Chicago White Sox: Tuesday's game had a little bit of everything
It is mid-May and 42 games into the Chicago White Sox regular season. What seems to be odd at this time of year one may ask? This is the first matchup of the season between the Chicago White Sox vs. the Cleveland Guardians!
Now that the first matchup between the White Sox and Guardians is finally underway, what better way to start than a pitching duel between Lance Lynn and Shane Bieber?
Although Lynn has had his ups and downs this season, he has flashed great command of his fastball and is always a great presence to have on the mound. Shane Bieber has experienced tremendous success against the White Sox going 6-2 in his last 8 starts against them with a 2.22 ERA.
For the first four innings of the ballgame, this was in fact a pitchers duel.
The White Sox game on Tuesday night had a little bit of everything.
Lance Lynn looked phenomenal utilizing his cutter and sinker in both the upper and lower quadrants of the strike zone, keeping both lefties and righties off balance the entire night.
Bieber did a great job limiting traffic and getting some swing-and-miss on his offspeed pitches to right-handed hitters.
Shane Bieber is known for having a devastating cutter/slider and knuckle curve to right-handed hitters, especially in two-strike counts.
Since the movement of those pitches is opposite toward a left-handed batter, the effectiveness declines substantially. This is where the White Sox's left-handed hitters took over the game.
Andrew Benintendi did a great job setting the tone for the left-handed hitters squaring up two solid hits early in the game.
Then in the fifth inning, Luis Robert reached first base on a catcher's interference which yielded a two-out plate appearance for the switch-hitting Yoan Moncada. Of course, Yoan would go lefty against Bieber.
Sensing that runs could be at a premium being that it was a 0-0 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth inning, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol opted for a hit and run on the very first pitch which Moncada roped into right field and resulted in Robert crossing the plate.
From this point forward, the hit barrage started, and shortly after, lefty Gavin Sheets hit a three-run home run (after nearly hitting one in his first plate appearance) which completely shifted the momentum in favor of the White Sox.
Lance Lynn continued his dominant outing which resulted in his second win of the year. He compiled seven strikeouts and one earned run over seven innings.
Luis Robert hit a home run in the eighth inning which had two significant meanings. As an individual, Robert has now hit four home runs in four consecutive games and will now look to tie the franchise record of five in five games set by A.J. Pierzynski in 2012.
As a team, Robert collecting that hit meant that all hitters in the batting order one through nine recorded a hit in the game.
Overall, this was the effort the White Sox needed. They showed they could compete in a "runs are at a premium game" with good pitching and defense.
They also took advantage of an opponent error which shifted the momentum and narrative of the game in their favor completely. There is nothing better than a complete team win for the Good Guys!