Coming into 2020, the White Sox front office knew that in order to contend, the team would have to hit more home runs to keep up with the Twins, who hit an MLB record 307 last season. And on a warm Saturday afternoon at 35th and Shields, the Sox rode the long ball to a 10-3 victory over Minnesota for their first win of the season.
Dallas Keuchel. The veteran lefty was excellent in his White Sox debut, going 5.1 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one. Don’t be alarmed by the low strikeout total, as Keuchel is primarily a ground ball pitcher, and that’s how he got the majority of his outs Saturday. His sinker worked, and kept the Twins hitters in the ballpark. As he gets more work in, his outings will go deeper into games, which will help the bullpen immensely.
Dingers. Four Sox hitters hit a total of five dongs on Saturday, including new DH Edwin Encarnacion’s first in a Sox uniform. It went so far, that Twins LF Eddie Rosario didn’t move from his ready position, except to turn his head to see how many rows up the bleachers it would land. Eloy Jimenez hit a fly ball to right that hit the top of the fence and bounded over.
Leury Garcia. Many a Sox fan wrung their hands at Nick Madrigal not making the Opening Day roster, and Garcia didn’t help his case with a shaky performance in the opener. He more than made up for it with dingers from both sides of the plate, including a mammoth 3-run bomb in the bottom of the 7th to put the Sox up 10-3 to cap a 3-for-4 day at the dish. We knew the Sox would hit dingers, but I don’t think anyone expected such a power surge from Leury Garcia in the 9-hole.
Yoan Moncada. He kept his hot start to the 2020 season going with a line drive double to the left center field gap to give the Sox their first lead of the season. He also continued his solid play at third.
James McCann. McCann rode a strong start to the 2019 season into an All Star appearance, and he showed that form in his 2020 debut. He went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, 2 RBI and a 2 runs scored. He also did a nice job working with Keuchel in his first outing in a Sox uniform.
Defense. Tim Anderson committed an error, and there were a couple other errant throws that Jose Abreu was able to rescue to get the out. If the Sox are going to contend, they’re going to have to do a better job catching the baseball to avoid giving teams extra outs.
Jose Abreu still needs to trim that goatee. Maybe that’ll get his bat going.
The rubber match is set for 1:10 Sunday afternoon, before the Sox jet off to Cleveland for the first road trip of the season. Your guess is as good as mine who Ricky gives the ball to to start the game, but we’ll find out soon enough. Pitter patter.