White Sox: Takeaways from the Tigers series sweep
No one – especially White Sox fans – was expecting a three-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers. But, it happened.
The White Sox are farther into “The Process” than the Tigers are, but baseball is a strange game. And, this time, the Tigers got the best of the Sox. Instead of stewing on the three losses, it is worth it to look at what worked for the Sox.
While the biggest story was the cold, there were a few other takeaways that are worth discussing. Officially, the temperatures were cold: Sunday’s game was 36°F, Saturday’s game was 32°F, and Thursday’s game was 43°F.
Rondon successfully closed Sunday’s game
One of the most unusual events in the Sunday game involved Bruce Rondon, who was with the Tigers since 2008. According to several sources, including Paul Sullivan with the Chicago Tribune, Rondon walked into Guaranteed Rate Field via the visitor’s clubhouse. According to Sullivan, Miguel Cabrera called him out by saying:
"“Hey, ‘Loco,’ what are you doing here?” Cabrera said, using his preferred nickname for Rondon."
But, after posting a 10.91 ERA with the Tigers in 2017, Rondon was set down to their Triple-A team where he stayed. In Sunday’s game against the Tigers, Rondon had one of his best outings in years striking out four batters, including Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos. He used a 100 MPH fastball to get the job done.
Rondon could become an asset in the bullpen if he can keep his attitude in check. This was his biggest issue while he was with the Tigers organization.
Most of the starting pitching was solid
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In two of the three games, the starting pitching looked good. On Sunday, Reynaldo Lopez only allowed two hits, which unfortunately resulted in the only run of the game. He is sitting with an ERA of 0.69. Thursday’s Home Opener featured James Shields, who only gave up three runs. It is rather un-James-Shield-ish of him to give up so few runs. He would have gotten the win in the game had Joakim Soria not blown it in the ninth.
It is clear there is still some more work to be done with the starting pitching. But, when two of the three outings were solid, the team is off to a good start.
The Sox are loaded with sluggers
In the cold, it can be tough for hitters to have any consistency. The Sox hitters are raking, with the exception of Sunday’s game. In the Home Opener, the Sox had 11 hits, with most belonging to Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson, Yolmer Sanchez, and Leury Garcia.
On Saturday, the Sox had eight hits, but had difficulty converting them into runs. Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, and Welington Castillo each had two hits on the day.
Next: The ups and downs of the White Sox rebuild
It is still early in the season and the Sox and Tigers still have several more matchups to come. As these two teams continue through “The Process” there should be plenty of surprises. Some will certainly go in the Sox’s favor.