White Sox

Daniel Palka finally has a good game in the middle of his nightmare season

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USA TODAY

Daniel Palka finally has a good game in the middle of his nightmare season

In the second inning Daniel Palka solidly lined a ball up the middle that looked like a sure hit off the bat. The problem? The Tigers defense was shifted perfectly to that spot for a lineout.

MLB Statcast gave Palka’s lineout an expected batting average of .650. It seemed like just another night like the rest of them have gone for Palka in the majors in 2019.

He entered Friday with a .034 batting average (2-for-59). After hitting 27 home runs with 45 extra base hits and a .778 OPS as a rookie in 2018, Palka hasn’t been able to do much of anything in a White Sox uniform.

That lineout appeared to be another “nothing can go right” moment. However, Palka’s Friday turned around.

His next time up, he pounded a ground ball that found a hole. Statcast gave that one a 31 percent chance of getting a hit, so he broke even after getting robbed earlier. The amusing thing is that Palka’s groundball single had an exit velocity of 108.9 mph, which was the second hardest hit ball of the game.

Palka later added a bloop single in the seventh and a line drive hit in the ninth to finish with a three hit day. Palka entered the day with two hits in 23 games and got three hits in Friday alone.

Even with the 3-for-5 night, Palka’s batting average is still only .072, but he more than doubled it in one game.

Is this relevant to the future of the White Sox? Almost certainly not, but Palka showed some promise in his rookie season and has been through an absolute nightmare this season. The mental side of going through his 0-for-32 start to the season and the continued struggles since could not have been easy. For at least one night in 2019 Palka had a good game at the plate.

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MLB The Show: White Sox avoid sweep, walk-off division-leading Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox avoid sweep, walk-off division-leading Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Twins, 6-5
Record: 29-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (3.5 GB of Twins)

W: Alex Colome (2-1)
L: Trevor May (0-2)

Game summary: Michael Kopech started for the White Sox on Sunday and was met with trouble immediately. Byron Buxton homered off the flame-throwing righty, and two batters later, Jorge Polanco doubled to bring in Max Kepler and make it 2-0 Twins. The trouble continued for Kopech in the second, as Miguel Sano hit a big fly to the left field bleachers.

The Sox bats came alive in the second, when Yasmani Grandal singled to center to bring in two runs, closing the deficit to one. They scored three runs in the next two innings behind the bats of Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu, who both singled to drive in runs. Jimenez continues to lead the league in RBIs (58) and also leads the league with 22 home runs.

After Alex Colome blew the save in the ninth with a 5-3 lead, the White Sox were in need of a hero in the bottom of the frame. Grandal came up clutch with an RBI single to score Luis Robert, giving the South Siders a 6-5 win to avoid being swept by the division-leading Twins.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 3-5, 2B (.323 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 3-5, 2 RBI (.276 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-5 (.260 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 0-3, 2 BB (.256 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-4, RBI, BB (.306 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5 (.296 BA)
Luis Robert: 2-5, 2 2B (.236 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-3, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.319 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 1-4 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first:

Byron Buxton homered to center field. 1-0 MIN.
Jorge Polanco doubled to right field, Max Kepler scored. 2-0 MIN.

Top second:

Miguel Sano homered to left field. 3-0 MIN.

Bottom second:

Yasmani Grandal singled to center field, Jose Abreu and Luis Robert scored. 3-2 MIN.

Bottom third:

Abreu singled to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 3-3.

Bottom fourth:

Jimenez singled to center field, Grandal and Nomar Mazara scored. 5-3 CHW.

Top ninth:

Eddie Rosario doubled to center field, Mitch Garver scored. 5-4 CHW.
Luis Arraez singled to center field, Rosario scored. 5-5.

Bottom ninth:

Grandal singled to right field, Robert scored. 6-5 CHW.

Notable performance: The White Sox were an offensive juggernaut in May, hitting .301 as a team with 60 home runs and 187 RBIs. They went 17-12 after going 12-19 in the first two months of the season.

Next game: Tuesday, June 2 - Game 61: White Sox at Royals (Lucas Giolito, 3-7, 5.10 ERA vs Brad Keller, 3-5, 4.42 ERA)

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: Twins def. White Sox 10-4
Record: 28-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (4.0 GB of Twins)

W: Rich Hill (4-4)
L: Reynaldo Lopez (5-2)

Game summary: All good things must come to an end. In the case of the White Sox' winning streak, things have come to an abrupt end. A day after the Twins put up 11 runs in the first two innings, Minnesota jumped on Chicago early again.

Reynaldo Lopez failed to make it out of the fourth inning. The Twins harassed him with singles a plenty, including RBI base knocks from Alex Avila and Miguel Sano in the second and fourth innings. Then, the big blow came from Jorge Polanco, whose grand slam gave Minnesota a 7-1 lead before the final out of the fourth. Lopez' day came to an end. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth. Yoan Moncada added a couple more runs on a late two-run blast but the White Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins to fall four games back of the division leaders.

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White Sox lineup

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3 (.316 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, R (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, HR (12), 2 RBI, R (.261 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4 (.261 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, 2B (.298 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4 (.298 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-4 (.232 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, 2 HR (21), 2 RBI, 2 R (.309 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Top first

Luis Arraez grounded into double play, Byron Buxton scored. 1-0 MIN.

Top second

Alex Avila singled to right field, Josh Donaldson scored. 2-0 MIN.

Bottom third

Yasmani Grandal homered to left field. 2-1 MIN.

Top fourth

Miguel Sano singled to left field, Eddie Rosario scored. 3-1 MIN.
Jorge Polanco homered to right field, Sano, Max Kepler and Avila scored. 7-1 MIN.
Nelson Cruz homered to center field, Arraez scored. 9-1 MIN.

Bottom fifth

Grandal homered to center field. 9-2 MIN.

Bottom sixth

Yoan Moncada homered to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 9-4 MIN.

Top eighth

Polanco homered to left field. 10-4 MIN.

Notable performance: With his two homers on Saturday, Grandal now has 21 on the season, which trails only teammate Eloy Jimenez for the team lead. Grandal is third in the AL in RBIs (49) and leads the league in WAR (4.5). Not too shabby for the eight-hole hitter.

Next game: Sunday, May 31 - Game 60: Twins vs White Sox (Devin Smeltzer, 6-2, 2.42 ERA vs Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.78 ERA)

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