White Sox 4, Indians 0: Biting the Hand

It’s not often that a team is happy to get to their opponent’s closer, but the White Sox must have been happy to see anybody but Zach Plesac when the ninth inning arrived with the game still scoreless.

The White Sox scored once off Brad Hand in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, which was the same game the Sox squandered multiple bases-loaded scenarios. Here, they loaded the bases on Hand immediately. Tim Anderson doubled, Yoán Moncada drew a tough walk, and José Abreu stayed alive long enough to take a pitch on the foot.

Up came Yasmani Grandal, and the guy who came through with that RBI single against Hand the day before shot a sac fly to right for the game’s first run. The Sox reloaded the bases when Edwin Encarnación’s swing clipped Beau Taylor’s mitt for catcher interference, and that’s when Terry Francona went to the bullpen for Adam Cimber.

The results didn’t change. Eloy Jiménez came through with another sac fly for another run. It was hit deep enough for all runners to advance, and that came in handy when Luis Robert shot a single through the middle to make it a 4-0 game.

The insurance runs were appreciated, because Alex Colomé loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth over the course of five batters and 29 pitches. He issued a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Domingo Santana chopped out to Anderson at short to end the game.

The Sox avoided the sweet and were lucky to do so. Plesac hogtied the Sox through eight, allowing just three hits while striking out 11. His command was excellent, or at least good enough to utterly mystify a team with below-average discipline. He got a whopping 20 swinging strikes on 98 pitches, including 13 on 32 sliders.

Only one inning constituted a real threat, and that’s when Adam Engel doubled to lead off the sixth. But Plesac struck out Anderson, survived a lineout from Moncada, and got Abreu to ground out hard to short over the course of six pitches.

But the Sox were in a position to steal the game despite the incredible struggles over the first eight innings because their good pitchers in 2019 were good at the same time in 2020.

Lucas Giolito shook off his ugly Opening Day with an outing that looked a lot more typical — lots of fastballs, and a changeup so effective he could get away with lesser command. He threw six innings that weren’t as dominant as Plesac’s, but scoreless just the same. His jams were tougher, although I suppose that makes the zeroes more impressive.

In the fourth, he faced runners on the corners after a leadoff walk and a Jose Ramirez single. Giolito steadied himself, getting ahead 0-2 with changeups to Francisco Lindor, setting up a high fastball strikeout three pitches later. Up came Carlos Santana, who hit a firm grounder right to Abreu, who teamed up with Anderson for a flawless 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

That same part of the order posed problems for Giolito in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs on two singles and a four-pitch walk to Lindor. Santana came to the plate once again in position to pounce, but he flied out harmlessly to center on Giolito’s last pitch of the game.

The bullpen took it from there. Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer handled their innings with ease, striking out two apiece in the seventh and eighth. Bummer picked up the win. It wasn’t a save situation for Colomé, which is fine since he didn’t deserve one anyway.

Bullet points:

*Giolito lowered his ERA by more than 10 runs (17.18 to 6.52).

*Plesac came within one pitch of an immaculate inning, starting the fourth with two three-pitch strikeouts and an 0-2 count to Encarnación. His ninth pitch was outside, and Encarnación made Plesac throw five more pitches before he could say he struck out the side.

*Robert’s ninth-inning single means his career-long hitting streak is still literal. He later swiped his first base.

*The Indians were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

*Jiménez went 0-for-3 with the sac fly in his return to the lineup after running into the wall on Sunday. He appeared no worse for the wear in left field.

*Abreu had a nice night at first base. Along with starting the 3-6-3, he smothered an Oscar Mercado chopper over the bag to prevent a double.

*The last catcher interference drawn by the Sox: Zack Collins on Sept. 10, 2019.

Record: 2-4 | Box score | Statcast

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Seemed like Colome’s time between pitches was roughly 2.5 Buehrles or so; what a ridiculously long scoreless inning.

John SF

Considering we still won, I can’t say I’m especially upset. Colomé basically gave us an extra 15 minutes of baseball and he was nice enough to make it really exciting / scary to watch.

That made the win sweeter and my quarantine day less boring.

(I mean, it’s obviously not a good sign for him as our Closer going forward. But I’m choosing to look on the bright side today)

Yolmer's gatorade

2.5 Buehrles = 1 Miguel Gonzalez if I recall correctly and 1 Alex Colome apparently.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

scoreline got me thinking so I checked and that’s the first time that scoreline has ever happened in Sox history (with the Sox as the visitor). So I checked further and the scoreline to every Sox game so far this season is the first time that scoreline has occurred in Sox history. I have no clue how unique that is for a stretch of six games.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

Turns out not that unique at all – the odds of six games all being ‘new’ scorelines since 1901 is about 20%.

Turns out there’s a lot of ways to distribute a theoretically infinite number of runs over a theoretically infinite number of samples (although it’s typically 17 or 18).


Is it sad that I was impressed by Eloy calling off Tim and Yoan on a fairly routine pop up in the 8th?


It is a very limited sample size but he does seem to have a better control of himself in the OF this year. Getting banged up on the wall happens to even the best outfielders but last year it seemed like even on routine fly balls Eloy was wandering around and looking like he might fall over.

He will probably never be above average but thats fine considering his bat. And the fact that Robert and his ridiculous range are next to him he just needs to be not Adam Dunn.


I think the final out was a grounder to Anderson, who fired to Abreu for the finish.


Is it just me or is Abreu literally in the BSOHL? Throwing the leather. Pounding the ball. Looking good.


It’s the small rubber band in his goatee. That’s what looks good

Eagle Bones

I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the pitch plot on Savant yet, but anecdotally it sure felt like Plesac got some help from the ump early in the game with a generous zone. Seemed to screw with some of the Sox hitters as they looked like they were consciously swinging at pitches they thought were out of the zone, but too close to take.


The ump was often giving the inside strike to right-handed hitters, but not a corresponding strike to left-handed batters. I’ve been underwhelmed by the quality and consistency of strike zones so far. It seems to me the Sox hitters are are being hurt more by this. On Tuesday they had 2 rallies ended with terrible called third strikes. Are opposing catchers framing better than Grandal?


I’ve been wondering the same thing. Maybe other catchers will be better at framing this year. Here’s why: The umpires could be taking things out on Grandal, who got a huge contract partly because of his widely reported ability to trick them into thinking what is a ball should be a strike. During our first two series, the Twins and Indians got about 75% of the close pitches to go their way. You would think that with Grandal now on our side, we’d be closer to 50% or even have an edge.

But it appears the umps might have other ideas.