White Sox

MLB The Show sim: White Sox rout Rockies to complete two-game sweep

MLB The Show sim: White Sox rout Rockies to complete two-game sweep

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. Rockies 13-3
Record: 20-29, 4th in A.L. Central (9.5 GB of Twins)

W: Reynaldo Lopez (4-2)
L: Antonio Senzatela (3-4)

Game summary: The Rockies ran into a buzzsaw in the second matchup of a quick two-game series vs the White Sox. The hosts’ offense scored in every inning but the eighth.

Eloy Jimenez got the party started in the first with a solo shot to left field. Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 13 games and then was knocked in by Tim Anderson on an RBI double to center in the second. Then, Yasmani Grandal followed with an RBI single to center, scoring Anderson. The White Sox broke things open in the 3rd, scoring four more runs on RBI hits by Yoan Moncada, Nick Madrigal and Abreu. The score was 7-0 a third of the way through the game.

Meanwhile, Reynaldo Lopez held the Rockies at bay. He took a shutout into the sixth, losing it on a two-run homer by Raimel Tapia. Lopez leads the White Sox starters with four wins this season.

The South Siders scored six more times, including a run on Jimenez' second long ball. His 17 home runs rank second in the American League and his 48 RBIs lead all AL hitters.

The White Sox sweep the two-game set and have won six of their last seven games.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-4, BB, R (.315 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 3-4, 2 HR (17), 2 RBI, 3 R (.254 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R (.251 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-5, 2B, RBI, R (.250 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R (.287 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-4, 2B, RBI, R (.289 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-3, BB, R (.230 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, HR (16), 3 RBI, R (.276 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 3-4, 2B, HR (8), 3 RBI, R (.246 BA)

Scoring summary:

Bottom first

Eloy Jimenez homered to left field. 1-0 CHW.

Bottom second

Tim Anderson doubled to right field, Jose Abreu scored. 2-0 CHW.
Yasmani Grandal singled to center field, Anderson scored. 3-0 CHW.

Bottom third

Yoan Moncada doubled to center field, Edwin Encarnacion and Jimenez scored. 5-0 CHW.
Nick Madrigal doubled to left field, Moncada scored. 6-0 CHW.
Abreu singled to right field, Madrigal scored. 7-0 CHW.

Bottom fourth

Nomar Mazara homered to right field. 8-0 CHW.

Bottom fifth

Grandal singled to left field, Moncada scored. 9-0 CHW.
Mazara singled to right field, Abreu and Luis Robert scored. 11-0 CHW.

Top sixth

Raimel Tapia homered to right field, Dom Nunez scored. 11-2 CHW.

Bottom sixth

Jimenez homered to left field. 12-2 CHW.

Bottom seventh

Grandal homered to center field. 13-2 CHW.

Top eighth

Nolan Arenado homered to right field. 13-3 CHW.

Notable performance: After a burst of power to start the season, Yasmani Grandal's bat has largely been quiet. That is, until the past week. With his homer on Wednesday, Grandal now has six long balls over the last six games. He is tied for fifth in the AL with 16 on the season.

Next game: Thursday, May 21 - Game 50: White Sox at Twins (Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.12 ERA vs Jose Berrios, 5-2, 3.62 ERA)

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White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

White Sox 2021 schedule is out, with more NL Central matchups

Get used to the NL Central, White Sox fans.

Just days after Major League Baseball finalized the schedule for the upcoming 60-game 2020 season, the schedule for next season was released Thursday, outlining plans for a 2021 season when the league hopes it can return to normalcy.

The geographic scheduling of the 2020 season, shortened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pits the White Sox against teams from the NL Central, and that will again be the case in a 2021 season hopefully unbound by travel restrictions.

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The White Sox will obviously face their AL Central foes and return to regular-season matchups against the AL East and AL West after missing out on such games this season. But the Interleague opponents will once more hail from the NL Central, with the White Sox playing two series apiece against the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. They will play hosts to the St. Louis Cardinals in May and visit the Milwaukee Brewers in July. Both Crosstown series, the first on the North Side and the second on the South Side, will be played on weekends in August.

The White Sox will start the 2021 campaign on a West Coast road trip, with Opening Day set for Thursday, April 1, the start of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. That's followed by three games against the Seattle Mariners in Washington before the White Sox return to Guaranteed Rate Field for the home opener against the Kansas City Royals on April 8.

The regular season will dip into October next year, with the White Sox closing the regular season on a five-game homestand against the Reds and Detroit Tigers, the regular-season finale coming Sunday, October 3.

Check out the White Sox entire 2021 schedule below:


White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

White Sox sim-game chatter shows entertainment potential in empty stadiums

Baseball is going to look weird in 2020.

And it might sound even weirder.

Already, even though players are just stretching, tracking down fly balls, throwing bullpen sessions and taking batting practice during the MLB-branded "Summer Camp," the experience of baseball being played in an empty major league stadium is somewhat bizarre.

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But once regular-season games start? It's going to be like a different game from a different universe.

We got a little taste of what it might be like Wednesday, when White Sox ace Lucas Giolito threw a simulated game at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing at game speed while his teammates took game-style at-bats.

Sim games are not among the many newfangled baseball inventions for a pandemic-delayed season. They've been around for a while and they're always weird, with only one pitcher pitching, sitting in the dugout for 10 minutes to simulate the other half of an inning that is not actually being played, and then facing off against the same players who just backed him up defensively the last time he was out there.

But as we prepare for regular-season games without fans, this simulated game was perhaps more realistic than ever.

The silence was deafening, obviously. The roar of the crowd that would have accompanied back-to-back strikeouts to start off the game for Giolito was met with nothing. Tim Anderson swung and missed at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. Luis Robert looked at Strike 3 and went back to the dugout. No clapping, no cheering, no blaring clip from Boz Scaggs' "Lido Shuffle," which the White Sox employed during Giolito ("Lido," "-lito," get it?) strikeouts in 2019.

But in the absence of crowd noise, there's an opportunity for a new aspect of entertainment to arise. Because you know what you could hear? Everything the players said. And some of it was pretty darn funny.

Simulated games don't have umpires, so it was on catchers Yasmani Grandal and James McCann to call Giolito's balls and strikes. And Grandal got into it. When Robert stared down that third strike, he made an exaggerated punch-out motion with his fist, earning laughs from the White Sox dugout, with one dugout denizen invoking the name of infamous umpire Joe West in a joking response. Grandal kept it up, feeding off the reaction a la Frank Drebin in "The Naked Gun," and punched out Zack Collins later in the sim game, earning more laughs.

When Nomar Mazara connected on a Giolito pitch for what most would have assumed would be a line drive to right field, the diminutive Nick Madrigal, perfectly positioned in an exaggerated shift, came up with a nice catch to steal a hit away from Mazara. The response from the dugout? "You got bad luck if you can't hit it over his head."

And there was more. Giolito started talking at McCann when the catcher got his pitcher for a double into the left-field corner. The energetic Anderson was pretty loud while cheering for his teammates from the dugout. Coaches could be heard shouting out instructions.

The absence of crowds means fans watching on TV might be able to hear things they've never heard before, adding a new element of entertainment.

"With (our) teammates, we’re going to mess around, we’ll be talking trash," Giolito said Wednesday. "I’m interested to see how that carries over once we get to the regular season. You can hear pretty much everything everyone is saying."

RELATED: Why White Sox-Cubs games could be 'a little taste' of Crosstown World Series

The White Sox will do their best to fill the fanless void at Guaranteed Rate Field. They announced Wednesday the ability for fans to have their likenesses on cardboard cutouts in the stands during the season-opening series against the Minnesota Twins. And players seem unsure about whether crowd noise will be played over the speakers once the games begin. That would be equally weird, though it might help out the players, grasping for any sense of normalcy in a season where their routine-oriented day-to-day work lives have been turned upside down.

But why not keep the crowd noise away and use this opportunity to show off a new element to the game?

TV broadcasts were hoping to mic players up and have them chat with announcers during games. We'll see if that pans out, though the lack of an agreement between the league and the players' union seemed to disperse any optimism of that happening on a regular basis. In place of that, this on-field chatter could be wildly entertaining.

"I think it might (add some more entertainment value)," manager Rick Renteria said. "The guys, they were chirping in the dugout today. It was fun to hear them. They're just like everybody else. You love to play the game, and you have an opportunity to go out and play in your home park, even though you're playing against each other. It's a nice energy to have. Who wouldn't want to play baseball in a big league park? And they share that joy that they all have when they are out there competing."

So get ready for it all: trash talk, disagreements with umpires, pitchers and hitters jawing back and forth, cheers from the dugout and just plain short jokes.

Baseball's going to sound mighty different in 2020.