White Sox

Fired-up Anthony Swarzak relishes pressure of first career save

Fired-up Anthony Swarzak relishes pressure of first career save

Willson Contreras wasn’t too thrilled with Anthony Swarzak’s final two pitches being called strikes, but for the White Sox reliever, that pair of perfectly-placed fastballs were the culmination of years of work. 

Swarzak earned his first career save in the White Sox 3-1 win over the Cubs in Monday’s Crosstown opener at Wrigley Field, retiring Javier Baez in the eighth and then pitching past Kris Bryant’s two-out infield single and Anthony Rizzo’s ensuing walk in the ninth. After home plate umpire Angel Hernandez rung up Contreras to end the game, Swarzak unleashed a yell that encapsulated the energy of the day — even though the White Sox, in snapping their nine-game losing streak, remain at the bottom of the American League. 

“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”

While both teams paid lip service to the “it’s just another game” approach to Crosstown matchups, the crowd of 40,849 was electric. Third baseman Matt Davidson — who slammed a 476-foot home run in the eighth inning — remarked that Monday afternoon was the closest atmosphere he’s felt to a playoff game. Swarzak felt that same energy, too. 

“When you work really hard on executing and in the biggest situation, runners on against the Cubs, Wrigley Field, to be able to execute, that means that you’re working on the right stuff and you’re headed in the right direction,” Swarzak said. 

With David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle shipped to the New York Yankees last week, and Nate Jones and Zach Putnam out for the rest of the season, Swarzak should get more high-leverage opportunities going forward — that is, unless he’s traded within the next week. The 31-year-old Swarzak, who lowered his ERA Monday to 2.23 with a tidy 2.34 FIP, is one of the White Sox few remaining trade chips, but his success this year makes him an attractive target for a team vying for a playoff spot. 

If Swarzak is traded to a contender, he’ll pitch in plenty more high-leverage spots in front of charged-up crowds. Playoff baseball may be in his future, and Monday afternoon could prove to be a preview of what he’ll be up against over the final few months of the season if he indeed is traded. 

“Pitching the ninth inning is different,” Swarzak said. “Guys are more patient, they know what you’re going to throw, they’re locked in a little more. And that was just one. There’s a long list of career saves and I’m on the bottom of it. Hopefully I can get a few more opportunities and we can win some more games.” 

White Sox-Cardinals series, amid COVID-19 outbreak, still scheduled to play

White Sox-Cardinals series, amid COVID-19 outbreak, still scheduled to play

At least one sign points to the St. Louis Cardinals returning to play soon enough to play the White Sox this weekend.

The White Sox announced on Monday that the start time of their Saturday game against the Cardinals had been pushed back from a day game to a night game.

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While that isn’t extraordinarily newsworthy on it’s own, it does indicate that MLB still intends for the Cardinals to travel to Chicago to play the White Sox. St. Louis hasn’t played since July 29, since nine players and seven staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to CBS Sports.

While things can certainly change quickly, if everything remains the same the Cardinals will make up two games against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 13. The White Sox were previously scheduled to play the Cardinals that day, so they will now have an off day on Aug. 13 and will begin their series against St. Louis on Aug. 14.

RELATED: Report: St. Louis Cardinals went to casino before COVID-19 outbreak

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Luis Robert not in White Sox lineup for series opener against Detroit Tigers

Luis Robert not in White Sox lineup for series opener against Detroit Tigers

Luis Robert is not in the White Sox lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers. Adam Engel will take Robert’s usual spot in center field.

It’s likely just a rest day for Robert who has played in all 16 games for the White Sox, so far.

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Robert hit the ground running to start his major league career, slashing .302/.362/.460 through Sunday night’s game with two homers and six RBI. He’s also tied for the most stolen bases in the A.L. with four.

However, Robert has cooled off a bit over his last five games, hitting .158 with nine strikeouts, one walk and no homers or RBI.


RELATED: White Sox at quarter pole: Injuries, starting-pitching woes cloud rest of 2020

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