With Tucker Barnhart on the mound, there was a common feeling among the fans and the players alike. The Chicago White Sox had swept the Detroit Tigers in dominating fashion as well. The final score of the series finale was 13-0 but the White Sox controlled this series from the first game.
The series against the divisional opponent had everything in place for the team. Moreover, the White Sox looked great in all facets of the game. The lineup stepped up, starting pitching was there, and the bullpen continue to close out games. While injuries still linger for this roster, the midweek sweep carried a lot of weight for this sub-.500 team.
White Sox bats continue to step up
The White Sox scored 27 runs in the three-game set, albeit, 13 in the final game. The offensive production is a continuation of the burst for runs from last week, as the lineup has scored five runs or more in each of the last seven games. However, the scoring surge against the Tigers saw arguably for the first time all season, a well-rounded lineup.
Monday’s game was the Jose Abreu show. The cleanup hitter saw two pitches over the heart of the plate where he made the Tigers pitchers pay, crushing two home runs in the game. Along with the two homers, Abreu also wrapped a single to give himself nine total bases on the day. By the end of the series, he became the first player on the White Sox to eclipse the 100 total base mark on the season, with 102.
Along with Abreu, the White Sox continued to receive production throughout the lineup. Tuesday’s win saw Lius Robert, who has moved up to the three-spot in the lineup, knock-in two runners with two singles. The 13-run drubbing saw both Seby Zabala and Danny Mendick go deep and both batters were in the eighth and ninth spots in the order. AJ Pollock is establishing himself as a reliable leadoff hitter in Tim Anderson’s absence, getting on base and providing early run support.
The series finally saw the White Sox lineup that fans expected this season. It’s not only one that can provide power but the depth to run up the score.
Cease provides another strong start
At this point, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Dylan Cease had a strong outing. Lance Lynn is back in the rotation but from the first week, Cease has been the ace of the staff. For what it’s worth, he has a 10-0 record and a 1.91 ERA but even the advanced stats indicate a Cy Young caliber season. The 26-year-old starter has a .203 expected opponent Batting Average and a 2.82 expected ERA, with opposing hitters making little to no contact when he’s on the mound.
Against the Tigers, Cease pitched five innings and allowed only one run. The fastball-slider combination continues to be his bread and butter but the curveball is not only being mixed into his arsenal but allowing him to become an elite pitcher.
Cease ended up throwing 108 pitches and 83 of them were either fastballs or sliders. However, the curveball was thrown 23 times and the extra element continued to keep the Tigers on their heels. The White Sox have struggled this season, especially early on but the strong pitching, particularly from the top of the rotation, has kept them competitive.
Why the sweep is significant for the White Sox
The White Sox were coming off a brutal week. They lost twice to the Los Angeles Dodgers but it only went downhill from there. Tony La Russa, once again, made costly mistakes in the manager position. Moreover, La Russa didn’t back down from the decision to walk Trea Turner with two strikes, pretending that all is well with the team.
Then came the two losses over the weekend to the low Texas Rangers. A team the White Sox were supposed to easily defeat, ended up winning the series. The White Sox, halfway through June went from a team that was supposed to be so fun to watch, to borderline unwatchable.
This series put energy back into the team. It was a kick-starter, in a way to a hopeful season turnaround. The White Sox are still trailing the Minnesota Twins by 4.5 games but suddenly, the team has life again.
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