That Houston Astros series was embarrassing for the Chicago White Sox. Comparisons between the World Champion 2005 White Sox rotation being potentially beat by the 2021 rotation arose as the team headed into the series. High expectations were on the team, considering the Astros are a potential postseason opponent. However, things got ugly fast for the south siders who ended up swept out of Houston.
The White Sox were outscored 27-8 in that series. The offense was just not awake. The smooth Tim Anderson looked awkward and went 1-16 with a walk and five strikeouts. Just as he was heating up, Yoán Moncada took a step back and went 3-13. The reigning MVP José Abreu even struggled and went 2-14 with two walks and two RBIs, along with three strikeouts.
The Chicago White Sox needs their best players to be their best players at all times.
There was one player who stepped up during the Houston series. Yasmani Grandal turned into an almost enterally different player this past month to be the offense the Sox desperately needed. Grandal, the man who hits for a low average but walks most of the time, had four singles and only one walk in 14 plate appearances. His .308 batting average was the best on the team in that four-game span.
In fact, for the entire month of June, Grandal has seen a slight dip in the walk numbers while slowly increasing his batting average. In May, he played 20 games with 75 plate appearances. He walked 29 times and recorded six hits, four of which were home runs. His slash was .136/.467/.409 with a .876 OPS.
On June 1, Grandal had a .136 batting average. On June 23, he slowly raised it to .172. So far this month, he has played 18 games. He has 71 plate appearances with only 12 walks. However, he has 14 hits, five of which were dingers. His June slash so far is .241/.380/.517, with an OPS at .898.
Known as the guy who walks more than he gets hits, Yaz is also a veteran who has been on winning teams and knows what it takes. He changed his approach and is acting as the productive bat this lineup desperately needs. Friday is the perfect time for the White Sox to turn things around offensively. With a win in Pittsburgh to build off of, the Sox will return home to a full-capacity crowd to face the 39-37 Mariners.
The Re-Opening Day will be against a lefty, Yusei Kikuchi. He has had a solid season, but the White Sox beat up southpaws. Saturday will be the 4.50 ERA Logan Gilbert. On Sunday, it will be the 5.10 ERA southpaw Marco Gonzales. Building off of Grandal’s recent hot streak while facing those three pitchers, along with the atmosphere of a full-capacity Guaranteed Rate Field, should provide the right spark for this lineup to start getting hot.