White Sox 4, Angels 0: Only rain can stop Vince Velasquez

White Sox win

Little did we know that Vince Velasquez only needed the White Sox offense to see one pitch in order to generate all the offense he needed.

Tim Anderson belted José Suarez’s first-pitch fastball over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead, and Velasquez and four White Sox relievers made it hold up around a 61-minute rain delay for a sorely needed victory.

Velasquez, facing the potential loss of his rotation spot with Johnny Cueto near ready, did everything he could to warrant further turns. He limited the Angels to four singles over 5⅔ innings while striking out six, all of them involving the top four hitters of the Anaheim lineup.

Velasquez allowed a single to open his afternoon, but he only dealt with one tense inning, and that had more to do with the weather than anything else. He allowed a pair of two-out singles as rain threatened to halt the game before the 4½-inning mark and the Sox clinging to that 1-0 lead, and Velasquez didn’t sense any urgency with his pace.

But maybe he knew better. First, he got David Fletcher to fly out harmlessly to center field to make the game official, and then Luis Robert finally gave the White Sox a crooked number by taking Suarez southbound for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

In the end, the only thing the rain denied was a quality start, as Velasquez’s battle with Mike Trout with two outs in the sixth was interrupted by a downpour eight pitches in, even though neither contestant seemed particularly eager to leave.

When play resumed, Tanner Banks stood atop the mound instead of Velasquez, and he retired Trout with a changeup to end the sixth. Aaron Bummer pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Kendall Graveman worked around two singles in the eighth, and Liam Hendriks survived three hard-hit balls around a walk, including a leaping grab by Harrison to end the game.

Velasquez settled for 5⅔ scoreless innings, his first win, and an ERA that dropped to 4.58. His fastball did the heavy lifting in terms of whiffs — nine of his 13 over 78 pitches — but it was set up by effective breaking balls, particularly a curveball that grabbed a ton of strikes.

The White Sox offense could’ve scored more than four runs, as it outhit the Angels 10-6, and had a 3-1 edge in free bases (two walks, one HBP). The leadoff man reached in each of the first six innings, but they could only see a rally through in the fifth. Harrison led off with a double, and while he didn’t advance on a Tim Anderson bouncer that clipped third base for an infield single, he could trot the rest of the way on Robert’s blast.

Those were White Sox’s only two hits with runners in scoring position, as they went 2-for-12 overall. Two homers helped ease that pain.

Bullet points:

*AJ Pollock recorded his first two hits since returning to the lineup. He had been 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts since his hamstring injury.

*Pollock played in place of Andrew Vaughn, who was dealing with a sore wrist after an HBP on Friday. At least the defensive outfield of Pollock, Robert and Adam Engel is the best possible permutation in that regard.

*Harrison had a perfect day at the plate, singling, doubling and getting hit by a pitch.

*Velasquez even astounded himself.

Record: 8-12 | Box score | Statcast

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Yolmer

Dallas Keuchel should be the one to lose innings when Cueto is ready.

HallofFrank

Yeah, VV earned at least one more go around. His signing was so out of the blue that it seems like the White Sox wanted *him* specifically—that is, not just a generic veteran pitcher. So I’ve wondered if they saw something in him they thought Katz could work with.

I wonder if Keuchel will end up in the bullpen as long relief. You could pair him with VV/Cueto to folllow the inevitable short starts.

As Cirensica

If Cueto is called up, one of the following has to go:

ReyLo
VV
DK

It is gonna be a hard decision unless DK makes it easier. I don’t think the White Sox are gonna pull the plug on DK this early on

HallofFrank

Probably, but it wouldn’t shock me if they got rid of Severino or another reliever instead. It would be an unorthodox decision, but holding on to Keuchel has its benefits and that may be a way to stash him—or see if he can capture something as a 2-3 inning guy from the pen.

As Cirensica

Good point, but Lynn is lurking. One will have to go eventually. I think ReyLo has the inside track due to youth and cost.

HallofFrank

True. But I’m also betting the picture is a whole lot clearer then. If VV’s start is a fluke or Keuchel is toast or ReyLo can’t hang, I’m guessing that’ll be clear in the next few weeks. If the decision isn’t easy by then, that’s either a really good thing… or a really bad thing.

metasox

Sox have little starting depth in the minors. They also need to manage Kopech’s workload. Unless someone compltely falters, I expect they will want to hang onto those guys. Gets tough when Lynn joins but would not be surprised if an injury to someone takes care of the problem of too many pitchers.

Qubort

I think it had more to do with the Sox had five starters penciled in and needed someone that was willing to play in the minors hoping for a chance. Most generic vets would have wanted at least an opportunity to compete.

HallofFrank

Are you talking about VV? He signed a major league contract. Which is part of my point: the Sox must have seen *something* they liked, because $3m guaranteed for a pitcher of his caliber seemed a little high at the time.

Augusto Barojas

The Sox signed Eaton for 8M. I wouldn’t put too much stock in whether the Sox saw “something they like” or not. Salary is the determiner of who they choose from. They have not proved geniuses when it comes to player evaluation.

Yesterday was a good outing, but VV’s track record is so bad that it will take a few decent starts before I’m sold on anything. Cueto is going to get a look pretty soon too. I highly doubt they will have a plethora of riches at the back end of the rotation. If even one of Cueto, VV, or Keuchel can pitch decent with any consistency, they will be fortunate. I highly doubt that will be VV, but don’t care who it is as long as at least one of them is not terrible. I think the 3 are getting a combined 25M this year, it is not asking too much for one of them to not suck.

soxexile

The best part was seeing Bummer get through an inning without trouble.

Denman

Bummer’s performance was good to see. But if VV has really learned how to stay “locked in” and make the most of his stuff, that’s huge. Lance Lynn spent years struggling before he figured it out in Texas. If VV can even come close to Lynn’s consistency…… They have similar arsenals.

BenwithVen

Funny that you mention the similarity to Lance Lynn…..

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-suggestion-for-vince-velasquez/

Last edited 2 years ago by BenwithVen
GrinnellSteve

I wonder if that was the best start of Vince’s career.

Remember when Zach Stewart took a perfect game into the 8th and settled for a 1-hit shutout? I wonder if this is like that and his career will turn out as well as Zack’s did or if he and Katz have started to unlock something. Probably the former, but let’s hope it’s the latter.

metasox

4/14/16, VV threw a 9 inning shutout with a game score of 97
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI201604140.shtml

GrinnellSteve

That’s the Velasquez I want to see going forward!

GrinnellSteve

Reasons to feel good on a Saturday:

Velasquez showed he might be able to hold serve until Lynn is back.
Bummer looked good.
Ditto Banks.
Timmy continues to hit.
Robert homered. Maybe he’s ready to go off.
Harrison isn’t dead after all.
Breaks went the Sox’ way.
Moncada had a hit.

You can look at all those things and think that maybe the worst is over, but momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher.

GrinnellSteve

And I forgot to mention the 2 hits that Pollock got. If he can right the ship, and that is likely, the lineup gets longer.

calcetinesblancos

I was at the game, great crowd. VV threw a couple of nasty breaking balls that that I was amazed they were able to lay off of. But he also didn’t beat himself; no walks. He could have easily given up a run or two, but even if he had it would still have been an impressive performance.

jhomeslice

Maybe Velasquez will be this year’s Esteban Loaiza. On the road to 20 wins, 200 K’s, and a Cy young runner up. Who knew.

Trooper Galactus

His future in narcotics is bright.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

I thought I had one too. Until I met that cop who turned my life around. I’ll never forget how he threw me up against that fence, and pulled the crack pipe right out of my mouth. It was the same one I made in ceramics class, which was the only class I got an A in.

BenwithVen

-Team actually looked like they had some life today. Awesome to see.

-Velasquez was great, and I wanted to see him to get to finish that Trout AB.

-The pitch that Robert crushed was change up that was pretty firmly outside. Just incredible plate coverage.

a-t

Katz’ll fixem?

ParisSox

The consecutive strikeouts of Trout and Ohtani was very impressive. One on a slider and one on a curve. Wow.

HallofFrank

I wasn’t able to watch the game, but watching the highlights this morning it seemed as if Harrison injected some life into the team. Not just by the hits, but by the demeanor. If he’s decent enough to warrant consistent playing time, he does seem like the kind of guy who’d be a good clubhouse presence. That’s not typically something I care much about—but this team has looked like it could use it.