After the way the last two nights went, the White Sox decided to turn away from this "entering the game with a massive starting pitching advantage" business and play some real ball with Hector Noesi vs. Ricky Nolasco. Things went marginally better in the sense that you could count several moral victories the same way you would be tabulating tiny triumphs for a newly-formed youth soccer team trying to keep their composure after getting annihilated every Saturday.
--They really knocked Twins starter Ricky Nolasco around (eight hits in five innings), even if it was almost entirely singles, and two caught stealings kept them from cobbling more than three runs together. Avisail Garcia got really close on one of those caught stealings! They needed a review.
--Hector Noesi did some good things in the early innings before a pair of awful mistakes-turned-dingers erased an early lead, and he created enough catastrophes that he left with two runners on and one out in the fifth.
--Carlos Rodon, uh, got innings and flashed a couple of ridiculous pitches in the middle of control problems and shoddy command on a very plus fastball.
--The much-maligned offense at least made the Twins...strategize a lot (four pitchers in the eighth) in the process of holding them scoreless over the last six innings
--That deflating, inning-ending Avisail Garcia flyout to cap an ineffectual Sox rally in the eighth was hit very far!
The Sox are playing so poorly to start the year that I can feel myself already transitioning to cheer-up mode; taking solace in that the highlights of yet another loss--their fourth-straight--will look professional on SportsCenter. At least with the Twins, their opponent is bad enough, and their city is uninteresting enough, that people might just ignore this badness altogether.
- Hector Noesi's line was terrible (4.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 HR), his season ERA (6.75) is terrible, and the mistake pitches he threw for bombs to Trevor Plouffe and Torii Hunter were terrible. We expect this from him so much, given his history, that the flashes of competence early, his smooth first inning, were strangely alluring. Obviously, there's stuff that once convinced experts he was a MLB starter, but you would replace him at first chance.
- J.B. Shuck hasn't played much but has already becoming the living embodiment of the offense while starting the last two games in place of a flu-stricken Adam Eaton. He batted lead-off, looped two singles off Nolasco, is now hitting .313/.313/.313 and didn't score (he did have an RBI, which kinda ruins this joke)
- You have to actually hit for some power, on occasion. Conor Gillaspie's second-inning double to the wall was the only extra-base hit of the day, and was enough to take him out of a group of five Sox hitters who played Saturday with ISO's under .100.
- Carlos Rodon is likely to bounce between riveting and scattershot for a while. On Saturday his few otherworldly sliders (he whiffed two) were mixed among poor fastball command and him narrowly avoiding destruction. His three shutout innings were bullpen-saving, but he allowed two inherited runs and a lot of loud contact. It's not like he would be worse than Noesi, but it's more of a polite knocking on the door of the rotation than banging it down.
Next game is Sunday at Minnesota at 1:10pm CT on CSN