Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Game No. 2, White Sox-Royals: Errors and Long Balls

Fouad Egbaria

Chicago White Sox 5, Kansas City Royals 2

Hey, how about a little baseball? 

I had the chance to take in the Sox' second game of the season this afternoon, coming after the always annoying post-opening-day-day-without-a-game. On an exciting note, this was my first trip to the Cell in many, many years (i.e. the early 2000s). So, it was nice to be back, even if the park was depressingly empty.  But, hey: 1:10 p.m. on a Wednesday? What can you do. 

Jake Peavy took the mound for the White Sox and came out in vintage bulldog fashion, striking out five of the first six Royals he faced, all five going down swinging and looking generally like fools. 

In the bottom of the second, Adam Dunn made up for a poor opening day by smacking the first pitch into the right field stands, a 431-foot home run shot. Interestingly enough, Tyler Flowers knocked one out of the park on the first pitch of the next inning as well, making this two games with two homers for Flowers. At this rate, Tyler Flowers is on pace to become the most decorated athlete in the history of Western civilization. My guess is he won't keep up this homer per game pace...let's see if this bold prediction holds up. 

Although Peavy did bring the good stuff today, his outing wasn't without its troubles, namely due to the defense behind him. In the third, a Three Stooges-esque little collision between Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo led to the former dropping what should have been a fairly routine out. The error was charged to Ramirez, but it seemed to me that Ramirez waved Viciedo off early off for the latter to have gotten out of the way. But, in the end, the ball's on the ground, and that's not good. This would become a trend. 

In the same inning (after an Alex Gordon flyout following the aforementioned shenanigans), Viciedo mishandled a ball in left field that allowed Chris Getz (GO BLUE) the opportunity to score with ease, tying the game at 1-1. The top of the third of this one was one to forget. 

Luckily, Chicago's home run offense kept churning on, this time with Viciedo hitting a two-run home run, bringing in the walked Adam Dunn in the process. 

After a quiet fifth inning --in which all three Sox struck out swinging-- Gordon started the sixth for the Royals with a double. Two ground outs later and Gordon crossed home, cutting the lead to 4-2. Peavy gave up another double, this time to Mike Moustakas, but he managed to get out of the inning and complete his 107-pitch outing having given up two runs and four hits. 

Jesse Crain relieved Peavy, and the defense once again faltered. Dewayne Wise, entering the game at left for Viciedo, simply dropped a catchable ball down the line, allowing Hosmer to reach second. I'm not sure if the sun was in his eyes or what, but the Sox were quite lucky all these errors didn't come back to bite them. 

Crain then gave a single to Lorenzo Cain, he rang up a big punchout against Jeff Francoeur. Robin Venture then brought in Donnie "I'll be here all week" Veal, who faced a pinch-hitting Miguel Tejada (yes, he is still around). Veal walked Tejada in four pitches, loading the bases with one out. Things were looking grim, but a Veal managed to get Gordon to fly out and Matt Lindstrom (in his White Sox debut) entered the game, also getting Alcides Escobar to fly out, ending the inning. 

In the bottom of the 7th, Luke Hochevar relieved Ervin Santana. Alexei took advantage, knocking, you guessed it, another dinger over the newly de-memorialized outfield wall. The insurance run proved to be unnecessary, but hey, fireworks retailers have families to feed too. 

Matt Thornton relieved Lindstrom with one out in the 8th and proceeded to get two easy outs, paving the way for an Addison Reed save situation in the 9th, his second in as many games. I doubt Bobby Thigpen's 1990 saves mark of 57 is in any serious danger, but you couldn't have really asked for a much better start to the season from Reed. 

Reed rattled off a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th to end the game, sending the White Sox to 2-0 on the season. A few notes: 
  • The White Sox still haven't scored a run of the non-HR variety this season. So, yeah: same old White Sox. 
  • Gordon Beckham walked once but struck out twice. 
  • De Aza saw 22 pitches on the day after seeing 21 on Monday. 
  • New 3B Jeff Keppinger is batting .125 thus far this season on eight at bats. He's struck out once and has yet to draw a walk. 

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