For the first time since June 23rd, the White Sox hit a home run with a man on base. The blast came against the Yankees on Monday. Tim Anderson’s second-inning two-run shot tied the game at two.
Two innings later Dioner Navarro hit a two-run home run to assure that another streak wouldn’t take hold. The last home run with men on base came on a Jose Abreu three-run round tripper at Boston in an 8-7 loss June 23. The White Sox blew 4-1 and 7-5 leads late in that game. Boston scored runs in five of the last six innings to claim the ten inning walk-off win.
The irony is that was Abreu’s first home run with more than one man on base since May 26, 2015, off of R.A. Dickey in Toronto. Another baseball oddity is that Houston Astro Marwin Gonzalez ended a streak of 25 consecutive solo home runs to begin his career earlier this season. That was a major league record.
The last home run in the White Sox streak came against Gonzalez’ Astros on Saturday. That brought the White Sox within a run at 4-3. A game the White Sox would go on to win 7-6.
The matchup on Monday seemed to favor the Yankees being the team to hit more longballs. C.C. Sabathia had been on fire in May and through his first three starts in June. He was hit hard in his three starts preceding Monday’s matchup with the White Sox.
Sabathia gave up two of his four home runs allowed in the two games leading up to the Independence Day showdown. Sabathia rank 11th amongst all starters in Baseball with 0.65 HR/9.
James Shields pitched well in his two starts before the matchup with the Yankees. In his prior four starts (including his first three with the White Sox) Shields was historically bad. He gave up six home runs in five starts with the White Sox and nine in 11 starts this year in San Diego. Per Fan Graphs his 1.54 HR/9, this season is the 13th worst in baseball.
Yankees third baseman Chase Headley hit a two-run, two out home run in the second inning to put the Yankees up 2-0. Anderson’s streak breaker finally broke the solo home run dry spell in the bottom of the inning. Navarro’s round tripper extended the White Sox lead to 5-2.
The Yankees will throw Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda the next two starts. Tanaka gave up 22 home runs in 154 innings last season but has only allowed nine in 104.2 this season. Pineda has been more generous this season. The former Mariner has allowed 15 in 89.1 innings this season and gave up 21 in 160.1 in 2015. Pineda’s 1.51 HR/9 is 16th.
The White Sox resurgence has been fueled by a big uptick in home runs. Per White Sox.Com, they have hit 23 home runs in their last 13 games. Eighteen of those were of the solo variety. The Southsiders hit 24 in the 26 games prior to this streak.
In spite of their National League-worst 28-55 record, the Braves have been stingy giving up home runs. Per fan Graphs, they are tenth best in the Major Leagues giving up just 1.04 HR/9. None of their pitchers are in the top 30 at giving up the most HR/9. The Braves have been far more generous in the last ten games with a fourth worst 2.25 HR/9.