The Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 in 11 innings, making the South Siders 2-0 in 2014 and sending shots of joy throughout White Sox Nation. However, the game was rife with little issues that, if not corrected sooner rather than later, will hurt the South Siders down the stretch and make a successful season more difficult than it could be.
Young teams are prone to growing pains, and this game exemplified many of them, from the team’s two errors that gave starter Felipe Paulino an unearned run, to the fact that the White Sox were an abysmal 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. That’s not okay, especially for a team that has the power potential of Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn and Avisail Garcia lining the middle of the order. The Twins stymied Abreu by intentionally walking him twice, showing the rookie an enormous amount of respect, but the rest of the order struggled to pick up the slack.
The bullpen didn’t help the cause, blowing a 3-0 lead by giving up three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Scott Downs and Nate Jones, who recently lost the closer’s role to Matt Lindstrom, both began the season with ERAs that modern calculators can’t measure, a bad omen for a bullpen that struggled with consistency issues during spring training.
Paulino’s first start since the 2012 season was one of the lone bright spots for the White Sox. In 5.1 innings, he surrendered seven hits and two runs, only one of which was earned, while walking two and striking out six.
Starting the season 2-0 is a great way for the White Sox to build the momentum they need to succeed. But, wins like the one today are not the kind of games that a team with the talent potential of the 2014 White Sox should be playing. Winning ugly will only get a team so far. And for a team that’s trying to rebound from a 63-99 season, that isn’t very far.