After sleepwalking through a loss on Wednesday, the White Sox needed to wake up and win on Thursday. They didn’t fix all the problems that have been plaguing them lately, but they did enough to take the rubber band match in the five-game series. Getting a two-run blast from Luis Robert late in the game will help the team build up good vibes again, too. The White Sox will need all the positive energy they can get, because up next is a three game series with the Yankees, who have the best record in MLB.
Coming into Thursday’s game, the White Sox struggled mightily with runners in scoring position, hitting .217. They had several chances to bust out of that slump, and improved, going 5-16 in those scoring opportunities. But they still left 11 men on base. The team has been particularly bad with the bases loaded, but “improved” to 2-23 with the sacks packed on a Tim Anderson single. The hitters showed encouraging signs executing whatever plan Tony La Russa and hitting coaches Frank Menechino and Howie Clark devised following Wednesday night’s disappointing loss, but there is still clearly work to be done on offense.
VELASQUEZ DOES HIS JOB
Vince Velasquez wasn’t put into the rotation to overwhelm opponents, or put up gaudy numbers. He was put into the rotation to record as many outs as possible, and keep the White Sox in the game. That’s exactly what he did on Thursday, and exactly what he’s done for most of the season. Following his outing, Velasquez moved into third on the team with 32.2 IP, behind only Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech. More importantly, the White Sox improved to 4-3 in Velasquez starts. Velasquez may lose his spot in the rotation once Lance Lynn returns from the IL, especially if Johnny Cueto is able to build upon his impressive first start with the team. If he does, he should earn recognition for his work to keep the Sox record near .500 in the early stages of the season. If not for Velasquez, they may have been in an even deeper hole.
TA CONTINUES TEAR
Ever since getting into a mini Twitter beef with Ozzie Guillen, Tim Anderson has done it all for the Sox. Since the spat, he’s hit 5-8, and accounted for four of their nine runs. He’s flashed the leather on defense, and terrorized the base paths. Anderson stole second and third in quick succession to create a run nearly single-handedly in the second inning. That moment gave the offense its first sign of life in days. If anyone can shake the team out of its rut, it’s Anderson, and he took a big step towards doing that on Thursday. We’ll see if the energy carries forward to the White Sox’ series against the Yankees.