Early in 2019, the Chicago White Sox offense has been doing most of its damage in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth innings. A sign that the lineup begins to feel more comfortable facing a pitcher a second and third time through the order, and beating up on lousy bullpen arms. In fact, the White Sox in their first 20 games of the season only had a net advantage in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings.
In their first game against the Baltimore Orioles, the trend continues as Sox hitters beat up Baltimore’s pitching to the tune of 12 runs with four scored in each the fifth, seventh, and eighth innings.
It was scoreless after four innings thanks to a solid outing from spot starter Manny Banuelos and a heads up play by catcher James McCann. After spreading out singles to Orioles hitters but keeping them from scoring, Banuelos got into a jam in the fourth inning. A leadoff walk and two singles put Baltimore in a prime position to strike first with the bases loaded and only one out. With Pedro Severino at bat and Renato Nunez at third base, Banuelos threw a fastball on a 2-1 count that Severino tried to lay down for a bunt. It wasn’t a bad idea because Yoan Moncada was playing back even with the third base so any soft grounder would have scored Nunez.
Instead, Severino missed on his attempt, and as Nunez turned his back towards home plate, McCann threw a dart to Moncada at third base. A quick tag on Nunez and the Sox were fortunate to record the second out thanks to McCann’s awareness and accurate throw. Banuelos would freeze Severino on a slider for called strike three to end the inning without allowing a run.
Banuelos night was done after 71 pitches completing four innings allowing five hits, walking only one with four strikeouts and not allowing a run. Much better performance than we’ve seen from Ervin Santana and good showing filling in for the injured Lucas Giolito.
In the top half of the fifth, the Sox finally figured out Orioles starter David Hess. Throwing mostly 93 mph fastballs in the zone with a slider that would drop low and away, Hess hung a slider to Tim Anderson who roped it down the left field line for a leadoff double. Anderson would advanced to third on a passed ball on Severino, and Nicky Delmonico walked to put runners on the corners for McCann.
A tough seven-pitch at-bat that almost saw McCann dump a blooper down the right-field line just to fall wide of fair territory. Missing on that run-scoring opportunity, McCann nailed his second chance by crushing a hanging slider from Hess for a three-run homer to left field putting the Sox ahead, 3-0.
The rally continued as Ryan Cordell doubled down the left field line, but ended up getting thrown out at third base on Leury Garcia’s grounder to shortstop that was just a poor read by Cordell. Moncada walked four straight pitches to set the table for Jose Abreu with runners on first and second, and two outs. Wasting no time, Abreu smashed a single to left field on the first pitch from Hess to drive in Garcia making it a 4-0 game.
Baltimore cut the deficit to three runs after a Jonathan Villar single and Trey Mancini double that was just beyond an outstretch Garcia at the wall.
In the seventh inning, the Sox hitters went to work Orioles reliever Gabriel Ynoa. Moncada would single with one out, and come around to score on Abreu’s opposite-field home run, his fourth of 2019, to make it 6-1 White Sox.
Yonder Alonso would follow up the dinger with a double, and come around to score on a throwing error by shortstop Richie Martin on an Anderson grounder to make it 7-1. McCann picked up his fourth RBI of the night driving in Anderson with a single, and it started to get out of hand as the Sox were up by seven runs.
Miguel Castro was the next Orioles reliever, and the game started to get really ugly. Allowing a single to Garcia, then walking Moncada, followed by a wild pitch moving both runners to second and third, and Abreu driving in both with a single for his fifth RBI of the night to make it 10-1. After walking Alonso and striking out Anderson, Castro threw another wild pitch moving Abreu and Alonso into scoring position.
Filling in for Delmonico as a defensive substitution, Adam Engel joined in the fun with a single up the middle to beat the infield shift plating both Abreu and Alonso. A dozen runs scored was very satisfying to watch against a team that the Sox should beat up. Now it’s just a matter if they can continue this pace the next two games of the series.
- Tim Anderson went 1-for-5 and his season average is .403
- Eloy Jimenez is on bereavement leave as his grandmother passed away. Nicky Delmonico is filling in and he was the only White Sox hitter not to record a hit by going 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
- Despite a season OPS of .704, Abreu now has 17 RBI on the season.
Record: 9-12 | Box Score | Highlights
Is it strange that I’ve added Ryan Cordell to the list of White Sox batters I enjoy watching alongside Moncada, Anderson, & Jimenez?
He’s interesting enough with his tools and all but he also falls under “he’s interesting because he’s not [insert proven bad player here]”.
Poor Eloy. For the passing of his grandmother and the fact he couldn’t use some Oriole’s pitching to get back on track at the plate.