Friday’s game could be described as the opposite of a Hot Pocket: cold open, hot middle, warm close. The White Sox bullpen allowed just one hit after the fifth — but before that, it wasn’t looking good for our guys.
ESPN had a win probability at 50.3% for Cleveland in the bottom of the first, which seems a bit premature and rude. Sometimes the stats aren’t our friends, and sometimes ESPN needs to keep their opinions to themselves:
The White Sox got a look at Cleveland starter Logan Allen, who was part of that three-team deal among San Diego, Cleveland, and Cincinnati that swapped Trevor Bauer for Yasiel Puig, brought Franmil Reyes and Allen to sunny Cleveland, and dropped Taylor Trammel to the Padres.
Having Madrigal lead off is not a great position for him in the lineup, but I’m going to look on the bright side that he’s getting some time there solely for more at-bats. After hearing last year about all his patience at the plate, there wasn’t a lot of patented Madrigal chill today. But he made a fantastic play in the top of the second that can quickly erase the sadness of an 0-for-3 day at the plate:
Cleveland was making steady progress toward a win, chipping out three runs on five hits before the White Sox broke it open in the bottom of the sixth. After loading the bases with Jaycob Brugman, Zach Remillard, and Roman González (pinch-running for Nicky Delmonico, Chester Cuthbert, and Danny Mendick, respectively) Yermín Mercedes pinch-hit for Seby Zavala and continues to make it all look easy: Mercedes clocked a grand slam that’s still on the way to Mesa.
It was nice of Nomar Mazara to wait until the bottom of the seventh to decide he wants to get a hit — I’m so glad the White Sox have him instead of Yasiel Puig (*cough*). Roman González brought Mazara in on a double to right, putting the Sox up by three, and a Rutherford single pushed it to 7-3 after bringing González home.
If you were taking a nap, Andrew Vaughn reminded us why he’s our top prospect not named after a Spanish panther, hitting a homer that just stayed fair in the eighth; Dakody Clemmer’s slider forgot to bite, and the Sox topped off their scoring, 8-3.
A three-up, three-down ninth pushed the White Sox to 4-2 in Cactus League action. Not a lot of progress from the starters today, but guys coming off the bench showed them how it’s done.
Random game thoughts
- New Era can buy all the spots they want between innings to advertise those terrible spring training hats, and I’m still going to think they look like they got stuck in a printer
- Can we get some new MLB Flashbacks? They’ve been playing the same ones all week, and there were more than four cool things that happened last year.
- Russ Langer and Rich King can get very dramatic, especially claiming the Sox had to make a comeback at the *checks notes* second inning.
- Today I learned that Al Michaels called his first MLB game for the Cincinnati Reds, playing the White Sox in spring training, and Harry Caray was the next window over in the broadcast booth.
- I genuinely want to know what has happened to Daniel Palka.
- Ernie Clement (CLE) forgot his No. 84 jersey — there’s really not a lot to keep track of in spring training, so you’d think remembering to put your jersey on is a no-brainer — and wore No. 28 today.
- The name of the catcher for Cleveland that Rich and Russ couldn’t pronounce (and kept referring to as the “catcher to be named later”) is Kungkuan Giljegiljaw. According to an article in CPBL Stats, it’s a name change from Chu Li-Jen to his Taiwanese aboriginal name. It’s a pretty interesting read if you’re up for it — and comes with a handy pronunciation guide.