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Tonight was the major league debut for Detroit Tigers starting pitcher, Tarik Skubal. The 50th ranked prospect on MLBPipeline’s Top 100, Skubal’s mixture of a 96-mph fastball with plus breaking pitches and a developing changeup made tonight a highly anticipated event.
While Skubal was impressive at times, it was Tim Anderson putting on another show against Detroit. Welcoming the rookie by hitting another leadoff home run en route to a four-hit night, Anderson led the White Sox offensive charge to a 10-4 victory.
Entering the night hitting 7-for-14, Anderson fouled off the first offering from Skubal, a 94.5 mph fastball. After watching a changeup sail wide of the strike zone, catcher Andrew Romine wanted Skuball to challenge Anderson with a fastball.
Bad mistake. At an exit velocity of 105.5 mph, Anderson crushed his fifth home run of 2020 at a distance of 422 feet to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
There was an opportunity for more damage. Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu both singled to turn up the heat on Skubal, who had his first mound visit before recording an out. Facing Eloy Jimenez, Skubal got the slugger to roll over on a breaking pitch for a double play. After Edwin Encarnacion walked, James McCann flew out to deep center field to end the inning.
In the second inning, Nomar Mazara and Danny Mendick had back-to-back singles to set the table again for Anderson. With an increase of velocity, Skubal got ahead of Anderson with two 95 mph fastballs and threw an 0-2 slider. Anderson got the bat head out in front to pull the pitch down the left-field line for an RBI double.
Moncada would pick up a sacrifice fly to deep right field, and Abreu picked up Anderson with a bloop single to put the White Sox ahead 4-1. At 52 pitches, the Tigers coaching staff decided that was enough for Skubal. His debut went just two innings allowing seven hits and four earned runs.
Meanwhile, Dylan Cease was fine. At times brilliant but with a couple of bumpy innings.
After a seven-pitch first inning displaying a good curveball with a fastball hitting 99 mph, it was a promising start for Cease. The second inning was a different story. After throwing three consecutive breaking pitches to Jonathan Schoop, McCann called for a fourth breaking pitch. That was not a good decision as the veteran Schoop didn’t miss the hanger and dump it into left field for a solo home run.
In the third inning, Detroit decided to test Mazara’s defensive abilities. Cease got ahead of Romine with two fastballs, and McCann called for a third straight heater. Romine was on it and hit a deep fly to right field that Mazara couldn’t come up for a double.
Isaac Parades would follow up with another fly ball to right field. Mazara made the catch but didn’t make a good throw allowing Romine to tag up and reach third base. Romaine would score on Niko Goodrum’s fly out to, you guessed it, right field to cut the lead down to 4-2.
Then Harold Castro doubled. After being ahead 0-2 against Miguel Cabrera, Cease couldn’t entice the future Hall-of-Famer to swing out of the zone resulting in a walk. Don Cooper came out to help his starting pitcher regain focus before the inning got worse, and Cease got some good luck his way when Schoop fouled out to McCann behind home plate.
The fourth inning went better for Cease picking up a strikeout against Romine to end the inning, and he’d get more run support thanks to Abreu. With two outs, Anderson picked up his third hit with a single to right field and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Moncada walked to turn up the pressure on Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris.
With the count 2-1, Norris threw a changeup on the outside corner hoping Abreu would hit a ground ball. Instead, the pitch floated a bit for Abreu to smash a line drive splitting the gap in center and right field. Both Anderson and Moncada scored, and Abreu scooted to second for a two-RBI double pushing the White Sox lead to 6-2.
Abreu would help Cease out again, turning an unassisted double play to end the sixth inning. Rick Renteria decided to push his starter into the seventh and all Cease could manage was one out while allowing a walk and single before getting pulled after throwing 104 pitches. Cease’s final line was 6.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 3 K. Plenty of highlight reel pitches thrown, but Cease continues to struggle racking up strikeouts. It’s an odd way for a pitcher with his arsenal to make a living, but Cease’s season ERA is down to 3.16.
Codi Heuer came in relief and generated two quick pop outs to end the threat.
Zack Burdi took over in the eighth inning, and so did Luis Gonzalez for Luis Robert in center field. After attempting to make a diving catch, Robert had his wrist checked out between innings and out of caution was removed from the game.
At times flashing great stuff, Burdi allowed quite a bit of traffic in his inning of work. Two singles and a wild pitch cut the lead to 6-3. With two outs, Jacoby Jones hit a line drive right at Gonzalez who couldn’t handle it. After dropping the ball, Gonzalez made a good throw to second base to nail Jones, but another run scored to make it a 6-4 ballgame. E-8 and assist is one way to make a first impression.
White Sox put up another crooked number in the bottom of the eighth inning scoring four more times. Gonzalez’s first career plate appearance resulted in getting hit by a pitch. Mazara hit a 60-foot chopper with the bases loaded to drive in a run. Mendick hit a deep fly out to center for a sacrifice fly. Anderson followed that up by collecting his fourth hit of the night with another RBI single. Moncada ended the scoring barrage with an RBI groundout. Jace Fry wrapped up the ninth inning, and the White Sox improve to 4-1 against the Tigers in 2020.
- Tim Anderson finished the night 4-for-5 with three RBI. He’s now 11-for-19 against Detroit and his season batting average is .379.
- Jose Abreu went 3-for-5 with three RBI pushing his season total to 16
- Pnoles won #SoxMath. Finally.
- Luis Robert injury update: