When the first pitch of the season gets deposited into the empty seats, you’d be remiss if you didn’t start to feel like you’ve been thrown into an unwanted situation akin to any of Dr. Samuel Beckett’s adventures.
“Oh, boy” indeed.
But, a series of choices made by the Sox front office and manager Ricky Renteria has caused the most consternation thus far in 2020 and they were on full display against the Twins to start the season.
Nick Madrigal Takes a Cab
The Sox decided to send Nicky to the taxi squad in Schaumburg for a week or so, to work on… I don’t know? Learning how to spell Schaumburg? The Sox are trotting out the same old tired lies to avoid coming out and saying that they’re doing the thing we all know they’re doing.
Playing the service time manipulation game is insulting to the player and the fans. This is what a rebuilding team does, not a team that is done and ready to start playing competitive baseball. #ChangeTheGame indeed.
Leury Makes an Impact
The pitchforks were immediately sharpened in Game One when Leury Garcia couldn’t make defensive plays the 2019 MiLB Gold Glover, Madrigal seemed like he could have made in his sleep. He didn’t fare much better at the dish going 0-3 with a walk in game one.
Leury had his revenge in game two, mashing two home runs and leading the way in the one game the Sox were able to salvage. But this is fleeting. Garcia is a fine super-sub but gets exposed when starting for longer periods. The second they squeeze an extra year out of Madrigal, it’s his job for the rest of 2020.
Lineups and Rotations (aka The Rule of Threes)
When Ricky Renteria leaves this mortal coil, his tombstone will read “Devoted Father, Loving Husband, Always Batted Jose Abreu in the three-hole.” I love Jose Abreu, always will, but his time as the White Sox lineup anchor is gone.
There are better options for line up construction to be batting behind Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada. Eloy Jimenez (when not losing fights with walls), Yasmani Grandal, even Edwin Encarnacion would be better suited right now to be hitting there. Ricky is a players manager and old school to his bones, and when this team struggles, we should absolutely continue to call on his line up construction as a point of contention.
Reynaldo Lopez struggled in Camp. Dylan Cease did not. The third pitcher up should have been an obvious choice, but Ricky and Don Cooper decided Lopez and his control and command issues were the better options to face a vaunted Minnesota line up. Fastballs that entered the catcher’s mitt in the low 90s or out of the park in the upper 100s were a predictable result.
Lopez left the game early with an apparent injury, the extent of which has not been reported, but if velocity dips are any indication, Reynaldo could be primed to join the Tommy John club. In the interim, Gio Gonzalez, who finally got to throw a pitch in a White Sox uniform(!!!), should slot into his rotation spot. While he didn’t fare much better against a powerful Twins lineup, Gio does have a better track record of consistency.
The White Sox hit the road for the first time, heading to Ohio to play the, let’s just go with The Cleveland Baseball Club for now. Cease gets his first start of 2020, while Carlos Rodon gets his first start in over a year. In the finale, Lucas Giolito hopes to not give up a home run on the first pitch, after that, everything should be gravy.
Feature Photo: AP Photo/Tomasso DeRosa