The Chicago White Sox picked up a huge victory on Thursday afternoon, taking the rubber match over the Kansas City Royals.
It was a big win for multiple reasons. Losing three of five to a lackluster Royals squad would have been demoralizing as the team heads to New York for a highly anticipated series against the Yankees. More importantly, the offense finally came alive.
They scored seven runs, marking just the ninth time this season that the White Sox have produced five runs or more in a game. It seems like Luis Robert and Tim Anderson are the only two players on the White Sox hitting consistently. That was the case yet again on Thursday.
Anderson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. He raised his batting average to .346 which is good enough for third-best in the MLB. Meanwhile, Luis Robert had a three-hit performance including a game-tying single in the sixth inning and a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give the White Sox a 7-4 lead. Robert is now batting .301 for the season.
It was a breath of fresh error for a team that was 10-50 with runners in scoring position (.200) in their previous seven games. Hits have been hard to come by for the White Sox this season. Anderson and Robert are the only two starters with a batting average above .270.
In fact, six of the White Sox starters have a batting average below .230. Adam Engel (.226) and Yasmani Grandal (.184), who both entered the game as pinch hitters, also have a sub-par batting average to this point.
But Anderson and Robert were not the only reason for the seven-run outburst. Anderson had three hits on Wednesday and the White Sox were still limited to just one run. Robert is hitting .355 over the last 15 games and the White Sox are just 8-7 over that stretch.
The White Sox lineup was finally able to draw walks. This season the South Siders rank last in the MLB with just 87 walks drawn. Poor at-bats have been a theme this season.
As a team, the White Sox have swung at more pitches than any team in baseball. They have done a poor job working counts and putting together quality at-bats. Thursday was a different story.
The White Sox were able to draw five walks. Tim Anderson set the tone with a walk to open the game. Jose Abreu followed suit with a six-pitch at-bat. He was able to battle back from a 1-2 hole in the count.
Anderson and Abreu each drew another walk in the third inning, with Anderson coming around to score for the first run of the game. AJ Pollock was able able to draw a two-out walk.
While only one of these five walks resulted in a run, it helped work up Carlos Hernandez’s pitch count. By the fourth inning, Hernandez was knocked out of the game and the White Sox were able to feast on the Royals’ weak bullpen.
Drawing walks were the recipe for success for the White Sox last season. The White Sox drew the fourth-most walks in the MLB last season with 586. Coinceindtally they were seventh in runs scored.
Even if you look at the White Sox numbers through the first 34 games this season compared to last season.
2022 White Sox: 32 HR
2021 White Sox: 31 HR
2022 White Sox: 76 BB
2021 White Sox: 131 BB
2022 White Sox: 122 Runs
2021 White Sox: 186 Runs
The numbers speak for themselves.