Chicago White Sox Make Opening Day History (Derogatory)

Contrary to what you might expect for a rotation headlined by a former bullpen arm in Garrett Crochet, along with Michael Soroka and Erick Fedde, the Chicago White Sox did not lose to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday because of their pitching. In his debut as a starter, Crochet went six innings and allowed just one run—scored by Javy Báez, in typical Javy Báez fashion—and showed off his great leg kick in the process. In his return to the bullpen, Michael Kopech managed to get out of a jam. But Chicago’s offense, including Luis Robert Jr. (one of my guys), mustered up three singles and literally nothing else.

The 1-0 loss was historic. According to noted White Sox stats poster Jay Cuda, they are only the second team in baseball history to have—take a deep breath—zero runs, zero walks, zero extra-base hits, and 10 or more strikeouts in an Opening Day game. The previous instance was in 1967, when the San Francisco Giants faced Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals. Tigers fans can optimistically interpret this stat as proof that Tarik Skubal, who accounted for the majority of those strikeouts, is basically Bob Gibson.

The Opening Day caveat is a necessary one. Although the White Sox mark the two most recent times—a 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Aug. 1, 2023—this particular atrocity isn’t that unique. There are 265 such games in Major League history. But the beauty of Opening Day is that it gives you a sample size of one (out of 162) to get silly with stats. Tyler O’Neill has hit a home run on five consecutive Opening Days, now the MLB record. Adley Rutschman was, at one point yesterday, 7-for-7 with six RBI on Opening Days. Shohei Ohtani, at home on Opening Day, already hit the ball harder than any 2023 Dodger. OK, that one’s a little less specific, and the Dodgers already played two games last week, but it’s still cool.

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While these Opening Day stats can be used as fun hype, they can also be used in the opposite way: White Sox fans can conclude that their team is terrible trash because they, unlike the 1967 Giants, don’t have the excuse of facing Bob Gibson. You want to feel misery? Go feel misery! Will the White Sox even score a run this season? It seems impossible now.

There is one bright spot in this defeat: At least it happened against the Detroit Tigers, which meant you could still listen to the dulcet tones of Jason Benetti and pretend like he hadn’t taken a new job. When Benetti said on the broadcast that he felt particularly welcomed by the Tigers organization, it was easy to muster up some righteous indignation against Jerry Reinsdorf. No stat is required to justify the one heady emotion for the White Sox fan this season: rage.

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