Live White Sox baseball returned to the NBC Sports Chicago airwaves this afternoon with the Sox intrasquad game being televised, and it gave many Sox fans their first look at the team since March.
Dallas Keuchel. The new left-handed starter cruised through 3 innings, showing that Cy Young Award Winner pedigree. He was so good in those first three innings, that they started Keuchel’s fourth inning of work with runners on 2nd and 3rd. And he still got out of that without allowing a run.
Sure, he didn’t have to face regulars like reigning batting champ Tim Anderson, Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal. But he worked efficiently in a Mark Buehrle-like manner. He’s a pitcher that like to work the edges of the strike zone, and he’ll be throwing to a catcher in Grandal that is one of the best pitch-framers in the game. This should greatly benefit Keuchel.
NBC Sports Chicago. Good on the entire crew for getting this on television. Jason Benetti and Chuck Garfien made a point to laud the efforts of everyone behind the scenes to bring these games first to the internet, now television. The network and the White Sox saw numerous requests from Sox fans to broadcast these scrimmages since sports fans have been unable to watch any sports at all since March. Kudos to the Sox and NBC Sports Chicago for making this happen and making it look seamless.
Luis Robert. This kid can play. He’s showing that he’s trying to drive the ball to the opposite field, flying out to the warning track in deep right-center field in the first inning. The hope here is that he continues trying to drive the ball up the middle and to right-center. He also showed the ability to turn on an inside pitch, doubling down the left field line on a low and inside pitch, driving in Nick Madrigal. He also makes it look easy in center field on the defensive side.
Nick Madrigal. The young second baseman showed his defensive pedigree in Keuchel’s fourth inning of work, taking a ground ball up the middle and firing a strike to Grandal at the plate to cut down a run. He also showed his speed on the base paths, beating out a potential double play, and then stealing 2nd shortly after and he scored easily on Luis Robert’s double. He later drove in a run with a single up the middle, showing good contact.
Offense early on. The Sox pitching staff by and large kept their own hitters in check in the early innings, even when the Sox coaching staff tried challenging Dallas Keuchel by putting runners on 2nd and 3rd to start the inning and the away team still didn’t score a run.
The bullpen. Once the starters left the game, the offense started to come to life. There weren’t a lot of base runners early on, so we weren’t able to see much in the way of situational hitting or bunt execution. Zack Collins homered for the visitors, Jimenez tripled to left-center (and narrowly missed a home run and Nomar Mazara drove him in, beating the shift with a ground ball through the spot where the shortstop would have been.
Jose Abreu’s goatee. I don’t know what’s going on there with that. And it can’t be practical in situations where you need to wear a mask or other facial coverings. And it can’t be comfortable on hot weather days, which has been basically every day in Chicago this summer.
There’s a couple more intrasquad scrimmages scheduled before the Sox and Cubs meet for a couple exhibition games starting Sunday on the North Side. Then the fun really begins on July 24 when the reigning division champion Minnesota Twins visit the G-Spot to finally open the 2020 season. Buckle up, kids, it’s gonna be a fun ride!