Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox are determined not to repeat the same mistake twice.
Last season the White Sox clinched their first postseason birth in over a decade, on September 17th. They boasted a 33-17 record and sat atop the AL Central standings. That is when things crashed and burned. The White Sox got complacent and paid the price. They lost eight of their last ten games, dropped to third place in the standings, and were forced to play the Oakland A’s in the AL Wildcard Series, where they were promptly bounced from the playoffs.
This season the White Sox are just as strong. They own an 85-64 record and their magic number currently sits a 4 to clinch the division. With an 11 game lead, a postseason appearance is all but guaranteed. But with 13 games remaining on the schedule, the White Sox want to keep their foot on the gas. A convincing series win over the Texas Rangers is a good place to start.
“We kind of made the mistake of letting off the gas a little bit towards the end, especially after we clinched. And so I think we learned from that mistake,” Giolito told reporters after the game. “Having that energy single game, everybody in the game watching, paying attention, picking things out, that’s right where we need to be for every single game.”
“It doesn’t matter the opponent, it doesn’t matter the series score, it doesn’t matter home/road. Today was a really nice turning point, in a way, for that, where we can stay focused and stay energetic.”
Tim Anderson offered a similar sentiment. “Not too far away from it,” Anderson said when asked about how close the White Sox were to clinching. “But we’ve got to continue to stay hungry heading toward October. And that’s when the real ball starts.”
Despite beating up on a 94-loss Rangers team on Sunday, the game felt like a turning point. The White Sox have been bad in day games this season and even worse on the road. But even after dropping a tough one-run game the night before the White Sox came flying out of the gate.
Yasmani Grandal started a scoring spree in the fourth inning with a solo home run. Then the flood gates opened. Gavin Sheets tacked on a base hit then Leury Garcia laid down a bunt with two strikes and beat it out for an infield single. Cesar Hernandez drove tacked on two more runs with a base hit.
A Tim Anderson single followed by a Yoan Moncada walk loaded the bases for Jose Abreu. The major league leader in RBIs tacked on two more with a shallow bloop shot into right field for a base hit. The White Sox went on to win 7-2.
Sometimes we come out a little flat on day games,” Lucas Giolito said. “But today, everybody was in it. Every single guy in the dugout was in it. We were chirping, we were completely in the game pitch to pitch. I could feel that energy from the first inning.”
It’s good to see the White Sox not playing down to their competition.
“We wanted to win the series,” Tim Anderson said. “We went out, and we brought it, and the bats were working today.”
The White Sox have a series against the Detroit Tigers coming up. They should be able to clinch a playoff spot by the end of the road trip. When they do look for them to keep playing full throttle.