White Sox 2, Cleveland 0: just enough
CHICAGO — A dash of offense, and the help of a few double plays, secured a 2-0 victory over Cleveland in the opener of the three-game set. Dylan Cease struggled with command, but didn't allow a run in his third start of the season.
After striking out four times on Thursday night, Luis Robert led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and Yoán Moncada followed that with a line drive single to left field. After Robert easily scurried over to third on the single, José Abreu grounded into a double play, scoring Robert in the process.
On Thursday, Ricky Renteria announced that his plan was to slot Tim Anderson back in the leadoff spot upon returning from his rehab stint in Schaumburg. Tim is a more than acceptable leadoff hitter, but I'm not sure I'd be pulling Robert away from leadoff duties anytime soon, in part for his hitting, but also for his surprisingly impressive plate discipline.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Sox fan who doesn't adore the unofficial capítan for at least one reason or another. The leadership he's shown with the Sox young core has been valuable, along with many on-field contributions throughout his major-league tenure.
That said, it's becoming nearly impossible to justify Abreu's place in the batting order. During the first several years of his career, Abreu looked like the prototypical player to slot at No. 3, but those days appear to be over.
On Friday night, Abreu grounded into two double plays, including one in the sixth inning with runners on first and third with only one out, when the Sox badly needed some insurance runs.
Ricky doesn't care what anyone says about his lineups, but the more you utilize suboptimal lineups, the fewer games you will win in the long run.
You could make a strong case that Aaron Bummer is the most valuable piece of the White Sox bullpen. After showing signs of discomfort an inning and two-thirds into his appearance, he had to depart the game.
The team later announced that Bummer left the game with left biceps soreness, and will reevaluated on Saturday.
Losing Bummer for any length of time would be a brutal blow to the team. He's been as reliable as any reliever the Sox have had at their disposable in the last few seasons. Without him, they'll have to rely on some promising but very young and inexperienced arms out of the bullpen.
The White Sox will take any win they can get, especially in the shortened season. Cease's outing wasn't pretty, but it allowed the team to squeak by with a win while only scoring two runs.
Renteria had plenty of thoughts on Cease, and a few on Robert, in his postgame presser, which you can watch below, courtesy of the White Sox:
Over the last few games, the Chicago offense isn't showing near the same punch that it had earlier this season, but the hope is that mostly has to do with not having their lineup fully healthy.
The Sox improve to 8-6 and slide back into the automatic playoff berth of second place, while Cleveland drops to 8-7.
Game two is tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CT. Rookie reliever Matt Foster will take the hill for his first major-league start, facing Cleveland righty Zach Plesac.