White Sox

Yoan Moncada has a preference for where he bats in the White Sox lineup

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USA TODAY

Yoan Moncada has a preference for where he bats in the White Sox lineup

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With newfound playoff expectations, how the daily lineup shakes out is suddenly of great interest to White Sox fans.

It might not be as important as the large amount of online discussion dedicated to the subject suggests. That's not to say I haven't been a part of it, doing the same on the White Sox Talk Podcast and crafting my own lineup to kill time between SoxFest and the start of spring training.

Rick Renteria's batting order won't be fully revealed for some time. That's how the skipper rolls. But if it's up to Yoan Moncada, he knows where he would be hitting in the White Sox lineup.

"I would like to hit in the second spot of the lineup," he said through team interpreter Billy Russo on Friday at Camelback Ranch. "That’s where I feel more comfortable.

"Like I said before, I’m open to be in any spot of the lineup. I’m here to help the team. I’m here to make the team better, and whatever position they give me I’m going to be good with it."

But he has a preference.

During his breakout 2019 campaign, Moncada spent most of his time in the No. 2 spot, slashing .344/.401/.604 in 68 games there. His 1.005 OPS as the two-hitter was significantly higher than the .915 OPS he put up for the season.

No. 2 seems like a reasonable spot for Moncada. Renteria hinted that reigning batting champion Tim Anderson is going to get a shot at leading off. Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion aren't bad bets to fall behind them at three and four in the order.

Of course, there's a reason players don't construct the lineup. If they did, no one would ever bat ninth. But Renteria said players' comfort in certain spots is something he thinks about when building his batting order.

"As a manager, I’m dealing with a human being and I do take into account where guys feel comfortable," Renteria said Friday. "If you’re trying to change spots in the lineup where they can bat, you’ve got to do it subtlety and you’ve got to make sure you’re having conversations with the guy and that ultimately the player has to feel good about where they’re at and if we can get to the point where they feel good about different slots, we take advantage of it. But yeah, do I take it into account. Absolutely."

Does that mean Renteria has decided on where to bat Moncada?

"Not yet."

If Moncada stays as productive as he was in 2019 and feels most comfortable doing it from the No. 2 spot, perhaps that is the best place for him.

In the end, the lineup on Opening Day matters a whole lot less than the lineup come September and, the White Sox hope, October.

Related: Magic, buzz and something crazy: It's time for Sox to win

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Winning ugly

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AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Winning ugly

Good teams make up for their own mistakes.

Bad day for a pitcher? The offense picks him up. Slumping superstar? The role players get the job done.

That sort of thing happens over the entirety of a season, but if you’re looking for a microcosm from the White Sox championship campaign in 2005, look no further than May 8.

The White Sox completed a sweep of the Blue Jays on Mother’s Day in a game that featured a disastrous fourth inning that saw two uncustomary errors by Juan Uribe and an uncustomary rough go for Mark Buehrle.

Early on, Uribe looked like he was going to lead a beatdown of the Blue Jays. Batting high up in Ozzie Guillen’s order with Tadahito Iguchi getting a day off, Uribe made his skipper look smart by smashing a solo home run in the first inning.


In each of the first three innings, he made stellar defensive plays, almost turning a triple play in the first and turning a second double play in the third.

By the time Buehrle went out for the bottom of the fourth, he had a 5-0 lead to work with. But after a quick first out, he gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. That’s when Uribe’s misfortune started. He dropped a ground ball, allowing a run to come home. And two batters later, after another run had scored, he airmailed a throw to first base in an attempt to complete an inning-ending double play. Two runs scored on that play, including one on his second error of the frame.

Buehrle did his job a couple times with the bases loaded, generating the kind of ground balls he used to get outs throughout his career. Without the help from his defense, though, the three hits and one walk he did give up in the inning ballooned into four runs, obviously helped by Uribe’s errors.

But despite that bout of ugliness in the fourth inning, the White Sox kept it together — and got contributions from the rest of the roster to make up for it.

Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer. Joe Crede drove in a run, as did Pedro Lopez, who played in just two games for the 2005 White Sox. Buehrle navigated around some more trouble, retiring eight of the last 12 batters he faced — including getting a huge double play to get out a jam with the tying run 90 feet away in the fifth and another double play in the sixth. Dustin Hermanson sat down the only three hitters he faced, and despite a shaky ninth inning from Damaso Marte, Aaron Rowand made a game-saving catch on a line drive with the winning run at second base for the final out.

Borrow a term from an even older White Sox team: winning ugly.

Victories don’t have to be pretty, as long as they’re victories. And whether that’s staging a comeback win without the benefit of a hit or holding off a self-inflicted charge, the 2005 White Sox did it.

What else?

— Frank Menechino batted second for the Blue Jays in this one. He’s currently the White Sox hitting coach, and Toronto was one of two stops during his major league career. After spending five and a half big league seasons with the A’s, he was dealt in the middle of the 2004 season and spent his final major league campaign with the Jays in 2005. He had only a .216 batting average in his 70 games that year but reached base at a strong .352 clip. He had a hit and a walk in this one against Buehrle.

— Pedro Lopez again! This guy played in a grand total of two games for the 2005 White Sox. And he got an RBI hit in both of them. He had an RBI single as part of an 8-0 win over the Tigers on May 1. A week later, he got the start at second base, spelling Iguchi, and delivered an RBI hit that drove in the White Sox fifth run, eventually the difference-maker when the Blue Jays scored four off Buehrle in the bottom of the fourth. “Team of destiny,” anyone?

— This was Buehrle’s first win against the Blue Jays in his career, the only American League he hadn’t beaten coming into this start.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

May 6, 2005: Down 3-2 heading into the seventh, Dye tied the game with a solo homer to leadoff that inning. The White Sox grabbed the lead in the eighth on a two-out, two-run single by A.J. Pierzynski. White Sox win, 5-3, improve to 22-7.

May 7, 2005: The White Sox hit five homers, including two by Paul Konerko, scoring 10 runs in the first four innings to make up plenty for Jon Garland surrendering six runs to Blue Jays bats. White Sox win, 10-7, improve to 23-7.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Sunday, when you can catch the May 11, 2005, game against the Devil Rays, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Konerko drove in a pair with a double in a four-run fourth, and Orlando Hernandez allowed just three hits in a solid outing.

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MLB The Show sim: White Sox return home, lose to 1-9 Seattle Mariners

MLB The Show sim: White Sox return home, lose to 1-9 Seattle Mariners

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.

Coming off of a sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the White Sox returned to Guaranteed Rate Field to take on the cellar dwelling Seattle Mariners, who started their season with a 1-9 record.

The first inning seemed to look all too familiar for Dylan Cease as he started the game with two hits given up, putting runners at second and third. Cease dug his feet in and battled to strike out the next three batters to get out of the jam. The young righty reached 99 mph on the gun in his daytime start, but was pulled by Rick Renteria with only 85 pitches through 4 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one earned run.

With the game tied at 1, Renteria went to the pen with Kelvin Herrera, but he struggled once again in relief giving up two runs in the fifth.

The White Sox lone run came in the bottom of the second when Eloy Jimenez hit a solo homer to left field, his fourth of the season. That extended his hitting streak to nine games. Later in the frame, Nomar Mazara hit a towering shot to center field only to be robbed by Seattle’s Dom T-Williams at the wall to end the inning and ultimately the Sox scoring.

The White Sox did threaten in the ninth with two outs. Edwin Encarnacion forced a walk followed by a Yasmani Grandal single, which extended his hit streak to seven games. With two aboard, it was Jimenez with the chance to create some magic, but he popped out to right field to end the contest and the White Sox win streak.

Result: Mariners def. White Sox 3-1

Record: 6-4, second in AL Central (0.5 GB of Indians)

W: Marco Gonzales (1-1)

L: Dylan Cease (0-1)

SV: Yoshihisa Hurano (1)

White Sox lineup

  1. Tim Anderson: 2-4 (.372 BA)
  2. Yoan Moncada: 0-4 (.326 BA)
  3. Jose Abreu: 1-4 (.267 BA)
  4. Edwin Encarnacion: 1-3, BB (.235 BA)
  5. Yasmani Grandal: 1-4 (.333 BA)
  6. Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, HR, RBI (.270 BA)
  7. Luis Robert: 0-3 (.182 BA)
  8. Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.194 BA)
  9. Leury Garcia: 0-3 (.214 BA)

Scoring summary

Top second:

  • Dee Gordon doubled to right field. Kyle Seager scored. 1-0 SEA.

Bottom second:

  • Eloy Jimenez homered to left. 1-1.

Top fifth:

  • Kyle Seager singled to center. Mitch Haniger scored. 2-1 SEA.  
  • Dom T-Williams fielder’s choice. Carlos Gonzalez scored. 3-1 SEA.

Notable performance: Alex Colome has excelled in his new role of middle reliever after Aaron Bummer grabbed the closer job. Colome hasn’t given up a run in 5 1/3 innings pitched and opposing left-handed batters are hitless against Colome this season.

Next game: Tuesday, April 7, Gm. 11: Mariners at White Sox (Taijuan Walker, 0-1, 8.38 ERA vs. Lucas Giolito, 1-0, 2.31 ERA)