White Sox bats quiet the Twinkies' chirping

Sam Sherman

CHICAGO — After last night's 10-5 season-opening loss to the Minnesota Twins, White Sox Twitter had a little more anger than you might usually see. You could almost say they were about three times more angry after last night's loss than they would be for any other regular season loss. 

If you were a fan that felt about 2.7 times angrier than you normally do after losses in July, don't feel bad, it actually makes sense! After all, in a shortened, 60-game season, each game comes out to be worth 2.7 games that would normally fit into a 162-game season. 

The math is nearly over, I promise, but I'd like you to consider the following:

  • Losing one game this season is a bit like losing a three-game series in a normal season, at least technically speaking.
  • On the flip side, winning one game is like winning a three game series in a typical season.

Apologies for having typed this sentence dozens of times over the last month, but: It's a weird season.

I'm neither trying to make you feel better or worse about last night's outcome, hell, maybe I'm just talking to myself because I ran a quick poll Saturday morning to see how Sox fan's 2020 outlook changed after one game, and here were the results:

I wasn't expecting a different result, at least consciously, but it was nice to see Sox fans hadn't punted the season after one — or even 2.7 games for that matter.

Breathe! 

I wrote a tiny bit about meditation in my opening game piece, and I'd like to continue that theme, if you don't mind. 

I am the farthest thing from an expert on meditation, or mindfulness or anything like that, but it is something that has helped me get to feeling of where I would like to be, or at least closer. 

One of my keys to daily meditation is to expect very little as far as it's impact in the moment. 

Meditation for me, can not be a reactive part of my routine, but instead a proactive one. I don't ask myself how I'm feeling after I meditate, I ask myself how I'm feeling weeks after meditating on a daily basis, and if I'm still not where I want to be, I continue.

Are you still here? Yes? Oh cool. Good. No? That's fine too.

Being a baseball fan and meditation go hand-in-hand. Especially if you're a fan of a team playing through, and hopefully out of, a rebuild. 

Baseball is a long season, and if you expect to be happy or content on a daily basis, you will be disappointed. If you see the forest through the trees, your viewing experience might be more enjoyable. 

That being said, if in two weeks, the White Sox are 10 games worse than .500, ask me how I feel about my meditation and mindfulness as far as it pertains to White Sox baseball. 

Being a baseball fan: it's a complicated and delicate balance; often messy, but sometimes gorgeous. 

I'd like to, if you don't mind, include a daily meditative reading in each of my games stories, starting today, so here is my first entry from Ming-Dao Deng's 365 Tao: Daily Meditations,

Uncertainty 
Kicking a pebble by the side of the road,
Watching it tumble pell-mell.
Chance and randomness become order.

The White Sox played another game today, as often happens in baseball, and here's how it went down.

Carson, claimed 

About a half-hour before first pitch, former first round White Sox draft pick Carson Fulmer was claimed by the Detroit Tigers after being designated for assignment a couple days earlier. 

This closes the book on a disappointing White Sox career for the once-promising righty out of Vanderbilt. Right out of the gate, it was an awkward start to Fulmer's major league career, as he bounced from the majors the the minors and couldn't really stick anywhere despite flashes of plus stuff. 

I don't know how Fulmer will pitch in Detroit, but I do know, for a fact, that if and when he faces the White Sox, he will throw his first career perfect game. 

Crafty veteran left-handed pitcher

After the White Sox signed Dallas Keuchel in the offseason, the Mark Buehrle comparisons started piling up.

After all, they are both left handed pitchers, who rely less on velocity, and more on pinpoint accuracy along with wipeout breaking pitches, so it made sense. 

Dallas retired the first three Twins batters he faced in only five minutes, and with that speed and efficiency, Keuchel won't see those Buehrle comps go away any time soon. He continued his quick work of the Twins in the second and third innings, where he retired the next six batters he faced. 

After giving up a couple of hits, in the top of the sixth, he was relieved by Steve Cishek, who retired the first batter he faced but gave up a three-run homer to Nelson Cruz. 

Can't say I understood taking Keuchel out that soon, without giving him a shot to finish the inning, but in any case, he still finished with a solid line in his debut going 5 ⅓ innings, giving up only three hits, two earned runs and no walks. 

Moncada, Moncad-ing?

Even with the light-tower power of Eloy Jiménez, and unlimited potential of Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada might end up having the best career out of all the young Sox core.

Manager Rick Renteria initially thought about giving his young star the day off on Saturday, until Moncada convinced him otherwise, and it's a good thing he did.

After going 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs the night before, Moncada didn't miss a beat, hitting an opposite-field double in the bottom of the third inning. That two-bagger scored Tim Anderson and gave the White Sox their first lead of the not only the game, but the season. 

That's more like it

The Twins dugout was noticeably chirpy on Friday night, and with good reason: They had the lead for most of the game, including the end, where it really matters. 

On Saturday, the White Sox dugout got their chance to shine after a bottom of the sixth inning that saw Leury García, Edwin Encarnación, and Eloy Jiménez all take turns hitting home runs.

The inning wasn't all good though, as Encarnación's parrot did NOT make an appearance during his home run trot. 

Ricky's last laugh

I've got to say, I know complaining about a lineup in the second game of the season is a bit silly, but I'm a bit silly, so I complained about the lineup in the second game of the season. 

Those questionable decisions included starting García, Nicky Delmonico batting ahead of Luis Robert, and sitting Yasmani Grandal in favor of James McCann. 

Leury homered twice, from both sides of the plate, McCann added a key insurance run with his homer to right in the fifth and another RBI single in the seventh, and hell, even Nicky Delmonico worked a couple of nice at-bats. 

I'm not sure I subscribe to the belief that the results justify the decision-making. Sending out a less than optimal lineup is objectively not the way you'd expect greater results, at least more often than not. 

There is no doubt Renteria knows far more than I about how to manage and run a baseball team, but it will be worth tracking how often he lines up his team, contrary to the numbers, throughout the season. 

Robert Watch

So there might just be a section in all of these where I talk about what Robert did that day, because he is, quite frankly, that good.

He did get a hit today, extending his soon-to-be 60-game hit streak to two, but for now, let's discuss his defense.

It's likely that the most impressive plays Robert makes all year long will look fairly mundane. That is due to his incredible first-step quickness and speed. There will be numerous times this season where you'll be watching the game on TV when a ball hit to the gap, sure to be an extra-base hit, only to see Robert calmly camped underneath to make the catch. On multiple occasions today, he got to fly balls so quickly, he nearly outran them. 

Jimmy Lambert!

I don't know why, but anytime I say Jimmy Lambert's name, I want to say it loudly and happily. Like "Jimmy Lambert!" if you can hear that in your head.

After battling through Tommy John surgery in 2019, the former fifth round draft pick made his long-awaited debut to get the final three outs of the game. He was a guy that opened some eyes in Summer Camp, showing his ability to miss bats and control the zone. It's early, but Lambert is a name to watch this season for the Sox. 

Last words

The White Sox showed us what they are capable of on Saturday afternoon, even if it wasn't the usual suspects who delivered the majority of their offensive output. 

Keuchel looked a whole lot like what we were told Keuchel looks like. He produced lots of ground balls, located all of his pitches, and walked nobody. 

In a season where the White Sox starting pitching depth is a tad suspect, it was what the Sox needed to see from their veteran offseason acquisition who was brought in to stabilize a young, talented core of pitchers. 

Tomorrow afternoon, Reynaldo López will take on Kenta Maeda, making his Twins debut, as the Sox will try to win their opening weekend series. 

 

THANKS FOR READING SOUTH SIDE HIT PEN
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