With someone like Chris Sale on your side, losing streaks can be hard to come by. The White Sox were able to avoid an early-season sweep and a four game losing streak on Sunday afternoon by taking down the Kansas City Royals in a battle of aces.
Sale went eight shutout innings letting up just four hits and one walk while striking out six KC hitters. He was great on Opening Day in his win over the Minnesota Twins, but he was even better against a great Kansas City lineup in this one.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about his performance, as he just did what he always does — used all of his pitches effectively all throughout the strike zone. But it was great to see him take down “Big Game James” Shields and help the Sox avoid the sweep.
Speaking of Shields, he was pretty darn good in this one as well. His line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. The Sox really did nothing to him all day out side of some base knocks here and there until the seventh when Conor Gillaspie picked up his second double of the game and Alexei Ramirez brought him home on an infield single up the middle.
Both of those guys continue to hit well, especially Alexei. He’s now 10-for-22 (.455) and Conor is 8-for-18 (.429). They’ve both been discussed as guys the Sox could possibly look to trade later in the season, but for now, it sure is a pleasure watching them help this team win.
Marcus Semien was just 1-for-5 on the day but hit the ball very hard a few times, which is great to see. He obviously turned the corner at least a little bit at home on Thursday with his late-inning home run against the Twins, but it now appears he’s handling the bat well with more consistency. If he can get some hits to drop in and execute better in key situations, he’ll really be able to make an impression before Gordon Beckham returns from his oblique injury, whenever that may be.
The White Sox took their 1-0 lead into the top of the ninth when nobody was sure whether Sale would return to try and wrap up a complete game or if Robin Ventura would turn to his closer, Matt Lindstrom.
The offense helped Robin make that decision as they put a crooked number up on the board to give Lindstrom a comfortable 5-0 lead to come in to.
The extremely productive inning started off with an Adam Dunn seeing eye single (of course), a Dayan Viciedo walk (double of course) and after a failed bunt attempt, an Avisail Garcia walk (TRIPLE OF COURSE).
The second run of the game came home when Leury Garcia (pinch-running for Dunn) went to steal third base and Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez threw one wide of the bag. Alexei then came back up and doubled home two more runs before Tyler Flowers stepped in and smacked an RBI single back up the middle.
Flowers didn’t look particularly good in his first three at bats, but he did in that one. He’s now hitting .500 (9-for-18) on the young season. LOL is right … but hey, it sure is awesome to see.
After the last few losses we’ve left you off with some positives, so after this win we’ll touch on some things that we didn’t like so much from the victorious south siders.
Jose Abreu’s Defense
At first, rookie Jose Abreu looked pretty good at first base, but he hasn’t looked so smooth of late, mainly when receiving throws from his fellow infielders.
He botched two of them today – one was on short-hop from Gillaspie after he’d made a nice stop and the other on a wide throw from Ramirez trying to turn a double play in the ninth.
He still looks fine fielding grounders and popups and what not, so thankfully it appears he really just has to work on catching the baseball, which is probably what they team can help him out with most anyway.
Lindstrom Looks Vulnerable Again
Though it was not a save situation, Ventura turned to his closer Lindstrom in the ninth inning. He only let up one run but did surrender three hits.
The good thing is that he didn’t walk anybody and after Abreu botched what should’ve been a double play, Lindstrom induced another one. That’s his calling card, so though he was too hittable yet again, he did keep the ball on the ground in the end.
Stay tuned to GrabSomeBench.com for our preview of the upcoming series in Colorado against the Rockies.