SSHP Podcast 18: Chuck Garfien

(Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)


Chuck Garfien joins Clinton Cole to talk White Sox spring training baseball and everyone’s favorite player, Yermín Mercedes. The pair also cover other bright spots of camp so far, including Nicky Delmonico, Andrew Vaughn and Adam Engel — and celebrate the fact that there’s an actual battle for the final active roster spot this season!

 

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Sox fall to A’s, 6-5 but Delmonico stays hot

Busy day: López found himself pitching through traffic, but all in all a nice debut. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


Mr. Captain, Tim Anderson, had a little fun going into the game this afternoon just to remind everyone that the White Sox are playing a game in Iowa later this season.

All that farming earned Anderson a day off today, and among regulars, he wasn’t alone. The starting lineup was a mesh of everything. Reynaldo López was on the bump to start, with Luis Robert and Edwin Encarnación as the only other everyday starters in the lineup. Danny Mendick, Zack Collins, and Adam Engel all appear to be bench bats, though any could be pushed back to Charlotte. Nick Madrigal could push Mendick back to Charlotte, but odds are he won’t due to service time. Gavin Sheets, Nicky Delmonico, and Cheslor Cuthbert rounded out the depth, as well as the lineup.

However, maybe Delmonico heard us just call him depth, and that pushed him to continue his spring hot streak.

Delmonico hit his first homer of his spring, a couple batters after Luis Robert singled up the middle on the first pitch of the game. Robert would also steal second a couple of pitches later.

On the pitching side was López, a guy who needs to show improvement very quickly this season. It seems like today was a “work on the breaking ball and hope it goes well” type of day. It seemed like the curve was López’s breaking pitch of choice, but honestly without the straight-on camera for webcasts, it could have just been a loopier slider. Whatever the case, López’s results were no different from any other year. His breaking pitch was in the dirt a lot of the time, but it also got some outs and bad contact, including a decent number of grounders, which López needs. His control just was not there, and who can blame a guy for not having command of breaking balls in his first spring training start.

López finished his day with a lot of threes: three innings, Ks and hits, and one run.

Delmonico singled n his second at-bat to push his spring batting average past .400. Maybe the Sox didn’t need to trade for Nomar Mazara after all? Encarnación, Sheets, and Mendick all failed to reach base. Encarnación actually has not collected a hit yet in any of the fake games. Collins continues to get walks and in this game actually had a single — but he still has more walks (six) than hits (two).

Madrigal and Engel were the ones having the most fun after the first inning, at least from a batter’s perspective. Engel went 2-for-2 and scored a run off of a bloop Madrigal single. Madrigal still hasn’t showed anything besides the uncanny ability to hit singles, which is the biggest knock against him.

Meanwhile, the relievers did not provide any relief. Adalberto Mejía, who was doing fine so far this spring, hit a wall. He was only able to get one out and left the game with the bases loaded. Carson Fulmer was on the mound when two earned runs were charged to Mejia off of a jam to center. Fulmer did not have his best stuff today overall in his 1 ⅔ innings. Evan Marshall, on the other hand, did look good. He breezed by an inning of work and left the game for potential future closer Tyler Johnson.

Unfortunately for Johnson, White Sox legend Ryan Goins had his number. With a couple runners on base, Goins grabbed a couple of RBIs with a single to right field; Johnson was lifted shortly after. So, overall, the pitching was not great today. But it’s March 3, and everybody is working on particular things.

Among the replacement hitters, a few guys were ready to take over; in particular, Andrew Vaughn.

It was not a great route by the right fielder, but Vaughn is hitting .417 now after the double to the opposite field. Even if his spring is a huge success, the odds of Vaughn breaking with the team are zero, but maybe a strong spring leads to a start in Birmingham and a path to MLB by season’s end — or at least a 2019 Robert-like advancement schedule. Whatever happens, Vaughn can hit. Although he made the game interesting, the White Sox could not finish a spring comeback, as the A’s shut the door in the ninth.

The White Sox visit the Brewers tomorrow at 2:05 CT. Joltin’ Joe Resis has your SSHP coverage.

 

Mercedes homers, White Sox rally late to force tie

Power surge: 2019 first round pick Andrew Vaughn hit a double off the wall to raise his way-too-early spring average to .500 and his way-too-early spring OPS to 1.750. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)


Offensive highlights were hard to come by this afternoon, as the White Sox tied their Camelback Ranch buddies by a score of 2-2. A decent chunk of the offensive highlights we did see came courtesy of Nicky Delmonico, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Unfortunately, nobody was able to drive Delmonico home. Delmonico did not get a fourth plate appearance, as he was pulled for a pinch-runner in the sixth (Jaycob Brugman).

The pitching staff managed to hold the Dodgers off the board for most of the afternoon, as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth. 26-year-old righty Alex McRae started on the mound for the White Sox, and he threw two innings and set down all six batters he faced. Adalberto Mejía contributed two scoreless innings of his own, and Evan Marshall added a scoreless fifth. Marshall would not have escaped unscathed, however, if not for this excellent defense by Danny Mendick.

The first run for either side crossed the plate when right-hander Ian Hamilton allowed a solo home run to Cody Thomas. Three batters later, Omar Estevez followed with another solo shot off Hamilton. As a result, the Dodgers led by a score of 2-0 after six.

Although Delmonico had nearly half of the White Sox’s hits, the loudest hit was a seventh inning blast by Yermín Mercedes, which cut the deficit in half. Did I mention this thing was crushed? Because, seriously, it was. Have a look. Hopefully, you will enjoy this as much as I did:

 

Whether or not the White Sox will have room for Mercedes on the 26-man roster remains to be seen. However, today was certainly a step in the right direction for him. The next batter, Andrew Vaughn, nearly followed with a solo blast of his own. Instead, Vaughn settled for a double off the top of the wall. Last year’s third overall pick finished 1-for-2.

In his only other plate appearance, Mercedes led off the top of the ninth inning with a single. That turned out to be a big hit, as the lead runner came around to score on a Matt Skole double to tie the game.

In the latter innings, Codi Heuer, Jacob Lindgren, and Will Kincanon all pitched admirably, as each threw a scoreless inning to make the offense’s job easier. As a result, the Skole RBI double was the last time either team scored, as this game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Nick Madrigal was the center of attention for White Sox Twitter this morning. This was because for the second straight season, Keith Law decided not to include him on his Top 100 Prospects list. As a result, I wanted Madrigal to succeed even more than usual today. Though Madrigal did not strike out (of course), he did not reach base, either, finishing 0-for-3. You win this small battle, Keith, but Madrigal will win the war.

With the tie, the White Sox’s record stands at 1-0-1 this spring. Tomorrow will be a split-squad day, as there will be a pair of White Sox games, both at 2:05 CST. One will be a road game at Goodyear Ballpark against Cleveland. Left-hander Bernardo Flores Jr. is set to take the mound for the Sox, while Shane Bieber is Cleveland’s probable starter. In the other matchup, a home game, Drew Anderson will take the mound for the White Sox against Kevin Gausman of the Giants. The latter game will be streaming on whitesox.com.