Winners of four straight Spring Training games, the bottom fell out for the Chicago White Sox this afternoon. In the first of two meetings with the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox’s pitching faltered in a 12-3 blowout.
White Sox right hander Jacob Turner didn’t do himself any favors in his bid for a rotation spot as Oakland lit him up from the start. Turner gave up three hits, and one walk in the first inning, one of which resulted in an RBI for Danny Valencia.
Down 1-0, Chicago had the tall task of facing Oakland’s Sonny Gray in the bottom half of the frame. Nothing like having a frontline arm undo the positive early returns seen in camp thus far. Gray felled Jacob May and Brett Lawrie on strikeouts and got a groundball from Jose Abreu to end the inning.
Turner picked up right where he left off and put two men on base via a walk and hit by pitch in between inducing two flyouts. With a chance for Turner to get out of the inning, outfielder Josh Reddick showed the White Sox just why he is an opportune trade target by roping a 2-run triple past RF Avisail Garcia.
Gray was a little less poised in the bottom of the second, as Todd Frazier doubled the opposite way to open the inning. Melky Cabrera followed with a single, and Avisail Garcia notched himself an RBI when he singled in Frazier in the subsequent at-bat.
Dioner Navarro killed the rally with a strikeout, which later turned into a double play when former South Sider Josh Phegley threw out a stealing Garcia. Of all the positives surrounding a tuned up offense and reinvigorated clubhouse, Chicago has yet to refine their baserunning game. The White Sox are just 3-for-10 in stolen base attempts in Cactus League play.
Turner started the third by surrendering a single to Stephen Vogt, but bounced back by striking out Billy Butler, and Andrew Lambo. Josh Phegley continued to do damage against his former team as he drove in Vogt with a double, and that was the nail in the coffin for Turner.
Lefty Zach Phillips replaced him and gave up a double to Joey Wendle, and single to Sam Fuld, which tacked another earned run onto Turner’s final line, which was 2.2 innings, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. It was an unimpressive outing for Turner, but Spring results should be taken with a grain of salt, and it’s yet to be seen if Don Cooper can restore the former 1st rounder to his old self.
In the bottom half of the third, Gray walked Tyler Saladino but then mowed down May, Lawrie, and Abreu to finish a strong outing. In total, Gray had 4 strikeouts and a walk, allowing just one run over 3 innings.
The game droned on as Phillips collected a strikeout but gave up another run on a Stephen Vogt single in the Top of the 4th.
Felix Doubront, a classic Oakland reclamation project, shutdown the White Sox in the bottom half, striking out Todd Frazier and Avisail Garcia in the process.
The White Sox made a variety of defensive substitutions in the 5th as right-hander Chris Beck took the ball. He gave up a solo shot to Andrew Lambo, but managed to leave the rest of the inning unscathed, despite a Phegley single and an error by third baseman Matt Davidson.
On the flip side, Chris Beck had more trouble in the sixth inning as he walked two batters, gave up a single, and another run on a Matt Olson sacrifice fly.
Kevan Smith managed a double off of Doubront in the latter half of the frame, but the righty retired the next three hitters to give him a flawless line for the day; 6 K, 0 BB, and just one hit over 3 innings.
White Sox reliever Daniel Webb took the mound in the 7th. After starting strong with a Franklin Barreto strikeout, he’d go on to give up a trio of singles, the last of which pushed the score to a lopsided 10-1.
Peter Tago had a clean 8th inning for the White Sox, giving up just one hit. Chicago came to life later in the inning, as they manufactured a Mike Olt and Carlos Sanchez walk and two straight field errors into one run. Rob Brantly tacked on a second with a sacrifice fly.
That would be it for the White Sox as the only subsequent score change was added to Oakland’s ledger on account of a 2-run Matt Chapman home run off Robinson Leyer.
The game brought the White Sox back to reality, as their high-octane offense sputtered in a dismal showing. Jacob Turner created an even more uphill battle for himself, and will need to do everything in his power to make a positive mark going forward if he wants to see Chicago this Spring. In other words, it was a forgettable game for the South Siders. We can only hope it’s not a harbinger of things to come when these two clubs face off to open the season in April.
Frazier: 1-2 (double), 1 R
Lawrie: 0-2, 2 K
Turner: 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (2.2 IP)