White Sox

No definite changes to Game 2 lineup for Hawks

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No definite changes to Game 2 lineup for Hawks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Blackhawks aren't ruling out some tweaks to the lineup and the Phoenix Coyotes will have Radim Vrbata back for Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series tonight.

Vrbata was hurt early in Game 1 on Thursday and did not turn. But Phoenix coach Dave Tippett told the media this morning that Vrbata, the Coyotes' leading scorer with 35 goals, is good to go.

That poses a threat to the Blackhawks, who only saw Vrbata for about 30 seconds before Andrew Shaw's hit knocked him out of the game.

"With him in the lineup, he's been a big threat all year. He's really skilled with the puck and has a great shot," Bryan Bickell said. "When (Phoenix's top line) is in the offensive zone we need to shut him down and just keep it simple. Hopefully we can do that."

The Blackhawks could make a change or two to their lineup tonight but coach Joel Quenneville wasn't showing his hand this morning. The Blackhawks weren't showing much on the ice either -- they ran their same lines and defensive pairings during morning skate. Defenseman Sami Lepisto was off the ice early, usually an indication a guy is playing that night. But Lepisto said he wasn't sure if he was in for Game 2.

If all goes well, Yoan Moncada could be back with White Sox this week

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USA TODAY

If all goes well, Yoan Moncada could be back with White Sox this week

Yoan Moncada's return to the White Sox could come as soon as Thursday.

The White Sox third baseman has been on the injured list for the entire month of August while recovering from a hamstring strain, but he could be back in the everyday lineup soon, according to manager Rick Renteria, who provided an update to reporters Monday in Minnesota.

Heading into Monday, Moncada has played three games on his current rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte, only one of which at third base. He went 4-for-12 in those three games, with a home run, two RBIs, a run scored and a pair of strikeouts.

Moncada's return to the lineup for the start of this weekend's four-game set with the Texas Rangers would be a big lift for the White Sox offense. He's been the team's best hitter this season, with a .301/.358/.535 slash line to go along with 20 home runs and 59 RBIs in 97 games.

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Tim Anderson's late summer surge

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USA TODAY

Tim Anderson's late summer surge

A stands for April. A stands for August.

A stands for Anderson.

Just as Tim Anderson torched pitching in the season’s initial month, he’s at it again here in late summer.

Anderson’s 30 hits in 17 August games are tied with Gio Urshela for the MLB lead (entering Monday), and he’s hitting a remarkable .411 for the month. What makes it even more remarkable is that the .411 includes an 0-for-8 in a doubleheader last week against the Astros. If you took that away, he’s hitting .500.

Anderson is riding a streak of five consecutive multi-hit games; it’s the third time this season he had multiple hits in at least four straight games. He had four straight multi-hit performances earlier this month as well as from March 31-April 7.

Whereas Tim took home American League Player of the Month honors for March-April, he’s even ahead of that pace for August in some respects.

  Games BA Multi-hit games
March-April 23 .375 9
August 17 .411 10

But how is he doing it?

He’s cutting down on his strikeouts.

2019 strikeout rate

  K %
March-July 21.5
August 14.5

And when he’s swinging at balls in the zone, he’s not missing.

Contact% of balls in zone

  Zone Contact %
March-July 87.9
August 93.3

He has been particularly deadly against breaking stuff.

2019 vs. breaking pitches

  Batting Avg. Slugging
March-July .291 .437
August .500 (11-22) .636

And he has returned to his lefty-crushing ways.

2019 vs. lefties

  Batting Avg
March-July .287 (23-80)
August .480 (12-25)

When Anderson suffered a high ankle sprain on June 25 in Boston, it was uncertain as to whether he’d be able to build on a breakout 2019 season. He showed signs of rust when he went 0-for-7 in his first two games back July 30-31 against the Mets. But it’s looking more and more like he just needed a few games to shake the rust off. Conveniently, his return to form coincides with the change of month. Let’s be honest, the fact that it’s August has nothing to do with anything.

 

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