball anywhere near where he wants to, he’s gonna be fun to watch.
Fun game, fun team. I am loving this.
Renteria’s gotta cool it with these bunts though. Bunting against Ian Kennedy (except for a hit, like Engel did) is always a bad idea.
I’m going to disagree with the moncada bunting thing tonight. I thought it was a passable call. It was fricking freezing… I was there… and nobody at the time looked like they had a chance in hell up there. Put two men in scoring position and an Avi blooper ties the game. The fault lies with moncada who has to get that bunt down.
Of course he made up for it in the end. So the hell with it. Who cares.
How’s the BBQ?
I think it’s important to remember that it’s called sacrifice.
When you’re trying to establish a winning culture it’s important for everyone in that clubhouse to see that perhaps your best all around player is willing to put the team first if called upon. It goes in the development before winning bucket.
No part of Moncada’s development hinges on his bunting ability, and in that situation, swinging the damn bat would be “putting the team first.”
Of course, it was Renteria’s call, so not really Moncada’s fault
Moncada hasn’t “earned” the right to not bunt in that situation yet. I’m sure he will and it will be very soon, but until he does it sends the wrong message to the other guys in that dugout to just let him swing away.
Every baseball player earns the right not to bunt in that situation upon promotion to AA.
It sends the wrong message to the other guys to let him bunt.
That message is, “The manager doesn’t understand how to best capitalize on a scoring opportunity and asks his dangerous hitters to hand free outs to vulnerable pitchers.”
I think it sends the wrong message to sabermetrically inclined fans.
That’s bad in of itself, but players are increasingly becoming sabermetrically inclined as well.
That is a fantastic point about Soria vs Nate. I actually didn’t realize it who they were facing when I thought huh did they flip? If this sort of decision making can payoff like it did today, wow. Great analysis and observation as always Jim.
Stone mentioned it during the broadcast.
Oh. I’m usually listening to Ed and DJ. I’ll eventually find ways to view broadcasts but I’ve always been more radio than tv.
Fun comeback. Was it just me or were Stone and Benetti really on tonight? Maybe it’s the fresh season or just me coming off the radio guys. Steve was particularly full of insight and even the occasional sabremetric.
I like that Benetti didn’t let Stone off the hook for using “olfactory” incorrectly.
My main thought about them was that Steve has lost a bunch of weight. Exciting stuff, I know.
Playgirl must be doing a nostalgia issue.
I just looked up a Getty Images photo of him from August and then watched the introduction before today’s game on MLB.TV. “A bunch” may be underselling it.
He’s been laying off the toasted coconut donuts
I get the feeling the pitching will be on a tightrope all year but wins are wins.
Whether through design or happenstance, it was nice to hear Jones face the heart of the order in the eighth. Sounded like he was dealing. Also, please let this be the last time you compare Moncada to Adam Dunn.
If Moncada hit like Adam Dunn did during his career, but was a positive defender at second a positive and baserunner, then he’d be a deserving HOFer.
Adam Dunn: Career = YES
Adam Dunn: White Sox Career = NO
Has anyone ever calculated the $/hr Dunn cost the White Sox? Or the $/strike out?
Now that I am asking this, is there a baseball acronym for such?
He gets a bad rap from the CWS fanbase but he is considered a financial genius by his peers. 🙁
Game 2 was even more impressive to me. They could have easily caved in. Giolito gritted out 3-6 and that was impressive for him to mentally stay in the game. Castillo repeatedly stopped what could have become a rally with his hustle on defense. His 2 run double was perfect.
Anderson looks like he is making a statement and not lowering his expectations to become average. Looks like he is having some fun this year.
I was hoping for a better showing from Giolito, but a win is a win and there were some good moments here. Jones looked damn good.
I’m a bit forgiving for the pitchers. That cold weather has to make it really hard to get good movement on your pitches.
I thought the start was very encouraging for Giolito. He had trouble locating his pitches, especially his curve in the cold, and after a rocky first inning, without his best stuff, he still found a way to bounce back and put together a quality start. He finds ways to keep his team in the game even when he’s not on.
Defense was excellent today. I was happy to see Giolito switch to pitching to contact against this weak ass line up, with the cold suppressing power.
I thought Jones looked great. Maybe flip him and Soria?
Maybe read the discussion above?
“Quit-averse” is the only discussion above mine. Doesn’t shed any light on it. But I agree with it.
From the article; “while Jones pitched the 8th, he did face the 3-4-5 part of Kansas City’s order.”
Calm response. I like it. PauliePaulie articulated what I was referrring to.
Gibby, at your convenience we’ll need to talk about our Opening Day bet.
I owe you $15. We can see if we match up for a game sometime, at which point I will buy your food and drink. Alternatively, I will send you a check. It’s still hard for me to believe that the Sox allowed Shields to start the Opener, but, given the result, I’m a happy man.
Hoping to get there this summer. It would be great to hook up. We’ll see.
Yeah, we all have to be happy with how both games have turned out. Now for the sweep!
And with the cancellation, it is a sweep.
Nate was filthy. These were 2 very losable games. Using the “it’s what you do with the other 40 trope” the Sox are 63-0.
I hate that trope.
Eloy Jimenez is hurt again. Sorry for the dour.
Strained pectoral. Shut down for a week. Then extended ST before joining Birmingham.
Damn, but thanks.
haha april fools right? …right?
I actually did a google search to make sure it wasn’t. Article was written yesterday. Hate to see so many of the Sox top 10 prospects missing so much time.
Crowdfund a campaign to buy back Herm’s magical anti-injury beans. The Sodfather lost them in a card game.
So y’all probably figured this out already, but today’s game was postponed until April 28. Sad. I figured it was raining in KC, but MLB.com says it was postponed due to cold.
Doug Ault would be ready to hit.
I’m old enough to easily remember the Doug Ault game you’re referring to. I’m not sure how many posters are. I did some googling and found that Doug Ault sadly committed suicide at age 54 in 2004.
Doug Ault Story