The White Sox played their first spring training game of the 2012 season on Monday, and even though they lost, it was still a welcome sight seeing people wearing White Sox uniforms and playing baseball.
Since it's the first day of spring training, it's important to keep in mind that we shouldn't read too deeply into anything we saw on Monday during the game, but I did have some observations to share after the jump.
THOUGHTS AND THINGS
- The offense wasn't all that impressive. Before Dan Johnson hit a two-run bomb in the 9th inning, the White Sox had managed only 4 hits through the first 8 innings, with two of those hits coming via Alexei Ramirez. Of the everyday players, just about everybody looked like it was the first day of spring save for Ramirez and maybe Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn, who both drew a walk in their final appearance.
- Addison Reed looked good. He was hitting his spots with his fastball, and though he didn't have a lot of command of his slider, it was still effective. Reed made Matt Kemp look overwhelmed while striking him out.
- The infield defense looked sharp, particularly up the middle with Ramirez and Gordon Beckham. Beckham looked really good on a few plays, including a lovely relay throw to nail James Loney at the plate (pictured above) after Kosuke Fukudome played a double off the wall beautifully.
- Sadly, Beckham did not look that good at the plate. It's just the first game, but man Beckham looked lost at the plate. He went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, was way behind on every fastball he saw, and looked like he was having trouble picking the ball up.
- Then there was Nestor Molina. It's safe to say that if we were to judge the Sergio Santos trade based on today, then Kenny Williams shouldn't bother packing up his things because the angry mob is going to be there soon, and he should focus on running for his damn life.
In 1.1 innings of work, Molina allowed 7 hits and 5 runs. After having some trouble in the 5th inning (the inning that included Loney being thrown out at home on a double) Molina gave up the natural cycle in the 6th. A single followed by a double, then a triple, and finally a two-run bomb by Scott Van Slyke (yes, Andy's kid). Another problem was that Molina flew through the minors last season because he just didn't walk anybody. Well, he was having trouble throwing strikes on Monday, and the strikes he did throw got hit hard. Not a good introduction to White Sox fans.
- The other pitcher I wanted to see was Pedro Hernandez, who came on in relief of Molina and after giving up a double to Josh Fields -- yeah, that Josh Fields -- he did a pretty nice job. There's nothing special about Hernandez, but he does throw strikes, and if you can do that consistently as a lefty, then you can be useful.
- Dayan Viciedo likes to swing, and he likes to swing hard. He can also hit a ball a long way even when he catches it off the end of the bat, like he did when he flew out to the warning track in left-center on Monday.
- I have no idea if Jared Mitchell is ever going to work out as a baseball player, but I know I'm hoping he can. You can see the tools that the White Sox saw when they drafted him. You can also see the flaws. Still, the kid can flat out fly, even after the ankle injury. He hit a line drive up the middle on Monday that deflected off of 2nd base and into shallow right field. Mitchell easily turned it into a double, went to third on a wild pitch, and then scored on a Brent Lillibridge chopper up the middle. If he figures out how to make contact consistently, we may have ourselves a real life prospect.
- The White Sox did win the B game on Monday against Cleveland 5-2. The bullpen pitched 7 scoreless in the contest, including two innings from Simon Castro, who came over in the Quentin trade. So, after one day: Santos trade=bad, Quentin trade=good.