Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Sudden Display Of Hustle And “Fire” Push White Sox Past Tigers


Good defense, smart baserunning, solid pitching, and clutch hitting are not something that has been said in the same sentence very often when describing the 2022 White Sox. But they were all on display from the home team at Guaranteed Rate Field Saturday night.

White Sox players were hustling out of the box, making savvy plays on the basepaths, flashing the leather, battling on the mound, and putting together timely at-bats. The result was a gritty 6-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

While a victory over the hapless Tigers is nothing to write home about, the effort put forth by the White Sox is. Especially considering the events that lead up to Saturday.

Hustle Issues

The White Sox have taken on the personality of their manager for much of the season. They look lifeless at times and have developed a disturbing trend of dogging it out of the box. It would be one thing if the offense were mashing a bunch of home runs and winning games, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The White Sox rank 25th in the MLB in home runs and sit in third place in the American League Central Divison. Their record can be attributed to little things, like effort, that adds up.

The lackluster attitude had gotten so bad that Johnny Cueto aired out his frustrations to the media, calling out the White Sox “fire” after an embarrassing 8-3 loss in Kansas City. The White Sox skipper was caught off guard by Cueto’s comments. He responded by saying Cueto should that type of commentary “in the family” and defended the White Sox effort.

The following day the team sleep-walked through another game and even had broadcaster Steve Stone questioning their lack of hustle.

“It seems to be that hustling is optional, and as long as that stays that way, it is going to be very difficult to win some games going forward,”

One of the prime examples that Stone was referencing came on Thursday when Robert didn’t hustle out of the box on a ball that he could have beaten out if he had.

White Sox Bring Their Running Shoes

Saturday night was as if a switch had flipped. The “fire” that Cueto was alluding to was evident in every aspect of the game. The White Sox trailed by scores of 3-1 and 4-3 early and quickly responded to tie it each time. Their hustle on the bath paths spearheaded the attack.

In the first inning, AJ Pollock went from first to third on a Yoan Moncada single, which allowed him to score on a Jose Abreu sacrifice fly. Gavin Sheets led off the bottom of the second inning by legging out a double on a ground ball to left field.

Leury Garcia drove him in with an RBI single a batter later. Josh Harrison kept the line moving with a base hit to right field, and Garcia raced around the basepaths to go from first to third. Had Garcia not gotten to third on the single, he wouldn’t have been in a position to tie the game on the ensuing AJ Pollock sac-fly.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Eloy Jimenez ripped a two-out RBI single to right field to tie the game at four runs apiece.

Abreu’s Head’s Up Baserunning Steals Run

But the game’s biggest moment came in the seventh inning when Jose Abreu manufactured the go-ahead run with a bit of help from Andrew Vaughn.

Yasmani Grandal hit a 397-foot drive to center field that looked like a home run off the bat. Tigers centerfielder Riley Green tracked it down and caught it near the wall. Abreu wisely tagged up, then took off for second base to get the go-ahead run in scoring position. Green throw beat Abreu, but he was able to slide around Javier Baez’s tag.

Three pitches later, Andrew Vaughn registered his third hit of the night with an RBI single up the middle. That run proved to be the game-winner.

“Pito’s not a very fast guy, but he knows baseball,” Vaugh told reporters after the game. “And he knew, ‘Hey if I can get into scoring position here…’You don’t even have to ask him. That’s exactly what he did. It’s the little things sometimes.”

After all the scrappy was of scoring runs, AJ Pollock decided to mix things up by tacking on a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning for good measure.

Giolito Overcomes Tough Break

The win was credited to Lucas Giolito, but the path to victory was anything but easy for the 28-year-old. After allowing a run in the first inning, he bounced back by retiring the first two batters he faced in the second. It looked like he was en route for a quick inning after he got ahead of rookie Kerry Carpenter 0-2. Carpenter worked the count full, then drew a walk when a borderline pitch went his way.

The two-out walk opened the flood gates. The Tigers strung three straight hits together to take a 4-1 lead. After some early misfortune, it would have been easy for Giolito to unravel. But he kept his composer and got stronger as the game went along. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced and was able to make it through seven innings. His final line was four runs on eight hits and seven strikeouts.

“I got a little pissed off after the second inning,” Giolito told reporters. “It was a big pitch that inning on a 3-2 count that was a strike I would have liked. Could have made the inning go a lot different. But that’s baseball. I could have done a better job limiting damage that inning. But I was angry.”

“A lot of times when you’re angry, it can turn into frustration. That takes you out of it. But I made it a point to channel it into aggression toward executing pitches and starting to find a rhythm in the fourth, fifth and carried it through seven.”

Bullpen Slams The Door

Tony La Russa turned to Reynaldo Lopez to protect the lead in the eighth inning. Lopez struck out two of the three batters he faced while firing a scoreless inning for his sixth hold of the season.

Lopez then passed the baton to Liam Hendriks, who converted his 25th save of the season. It didn’t come without some drama. A hit and a walk put the go-ahead run at the plate, but Hendriks worked around it by striking out Riley Green to end the game. The save marked Hendriks 16th save in a row.


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Aug 15, 2022 10:34 am

 bath paths” and ” kept his composer ” ? I think SM needs an editor to look over some of these articles.

Aug 14, 2022 5:59 am

Great win by Chicago. Seeing the fire , will & intensity isnโ€™t the issue for me. Weโ€™ve seen it for games or series w Twins, Yankees in past but they have to be consistent & string together a win streak if they want to be serious & take the division. Step in the right direction for sure, another good summarized article ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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