For about six innings, the White Sox put forth a handful of events that signaled growth from last year. Luis Robert generated his own run with a two-out double, stolen base and a wild pitch. Lucas Giolito gave the Sox 5⅓ merely OK innings, but Tony La Russa spared him a third time through against Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Adam Eaton gave the White Sox a rare homer from a right fielder.
The last three innings borrowed to last year’s frustrations. Two costly Nick Madrigal mistakes, one compounded by a slow-to-respond manager, and one accentuated by an ill-timed Yasmani Grandal dropped pitch. Leury García hit for himself as a lefty in the ninth inning for some reason, and Robert didn’t come close to any of the three sliders he saw for the penultimate out.
And so La Russa’s second coming opened with an excitement-dampening loss in Anaheim.
Eaton turned on a Bundy changeup and sent it over the wall in right for a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth, but Max Stassi did the same thing with a Giolito changeup to center in the bottom of the inning to make it a one-run game.
Giolito struck out the side in the first inning, but he seemed a little overamped as the innings got tougher, pulling his fastball gloveside a la Dylan Cease. While some of the exertion might’ve added deception to his changeup, the other pitches suffered. That’s why La Russa went the pen after Shohei Ohtani opened the sixth with a screaming lineout to right, and was right to do so.
Unfortunately, the Sox couldn’t carry it the rest of the way. Codi Heuer survived his own control jitters against the middle of the Angels order because Yoán Moncada gloved a hot one-hopper from Justin Upton and started a 5-4-3 double play. Heuer also handled the seventh himself without incident.
The eighth was a different matter. Aaron Bummer entered and suffered one misfortune after another. Let’s list ’em:
- David Fletcher led off with infield single off Bummer’s person.
- Madrigal rushed a throw to second on an Ohtani grounder and pulled Tim Anderson off second base.
- Grandal dropped an ordinary sinker, allowing Fletcher to take third.
- Mike Trout scorches the game-tying single through the left side, but Fletcher probably doesn’t score if he’s on second.
- After an Anthony Rendon strikeout, Bummer loses an obvious strike one to Justin Upton en route to an 11-pitch walk that loads the bases.
- He gets a grounder from Albert Pujols, but it’s a high chopper and Moncada can only get the out at first.
That’s how the White Sox lost the lead, and two uncompetitive at-bats from Leury García and Robert, followed by a Zack Collins flyout, ended the game.
Another Madrigal miscue loomed large for a different reason. After he reached on an infield single with one out in the seventh, he was cut down on a stolen-base attempt. I’m not convinced a replay would have overturned the ball, but Tony La Russa, new to managerial challenges since they didn’t exist the last time he held the job, was too slow on the draw for what would’ve been a no-harm try.
*Neither of Bummer’s runs were earned, so the bullpen’s ERA remains 0.00.
*Eaton matched Nomar Mazara’s home run total from last year in one game.
*The White Sox were a little melodramatic with Eloy Jiménez’s injury.
Record: 0-1 | Box score | Statcast
Welp. Lots of lessons learned. Bummer did what he does. Just bad luck / bad play.
Stone explained exactly why he stayed in to face Pujols and he got the job done but TOO well and they could only get one.
Would have loved to see Vaughn’s first big league AB in the 9th.
Until Robert learns to lay off those sliders, superstar status will elude him.
Robert turned what would have been a Grandal or Abreu single into (effectively) a slow motion inside the park homerun.
Giolito struck out the side in the first inning, and had a perfect game going through 11 batters.
Bummer and Heuer both had terrible outings, which I think will be co soldered extremely notable in retrospect.
But no, the main thing this game will be remembered for — probably forever — is the twitter death of eloy jiminez.
Heuer had a terrible outing? That’s an interesting take.
Bummer had a terrible outing? He induced grounders and K’d Upton twice (even though blown calls made it a walk). Bummer had a very good outing with a bad outcome.
Oh that’s right they struggle with RHP
Yeah. There are a lot of little things that need to be addressed but the elephant in the room is that their offense needs to be capable of putting up more than 3 runs against 4 righties.
I really hope Nick catches up with the speed of the game. I appreciate the insane amounts of contact he makes, but he needs to have plus value on defense and base running.
If his defense and base running don’t improve he’s basically a replacement level player even hitting .330. It’s early in his career, and obviously sample size matters, but these were supposed to be MLB-ready skills he brought to the table and I think competing counts in part on him being at least an average contributor.
Agreed. I honestly think him and Robert are in their own heads thinking they need to carry the team. I want to say that’s something that can be easily overcome, but we saw what that did to Beckham.
Disappointing loss for a number of reasons, but the offense was annoyingly tame. Bundy is a solid pitcher, so it’s not *too* frustrating… but with Heaney tonight & Cobb tomorrow, the offense should be very much alive.
La Russa with a weird night to start things off for sure. Was really happy Giolito came out after the Ohtani shot; not sure that would have been the case last year. Not a fan of Leury batting in the 9th, and absolutely no idea what he could have been saving the challenge for. Opening night jitters for everybody maybe. Tonight against a lefty should afford everybody a bit more comfort.
I’m guessing La Russa was hesitant to take Leury out because then you either have Vaughn in LF in the late innings or you risk giving Hamilton ABs with the game on the line.
Having both Eloy and Engel out really hurts this team.
I get that line of thinking, but you have to tie the game before you can worry about who plays defense in the bottom of the 9th.
Side note, i think it should have been an easy decision to go ahead and review the Madrigal SB. It doesn’t hurt anything. It always reminds me of the time the Sox were in Detroit and there was a SB attempt in the bottom of the 9th that led to a walk off run. Replay had the runner out but Ventura didn’t bother challenging it ????????♂️
That’s about the line of reasoning I came to. Not the worst call ever, but I think I would have preferred a pinch hitter regardless.
Trying not to overreact to one game. But this one is particularly frustrating as I usually go to bed waaaay earlier and stayed up for that awful finish. The lineup looks awfully average without Eloy in it. I hope they plan on playing Vaughn more than Garcia and/or Collins.
Nick Madrigal starting back right where he left off.
Yeah, that was the most disappointing thing for me last night. I was ready to write off all of his costly errors and baserunning mistakes from last year, but he has just brought them all back to the forefront.
Let’s not forget Grandal too. Last year he dropped that easy chest-high throw and last night he picked up his odd defensive miscues again with a passed ball on a pitch that wasn’t even in the dirt. He picks the worst times for his mistakes.
Welp, I was disappointed they lost but I was so happy to see real baseball. For that reason, I’m probably not as angry as others.
Last night showed how much we are gonna miss Eloy. Our lineup is so much more potent and lethal with Eloy in the middle of it (Duh). There’s a large drop off going from Abreu-Grandal to Leury. Here’s to hoping that the Leury can BABIP his way into a productive 100+ games.
I’m starting to get the same feeling watching Madrigal play defense as I do watching a Bears Kicker attempt field goals. I’m just not confident when the ball is hit to him especially when it has to be a bang-bang play. For a guy that was touted for his defense in the minors, it has not translated over his first 30 MLB games. He has to be better, no excuses. It’s not for a lack of talent/skills, I think he’s in his own head.
The shortened season really sucked for the development of guys like Robert and Madrigal. In a perfect world, Robert would have gotten 400 more PA’s to work on the low and away slider. And Madrigal would have gotten 100+ games to get used to the speed of the game.
You could argue (but you don’t have to because I will) that Bummer pretty much did what he’s paid to do. He generated balls on the ground to Fletcher, Ohtani, and Pujols, and he was rewarded with bad outcomes on all three. If one of those things works in his favor, it’s a tied ballgame or better.
It was a disappointing mixed bag last night. Fortunately, there’s little time to stew over it. They play again tonight. It would suck to have to wait until tomorrow to cleanse the palette. That’s where the Twins are after several punches to the groin.
I won’t argue that Bummer wasn’t good, but if there’s literally one player that he should never be seeing, it’s Mike Trout. It’s not like Trout is a good matchup for anyone, but he is probably the best low-ball hitter who has ever lived. The only place you can really pitch him is high and inside and/or hope he swings at something that moves way out of the zone. If you know you are going to have to face him in the 8th, why not use one of you 4SFB/Slider guys like Kopech or Crochet?
Or even Hendriks? Best case scenario, Bummer pitches a clean 8th and you are using Hendriks in the 9th. Why not flip them to have your $54M man face the top of the card? Instead the most predictable thing in the world happens (Trout makes hard contact on a low fastball) around a bunch of other unpredictable/unlucky things and it turns into a loss.
Between that, the goofy lineup that went unadjusted the whole game, and the failure to challenge when it literally cost you nothing, I’m not impressed with the Hall Of Famer Baseball Person.
Good point. Feels like playing a little too rigidly with the 8th inning guy.
I’m all for moving the game along, but 20 seconds seems like an insanely short time to initiate a review on a bang-bang play late in a one-run game. You’re better off trusting your player (Madrigal, in this case) and your own eyes instead of hoping the video review crew gets back in time.
You can blame LaRussa but the review crew should know the situation and just scream “challenge”!
Help Grandpa out.
Pretty neutral regarding Larussa but he deserves time to learn about his team and the opposing players. Like it or not, he doesn’t know many.
I agree with others, Maddie is trying too hard to make up for other deficiencies making it all worse. That is LaRussa’s job to fix it if that is the case.
Leury and Robert with 3 LOB each.
A friend of mine coined an in-joke in our text chain: “As Leury goes, so go the Sox.”
He always seems to get ABs in potentially pivotal situations. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it doesn’t. Imagine if the Sox had an above average player to take those ABs. Too bad signing another outfielder would have kept the silver spoon out of Jerry’s great^12 grandkids and that Eloy Jimenez died on the way back to his home planet.
I’m making a motion to retire the “RIP Eloy” comments.
RIP “RIP ELOY”
Press “f” to pay respects
He was so young 🙁
If the Sox are going to blow a game like this can they at least save it for those that take place in the Eastern or Central time zones? I was not feeling great when I woke up this morning.