The Chicago White Sox earned their most important win of the season.
It feels like postseason baseball on the southside. The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins clashed in the first of four games that have the potential to decide which team will come away with the AL Central crown. This is uncharted territory for a young and hungry White Sox team. The White Sox have not finished a season over .500 since 2012. Most of the White Sox core is experiencing winning for the first time.
While the White Sox have the best record in the American League, they have mostly beat up on inferior teams. Good teams are supposed to beat bad teams, but many questioned how the Sox will fare when the stakes and their opponent’s winning percentages are raised.
In the first game against the Twins, the White Sox rose to the occasion. Starting pitcher Dylan Cease did not have his best stuff. His command was shaky and his mechanics were sporadic but he was able to weasel his way out of multiple jams to hold the Twins at bay. When he left in the 5th inning, the bullpen really stepped up. Codi Heuer, Evan Marshall, Gio Gonzalez, and Alex Colome held the Twins scoreless over 4.1 innings despite traffic on the base paths all night. In total, White Sox pitching only gave up a single run despite walking 10 batters.
The White Sox offense meanwhile, was unable to hit a home run which has been their bread and butter all season. Yet, they found a way to manufacture runs. With two outs and two strikes in the second inning, Nick Madrigal opened the scoring by parachuting a ball into right field for an RBI single. That is all the White Sox would get for the next five innings. Like the Twins, the White Sox stranded runners on base all night. Both teams finished a combined 5 for 26 with runners in scoring position.
The score was knotted up at one run apiece heading into the bottom of the 8th. Luis Robert who has been in a September slump showed patience and drew a key 10-pitch walk in the 8th inning to push the go-ahead run into scoring position. Manager, Rick Renteria called upon Adam Engel to pinch a hit for Nomar Mazara and he made a mark on the game by poking a base hit up the middle, after faking a bunt to put the White Sox on top.
The next batter, Tim Anderson, hammered a breaking ball off the left-field wall, for his third hit of the game to drive in another run. Good teams find a way to win games. It is safe to say the White Sox qualifies as one of those this season.