White Sox unable to win on Opening Day but there were some bright spots that came from the season-opening loss.
Well, White Sox fans, by now many of you are aware that the team did not fare too well in Thursday’s season opener at Kauffman Stadium against the Kansas City Royals. Sure, there were some high notes and bright spots in the 5-3 loss, but if the first game is any indication of what’s to come, this is going to be a long season.
I’ve heard over the years that patience is a virtue…not sure that applies for White Sox fans in year three of a rebuild that seems to be stalling given lackluster results in the offseason. It is well documented that the White Sox failed to land superstar third baseman Manny Machado after an aggressive (just ask White Sox GM Rick Hahn) pursuit and endured unfortunate injuries to pitchers Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease, to name a few.
On a positive note, White Sox fans should feel encouraged about a couple of things going forward and based off of Thursday’s game. Third baseman Yoan Moncada, Major League Baseball’s former top prospect, looked like he belonged playing the hot corner in displaying athleticism and a strong arm in turning a couple of difficult looking plays to first base.
Similarly, opening day starter Carlos Rodón looked steady and solid through 75 pitches, displaying consistency and control particularly through the first three innings of the game. Had Manager Rick Renteria opted to pull him slightly early and utilize the bullpen, the game may have had a different outcome. Rodón clearly did not have his best stuff after the initial 70 – 75 pitches.
That said, it could have very well been the case that Renteria allowed him to stay out there to see whether he was going to hold up and if he can be counted on to go deep in games throughout the season. That would be valuable to know up front and I think most Sox fans will agree.
Fans should note that one game a season does not make. Expect Renteria to tool with the lineup, the starting pitching rotation, and the bullpen. He has to have the freedom to experiment with the roster to see what gives the team the best options to win and develop the young core. This may come at the expense of a few games throughout the summer.
Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the third best prospect in MLB and recently signed by the White Sox to the tune of six years/$43 million, had a forgettable first outing. The highly touted prospect from the Dominican Republic went 0-for-3, with an RBI coming from being hit by a pitch. Not quite what he expected of himself to be certain.
Look for Jimenez to use this as motivation to do well in the next couple of games and certainly throughout the season. He is well aware of the expectations being placed on him, let alone the lofty expectations that he has certainly set for himself.
Make no mistake, it should be an interesting, if not fun season on the south side. The Sox get to play carefree baseball, knowing they aren’t expected to win this season. Teams that play this way are dangerous in MLB, as teams that are consistently expected to compete oftentimes fail or perform less optimally as a result of the added pressure.
It’s time for Sox fans to sit back, enjoy the youth movement, and cheer on their favorite team as they attempt to figure out who they are and what they can become.