April wasn’t fun for the White Sox. It was marked by injuries, sloppy play and a sputtering offense that resulted in an 8-12 record.
The good thing for the Sox is that April is over, and it concluded on a positive note in a 4-0 victory Saturday against the Angels. Now the Sox can move on from a month that was challenging, to say the least.
”That’s what we’ve gotta do; that’s the mindset that we’re trying to encounter is just turning the page,” said right-hander Vince Velasquez, who pitched 5? scoreless innings before being removed after a 61-minute rain delay. ”Even though we take a hard loss, we have some ups and downs, we struggle offensively, defensively, it’s just a matter of staying collected and holding each other accountable and still moving forward.”
Through the first month, the Sox haven’t looked like the team that won 93 games last season and widely was expected to repeat as American League Central champions. But even with the April struggles that featured a stretch of 10 losses in 11 games, their confidence hasn’t seemed to wane. The vibe around the Sox is that they still have the talent and that it’s only a matter of time before the pieces come together.
One example is the offense, which entered Saturday hitting .180/.232/.282 with 32 runs in the last 14 games. Though the Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, they did get 10 hits, including a solo home run from Tim Anderson and a three-run shot from Luis Robert.
”We’re going to hit, we’re going to hit,” manager Tony La Russa said. ”As long as they keep the attitude that they have now and stay positive and keep working, we’re going to hit.”
Anderson jump-started the Sox in the first, when he led off with a first-pitch homer against Angels starter Jose Suarez. The drive to right was Anderson’s 15th career leadoff homer and second of the season, leaving him five behind all-time Sox leader Ray Durham’s 20.
”It was definitely cool to be able to jump out on them the way we did today and just try to bring the energy that we need, try to get back to where we usually do,” said Anderson, who had his eighth multihit game of the season.
Velasquez didn’t need much else, though he did get support from Robert’s first homer since April 13.
Coming off a poor start April 23 at Minnesota in which he allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, Velasquez was substantially better Saturday. He struck out six, walked none, got 13 swinging strikes and held Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani to a combined 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
”I felt really good, to be honest with you,” Velasquez said. ”I’m still kind of thinking about how locked in I was. That’s just a glimpse of something I could do on a regular basis if I just keep on working on what I need to do.”
Though Velasquez was talking about himself, he could have been talking about the team. Even after a trying April, the Sox still have five months to get healthy, get better, play the way they expect and set themselves up for more October baseball.
”That’s something that we keep under our cap, knowing that what we’re capable of demonstrating isn’t at our finest yet,” Velasquez said. ”We’ve had some ups and downs, but it’s starting to fall into [place].”