Game 7: Sale(ing) away and Viciedo’s blast
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – The story of Friday’s 9-7 victory for the Indians was Chris Sale’s strong debut and a barrage of home runs by both teams. Here’s a look inside the game.
HOME RUN: Oh, if only they gave distances on Cactus League home runs. The folks at Goodyear Ballpark literally would have had to break out the tape measure for Dayan Viciedo’s blast leading off the second against Justin Masterson. It cleared the left field fence, at 345 feet, sailed over the people sitting on the lawn and then cleared the back fence. A best guess was somewhere between 460 to 500 feet.
Brent Morel couldn’t quite match Viciedo’s feat of strength, but hit his own two-run shot off of Masterson following Hector Gimenez’s single. The difference between Morel’s exceptional play this spring and back-pain induced hesitancy last spring is quite noticeable.
TRIPLE: Gimenez knocked out another three hits, leaving him at 5-for-7 in Cactus League action. But of greater importance was the catcher’s ability to settle down Sale after he was out of rhythm in the first. The role of the White Sox catchers is handling the pitchers first and offense second.
DOUBLE: For those who say the White Sox are thin in middle infield prospects, they might want to check out Marcus Semien’s early play. He belted a three-run homer and made a couple of slick plays at shortstop. He has turned in an impressive overall start in Cactus League action
SINGLE: Carlos Sanchez made the defensive play of the game, diving in the hole between first and second to take away a Cleveland hit. Gordon Beckham and Alex Rios had one hit apiece.
STOLEN BASE: Although his sore right elbow is not quite healthy enough to allow him to play the field, Jordan Danks singled and swiped a base as Friday’s starting designated hitter. Danks will need to show a little more than his exceptional outfield defense to help lock down that final roster spot.
CALLED THIRD: Sale wasn’t exactly perfect during his first Cactus League start. But the fact that the 23-year-old was pleased with his effort stands as a good sign, since he’s his own worst critic.
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE: After an impressive start in which he allowed one run over three innings, Erik Johnson was touched up for five runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings of relief. Matt Carson took him deep.