After Thursday’s snow-out, the White Sox returned to action Saturday in Boston, against a Red Sox team that looked more like the UCLA Bruins than their usual selves. Boston debuted their “City Connect” edition jerseys, inspired by the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They’re the first of seven MLB teams to wear “City Connect” jerseys, and both the White Sox and Cubs will have these alternates debuted later this season.
Unfortunately for Chicago’s Sox, a late 4 spot by Boston’s Sox in the 8th inning put the game out of reach to drop the White Sox to 6-8 on the season. The only silver lining to this is the rest of the division is middling around .500 as well, so they’re by no means out of it in the early going.
Jose Abreu went 2-for-4 on the day with one run driven in as his batting average is starting to creep upward. He’s struggled most of the early going, as has many of the White Sox hitters. It could be that the team is pressing, as it looked like they were midway through last year, before a Yoan Moncada three-run homer against the Cardinals loosened things up. Something like that from Moncada, or Luis Robert could be what the Sox need to break out of their collective funk.
Yermin Mercedes also had a hit in his first game in Fenway Park, a hard-hit single that banged off the Green Monster in left field. However, his 1-for-4 day dropped his average to .457 on the season. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing if he can launch one way over the Monstah sometime this series.
Adam Eaton made a terrific grab at the right-field wall early on to rob Boston of a two-run home run. He’s done better than most offensively, and he’s been solid of late with the glove. Boston ultimately pulled away late, thanks to a home run that Eaton couldn’t get to, but he has done quite a bit more than the right fielders the Sox put out there last year. In the 9th, he kept the game going with a long RBI double off the center field wall.
Luis Robert also added a couple hits too, and he’s showing the ability to adapt to how pitchers are throwing to him and take those pitches the other way. As he gets better at that, it’ll make it that much harder for teams to attack him, not unlike the way Tim Anderson has found ways to take pitches the other way instead of pulling off of them and grounding out weakly. The difference, obviously, between Anderson and Robert, is Robert can launch balls 500 feet and has even better speed than Anderson.
Speaking of Anderson, he sparked a game-tying rally in the 7th, getting on base with a single, and coming around to score, as Steve Stone predicted on the broadcast. As he goes, so do the rest of the White Sox offense, so hopefully as the weather heats up, so to does Tim Anderson’s bat.
Dylan Cease was solid, not spectacular on the mound Saturday, only going 4.2 innings. He allowed 2 runs, both earned, six hits, struck out six and walked three. Heading into a Sunday doubleheader, it would have been better if he had gone deeper into the game, but it was not meant to be.
The other bit of good news to come out of this is the defense didn’t commit any errors, highlighted by Eaton’s jumping grab at the right-field wall. Andrew Vaughn held his own in a very unique left field and didn’t permit any extra outs for a Boston offense that is one of the best in baseball in the early going.
To be fair, Gabe Morales wasn’t the most consistent behind the plate. Jason and Steve on the White Sox broadcast made note of that in the later innings, particularly on a pitch off the outside corner to Zack Collins that Morales rung him up on. It wound up not being the reason the Red Sox won the game, but you’d like to see a better effort behind the dish.
The White Sox pitching staff also didn’t do a good job containing Kike Hernandez and Xander Bogaerts, as those two combined to go 8-for-10 on the day. Boston does have a powerful offense, and Hernandez kick-started it with his 4 hits. The key going forward will be for the White Sox containing them, as they did JD Martinez, who only went 1-for-4 on the day.
Tomorrow brings a rare Sunday double-header, and Dallas Keuchel gets the ball in the first seven-inning game. It’s yet to be announced who will start the second game, but given that Michael Kopech didn’t pitch in Saturday’s game, they could hold him back from the first game for a start in game two. Time will tell on that front.