Last Opening Day, the White Sox blasted six homers — including three from Matt Davidson — en route to a rousing route.
This one was a much quieter affair … until the ninth. Brad Keller held the Sox down through seven shutout innings, and the White Sox didn’t have enough outs remaining to make their furious ninth-inning rally count.
The Sox did make this game far more interesting than it had a right to be. They trailed 5-0 entering the ninth, but loaded the bases over the course of the first four batters. Closer Wily Peralta gave up a single to Leury Garcia and a walk to Yoan Moncada, then induced a popout from Jose Abreu.
Instead of sticking with his best guy, Ned Yost went to the bullpen. And then he kept going back to it.
In came Jake Diekman, who walked Yonder Alonso to load the bases for Eloy Jimenez, then hit Jimenez on the toe to spoil the shutout. Diekman got a nubber off the end of Daniel Palka’s bat toward third, but it was hit softly enough that Hunter Dozier could only get the forceout at third, and another run scored.
Yost went back out to the mound to attack Tim Anderson with righty Kevin McCarthy. That didn’t work, because Anderson lined a single to left to make it 5-3, and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Welington Castillo pinch-hit for James McCann to draw a walk and bring forth the fourth pitcher of the inning.
Brad Boxberger was the one to get the third out. Yolmer Sanchez put a good swing on it, but didn’t quite barrel up what turned out to be a game-ending flyout to right.
Alas, after all that, Carlos Rodon was still tagged for the loss. Rodon matched Keller pitch-for-pitch over the first three innings, but eventually he, the White Sox defense and the White Sox bullpen all eroded.
At first, Rodon had the misfortune of giving up a leadoff triple as a his only hit. Adalberto Mondesi reached on a three-bagger that was restored by a challenge — the umpires thought Moncada tagged him when he briefly came off the bag — and he scored on Alex Gordon’s sac fly. A leaping catch at the wall by Palka kept it from being an RBI double.
But Rodon’s fastball started drifting higher, the baserunners because more frequent, and it caught up to him in the sixth. Whit Merrifield reached on a blooper to start the inning, and then the league’s stolen-base leader went to work. He swiped second on a swinging strikeout, then took third during Alex Gordon’s plate appearance, which ended in an hit by pitch. Merrifield eventually scored on Jorge Soler’s shot through the left side.
Rodon then should’ve gotten out of the inning when Frank Schwindel hit a firm grounder to second, but Sanchez appeared to lean the wrong way upon contact, and his awkward stabbing attempt to his left didn’t work. What should’ve been a 4-6-3 double play instead turned into a run-scoring error.
Keller allowed just two hits and a walk over seven innings, and few batted balls that looked like potential hits. Both hits were ground-ball singles (one by Jose Abreu, one by Yoan Moncada), and only in Keller’s last inning did the Sox really drive the ball in the air. Both were lineouts to right.
That said, the Royals were smart to not rest their hopes entirely on Keller’s outing. They tacked on two more insurance runs in the seventh, and they ended up deciding the game.
Ryan Burr, who didn’t walk a batter over 11⅓ innings during the spring, walked Merrifield with one out. Mondesi then drove his second triple to right because Palka couldn’t cut it off, and Merrifield scored. Moncada temporarily stopped the bleeding by cutting down Mondesi at the plate after corralling the short hop, but another Soler RBI hit — a ringing double off Dylan Covey — made it moot.
*Moncada had a great day, going 1-for-3 with a walk and no strikeouts at the plate, and acing all his chances in the field, including a fantastic charging play on a slow roller.
*Anderson’s ninth-inning single helped make up for an off start to what he hopes is a rebound season. He committed a random error by sailing a throw on a Martin Maldonado grounder in the third. Wet turf or not, he had time to make an under-control peg. He also missed a chance to beat out a high throw by stepping on the back side of the bag in the eighth inning. He was initially ruled safe, but a replay overturned it because Schwindel’s foot hit the bag first.
*Covey committed the Sox’ third error by bouncing a throw to first on a slow roller back to the mound. Abreu couldn’t handle the hop.
*Eloy Jimenez had a debut to forget, although he was able to notch some firsts. Keller struck him out in his first two plate appearances, then induced a weak 4-3 on the shortstop side of second. But hey, the HBP gave him his first RBI, and he also scored his first run on Anderson’s base hit.
*The start of the game was delayed by rain for an hour and 46 minutes.
Record: 0-1 | Box score
Teams that can’t beat the Royals 19 times should be contracted. Hard game to watch.
Then the Royals will be the only team left in the Central. THe Yankees and the Red Sox won’t beat the Orioles 19 times this year. Should they be contracted too?
I’d vote for contracting the Yankees and Red Sox just for being the Yankees and Red Sox.
This team is not good. It’s going to be a long season.
Yeah, but I think they’ll hit. It always looks bad when you don’t hit.
Lineup had a good K:BB ratio. Not many strikeouts. Not they were facing a big strikeout guy as the starter, but they cleaned up in that department vs. the bullpen.
They’ll never have a scoreless inning again.
With nothing to support it, I feel oddly confident about their chances on Sat.
LOLOLOL this clown show had it all yesterday, mercy.
Ridiculously stupid errors by sanchez and anderson, not to mention covey. A dh being a disaster in RF unable to cut balls off in the gap or get balls off the wall in, in any kind of timely manner. Eloy nerves getting the best of him at the plate, basically 0 offense until a minor league bullpen came in during the 9th… Rodon hitting a wall in the 6th, a shaky pen unable to hold down a 4A lineup…
Just an ugly game. Moncada probably the only real bright spot as he looked confident at the plate and very good on all his chances at 3rd.
Palka starting yesterday was indefensible (no pun intended). If there was one Royals starter Palka should not have been playing against it is Keller. Not only is outfield defense important in Kaufmann Stadium, but Keller is one of the best groundball starters in MLB pitching so the odds of hitting homers like last opening day are extremely low. Palka’s defense cost at least one run (if being generous) and maybe two (if being more critical).
Too late to change the the team name to the Washington Generals?
Nah…Chicago White Sox fits alright
Only got to see the first two PAs by Eloy but he definitely looked anxious up there to prove a point and swung at some pitches he had no right to offer at. He should settle down over the next few games.
Rodon also looked good the first couple times through.
Keller is basically the only Royals starter worth a damn and he made the lineup look totally punchless. Elsewhere, Jordan Zimmerman was perfect against the Twins through 6 1/3 and Snell and Sale got totally blown up. That’s why you play 162 I guess…
I think this team will score runs. Many more runs. It’s the pitching that is an unknown.