White Sox top Mariners behind Giolito’s masterful performance

General Gio: A few hours after his first Twitch stream (with the username GeneralGio), Lucas Giolito pitched admirably in a win over the Mariners. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

It was a pitcher’s duel at Guaranteed Rate field, as offense was hard to come by. The White Sox scored twice, and that was enough to secure a victory, as they beat the Mariners by a score of 2-1.

White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito was terrific once again. The Mariners struggled to make contact, as Giolito racked up nine strikeouts in his six and two-thirds innings on the mound. The only hiccup came in the top of the third, when left fielder Mallex Smith hit a two-out home run of the solo variety. The home run was Smith’s second of the year, and it gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead.

On the other side, Mariners starter Marco Gonzales was nearly flawless in his first few innings. However, Gonzales ran into trouble in the fifth. After issuing a dreaded leadoff walk to Edwin Encarnacion, Danny Mendick doubled, and the White Sox had runners on second and third with no outs. Adam Engel cashed in on the RBI opportunity by slicing a single to score both baserunners, and the White Sox took a 2-1 lead. Despite this clutch hit, Engel is off to a slow start at the plate (.125/.152/.156). Hopefully, this will help him turn things around.

The Mariners could not put up a rally against Giolito, as their bats went quiet after Smith’s home run. Giolito’s final line was the following: six and two-thirds innings, three hits, one run (it was earned), one walk, and nine strikeouts. Giolito now has a 1.89 ERA, and he boasts 0.7 Baseball-Reference WAR through just three starts. Giolito is averaging 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings, his WHIP is 1.000, and he is allowing only 6.6 hits per nine innings.

The bullpen had no margin for error, as the White Sox could not add any insurance runs. However, relievers Evan Marshall and Aaron Bummer got the job done. Marshall retired all four batters he faced, striking out one of them. Bummer took over in the top of the ninth, and he worked around a single to pick up his third save of the season. Marshall has not allowed an earned run in five and one-third innings, and Bummer also has a perfect ERA, in three and one-third innings.

Now, for some updates on how players are performing in this simulation. First, we will start with the bad news. Eloy Jiménez has no extra base hits yet, slashing .238/.360/.238. Sure, he has drawn a lot of walks, so his OBP is high. But, the surprising lack of power to open the season results in him being worth -0.1 WAR. Yasmani Grandal has a similar story, as he is slashing .167/.302/.278. Like Jiménez, Grandal is drawing lots of walks (as expected), but he is otherwise not hitting well, resulting in 0.0 WAR. On the other hand, Danny Mendick is slashing .458/.480/.625 (0.5 WAR), so there is no need to rush Nick Madrigal to The Show. Yoán Moncada is also off to a hot start, slashing .333/.429/.571 (0.6 WAR).

After today’s victory, the White Sox’s record stands at 8-3, while the Mariners fell to 8-4. The White Sox will take on the Mariners again tomorrow, and they are seeking a sweep. If the White Sox manage to pull off the sweep, it would be their second in the young season.

We’ll wrap this up with some trivia related to the events of today’s simulation:

  1. The White Sox designated Carson Fulmer for assignment and placed him on irrevocable waivers. In 2015, the White Sox drafted Fulmer out of which school?
  2. This was Giolito’s third start of the year. Giolito has had at least eight strikeouts in all three games. How many pitchers in White Sox history have had a season with 15 or more games with at least eight strikeouts?

Answers

  1. Vanderbilt University.
  2. Two. Only Chris Sale (18 times in 2015) and Lucas Giolito (16 times in 2019) have done that.

Uribe, Rowand lead the offense in a 3-2 win

Mr. Reliable: Juan Uribe went 3-for-4 with a walk, and he delivered a key RBI double early on. (@whitesox)

The White Sox could not finish off the Royals in nine innings, but they finished the job in the 10th in this 3-2 victory.

Things got off to a promising start in the top of the first, when Scott Podsednik led off with a single. John Buck committed catcher’s interference, so Tadahito Iguchi was awarded first base. The great start to the game continued when the Royals made things even harder on themselves, as pitcher Zack Greinke balked the runners over. Suddenly, the White Sox had runners on second and third with no outs. Carl Everett drove Podsednik home with an RBI groundout, but that was all the White Sox could score that inning.

The Royals got that run back in the bottom of the first against starter José Contreras. This happened immediately, as leadoff hitter David DeJesus hit a solo homer to right-center. Fortunately, the White Sox fired right back in the top of the second, as A.J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The next batter, Juan Uribe, drove a liner into the left field corner to drive Pierzynski in to make the score 2-1.

Though the offenses came out firing, this turned out to be a low-scoring game. This was partially due to the recovery of José Contreras after allowing the home run to DeJesus. However, Contreras had to leave this game in the fourth when he pulled the lower hamstring in his right leg. Injuries are always unfortunate, and this one hurt a bit worse than most considering how well Contreras looked after the home run. Contreras reached 97 mph, and he retired all six he faced in the second and third innings, striking out five of them. His final line: third and one-third innings, one run (it was earned), one hit, one walk, and six strikeouts. Let’s hope the injury is not too serious.

Thanks to excellent relief appearances by Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts, the score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on third and two outs, Mike Sweeney came up to bat in a huge spot, and he delivered. Sweeney’s single brought us right back to where we started, as the score was tied once again. Matt Stairs followed with a single to put runners on the corners, but Luiz Vizcaino limited the damage to just one run by retiring 2003 AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa.

The Royals had a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, as a one-out double by John Buck put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk to former White Sox Tony Graffanino, the bases were loaded for pinch-hitter Eli Marrero. But, the White Sox caught a huge break from the runner on third, Matt Diaz. On a pitch that got away from Pierzynski, Diaz took a big gamble by trying to score, and he failed. Pierzynski made an excellent play, as he got the ball over to Damaso Marte in time to tag Diaz out. Marte proceeded to strike Marrero out to force the game into extras.

In the 10th, the White Sox finally put their third run on the board. After singles by Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe, the White Sox had runners on the corners with two outs. Aaron Rowand came up to bat with a chance to give the White Sox the lead, and he did just that. Rowand lined a single into right-center field, and Marte went on to pitch a 1-2-3 10th inning to seal it.

This was the White Sox’s fifth consecutive win, and they improved to 14-4 on the season. That 14-4 record is the best start to a season in franchise history. Meanwhile, the hapless Royals fell to 5-13. The White Sox are seeking a third straight sweep when they take on the Royals tomorrow (April 24, 2005) afternoon. But, let’s look at a couple of questions first:

  1. In 2003, which White Sox infielder hit three home runs in a game against the Royals?
  2. Which member of the 2005 White Sox started an All-Star Game for the Royals?

Answers

  1. José Valentin
  2. Jermaine Dye (2000)

Mazara’s heroics lead the White Sox to a thrilling win in simulation

Coming through in the clutch: So far, Nomar Mazara’s come-from-behind three-run homer is the biggest White Sox hit in the young season. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Tuesday evening’s game in Cleveland came down to the wire, but the Good Guys came out on top in a 5-4 thriller.

Yasmani Grandal walked in the second inning, and he later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Nomar Mazara (much more on him later). Grandal is off to a slow start offensively (.158/.238/.211), but it is still very early. While Grandal went hitless, he went on to draw another walk later on to reach base safely twice in four plate appearances.

Mazara’s sacrifice fly put the White Sox on the board with a 1-0 lead, and the score remained the same until the top of the fifth. That was when leadoff hitter Tim Anderson smashed a homer off Cleveland’s rookie southpaw Scott Moss. Moss was excellent in this game, only allowing those two runs (both earned) on three hits in eight innings, striking out eight. Moss appears very much ready for the show, but Anderson took advantage of one of his few mistakes and drove it out for his first homer.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, starter Gio González, making his White Sox debut (he finally pitched for the White Sox!), was on top of his game. González lasted five and two-thirds innings, which isn’t outstanding by any means, but he kept Cleveland off the board. González struck out four Cleveland hitters, walked three, and he allowed four hits. Reliever Steve Cishek had another great performance, retiring all four batters he faced, striking out one of them. Cishek, who recently came over from the other side of Chicago, has now thrown three and two-thirds scoreless innings for the White Sox, and his WHIP is an excellent 0.273.

Offense came at a premium in this matchup, so the score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the eighth, when the wheels fell off. Alex Colomé took over on the mound for Cishek, and he had a nightmarish evening. Of the five batters Colomé faced, three of them went yard. Francisco Lindor led off the inning with a homer, his third of the year. Two batters later, Franmil Reyes launched his fourth dinger, and two batters after Reyes, Domingo Santana launched his second. Then, with a 3-2 deficit, the bases empty, and two outs, Rick Rentería pulled Colomé for Evan Marshall. Carlos Santana reached on an error, and he came around to score an unearned run when Jordan Luplow drove him in with a double.

All of a sudden, entering the ninth, the White Sox trailed by a score of 4-2, and they desperately needed baserunners. The White Sox had struggled to get baserunners all evening. However, they managed to get on base when they needed to. With two on and one out, Nomar Mazara stepped up to the plate against Nick Wittgren. Wittgren missed his spot, but Mazara did not miss the ball. Mazara launched his second home run of the season, and this one silenced the Cleveland crowd.

In the blink of an eye, the White Sox were back on top, with a 5-4 lead. The White Sox did not tack on any insurance runs, so the bottom of the ninth was stressful. Rentería turned to Aaron Bummer, who the White Sox recently gave a contract extension to. Uncharacteristically, Bummer faced all sorts of problems finding the strike zone, walking two of the three batters he faced. Bummer also allowed a single, though he did record an out when Adam Engel gunned down Óscar Mercado trying to advance to third on said single. When Bummer departed, there were runners on first and second, one out, and the White Sox were clinging to a 5-4 lead.

In stepped Jace Fry, perhaps the best story from the 2018 season, in a huge spot. The batter was Franmil Reyes, who had just homered the previous inning. On the second pitch, Reyes beat a curveball (this is an educated guess; Baseball-Reference does not disclose pitch types) into the ground, and the White Sox turned a double play to end the threat and seal a thrilling victory.

And so, despite only getting five hits, the White Sox got a hard-earned victory at Progressive Field. After tonight’s victory, the White Sox’s record sits at 3-2, which is now the same as Cleveland’s record. The White Sox will wrap up this three-game in Cleveland tomorrow, and they will look to complete a sweep. Let’s get it done, but first, let’s take a look at a couple of trivia questions related to tonight:

  1. In this simulation, Nomar Mazara just became the third member of the White Sox to hit his second home run. Last season, who were the first three White Sox players to reach two homers?
  2. The White Sox drafted Jace Fry, who earned his first save since August 29, 2018, out of the same school as Nick Madrigal. Which school is this?

Answers

  1. José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, and Tim Anderson.
  2. Oregon State University.

Crede, Konerko power the White Sox to a 3-1 win

Doubling up: Joe Crede drove in the first run of the game with a double to center field. (@TheSoxSide)

While there were 25 hits in this game, there were only four runs. Timely hitting was hard to come by, but the White Sox found just enough, while the Twins did not.

Both teams got off to a slow start offensively, though hitters weren’t exactly overpowered by starters Orlando Hernández and Brad Radke. During the first four innings, nobody scored, though scoring threats were plentiful. In the bottom of the first, the White Sox managed to put runners on the corners with no outs, but Radke escaped the jam. In the top of the second, the Twins put runners on the corners with no outs, but Hernández wiggled out of it. In the fourth, the Twins put runners on first and second, but Michael Cuddyer grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. In the fifth, the Twins put runners on the corners with two outs, but a 1-3 groundout ended it, so the score remained 0-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, the White Sox finally broke the ice. A.J. Pierzynski led off with a single, which set the table for Joe Crede. Crede hit a line drive to deep center, which Torii Hunter made an uncharacteristically poor read on. Initially, Hunter started running in on Crede’s liner, which made it impossible for him to make the catch. Pierzynski scored, and Crede ended up at second. Crede went on to score on a sacrifice fly by Scott Podsednik to make it 2-0.

In the sixth, the Twins squandered a scoring opportunity yet again, and Paul Konerko added an insurance run with a solo homer. Incredibly, Konerko already has seven home runs this season, and he is slashing .260/.315/.700.

The bullpen did a great job holding the Twins’ bats in check, so the White Sox did not need any more insurance. Southpaw Damaso Marte retired the only two batters he faced to record the save, his first of the year. The only hiccup for the bullpen came when Shingo Takatsu allowed a double to Shannon Stewart and a single to Matt LeCroy. LeCroy’s RBI single resulted in the Twins’ only run.

Don’t look now, but after this victory, the White Sox have the best record in the American League (10-4). Meanwhile, the Twins have sole possession of second place in the AL Central (8-6). Tomorrow (April 20, 2005), the White Sox will open a two-game series at Comerica Park, as they will take on the Tigers. Jon Garland and Wil Ledezma will be the probable starting pitchers.

Let’s take a look at a couple of trivia questions, shall we?

  1. Tonight, Orlando Hernández allowed 10 hits but did not allow any runs. No White Sox pitcher has done that since 1984. Who was that 1984 pitcher?
  2. This player, who led the 1983 AL West champions in stolen bases, also led them in postseason hits.

Answers

  1. Richard Dotson (To be exact, Dotson allowed 11 hits and somehow escaped every jam unscathed)
  2. Rudy Law (77 stolen bases that year, which is still a franchise record, and it will probably stand for a very long time)

García, Podsednik lead White Sox to 2-1 win

Tough to solve: Freddy García took advantage of favorable pitching conditions and earned the victory with eight excellent innings. (@whitesox)

Both starting pitchers performed admirably, and the wind was blowing in sharply most of the afternoon. Combine the two, and you get a pitchers’ dual, and that is what we witnessed today. Fortunately, the White Sox managed to score once more than Cleveland in a 2-1 victory.

In the bottom of the first, the White Sox survived a scare, as power-hitting DH Travis Hafner crushed a pitch from Freddy García. On most days, that ball would have cleared the fence for a two-run homer. However, with the wind blowing in, it was merely a deep flyout to left fielder Scott Podsednik.

García also kept Cleveland off the board in the second, but in the third, Cleveland broke the scoreless tie. With a runner on second and two outs, Hafner stepped up to the plate again, and this time, the weather did not hurt him. Hafner hit a sharp ground ball into center field for a single that drove in Coco Crisp for the game’s first run.

Meanwhile, Cleveland starter Kevin Millwood got off to a terrific start. In fact, nobody in a White Sox uniform even reached scoring position until the top of the fifth, and that could hardly be blamed on Millwood. Pablo Ozuna, filling in for Juan Uribe at shortstop, reached on an error and stole second base. But, Millwood worked out of that jam by getting Joe Crede to ground out to preserve the 1-0 lead.

In the sixth, however, the White Sox finally got on the board. Podsednik showed off his wheels once again by leading off with a bunt single. The bunt itself was questionable, as he popped it up to the left of the mound. But, it got over Millwood’s glove, and with his speed, there was no chance of throwing him out. Then, Podsednik stole second rather easily, and he is already 4-for-5 on stolen base attempts this season. After Tadahito Iguchi struck out, DH Carl Everett drove Podsednik home with an RBI single to right.

The seventh inning also brought a good result for the White Sox, and once again, Scott Podsednik played a big role. With two outs and nobody on, Chris Widger and Joe Crede hit back-to-back singles. Then, in a big spot, Podsednik lined a single to center field to drive in Widger and give the White Sox a 2-1 lead.

From that point forward, García ended his day on a very high note, retiring the last 14 batters he faced. As a result, at the end of the eighth inning, the White Sox led by a score of 2-1. García’s final line was the following: eight innings, one run (it was earned), four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. García’s ERA dropped to an excellent 1.93 through his first two starts of the season.

The White Sox failed to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as they went down 1-2-3. Luckily, the bullpen got the job done, so there was no need for insurance. In the bottom of the ninth, reliever Damaso Marte walked Hafner but retired the other two he faced. With the tying run on first and two outs, manager Ozzie Guillen called on Shingo Takatsu, and Takatsu struck out Aaron Boone to close things out.

The White Sox improved to 5-2 in the young season, while Cleveland fell to 3-4. On Wednesday (April 13, 2005) evening, the White Sox will play another game at Jacobs Field. This time, José Contreras will start for the White Sox, while Cliff Lee is Cleveland’s probable starter.

Let’s enjoy a couple of shortstop-related trivia questions:

  1. There are three shortstops in White Sox history with more than 1,500 career hits with the team. Who are they?
  2. José Valentin was the White Sox’s primary shortstop from 2000-04. Who started for the White Sox at shortstop on Opening Day in 1999?

Answers

  1. Luke Appling, Ozzie Guillen, and Luis Aparicio.
  2. Mike Caruso.

Lucky seventh inning leads the White Sox past Minnesota

Putting it on the board: Timo Pérez hit his first homer of the season, and the blast gave the White Sox a lead that would not relinquish. (@CPHSox)


The White Sox’s strong first week of the season continued, as they took down the Twins in Minnesota by a score of 8-5.

The offense raced out of the starting blocks, as they put up two against Twins starter Brad Radke in the top of the first. Granted, the offense needed some help from Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer allowed Tadahito Iguchi to reach base, as he committed an error, somehow his third in just five games. Carl Everett followed Iguchi with a home run over the tall right field wall to make the score 2-0. Everett’s blast was his first of the season, and it set the tone for what would be a high-scoring effort by the offense.

In the third, the White Sox added an insurance run. With the bases empty and one out, Scott Podsednik started a rally by knocking a single up the middle. Iguchi followed with a double to left that just got over Cuddyer’s outstretched glove to put runners on second and third. In stepped Everett, who was looking to crush a pitch from Radke for the second time of the evening. The first two pitches to Everett caught a sizable chunk of the plate, but Everett fouled them off. Fortunately, even though the third pitch was inside, Everett managed to get enough muscle behind his swing to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly to right.

Meanwhile, things started easy for White Sox starter Jon Garland. Garland’s first four innings were scoreless, but incredibly, he did not strike anyone out those innings. During that time, Garland found some excellent BABIP luck, but it did not last throughout his entire start. In the bottom of the fifth, with the score still 3-0, the Twins started the inning with back-to-back singles, the second of which was very softly hit. Two batters later, with runners at the corners and one out, left fielder Shannon Stewart smashed a homer to left to tie it at three.

The sixth inning was not so easy for Garland, either, though he was able to escape unharmed. Matt LeCroy and Torii Hunter led off with back-to-back hits, and Hunter’s drive barely stayed in the park. After an infield single by Lew Ford, the Twins had the bases juiced with one out. In perhaps the most important at-bat of the day, Garland made a great pitch to Cuddyer. As a result, Garland wiggled out of the jam, as Cuddyer grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. The final line for Garland: six innings, three runs (all earned), 10 hits, no walks, and one strikeout.

In the seventh, the White Sox took control. Timo Pérez led off the inning with a homer, his first of the season. After singles by Aaron Rowand, Joe Crede, and Juan Uribe, the White Sox led by a score of 5-3. After Podsednik reached base on an RBI forceout that made it 6-3, the White Sox benefited from some sloppy fielding. With two outs, Twins pitcher J.C. Romero made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt that allowed Podsednik to advance to third (this guy has serious wheels, and I have a feeling they will come in handy). After a passed ball by catcher Joe Mauer, Podsednik scored to extend the lead to four.

Paul Konerko added another insurance run in the eighth, as he launched a solo home run (his third homer already!) to make it 8-3. The Twins did not lie down, as Hunter hit a solo homer of his own, and an RBI single by Mauer trimmed the deficit to three. However, it was too little, too late, as Shingo Takatsu came in to shut the door without any problems.

With the 8-5 victory, the White Sox improved to 4-1, while the Twins fell to 2-3. Tomorrow (April 10, 2005) will be the final game of this three-game set against Minnesota. Mark Buehrle is set to start for the White Sox, and 2004 AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana is the Twins’ probable starter.

Before I sign off, here are a couple of trivia questions about recent White Sox history:

  1. The 2004 White Sox hit 242 home runs. How many teams in franchise history have hit more?
  2. Let’s build off today’s Aflac Trivia Question: Which player led the 2004 White Sox in both stolen bases and games with four or more hits?

Answers

  1. Zero, as of April 9, 2005. (Same answer as of March 27, 2020.)
  2. Willie Harris, who had 19 stolen bases and four games with four or more hits. (I wonder how many stolen bases Podsednik will get this season. Probably more than 19!)

Buehrle shines as White Sox win season opener, 1-0

Diamond in the rough: Offense was hard to come by, but Paul Konerko went 2-for-3 with a double, and he scored the only run in today’s victory. (@whitesox_fanly)


Note: With baseball paused for the 2020 season, we’re running some reimagined game recaps in conjunction with NBC Sports Chicago replaying key games of the 2005 White Sox World Series season.


It was a classic pitchers’ duel at US Cellular Field this afternoon, as the White Sox took down Cleveland by a score of 1-0.

White Sox starter Mark Buehrle was on top of his game. Though Cleveland’s hitters only struck out five times in eight innings against him, they struggled to make any kind of sharp contact. Unfortunately, the White Sox’s bats also had trouble, as solving Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook proved to be a difficult task.

The first baserunner of the game for either team was Jermaine Dye, who singled off Westbrook with one out in the second. Dye reached second base on a groundout by Aaron Rowand, but he was stranded at second after A.J. Pierzynski lined out to end the inning. Meanwhile, the first Cleveland baserunner was Victor Martinez, who led off the fifth with a single up the middle. However, that glimmer of hope for Cleveland was dashed on the very first pitch to the next batter, as Aaron Boone grounded into a double play.

The next scoring threat for either team was in the top of the seventh, when Cleveland put runners on first and second with one out. Buehrle fell behind Martinez 2-1, but he made a great pitch to force an easy double play ball to retire the side. As of the seventh-inning stretch, the game was still scoreless. Luckily, the White Sox finally broke through in the bottom half. Slugger Paul Konerko led off with a double into the left field corner for his second hit, becoming the only player with a multi-hit performance. Dye followed by flying out to right, but his fly ball was plenty deep enough to get Konerko to third. Rowand hit a soft grounder to shortstop, but Jhonny Peralta could not handle it, so Konerko scored, and Rowand reached first easily.

The White Sox had a chance to add to the lead, as Rowand stole second, and Pierzynski followed with an infield single (a good play by Cleveland second baseman Ronnie Belliard probably would have gotten A.J. at first, but who cares? A.J. got an infield single to second!) to put runners on the corners. However, Joe Crede grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Fortunately, that run was all the White Sox needed, as Buehrle threw another shutout inning in the eighth, and Shingo Takatsu closed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The White Sox open the season with a 1-0 record, while Cleveland drops to 0-1. Freddy García is the White Sox’s probable starter on Wednesday (April 6, 2005), and he is set to take on Kevin Millwood.

Anyway, before I sign off for the day, enjoy these trivia questions from the future:

  1. Which player got the last White Sox single in 2005?
  2. A variation of today’s Aflac Trivia Question: Which pitcher holds the White Sox record for most wins on Opening Day?

Answers

  1. Jermaine Dye, who also got the team’s first single today, as noted earlier.
  2. Mark Buehrle, with four (2002, 2005, 2010, and 2011). Jack McDowell, Billy Pierce, and Chris Sale each had three Opening Day victories with the team.

Six-run sixth falls short in 12-7 loss

Staying hot: Andrew Vaughn hit an RBI single in today’s loss. His spring batting average sits at .350, while his OPS is 1.080. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


It was a forgettable day for the pitching staff, as they allowed 12 runs (all earned) on 18 hits in a high-scoring, 12-7 loss to the Giants in Scottsdale.

Dallas Keuchel got the start for the White Sox. Though he started strong, things did not end that way for him. After throwing two scoreless innings, Keuchel allowed back-to-back RBI singles by longtime Giants Brandon Belt and Buster Posey. The White Sox got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth on a Nicky Delmonico single to make the score 2-1. But, the Giants came right back in the bottom half, with an RBI ground-rule double by Jaylin Davis and an RBI single by Brandon Crawford. Keuchel’s final line was the following: three and two-thirds innings, four runs (all earned), eight hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. Keuchel’s spring ERA increased to 5.87.

The White Sox’s next pitcher, José Ruiz, fared no better. Ruiz faced four batters, and though he struck out two of them, the other two (Darin Ruf and 2018 second overall pick Joey Bart) hit homers. When Ruiz left the game in the fifth, the White Sox trailed by a score of 6-1.

The offense appeared to be having a rough day until, incredibly, an explosion in the sixth inning put the White Sox in the lead. The first four batters of the inning (top 100 prospect Nick Madrigal, top 10 prospect Luis Robert, Nomar Mazara, and top 25 prospect Andrew Vaughn) all singled.

All of a sudden, it was a 6-3 game, and the White Sox had two runners on with no outs. Delmonico broke the streak by striking out, but James McCann quickly started a new streak, as he tripled (yes, James McCann did that). Zack Collins doubled to tie the game, and Cheslor Cuthbert put the Sox ahead with a single.

Unfortunately, the lead did not last. From that point forward, the White Sox’s bats were quiet, while the Giants were far from finished. A two-out, two-run homer by Zach Green off Alex Colomé put the Giants ahead by a score of 8-7. Green’s home run turned out to be the decisive hit. The score remained 8-7 until the bottom of the eighth, when the Giants put up a big, crooked number against Bernardo Flores to put this one out of reach.

Codi Heuer was a diamond in the rough as far as the pitching was concerned. Heuer pitched a scoreless inning, retiring all three batters he faced and striking out two of them. Heuer has not allowed any earned runs this spring (five innings pitched, 0.600 WHIP).

After this 12-7 loss, the White Sox’s spring record is 8-6, and there will be split squad action tomorrow. The first game will be against the Royals at 3:05 CST, and the second game will be against the Padres at 3:10 CST. Alex McRae is set to start against the Royals, while Reynaldo López is the probable starter against the Padres.

Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen

White Sox, Yoán Moncada agree to extension

Locked in: Yoán Moncada signed a deal that could keep him with the White Sox through 2025. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


Rejoice, White Sox fans. The front office increased the odds of a contention window expansion today. Yoán Moncada and the White Sox have agreed to an extension that could keep Moncada on the South Side through the 2025 season. Previously, Moncada was set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

South Side Hit Pen’s own James Fox really was on top of things last Monday, wasn’t he? Can’t say I’m surprised.

Ken Rosenthal was the one who officially broke the news this afternoon.

This deal will guarantee Moncada $70 million over the first five years (2020-24). When all is said and done, Moncada could earn $90 million depending on the White Sox’s decision after the 2024 season. For the first five years, the AAV will be $14 million, and if the White Sox pick up the option for 2025, the AAV will be $15 million.

Considering Moncada’s performance in 2019, this deal appears to be a bargain for the White Sox. Moncada slashed .315/.367/.548 with a 141 wRC+, putting his offensive production well above average. Moncada’s defense at third base was an improvement over what we had seen from him at second base. According to FanGraphs, Moncada was 4.3 defensive runs more valuable than an average third baseman in 2019 (had been 3.7 runs below average at second base in 2018). If we combine such strong production with the bat and the glove, we get a player who is really freaking good. Like, 5.7 fWAR in only 132 games good.

Skeptics note that 2019 was Moncada’s first year where he was clearly above league average, and his strong season at the plate was aided by a .406 BABIP. While he has yet to put up back-to-back strong seasons, Moncada’s approach at the plate was entirely different in 2018 versus 2019. In 2018, Moncada displayed a lack of aggressiveness at the plate that resulted in lots of backward K’s on the scorecard. While Moncada walked frequently (10.3%), he struck out a ton (33.4%), and when he put the ball in play, it was not particularly sharp contact (90.6 mph average exit velocity).

In 2019, however, we saw a different kind of hitter. While Moncada’s more aggressive approach resulted in less walks (7.2%), he struck out much less often (27.5%), and his average exit velocity of 92.8 mph ranked seventh in the majors. When players hit the ball hard, and they run as fast as Moncada (72nd percentile for sprint speed, per Baseball Savant), they tend to end up with a high BABIP. Sure, .406 is unsustainable, but it is not quite as crazy as many pessimists believe.

So, is Moncada going to be a 141 wRC+ player for the remainder of his contract? Probably not. But, can we count on him to be above average on a consistent basis? After last year, that seems like a safe bet. For that reason, this is an excellent extension, and it is surprising that they managed to pull this off for that price. Bravo, front office, for getting this deal done!

White Sox ride big seventh inning to 5-1 win

In the clutch: Andrew Vaughn’s single turned out to be the decisive hit in today’s victory. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


The White Sox’s bats got off to a slow start, but they finished strong in a 5-1 victory over the Brewers.

The first run of the game scored in the top of the third inning in an unusual way. The White Sox managed to put their first two batters of the inning on base. Luis Robert singled, promptly stole second (what a surprise), and James McCann singled to put runners on the corners. Then, Leury García laid down a bunt that actually worked. García placed it nicely, as he was safe at first, and McCann advanced to third on a throwing error by Brewers catcher Jacob Nottingham. Unfortunately, that was the only run the White Sox scored that inning, despite having a golden opportunity to tack on another run.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Brewers tied it with a solo home run by Keston Hiura. Hiura, a rookie in 2019, slashed .303/.368/.570 with a 139 wRC+ last season. Even though FanGraphs was unimpressed by Hiura’s defense, his bat was enough to boost his value to 2.1 fWAR, even though he only played 84 games. This blast by Hiura was the only run White Sox starter Dylan Cease allowed in his four innings of work. Cease issued no walks, struck out five, and he looked in control against most hitters today. Cease appears ready for a big improvement over his rookie campaign, which did not go as planned.

With the game still tied at one in the seventh, the White Sox had runners on the corners with two outs after singles by García and Danny Mendick. Andrew Vaughn, up to bat in a big spot, came through with a sharp single to give the White Sox a lead that did not relinquish.

After a walk to Zack Collins to load the bases, Luis Gonzalez broke the game open with a two-run double to make it 4-1. In the eighth, Andrew Romine tacked on a run with an RBI triple, which drove in the final run of the game for either side.

As for the White Sox’s bullpen, it got the job done, too. Five relievers played in this game, and all of them (Codi Heuer, Jacob Lindgren, Caleb Frare, Kodi Medeiros, and Vince Arobio) pitched a scoreless inning. Thanks to them, there was no drama in the latter innings.

The White Sox improved to 6-5 this spring. They will face the Rockies at Camelback Ranch tomorrow at 2:05 CST, and Drew Anderson is the White Sox’s probable starter. March 5 is a pretty good day in White Sox history, as that is Paul Konerko’s birthday. It could be an even better day in the future, as that is also Nick Madrigal’s birthday. Hopefully, he will be able to celebrate with another victory.