Sox drop measuring-stick series to 'really good' Yankees originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
White Sox manager Tony La Russa summed up the state of the MLB-leading Yankees.
“They're tough to beat,” La Russa said over the weekend. “They're a good team. Real good team.”
And those comments came before New York’s 5-1 victory Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
It's only May and perhaps too early to use one series as a measuring stick for the White Sox, especially when the Yankees are the class of baseball right now and the two clubs will reacquaint next weekend in the Bronx.
On the other hand, the Yankees — a team the White Sox will have to get through to reach their aspirations of an AL pennant and World Series — just took three of four on the South Side.
At the least, the Yankees are head and shoulders above anybody else in the American League five weeks into the season.
“Well, I look at, we had a chance, we were competing today,” La Russa said when asked if he views the series as a measuring stick.
“We got blown out in one game, the one score is deceptive. I think we can compete with anybody.”
La Russa called the Yankees a “handful to face” earlier in the weekend, and when looking at how the four games went, you can see why.
The Yankees pulled away late Thursday to post a lopsided win in what otherwise was a back-and-forth game. They beat the Sox Friday by six runs, pouncing early on starter Vince Velasquez.
The Sox hung on for a 3-2 walk-off win Saturday, after some high-pressure innings that saw the Yankees hang around and rally to tie things up in the ninth.
Even holding the Yankees’ deep lineup to two hits Sunday wasn’t enough.
“It's always tough to lose game like that,” Andrew Vaughn said.
Said outfielder AJ Pollock: “It’s a good ball club over there. I don’t look too much about the other divisions, but they got a really good team. They throw the ball well, hit the ball well and play good defense.
“That’s a really good team.”
The White Sox were without Lucas Giolito (COVID-19 related injured list) this weekend, and Lance Lynn is still building towards his season debut after undergoing knee surgery before Opening Day.
The Sox did send out Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech — both of whom have had strong starts to the season — and the Yankees won both games.
Forty-one of Kopech’s 91 pitches Sunday came in the second inning. After getting the first two Yankees hitters out, he walked four batters, two of which brought runs home. A wild pitch brought home another.
“I guess just tried to get kind of cute and nibble a little bit,” Kopech said. “And then they had some good takes and after that I tried to get a little bit aggressive because I realized they weren’t.
“It didn’t pay off for me and I fell behind more guys. Kind of lost that inning on my own.”
To his credit, Kopech bounced back to throw a quality start. He retired the final 12 batters he faced after the second inning. All said, he allowed three runs on one hit and four walks in six innings.
It was big for the Sox entering a five-game series against the Royals that includes a doubleheader Tuesday.
“I had a goal going into today where I wanted to get as deep as I could to make sure that the bullpen wasn’t going to get taxed and abused, especially with what we have coming up,” Kopech said.
“It’s a good lineup so I wanted to prove to myself I could go deep in the game against them.”
Kopech proved that. The White Sox, however, have more to prove over the coming weeks and months.