Game 1: White Sox 9, Dodgers 0
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The White Sox could not have had a better opening to Cactus League competition with Saturday’s 9-0 whitewash of the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
Fourteen hits for the White Sox, three hits allowed, contributions across the board.
“That’s why you have intrasquad games,” said a smiling White Sox manager Robin Ventura, referring to the team’s rough instrasquad action on Thursday. “Get that out.”
Here’s what will be a regular look at the standouts and missteps for each White Sox contest in Arizona.
HOME RUN: Dylan Axelrod would be classified as the White Sox seventh starter, but he certainly set the tone for other starters Saturday. He simply threw strikes over three scoreless innings and breezed through the first two quick enough that he got a third.
“He’s one of those guys who wont dazzle you with the radar gun but he’s a smart pitcher,” said Ventura of Axelrod. “He comes out and just finds that way to keep people off balance.”
TRIPLE: The Tyler Flowers’ era officially began with a bang, as he launched the White Sox first Spring Training home run on a drive Gordon Beckham said was one of the hardest baseballs he had seen hit.
Flowers laughed at the hoopla over one prodigious clout to left, stressing there’s more work to be done.
Kudos to Flowers for bringing up the great effort turned in by Axelrod, pointing up again how Flowers’ role is handling the pitchers first and offense second.
DOUBLE: Brent Morel has returned to action, looking a little more like the Morel from 2011 as opposed to the player held down by back issues all of last season.
Morel played third, batted second and knocked out a single in his second at-bat. The key for Morel, who felt his back was back on track as far back as an interview he did with MLB.com in late November, is how he responds the day after game action.
SINGLE: Alex Rios picked up where he left off as the team’s top offensive player in 2012 with two doubles. Gordon Beckham hit the ball hard twice, including a RBI double in the second off of Clayton Kershaw. Dayan Viciedo delivered a two-run single in the third with the hit coming on a two-strike pitch.
STOLEN BASE: The name Seth Loman doesn’t often get mentioned among the White Sox top prospects, as he didn’t crack MLB.com’s Top 20 list. But the left-handed hitting first baseman has some definite power, with 115 career Minor League homers. Loman launched one to right for a two-run homer in the ninth to cap off the scoring.
CALLED THIRD: Zach Stewart picked up where Axelrod left off Saturday, throwing two perfect innings of relief. Both men figure to start the 2013 season as part of the Triple-A Charlotte rotation.
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: It’s hard to find fault in a total team effort like Saturday. Brian Omogrosso emerged unscathed in the eighth and threw the ball well, but he did issue three straight two-out walks to earn the only small blemish on an otherwise near-perfect day.