Baseball is finally here! The quest for the Cactus League Championship is underway as the White Sox played the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch Saturday afternoon. It is still February, and thus there are more hiccups than highlights, but there is also plenty to take away from this first game, a 5-3 loss for the Sox
- Carson Fulmer started the game for the Sox opposite Clayton Kershaw, but throwing opposite the former Cy-Young/MVP winner did not seem to rattle Fulmer in his first start. Fulmer threw two innings, striking out 3 and walking 1. He gave up one hit, a single to Justin Turner, and no runs. Fulmer is often a forgotten man after the White Sox brought over so many highly touted pitching prospects (thanks to the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades) but this is a player who was drafted #8 overall in the 2015 Draft and was a college start at Vanderbilt. The White Sox hope he can be a reliable top of the rotation player, even though many scouts see him as more a reliever because of his erratic delivery. It’s true that early spring training games favor pitchers since position players take awhile to get up to speed, but Fulmer gave the Sox plenty to smile about in his first start.
- The White Sox hitters came ready to play early in this game. Avisail Garcia had a single in the second and a double in the fourth, eventually scoring on both hits. Sox fans should be closely watching Garcia’s spring as he tries to finally put together a complete season. Matt Davidson got the first hit of the game for the Sox, a single up the middle, and Yolmer Sanchez (formerly Carlos Sanchez) added two more runs by way of a sacrifice fly and a single. All three players have a good chance to make the 25 man roster come the end of camp.
- How ’bout those uniforms?
- The outfield defense was not in mid-season form. There were a couple misplayed bounces by Peter Bourjos in center field and some bad routes taken by Garcia in right. Bad defense by Garcia in right field can be expected but Bourjos hopes to make the team as the fourth outfielder. He is going to have to do more in the coming games to show the team he still has what it takes, especially after an 0-3 day at the plate.
- Chris Beck may never turn the corner and become a viable major league pitcher. Last year, Beck had a 6.39 ERA when pitching out of the bullpen for the Sox and his first game in Arizona did not go much better. In two innings against the Dodgers, Beck gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs, and struck no one out. The Dodgers were able to jump on him early in the count and even though most of the damage was done in one inning, he never really looked comfortable.
- Take everything with a grain of salt, given that it was only one game into spring training, but the future stars of the team will hope to have better days. Moncada went 0-2, Adam Engel went 0-1, and while Zack Collins went 1-2, he also threw a bouncer to second base when trying to catch a player stealing. That player ended up scoring on the next hit.
- Carlos Sanchez will be going by his given first name, Yolmer, for this season.. Carlos is his middle name. He will be the first Yolmer in Major League Baseball.
- According to the announcers, the White Sox have the 2nd youngest 40 man roster in the American League and the 6th youngest roster in all of baseball. There should be no doubt that the White Sox are rebuilding at this point.
- In the bottom of the 5th inning, Geovany Soto was replaced by Zack Collins at catcher. In the bottom of the 6th inning, Geovanni Soto came in to pitch. Expect this confusion to continue.