One day after heavy rains made their impact on the White Sox - Mariners series, the weather played a factor again. This time it was strong winds that had players looking silly. In fact, if not for the gusts, the White Sox would have been shut out on Thursday. The Mariners dropped three straight pop flies in the fifth inning, which gave the Sox their only run. That one run was far from enough, though, and the White Sox fell to 4-2. Next up, the South Siders finish their first homestand of the year with a three-game set against the Rays.
BULLPEN FINALLY BLINKS
If you had to pick a White Sox MVP for the first five games of the season, it would probably be the bullpen. No starter has thrown more than five innings, giving the relievers plenty of outs to cover, but they’ve been up to the task. After a rough outing on Opening Day, the bullpen rebounded to only allow two earned runs over the next four games. That included incredible outings, like the relievers combining for five innings of no-hit ball on Sunday, and allowing only two hits over four innings on Wednesday. The hot streak came to an end on Thursday however, and the relievers surrendered three runs, helping the Mariners escape Chicago with at least one win.
ANDREW VAUGHN, SUPER UTILITY MAN
When Tony La Russa opted to sit Vaughn in the White Sox’ second game of the season, he said it was an incredibly hard decision to make, since Vaughn’s bat was so valuable in the lineup. But after Thursday, La Russa may have to find a spot for Vaughn on the field for his glove. With Eloy Jiménez sitting to nurse his sore ankle, Vaughn took his spot in left field. It was his first regular season action at the position since September 8th, but apparently playing left is like riding a bike for Vaughn. Despite howling winds, he was able to make a spectacular catch.
Vaughn hasn’t just succeeded in left field, though. It appears he can put Vaughn anywhere, infield or outfield, and get high-level play in return.
CAN ONE NAPKIN CHANGE A GAME?
Lambert was cruising in the early goings of Thursday’s game, retiring the first five Mariners batters he faced without too much trouble. But when Eugenio Suarez entered the batter’s box in the second inning, a napkin drifted along into the field of play with him. Normally, it’d be no big deal. Guys play with debris blowing around all the time. But in this instance, time was called, a bat boy was summoned to chase down the napkin, and everyone waited until the one loose piece of paper was wrangled. By the time all that was done, Lambert apparently lost his groove. He walked Suarez, gave up a two-run homer in the very next at-bat, then surrendered another single before settling down. In the third inning, Lambert once again got three quick outs. But with his pitch count approaching 50, his day was done. Lambert was replaced by Tanner Banks in the top of the fourth, leaving us all to wonder, “What could have been, if not for one errant napkin?”