White Sox start June with 6-4 record and are coming off one of their best weeks of the season after winning series against Milwaukee, Boston.
The White Sox had one of their best weeks of the season. It’s not an overstatement. The Sox won four games this past week. They’ve only won four games in one week twice all season. The Sox even had the possibility of winning five games – out of seven – but came up a little short in Saturday’s game.
It was undoubtedly the best week of the season for the Sox because looking closer into those wins were improvements from very key, rebuilding players.
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Beginning with the obvious, Reynaldo Lopez was his old, great self again against the Boston Red Sox in Sunday’s series finale.
Lopez pitched 6.1 innings against the Red Sox while allowing just one earned run and recording six strikeouts. The Sox bullpen didn’t blow a lead for Lopez unlike his previous start this past Tuesday.
Lucas Giolito pitched his first quality start since May 19 and actually looked a lot more comfortable in his start on June 5. His previous two starts were abysmal (6 IP, 5 ER vs. CLE and 1.1 IP, 7 ER vs. BAL). If you subtract those two outings, his season resume is not as bad as it should seem.
Last but definitely not least of the pitchers is Dylan Covey. He’s even been giving Lopez a run for his money in the best starter conversation recently. Although he might not be as dominant or overpowering as Lopez, he’s certainly the No. 2 starting pitcher on this team at the moment.
On June 3 against the Milwaukee Brewers, he pitched five strong innings, allowing one run (unearned) on four hits with seven strikeouts. After that solid performance against of the best teams in the National League, he went and did more of the same against the Red Sox on Friday. This time on the road at Fenway and even better than his previous start. Covey pitched six innings and didn’t allow a run on only three hits.
An interesting note on Covey, he’s leading qualified starters on the White Sox in K%, HR/9 (hasn’t allowed one), ERA, FIP, and WAR.
And look at the comparison of games with more than five strikeouts.
Covey: Five games started, three games with 6+ strikeouts, season-high: 8 Ks
Lopez: 12 games started, four games with 6+ strikeouts, season-high: 10 Ks
Giolito: 12 games started, one game with 6+ strikeouts, season-high: 7 Ks
Anderson had a modest four-game hit streak that included a double and five total hits in 15 at-bats. On Wednesday, Anderson was 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base and drove in 3 RBIs against the Twins. It’s easy to forget the kind of talent Anderson is because he was a prospect the Sox had before the rebuild. But this is a typical Anderson game. Base hits, stolen bases and making an impact.
Moncada has been catching fire with minor discrepancies. Despite getting base hits in nine of his last 13 games, he went 0 for 5 in one game with four Ks and 0 for 4 in another with 3 Ks, striking out a total of 17 times.
However, in three games from June 3-5, he was 4-for-12 with 4 Ks, 2 BB, a stolen base, a triple and a leadoff HR. Between those awful “O-for games”, he went 1-for-4 with a run, a double and an RBI and no strikeouts(!!).
These two players have so much upside but are still struggling with a few minor things. Moncada with his strikeouts and Anderson with staying hotter more consistently. But that makes weeks like these that much more important, where winning and growth complement one another.
The week of dreams for Southsiders also brought the returns of very important players. Matt Davidson and Kevan Smith returned from the 10-day DL, while (sound the trumpets) the much-anticipated return of Carlos Rodon was finally scheduled for the series against the Red Sox on Saturday.
The addition of Smith could not have come any sooner as the White Sox were forced to primarily play Omar Narvaez after the suspension to Welington Castillo. Smith has played very nicely in his four games since his return. He’s 7-for -6 with three multi-hit games. He has also yet to strike out. A part of Smith’s game that went under the radar is his partnership with Giolito, who many have said can help turn his season around. Many have given him credit for Giolito’s solid start in his outing last Tuesday.
But Rodon was a headliner for the Sox this past weekend. It was a solid game for his return, on the road and against the team he was playing against. His command was getting better as the game went on, along with his velocity which started at 92-93 and ended at 95-96 mph.
He only gave up two home runs, one to MLB homerun leader J.D Martinez and he was also victim to rust and bad defense. Nonetheless, he struck out six in a row (with two singles in between) and even got out of two runners on – no one out jam with three straight strikeouts. His final line was 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 7 K, 2 BB, Loss.
The best thing about this past week for the White Sox is that many of the young players mentioned above will look back to the games they had and see success on an individual scale as well as a team scale.