MLB: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox

South Side Morning 5: Tigers Sweep? I’m Not Mad, You’re Mad

Friday was frustrating, but as Collin wrote, good stuff happened and veteran relievers blowing a game is not cause for panic or canceling the rebuild.  I have not revised my opinion of Nate Jones or Joakim Soria as a result.  In a rebuilding season, losing three games against the Tigers shouldn’t matter in and of itself either.  I tell myself that, and sometimes it is even persuasive.

1. One of the cool things about following baseball is there is always more to learn. For example, I bet you thought loading the bases increased your chances of scoring runs. The theory has a compelling, albeit facile, logic to it.  But that’s why you read Baseball Prospectus — you think on a deeper level.  The White Sox had some contrarian wisdom, loading the bases in the first on Sunday and the bottom of the second on Saturday with one out and none out respectively and not scoring at all.  It was cool and great.

2. Reynaldo Lopez took the hard luck 1-0 loss Sunday, although it indicts Pitcher Wins & Losses more than it says anything about his efforts. The term “effectively wild” is a cliché, but Lopez held the Tigers to one unearned run on the day, striking out five and only allowing two hits.  The five walks were a bit unsightly, but Lopez is missing bats so far in 2018, which is much more consistent with his repertoire and speaks to what he can accomplish if his secondaries are working.

3. For his second start of the year, Lucas Giolito did not have his best command, struggling to locate his fastball, and allowing 5 runs over 5.2 IP. Maybe Giolito has trouble getting loose in cold weather or maybe these are just two random bad starts.  Regardless, it has certainly thrown cold water on the popular Spring Training narrative Giolito had figured everything out.  The silver lining is how he has managed to muddle through reasonably deep into games when he clearly wasn’t at his best, but I’m sure he’d prefer to show his best instead.

4. Juan Minaya had a really rough weekend, walking all four of the batters he faced on Saturday and then being optioned to Charlotte the next day. The corresponding move represented the White Sox’ biggest moral victory of the weekend, as they took deployed former Detroit prospect Bruce Rondon, who pulled the reverse Minaya and struck out all four Tigers’ he faced.  Rondon throws hard. Maybe he’ll be the next Cooper reclamation project to troll the league.

5. The White Sox offense fell flat on against Michael Fulmer — a good pitcher — and Mike Fiers, who is not as good as Fulmer, but they still sit No. 1 in the majors in OPS as a team. Even after two bad games, Avisail Garcia is still hitting .343, and Matt Davidson drew a walk in each of them, including after an 0-2 count.  For reference, he walked 19 times in all of 2017.  Davidson is always going to strike out a lot, but the walks and power method is a tried and true one.  He already has the latter, so the former would be a very welcome addition, and it is a trend worth monitoring.

Lead Image Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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