Hot start: Adam Engel hit a three-run homer in today’s loss, boosting his way-too-early spring OPS to 1.140. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)
It was a nice start — but an ugly finish.
After a scoreless first inning, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead thanks to an explosive two-out rally in the second. Jaycob Brugman led off that inning with a single and advanced to third on a pair of ground outs. Some timely hitting by Austin Romine put the White Sox on the board, as his single drove Brugman home. After Romine’s two-out RBI, Luis Basabe drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Then, Adam Engel (him of all people?) launched a three-run shot to cap off a four-run inning.
Considering Engel’s performance last September (.263/.317/.461, 106 wRC+) and this spring, Rick Hahn may have had a semi-reasonable (if you really squint) excuse for manipulating Luis Robert’s service time. Too bad you gave Robert that extension, Rick, but we’re glad you did.
Mainly thanks to starter Matt Tomshaw’s two scoreless innings, the score remained 4-0 until the bottom of the fourth. That was when Carson Fulmer allowed a solo homer to Bubba Starling. Fulmer pitched two innings and allowed one run on three hits, issuing zero walks and striking out one. In the third, he pitched around back-to-back singles to open up the inning to keep the Royals scoreless.
The White Sox maintained their 4-1 lead until the sixth, when a disastrous inning turned this game around. An RBI double by Ryan McBroom trimmed the Royals deficit to two, and a walk by Bubba Starling put the tying run on base with no outs. Zach Thompson replaced José Ruiz on the mound, and it appeared Thompson would strand the Royals baserunners after retiring the first two he faced. However, the next three Thompson faced reached base safely. An RBI single by Erick Mejia made the score 4-3, and after a walk, the bases were loaded. Kyle Isbel singled to put the Royals ahead, and due to an error by Basabe, all three Royals scored. By the end of the inning, the Royals led, 6-4.
In the seventh, two notable prospects were responsible for getting one of those runs back.
Unanimous top 100 prospect Nick Madrigal led off with a single, and he promptly advanced to second on an error on a pickoff attempt. Basabe made up for his error by driving in Madrigal with a single to right.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) February 26, 2020
Right-hander Bryan Mitchell allowed the Royals to get that insurance run back in the bottom half of the seventh. Mitchell retired the first two he faced that inning, but a double by Starling (yep, him again) and a single by Emmanuel Rivera gave the Royals a 7-5 lead.
In the eighth, Royals reliever Kyle Greene opened the door for a potential rally, as he walked Gavin Sheets, Zack Collins, and Carlos Perez to load the bases. With one out, Laz Rivera drove in a run with a groundout, but that was the only run the White Sox mustered that inning. As a result, the White Sox entered the ninth trailing 7-6. They had a scoring threat, as a single by Ramon Torres put runners on the corners with one out. However, the White Sox could not finish the deal, as Sheets struck out, and Collins grounded out to end the game.
The loss drops the White Sox’s spring record to 2-2. The White Sox will face the Mariners tomorrow at Camelback Ranch. That matchup will start at 2:05 CST, and Ross Detwiler will take the mound against Ljay Newsome.