On Sunday, the White Sox once again saw themselves on the losing end of a one-run ballgame. This time, they fell victim to the San Diego Padres who used three home runs to power past the White Sox in a 5-4 game. Aderlin Rodriguez accounted for four of those RBI’s by hitting two two-run home runs, putting the White Sox in an early hole. Blake Rutherford helped light a fire in the White Sox’ offense today, but unfortunately, a late effort was not enough as the White Sox end the opening weekend of Spring Training with a winless record.
It’s no surprise that the White Sox have a ton of talented prospects within the outfield group. This positional group could very well be the biggest strength of the White Sox in terms of the top-to-bottom talent throughout the farm system/organization. Having a ton of talent at one position is great, but it also means that some of these guys won’t be on the White Sox when they make their MLB debuts because they could be trade bait to fill other organizational holes.
One player that most White Sox fans think might be making his MLB debut with another team is Blake Rutherford. It’s nothing against his talent, or people thinking he might be a bust. It’s because of the other outfield prospects within the organization that might be ready to hit the majors sooner than Rutherford. However, after his performance today, Blake Rutherford is showing us why he deserves a shot to be on this team when their contention window opens.
I know, it’s only two games into Spring Training and it’s a little early to be making an argument like that. Blake Rutherford has a lot to prove during the 2019 season and it could be the biggest “prove it” season of his career. He will be heading to Birmingham for most of the year which is a tough ballpark to hit in. If he manages to have similar success as he had last year, then that could be all he needs to earn his spot with the White Sox down the road.
Blake Rutherford was on fire at the plate today. He was not penciled into the lineup initially and was subbed into the game after Daniel Palka had to exit with hamstring tightness. I’ll never cheer for a player leaving with an injury, whether it’s a White Sox player or an opponent, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise for Rutherford because he made the most of his opportunity this afternoon when he was called upon.
Rutherford had four trips to the plate this afternoon and he reached base each time (one of them being on an error). The other three trips included two singles and a two-out, RBI double to make it a one-run game. Blake Rutherford had two opportunities to extend an inning with two-outs and he showed that no moment was too big for him as he was successful in both opportunities.
— The Loop Sports (@TheLoop_Sports) February 24, 2019
Maybe Blake Rutherford knows he needs to have a big year and he’s ready for it by showing us early signs of that in Spring Training. Lately he has been spending his off-seasons working out with NL MVP Christian Yelich and the two of them have developed a bond because of this. Maybe all of that hard work with Yelich is paying off and Rutherford is just scratching the surface of the player he can become. Regardless of what happens this year, I’m excited to see what he can do and I think he will rise to the occasion.
Other White Sox players who had a productive day at the plate include James McCann who had two singles in two trips to the plate, and Ryan Cordell who had a solo shot to left field, giving the White Sox their first run of the game. The White Sox piled up 10 hits this afternoon, but most of them did not result in any runs.
Bernardo Flores took the mound today for what was the first Spring Training start of his young career. If you look at the box score, you are probably thinking he got roughed up but that was not the case today. He quickly worked through a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 1st and the Padres struggled to generate any hard contact against him. The highlight of this inning included ringing up one of the Padres prized prospects in Luis Urias for what would be the first of two strikeouts for Flores today.
It was a typical outing for Bernardo Flores, who sat in the mid-90’s with his fastball as he pounded the strike zone. In the bottom half of the second inning, he issued a walk to start the frame and perhaps that got to his head because shortly after, he served up a two-run blast to Aderlin Rodriguez. Flores settled down after giving up the home run and ended his afternoon with another strikeout to get out of the inning.
In the end, we saw the White Sox try to claw themselves out of an early hole and they would come up short once again. This team is only three games into Spring Training, but we’ve seen them put up a fight and they aren’t willing to go down easily.
The White Sox will head to Scottsdale, AZ to face the Giants on Monday, February 25. Manny Banuelos will be on the mound for his White Sox debut. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 CT.
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Featured Photo Credit: Sean Williams/The Loop Sports