How it happened: Starter Jeff Samardzija, making his White Sox debut, gave up five runs on six hits over six-plus innings. The Royals build a 3-0 lead on Samardzija through three innings and put it away with a five-run seventh inning. The White Sox had only five base runners through the first six innings against Royals starter Yordano Ventura, and three of them were erased on either a double play or a pickoff. Jose Abreu hit a home run to lead off the seventh inning.
What it means: While it was an ugly defeat, it does not mean a whole lot in the big picture since there still are 161 games remaining. One concern is that manager Robin Ventura, and the rest of the coaching staff, addressed the sloppy play from the end of spring training, and it continued in the first game of the season. The White Sox’s on-base potential was nullified, and there was no sign that their sometimes shaky defense from last season is any better.
Outside the box: Before Monday, Samardzija had shown that he had a good handle on Opening Day assignments. He pitched in the last two openers with the Chicago Cubs, both at Pittsburgh. In 15 total innings he did not give up a run as the Cubs split the two games. He gave up a run in Monday’s opener before he had recorded six outs.
Off beat: The magnitude of the roster rebuild was felt in the pitching staff. All three pitchers used by the White Sox on Monday were making their debut with the club. Samardzija was followed by Dan Jennings, who was replaced by Kyle Drabek. On top of that, new closer David Robertson was warming up in the eighth inning. After Samardzija gave up his five runs in six innings, Jennings and Drabek combined to give up five runs in two innings.
Up next: The White Sox will send left-hander Jose Quintana (9-11, 3.32 ERA last season) to the mound Wednesday in the second game of the three-game series. The Royals will counter with left-hander Danny Duffy (9-12, 2.53) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from Kauffman Stadium.