Chicago White Sox look to take what they learned into their next series

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 30: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates his three-run home run with Yolmer Sanchez #5 and Yoan Moncada #10 in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 30: Jose Abreu #79 of the Chicago White Sox celebrates his three-run home run with Yolmer Sanchez #5 and Yoan Moncada #10 in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on March 30, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox got their opening series out of the way and there is a lot to think about as it had some ups and downs.

The Chicago White Sox got their opening series underway when they were hosted by the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Neither team is projected to be world beaters going into this season but both have a lot to play for and are going to be evaluating some talent. The Royals won the series 2-1 but that isn’t what was the important takeaway.

The White Sox showed that they are rarely ever going to be completely out of a baseball game this season even if it looks like all hope is lost. The Royals were up 5-0 on opening day and the White Sox had a bit of a rally. They scored three in the bottom of the ninth and had two on base with the go-ahead run at the plate. The comeback fell short but the fact that they didn’t roll over and die was a great sign. The final score was 5-3.

In game two the Royals pulled away two separate times and the White Sox still managed to stage a comeback to fall just short. It ended up being a final score of 8-6 when it was 8-3 at one point. You might hear the term “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” throughout the season and it is going to hold true on most days. The consensus evaluation is that they need to get on the oppositions starting pitching if they want to win games. They can’t always think they are going to rally on everyone’s bullpen. The bats have to be consistent and there is believe they can be.

That brings us to the third and final game of the series. The White Sox looked like they learned a little bit in the first two games and brought that over to the series finale. They still need to clean up the play on defense but there are 159 more games. They finally got the bats going early in the game when Jose Abreu and Yonder Alonso hit back to back home runs. After that, the White Sox were off and running.

Lucas Giolito had an incredible start in this one as he had a no-hitter through six full innings. It was broken up in the 7th inning but it sure was a great sign to see Giolito get off to a great start to the season. If he can be a part of this staff long term that would be a big hit. It was the best start of any pitcher so far this young season. His final stat line was 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 8 K’s, and 1 BB. We need many more starts like this for the young pitcher.

In the first series, the big storyline was the MLB debut of Eloy Jimenez. He has been the #1 prospect in the organization for a while now and after locking up a long term extension he made the opening day roster. In game one he collected his first run scored and his first run batted in on a hit by pitch with the bases loaded. Not really how he drew it up but he will surely take it.

In game two he got his first career Major League hit and got his second not long after. The White Sox ended up losing both of the first two games but he was a major factor in both rallies. There are a few more strides to take before he is truly a star in this league.

The other big takeaway from the series is how great Yoan Moncada played. He looks like he could really be reaching his true potential. As the former number one prospect in all of baseball, he definitely has high expectations. He caught a lot of people’s attention with how he played in Spring Training and he seems to have carried it over into the regular season.

Over the three games, in 13 at-bats he had 6 hits, 5 runs scored, 1 walk, 3 RBIs, and 1 home run. That batting average of .462 isn’t sustainable but if he can be a .290-.300 hitter that would be incredible. Yoan has all the tools to be an all-star caliber player and hopefully, this is the year that he breaks out.

Overall it was a decent series for the White Sox despite coming out of it 1-2. This is a growing baseball club and the signs that it is working are there.

@ Cleveland Indians

They kick off the series at the Cleveland Indians with a mid-afternoon start. It will be the home opener for the tribe and their crowd will be very into it. The Indians have won the American League Central a few years in a row now, so everybody including the White Sox is going to try and make it as difficult as possible for them to do it again.

The Indians are still a great team but they aren’t as good as they once were. They also went 1-2 over their first series against the Minnesota Twins. They will be looking to start stringing together some wins to begin the season so the White Sox need to be prepared. This will be a two-game set between the two clubs to kick off the week.

Game one on Monday night will see a probable pitching matchup of Ivan Nova vs Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger. This is a game that the White Sox need to jump ahead early. Try and get to the Cleveland bullpen as quickly as you can. It is going to be important to score lots of runs this season, and taking the ball out of starter’s hands is key. The White Sox pack some heat in the middle of their lineup now and they will need to be strong in this series. The next game might be a little more difficult so winning this one would be ideal.

The second game is on Wednesday afternoon as the two teams have the day off on Tuesday. On Wednesday is where the White Sox could see trouble. Corey Kluber is on the mound for Cleveland and the White Sox will counter with Carlos Rodon. Kluber is a multiple time Cy Young award winner and is one of the elite pitchers in baseball. If the White Sox want to beat him it will take some patience at the plate and be aggressive when you can.

The middle of the order needs to hit in these types of matchups but the supporting cast might need to chip in to get Kluber off the mound. Then they will need to take advantage of the bullpen if they can get to it in short order.

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This is only a two-game series but there will be plenty more games against Cleveland this season and none of them will be easy for the White Sox to win. The idea is for teams to also say that about the White Sox moving forward.