White Sox 10, Tigers 1: Taking the series with satisfaction

White Sox win

If the White Sox score twice as many runs as they did the game before while allowing half as many, they should be in pretty good shape this season.

Coming off a rickety 5-2 victory on Saturday that counted like any other win, the White Sox put together their first authoritative performance of 2022 in the third and final game of the season-opening series.

Besides a couple of individual moments I’ll highlight in the bullet points, it was hard to find a flaw. The White Sox once again scored runs early, followed by more runs late. Michael Kopech pitched four innings with increasing ease in an encouraging return to regular rotation work. The game started with the first of Tim Anderson’s three hits, and it ended with 30-year-old rookie Tanner Banks closing the game out with a pair of scoreless frames in his unlikely MLB debut.

Kopech, Banks, and three pitchers in between combined to hold the Tigers to two hits and four walks. Kopech allowed both hits, including an RBI triple to Victor Reyes in the second inning that scored a Miguel Cabrera walk to cut the White Sox’s early lead in half. Kopech dealt with a ton of deep counts early, and after he followed the Reyes triple with a four-pitch walk to Spencer Torkelson, Ethan Katz came out for a mound visit …

… and everything changed. Kopech finished his afternoon by retiring his last seven batters on 26 pitches, and Kyle Crick, Matt Foster and Kendall Graveman ran that streak to 16 straight through the seventh.

Meanwhile, a White Sox offense that struck for first-inning runs in all three games kept applying pressure throughout.

Anderson, resuming leadoff duties after serving his two-game suspension, greeted Tarik Skubal by roping his first pitch to the left-field wall for a leadoff double. He took third on Luis Robert’s signle, and after Robert stole second, both came home on a pair of productive outs.

Anderson led another two-run charge in the third by singling to center. Luis Robert replaced him after a fielder’s choice, which was just as well since Robert was able to score all the way from first on José Abreu’s double to the right-center alley. Abreu found his own way home by tagging up to third on an Andrew Vaughn flyout, then scoring when Jeimer Candelario couldn’t come up with Josh Harrison’s firm grounder to third.

Once more for good measure, Anderson led off the seventh with a double and scored on Eloy Jiménez’s bloop single to center two batters later. Vaughn delivered the knockout blow with a three-run homer, and the Sox could coast the rest of the way.

The bullpen made life easy for itself, as Kyle Crick recorded a scoreless fifth on 12 pitches, followed by Foster’s perfect sixth in nine pitches and Graveman throwing just seven in the seventh. Only Banks had to grind it out a little bit, ending the streak of consecutive batters retired with a walk to the first batter he faced. He rallied to strike out the side, then survived another two-out walk and a deep Cabrera flyout to come away with his ERA unscathed.

The win went to Crick since Kopech only completed four, but Kopech served the purpose well enough. He limited the damage to one run without his best work. The most room for improvement lies with his slider, which only got two whiffs and one called strike on 21 attempts. The command on that pitch sharpened over the last two innings, which helped compensate for a fastball that dipped toward 93 later in the game.

Bullet points:

*Danny Mendick contributed an RBI double in the fourth inning, although he broke for home on a wild pitch that didn’t bounce away as far as he anticipated, and he was tagged out standing up.

*Eloy Jiménez and Robert collided in left center, and it looked like Jiménez was the one who didn’t give way.

*Vaughn finished with four RBIs, and came away with six for the series despite only starting two of the games. Jiménez is right behind him with five.

*Reese McGuire was the only White Sox without a hit or a walk, but he did reach on an error. More importantly, he cut down Austin Meadows at second base on a pitch that bounced.

*Josh Harrison made his first start at third and made a ranging pick at the shortstop position, completing the play with a spinning throw to retire Tucker Barnhart.

*The White Sox struck out only 14 times over 117 plate appearances during the three games (12 percent). White Sox pitchers struck out 31 batters out of 107 (29 percent).

Record: 2-1 | Box score | Statcast

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28 Comments
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Willardmarshall

This is crazy dangerous. Shouldn’t Jimenez ALWAYS be the one to give way?

ParisSox

Normally yes. But looking at the replay it seemed like it was in Eloy’s territory and Robert definitely covered more ground to get to the ball.

So if Robert didn’t call for it, it was probably a surprise to Eloy that Robert was there.

Robert is like the centerfielder from Bad News Bears, just going to catch everything. Which I don’t mind.

texag10

I was watching it and I know that I couldn’t hear either player calling for it but other players (like Harrison on the foul pop up) are much more demonstrative when calling for it compared to the nothing we saw out of Eloy and Luis.

BuehrleMan

If the White Sox score twice as many runs as they did the game before while allowing half as many, they should be in pretty good shape this season.

Really looking forward to the Sox first matchup against the Twins on the 22nd when they are going to win 20,480 to .0004883.

Last edited 2 years ago by BuehrleMan
asinwreck

Good debuts by Sousa and Banks are most welcome sights with Crochet out for the year.

HallofFrank

It wasn’t a perfect series, but I really liked what I saw. The offense looked solid despite the cold and missing players. Starting pitching was excellent. Front end of the bullpen was very good and, despite the stumbles, I’m not concerned about the back end of the ‘pen.

The *one* thing I’d like to see: Eloy swatting some balls hard. If he gets going and Vaughn is doing this… look out.

jhomeslice

After a miserable opener, taking two of 3 is a pretty good weekend. I don’t think the Tigers are any kind of real threat, this year at least.

Now to the ugly 3 turns in the rotation… VV, Keuchel, Lopez. Hoping Keuchel is nothing like his 2021 self, their best hope of the 3 to be adequate if I had to guess.

Qubort

Is Lopez getting a start? Figure with the day off, let Cease and Kopech get into the habit of 4 days off.

Wayne

TLR seemed to insinuate that they were going 5 deep in the rotation. That was before the Giolito injury though. Also, we have 13 games in 13 days starting Tuesday (pending weather). So maybe getting the 5th in line is the goal.

a-t

If Bummer and Hendriks don’t (atypically) come out lemons, this series is a sweep. Sox looked thoroughly better than Detroit in all four phases. Not super surprising given that two of the starters they faced were lefties, but welcome still.

The lack of strikeouts so far is encouraging. Vaughn, Eloy, and best of all Robert have yet to K… keep it up fellas!

Also, something to watch going forward– Jose walked twice as much as he K’d in ST. Which ofc is a tiny tiny sample size, but he’s looked more patient at the plate than I can remember. Might be a deliberate approach adjustment.

BenwithVen

He might have realized his groundball rate last year, and is waiting on pitches to drive.

HallofFrank

I’ve noticed this too—Jose has looked great so far. No only the patience, but he looks more locked in and the swing is better than it usually is in April. Off the top of my head, it seems like he typically struggles in April. Not only swinging at garbage, but rarely punishing pitches and looking just generally out of sorts. He looks great right now.

metasox

Man on a mission

GrinnellSteve

5 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 5 K for the bullpen. More please!

dongutteridge

This team has talent. Don’t trade Vaughn!

Joliet Orange Sox

Nice win. Happy to see it.

Until a couple weeks ago, I used to see the number of comments on the right edge of the screen on my laptop and when there was a new one I got a button I could click on to go right to it. I no longer see the number of comments nor do I get the button when there is a new comment. Did I inadvertently change a setting or did this go away for everyone?

GrinnellSteve

Same here. And sometimes the new comments don’t show up in yellow. Sometimes they do. Today they’re yellow.

tommytwonines

I don’t want to pile on, but Patreon doesn’t seem to “remember” me and I need to login in a lot more than before to avoid the ads.

It might have started when I got the IPhone 12, not sure, just saying.

Go Sox!

Michael Kenny

Wins are the dumbest stat ever created. I get that it’s become a lot more common for a starter to not get through 5 innings, but come on.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree wins are a dumb stat. I think saves are even dumber.

A pitcher can pitch well and not get a win or save and pitch poorly and get a win or save.

The thing that makes saves dumber is how often saves make teams do foolish things. Teams occasionally make decisions that are foolish trying to get a certain pitcher a win (e.g. letting a pitcher who seems shaky stay in the game trying to get through 5 innings). Teams make foolish decisions because of saves all the time such as bringing a bum out to pitch in a tie game late because the closer has to be saved (pun not intended but almost unavoidable) for save situations.

Saves also skew perceptions of value. I’m completely with Jim that saying Craig Kimbrel is a future hall-of-famer with his career innings total of a bit over 600 is hard to swallow.

I found myself at a Cubs game in 2017 and was sitting near a man old enough to know better who was complaining to his 20-something sons about the Cubs closer Wade Davis. The sons defended Davis as fine (which he was) and the dad admitted he might be being too harsh on Davis because he had grown up with Lee Smith as the Cubs closer and Smith had almost 500 saves and he couldn’t remember Smith ever having a bad outing.

Joliet Orange Sox

I did what I should’ve done earlier and looked up Lee Smith’s save and blown save totals. He had 478 saves and 103 blown saves in his career. That’s a pretty good percentage but my memory is that at least a few of those outings were stinkers.

Alfornia Jones

Not that it figured, but McGuire should have played Saturday against a righty, he should never start against a lefty. If grandpa Simpson wanted kopech to figure in the decision he could have used an opener. I think he should not exceed 4 innings until the 2nd H, wins matter for contract/arbitration. Kevin Cash would win 110 games with this rosters.

Good series, but a lot of redundant parts on the roster. Montas needs to be on this team, offer Eloy as primary, but give up Vaughn if you have to. The window is two years, and they have excess DH’s and 1b . Even more necessary if they intend to resign Abreu.

Joliet Orange Sox

When you suggest offering Eloy as primary in a trade for Frankie Montas (a 29-year-old controlled through 2023 who has a career ERA+ of 106 and who has exceeded 100 ip once in his career), are we talking about 25-year-old Eloy Jimenéz who is under team control through 2026 and hit 31 home runs as a 22-year-old rookie and then won a Silver Slugger putting up a 139 OPS+ as a 23-year-old in the pandemic-shortened season and then had some bad injury luck as a 24-year-old or are we talking about a different Eloy?

(I was inspired by the Cleveland Scene article Jim posted to write a long sentence.)

Last edited 2 years ago by Joliet Orange Sox
tbsoxfan

Charlie Comiskey gives two thumbs up to the suggestion of purposely suppressing Kopech’s stats so he won’t get a big arbitration payday

Denman

Are you suggesting the Sox trade Eloy for Montas and toss in Vaughn if that’s what it takes? I wouldn’t trade Eloy and Vaughn for Cole or Robbie Ray much less Montas. I get that the Sox are heavy with DH/1B types but seriously….

Qubort

I wouldn’t trade either one of them for Montas.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

An ugly weekend in Detroit paired with an ugly Velasquez start in the home opener would have resulted in some really nasty vibes on Tuesday. At least they righted the ship so we don’t have to worry about that first part.

Last edited 2 years ago by Shingos Cheeseburgers