White Sox’ season opener is one to forget — fast
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Do over, please!
Taking a mulligan!
No? Can’t do it?
Then I guess we can look at the White Sox’ 10-1 obliteration Monday at the hands of the Royals on Opening Day this way: It was nice for the good folks of Kansas City.
They have great barbecue here. Good people, too. Did I mention that?
Plus, it’s only one game. The Sox still could go 161-1.
And you have that 418-foot home run by first baseman Jose Abreu in the seventh inning to celebrate.
It was the first and only run scored by a Chicago baseball team this season. (How’s the urinal situation, Cubs? Better than your offense. Hey, hey!)
Other than that? I’m searching. Still looking.
Nope, just god-awful.
Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija was a dud. That is, until he exploded and nearly started a ruckus in the fifth inning by nailing Royals batter Lorenzo Cain one pitch after giving up a homer to Mike Moustakas.
It was a mistake, of course, the former Cubs starter-turned-White Sox starter said.
Of course, it was. There never has been a batter after a cocky home-run hitter who ever has been nicked by the next pitch intentionally.
‘‘He didn’t like it,’’ Samardzija said. ‘‘I didn’t like it. . . . They didn’t like it.’’
As Sox manager Robin Ventura noted, ‘‘That’s baseball.’’
What it really was disgust.
Opening Day, with your big-time offseason acquisition on the mound, is supposed to be prettier than this.
Yes, ace Chris Sale was supposed to start this game for the Sox. But that was before the skinny lefty hurt his foot in a pickup-truck-in-the-driveway incident down in Arizona.
The Royals didn’t take kindly to Cain getting plunked, for sure. Nor did Cain himself, who had to be restrained by coaches for a moment. Perhaps he was thinking about the looming headline: ‘‘Sox Able to Disable Cain.’’
When your team is held scoreless for five innings and you’ve given up four runs, you get frustrated. In the end, Samardzija’s 7.50 ERA after six innings sparkles by comparison to reliever Dan Jennings’ ridiculous 40.50 ERA after two-thirds of an inning.
‘‘There’s enough frustration to go around for everybody,’’ Ventura said.
The Sox’ Ventura should not be confused with Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, who pitched expertly until he went out with a thumb cramp after six innings. That Ventura no doubt was happy — once he got his thumb relaxed, that is.
So what did the Sox do right? Still looking.
The defense was blah, with batted balls zipping or looping just in front of Sox players’ gloves all day. Abreu hit that homer, but a better glove man would have snagged a double that went past him.
Catcher Tyler Flowers threw a ball into center field on a steal attempt, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez and second baseman Micah Johnson criss-crossed as a two-run single by the Royals’ Alex Gordon grounded between them in the seventh.
Every team wants to win their first game of the season and, naturally, only half can. But if you come down on the losing side, don’t come down like this.
Not with only five hits, one run and practically nobody on base. And don’t let one of your old players, Royals right fielder Alex Rios, go 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI.
Upside here? Still looking.
Ventura might have found it when he said of all the Royals’ scoring: ‘‘It’s their day to have those fall in. And I’m hoping that happens for us on Wednesday.’’
Hope. Yes, sir. Nobody owns that more than Chicago baseball teams.
Now that I think of it, Johnson was happy with his first major-league hit (a single in the fifth) and the 13-pitch first at-bat he produced in the third.
‘‘My job is to work the pitcher the best I can,’’ he said. ‘‘We just battled. It was awesome.’’
In a way, yes. But the extra pitches didn’t chase the Royals’ Ventura — unless that’s how you deliver a thumb cramp. And Johnson’s single amounted to nothing. He promptly was picked off.
Nothing really amounted to anything for the Sox. They can try to forget this game ever happened.
Seems like their best hope.