The White Sox are as hot as any team in baseball right now. After beating the Cardinals in the last game of their series, sweeping Detroit for the first time since 2005, and crushing the Cubs 10-1, last night, they improved their win streak to six games. That matches their highest streak on the year. More importantly though, this team looks like they're finally coming together and having fun.
The Sox lead the AL in home runs at 49, and are just one behind the Dodgers for leading all of baseball. They've hit 22 dingers in the last six games alone, and last night, they hit six off of Cubs pitching, which accounted for all of their runs. Jose Abreu hit two, Danny Mendick hit one, Eloy Jiménez hit one, Luis Robert hit one, and Yasmani Grandal hit one. Jiménez's traveled 466 feet and nearly hit the scoreboard and Robert's traveled off the bat at over 110 mph. The eight run job against Lester sent his ERA soaring from 1.06 to 5.06.
Hitting hasn't only been the bright spot for the Sox though. They've been getting quality starts from their pitching, like from the terrific 13K performance from Giolito on Thursday against the Tigers and the one run eighth inning job from Keuchel last night. Defensive stops like the basketball leap from Tim Anderson last night or the solid work from Mendick at second also factor into their sound play.
Perhaps what's most telling to their wins though is their chemistry of late. You see them frequently smiling and laughing on the bench, playing more loose at the plate, and more focused and confident on the mound. Last year, they weren't able to sweep a lowly team like the Tigers. This year, they are beating the teams that they need to beat. They are 9-1 against the Tigers and Royals, and if they can start stacking up wins against teams like the Cubs, they have a real shot at making a legitimate run. I still don't think this year is their year, as the young kids still need to learn more plate discipline and continue to work well together. However, anything can happen in a 60 game season.
It remains to be seen if they can play consistent baseball, but the years ahead certainly look promising. Don't forget that with another year comes more experience from guys like Robert, Jiménez and Madrigal. Andrew Vaughn and a healthy pitching staff should also factor into a deeper run in 2021.
This team is exciting to watch now. They beat up a first place Cubs team last night that pretty much beat up on everyone else. It's just a shame that no one was in attendance. Watching the Crosstown Classic without fans was nothing short of eerie, but I'll take what I can get during a pandemic. There are still two games to go in this series, and if they end up losing this series, this game would have been nothing more than a fun Friday night.
Baseball is all about the "What have you done for me lately" quote. The White Sox need to keep riding these good feelings today. Reynaldo López is back and he has been cleared that he is facing Hendrix. On paper, I have to give Hendrix the advantage with that one. Yet, if the Sox offense can keep going strong, they're going to be hard to beat. As bad as Lopez was last year, he did have a pretty decent 2018 season. We can only hope that López can return to his 2018 self. We shall see.
If you're a Sox fan like me, last night was bliss. If you're a Cubs fan, you couldn't wait until Friday turned into Saturday. But I'm just as excited for today too. Let's go Sox!