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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER — White Sox 4, Cleveland 3

After dropping Sunday’s game in extras, the White Sox welcomed Cleveland in for the first of 19 games, and a tight game went the Sox way in the bottom of the 9th on a fortunate bounce, as the Sox benefited from a bad defensive play by the opposition.

THE GOOD:

The bullpen, which had struggled through most of the time in the early going, had their best perfomance of the season thus far, holding Cleveland’s offense down and gave the Sox a chance to win it late. Evan Marshall did a very good job allowing just a single run in a bases-loaded, nobody out situation in the top of the sixth inning. Cleveland was poised to re-take the lead, and perhaps blow the game open, but they only tied the game at 3, where the game stayed until the bottom half of the ninth. Cody Heuer was also strong in relief in picking up his first win of the season.

If you had Adam Eaton leading the team in home runs a week and a half into the season, go buy a lottery ticket, and enjoy a trip somewhere nice. Or buy a bunch of beer. Buyer’s choice. He hit his third dinger of the year, this one a three-run jack to put the Sox ahead 3-2. He’s batting .257 thus far, and is doing fine in the lead-off spot in Tim Anderson’s absence.

Yoan Moncada had a strong game all around, going 2-for-4, which the Sox will need if they’re gonna score more runs. He was also stellar with the glove, making several strong plays at third base. It’s an encouraging sign that the defense overall has been better (the Sox were errorless defensively again Monday night) and Moncada’s strong play at the hot corner certainly helps.

There was some good off-the-field news as well, as the Sox announced that approximately 90% of the roster has been given the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine from health providers at Rush University Health System. That puts the Sox close to having enough people vaccinated to allow for loosening of restrictions on players and other personnel in the team’s traveling party. Hopefully they team up with the Cubs, as well as the other pro sports teams in the area, for a PSA promoting more vaccination in the greater Chicagoland community.

THE BAD:

The offense hasn’t been exactly overwhelming, even if they lead the league in on-base percentage, but that’s largely due to the Sox leading the league in taking walks. The good news is they are getting runners on base. The bad news is they aren’t getting hits with runners in scoring position. Nowhere else was that more glaring than in the bottom of the sixth, when the Sox failed to score any runs with the bases loaded and nobody out on the heels of only permitting Cleveland to score once in the same situation in the top half of the sixth. Fortunately the Sox bullpen kept Cleveland from gaining the momentum by holding them scoreless the rest of the way.

Tuesday should be a dandy of a pitching match-up, as Cleveland sends Shane Bieber to the bump, and he’ll be opposed by Lucas Giolito as the Sox will try to go above .500 on the young season.

Updated: April 12, 2021 — 11:28 pm

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