Lack of offense & Crochet's stellar start: 3 takeaways from the White Sox's opening day loss to Detroit

Baseball is back across the Major Leagues, and that included the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday.

However, the Sox's opening day offense might have missed the opening day memo.

Aside from three Chicago batters in the middle of the order, the White Sox offense struggled. That tarnished a stellar opening-day start from Garrett Crochet.

The White Sox dropped the season opener 1-0 after Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. went down in order in the bottom of the ninth. 

Detroit plated an third-inning run on a sacrifice fly scored by former Cub Javier Baez, and that was the difference in the game.

The Tigers had a chance to break the game open with the bases-loaded in the top of the eighth, but Michael Kopech got the Sox out of the jam and gave the offense a chance in the bottom of the eighth.

The White Sox announced 33,420 were in attendance on Thursday.

Here are three takeaways from the White Sox's season opener against the Detroit Lions.

Crochet meets expectations

The Major League experience for Garrett Crochet hasn't been a straight arrow.

During his first-career opening day start, Crochet was impressive. He was pulled after hitting the 80-pitch mark after the sixth inning.

His final line: 6.0 innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, eight strikeouts and no walks on 87 pitches.

For a pitcher that missed all of 2022 with Tommy John Surgery and slowly worked his way back in 2023 to be thrust into the spotlight as the Sox's opening day starter, Crochet delivered.

Crochet, whose start on Thursday was also the first of his career, did not have any negative thoughts in his head because of any lack of starts. He said Wednesday those thoughts did exist, but spring training helped put those to bed.

"I had those feelings to start, to begin the spring training," Crochet said. "I feel like the team placed a lot of faith in me, so that's kind of gone by the wayside at this point."

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - MARCH 28: Colt Keith #33 of the Detroit Tigers bats in the second inning during his MLB debut of the Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on March 28, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn H

Offense lies dormant

Against the Tigers, the White Sox's opening day line-up produced just three hits. 

There were more question marks about the Sox's pitching staff, from the starting rotation to the relievers, but Chicago's hitting left plenty to be desired, especially the heart of the Sox's lineup.

Robert, Jimenez and Vaughn combined to make up the Sox's three hits, with each getting one hit apiece. No Sox base runner made it past second base.

The White Sox's offense, especially the heart of the lineup, lost an active bat and a high batting average with Tim Anderson departing at short stop. Anderson, now with the Miami Marlins, had an RBI-double on Thursday.

Still, the core of the offense convinced Sox leadership to focus elsewhere in spring training.

"That core group on the offensive side, I feel like it's in a really good spot," White Sox general manager Chris Getz said Wednesday. "Then what we prioritized heavily going into spring training with our defense, I feel very strong about our players up the middle."


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The bullpen held strong

Crochet started strong, but credit the bullpen for keeping the Sox's chances alive going into the final two innings. 

Deivi García and Kopech followed Crochet. García stalled the Tigers for an inning, and Kopech worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam. 

For Kopech, it was an impressive day from a player who was understandably disappointed after being moved from the bullpen.

"What I like about Michael is that he's in a really good place," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said Thursday. "Our conversation when we moved into the pen, he was disappointed as he should have been, right? Because he's a competitor and he wanted to start. But the way he took on this challenge was unbelievably impressive."

It marked an overall impressive day from Chicago pitchers.