The White Sox took care of business against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday cruising to a 9-3 victory. If it wasn’t for Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert then it would have been a stress-free victory.
The White Sox already know what life is like without Eloy Jimenez in the lineup. It is an experience they would prefer not to repeat. Jimenez missed the first four months of the season because of an attempted home run robbery that went awry in Spring Training.
So when Eloy Jimenez raced back towards the wall to track down a ball off of the bat of David Fletcher, White Sox fans collectively held their breath. Jimenez has been desperate to show everyone that he is a Major League Left Fielder. He has been very vocal about not wanting to DH. So when he saw an opportunity to make a play he leaped at the opportunity. Literally.
Jimenez jumped into the fence to make a sensational catch, robbing Fletcher of a home run. Starting pitcher, Lucas Giolito showed his appreciation for the effort after the game.
“That was unreal, man. That ball was smoked,” Giolito said. “Anytime a home run gets robbed, it’s always a big celebration. That was a hell of a play. I don’t really have too many words for it. It was just a sick play.
“Eloy has been proving that he deserves that left-field spot. I know that he takes that to heart. It’s important to him to show that he’s a big-league left fielder, and that’s just a great example right there.”
CATCH OF THE YEAR NOMINEE FROM ELOY JIMENEZ 🤯 pic.twitter.com/yhLTZ3ZECD
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) September 15, 2021
But when Jimenez stayed on the ground moments after making the catch the celebration quickly turned towards concern. Like any great showman, Jimenez calmed everyone’s nerves by putting a thumbs up before rising to his feet.
He nearly gave his manager, Tony La Russa a heart attack. After the game, he quickly stated how “holding his breath” would be the nicest-sounding way to describe how he felt.
“I told him that from now on, he’s going to put his back against the wall. When he breaks back, he’s just going to hit his head on it,” La Russa said. “And he’s going to play everything in front of him. He thinks I’m kidding. I said, ‘Am I kidding?’ Because that was so scary. We’re going to play him deeper. And if some bloopers fall, they fall. But he ain’t going to fall.”
That wasn’t the only scary moment for White Sox fans. Luis Robert was grazed in the helmet with a 96 mph fastball. Robert was able to limit the damage with a nifty maneuver that caused the ball to just glance off his helmet instead of hitting him flush. He was able to stay in the game alleviating the fears of fans and players alike.
Robert went on to launch a home run, double, and score three runs, in part of a great team effort.
Gavin Sheets collected three hits including a 447-foot bomb en route to four RBIs on the night. Sheets was just a triple short of the cycle. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, however. Tony La Russa even gave him specific instructions to get the job done.
“Skip said, ‘If you hit one in the gap, don’t stop,’” Sheets said on the postgame Zoom. “He said, ‘Just keep going.’ … If I hit one in the gap, there was no way I was going to stop. Even if I hit a single I probably would have kept going … Oh, man, I would have loved to hit one there.”
Sheets grounded out to shortstop Luis Rengifo in that last at-bat but that doesn’t take away from his efforts. Tim Anderson also made his return to the lineup notching one hit. Every White Sox starter reached base at least once. The only player without a hit was Jose Abreu, but he made up for it by drawing three walks, matching a career-best.
The bullpen also stepped up and tossed five scoreless innings. The win reduced the White Sox magic number to just seven.