Mark Buehrle, is that you? Don Cooper looks on as Dallas Keuchel readies himself for his first appearance of the spring. Also, that glove. I need that glove. Dallas, care to help another lefty out? (Janice Scurio/South Side Hit Pen)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Hey, look, it’s spring training.
What else do you need to hear? We saw a solid, four-inning start from seafoam-green glove owner Dallas Keuchel, who gave up one run on six hits, striking out one and walking one. However, the White Sox fell to the San Diego Padres at Camelback Ranch on Monday afternoon, 3-1.
Though yours truly is especially guilty for being over-excited by the lineup announcement — what, Moncada and Anderson as a 1-2 punch? Abreu batting third? Honestly, I’m still biting my fist — the offensive production seemed to take Monday off. No one seemed to be able to figure out Padres starter Chris Paddack.
Yeah, it’s spring training, and it’s probably not too ideal to unpack a game like this, but, heck, let’s do it anyway.
Chris Paddack happened, OK?
What was Paddack’s deal anyway? If I can be any clearer on this, well, he might be good. Paddack is carrying over a 2.9 bWAR from his rookie season last year, where he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA — and a 0.981 WHIP. This afternoon, Paddack did not fall behind in the count at all; he seemed to stay ahead of hitters consistently and especially took advantage of notoriously impatient hitters, namely Tim Anderson early in the first inning.
Though I was hoping to see some reprieve once Paddack was removed, the Padres bullpen didn’t waver, holding the Good Guys to one solitary earned run off of five hits. Eloy Jiménez accounted for 28% of hit production for the White Sox, going 2-for-3.
Because I’m legally required to talk about Yermín Mercedes in anything I write now, I must mention that Mercedes legged out an incredible infield single in the eighth.
The ninth inning offered some classic RBDQ dramatics as Adam Engel reached on a wild pitch third strike, advancing to second on the play.Luis González singled, scoring Engel, accounting for the solitary White Sox run, but the rally was unfortunately stifled when Danny Mendick grounded into a double play, ending the game.
Some good things did, in fact, happen
We got to see some flashy defense by Anderson, Leury García, and Daniel Palka. Anderson especially helped Keuchel get some of his nine ground ball outs with some fantastic defensive work. I think this is a bright spot worth pointing out, given Anderson is frequently criticized for his defense, which he’s intended to improve over the offseason. This second inning play by Palka had me especially rolling:
James McCann might be better at framing? I caught him doing this exercise before game time, and he might have pulled a strike or two back into the zone:
We also saw a handful of solid outings from the pen: Aaron Bummer, Steve Cishek, and Kelvin Herrera gave up no hits in their respective one-inning performances.
Keuchel was fine, honestly
Though the first inning might have been worrisome, Keuchel had an overall solid outing. He’s continuously said that he feels like he’s ahead of schedule, and gave us four decent innings and could have probably eaten more if this was a regular season game, like he’s wont to do. He held the Padres lineup to soft contact; nothing was really hit hard from my casual observation sitting in Section 117 at Camelback Ranch.
It’s good to remember to never fall out of love with a veteran during spring training.
Other sundry items
I was able to catch a little bit of the B game vs. the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday morning, where I saw Kodi Medeiros throw a few innings to Seby Zavala, who airmailed a throw late in the game, failing to throw a baserunner out. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Blake Rutherford and Luis Basabe were able to get some work in, while Brewers pitchers Adrian Houser and J.P. Feyereisen attempted to do the same. The White Sox dropped that game to the Brewers, 2-0.
It’s spring training, y’all.
The spring fun continues at Camelback Ranch tomorrow. This time, the White Sox send Reynaldo López up against the Oakland Athletics; they’ll be sending Chris Bassitt our way. The game is scheduled for a 2:05 CST start, and Darren Black has the SSHP coverage.