After spending most of the second half trying to squeak by with contributions from the bottom half of the order, the top half of the White Sox lineup wasted no time putting its stamp on the game.
Tim Anderson homered on the first pitch of the game, the first of three blasts off Kyle Davies that gave Dylan Cease a 5-0 lead before he took the mound. Eloy Jiménez hit the second to open a two-homer night against the team that signed him and traded him away, and Andrew Vaughn’s laser to left set the tone for a well-rounded night on a national stage.
Cease wasn’t his sharpest, but he finished five without overtaxing himself. The bullpen finished innings according to plan, and the Sox swept a series that got easier with each passing day.
Anderson, who argued his way into the lineup after the original lineup had a scheduled day off, showed why he wanted to be on primetime. He poked Kyle Davis’ first-pitch fastball into the right-center bleachers, and Sox spent most of the evening treating Davies that rudely. Adam Engel followed with a single, and two batters later, Jiménez lofted a high sinker out to center for a 3-0 lead. Yoán Moncada then drew the first of his three walks on the night, after which Vaughn smoked a missile out to left.
If this were hockey, they’d each register as the three stars of the game.
Anderson: Came a triple short of the cycle during a 3-for-5 night and scored two runs.
Jiménez: Added an RBI double into the left-field corner and an opposite-field homer to finish 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
Vaughn: Went 2-for-3 with a walk, and the other hit was a two-out RBI single for the game’s final run. He also made a copule of nice catches in right — one a leaping catch on the warning track, and a running grab toward the right field corner that Ian Happ dropped on Saturday.
Cease did the job, too, although he worked a little harder than he had to. He struck out 10 over five innings, but he also had to work around five hits and three walks, along with two wild pitches. His fastball was lively and set up counts well, but he had a hard time throwing competitive pitches with two strikes, bouncing a lot of sliders and curves.
The good news is that he figured out his release point over the last two innings. He retired the last seven he faced, and struck out the side in the fifth.
Given that the Sox had an 8-3 lead, there was no point in pushing him further. Credit Reynaldo López for throwing two drama-free innings to get the game into the eighth. Using him for multiple innings to ease a starter’s load is a great way to make him useful.
*The bottom three spots went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts, including César Hernández’s first ineffective night of the year.
*The White Sox now only have to win one of three games at Guaranteed Rate Field to secure the season’s biggest prize: the Crosstown Cup.
Record: 66-46 | Box score | Statcast
Who gets to wear the winning cup? Or does each team member get one?
I think the Sox are ready to go on a run, and it couldn’t happen at a better time, with the Yanks, Blue Jays and Rays coming up. With Robert back today, we’ll see the full infield/outfield for the first time all year. It will be interesting to see what the lineup will be,
but I imagine by playoff time, Vaughn will be 8th and Cesar 9th. What a deep lineup.
And Rey Lopez really looks good. His fastball has great life to it. And he is the 7th best reliever!
The A’s the other team they will play, 14 games in 15 days vs potential playoff opponents, with the team nearly at full strength. Will be quite a test and should tell us where this team is really at relative to the teams they will need to beat to make a deep October run.
I’d love to better understand Lopez’s terrible numbers in Charlotte, given how sharp he’s looked in every game he’s pitched in since being called up.
Two of his last three outings in Charlotte were his two best outings of the season.
I think Jim answered this correctly, but also it seems like a lot of Lopez’ issues were velocity related, so maybe once the velocity returned he was good to go? The other possibility is that he was “working on” something, a la spring training.
Lopez gave up a lot of hard contact last night to a middling Cubs lineup. Vaughn in particular bailed him out.
His 30+ pitch inning the other night vs KC was brutal also. His fastball last night did look good though, admittedly.
But I highly doubt he keeps a stellar ERA if he is used much the next 2 weeks against very good teams. Would be pretty surprising if he continued to do well, but hope he does.
Who goes down for Luis Robert?
I’d be surprised if it isn’t Sheets.
Oh duh, you’re right. I kind of forgot he was still around.
Fangraphs breaks down Andrew Vaughn’s adjustment https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-adjustment-that-stopped-andrew-vaughns-whiffs/#more-370443
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Amazing that his OPS vs RHP prior to June 16 was below .500, and since then is around .900.
Gosh compared to southside showdown this site is like reading a best seller. Plus the comments make more sense.
Mind if I use that as a tout quote?