White Sox

On day Lucas Giolito makes 2018 debut for White Sox, Adam Eaton has monster afternoon for Nationals

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AP

On day Lucas Giolito makes 2018 debut for White Sox, Adam Eaton has monster afternoon for Nationals

Adam Eaton might go down as one of the most important figures in the White Sox rebuild.

He won't be playing alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito. But the trade that sent him to the Washington Nationals stocked the White Sox farm system. It's already yielded a pair of exciting young big league pitchers in Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez and could end up producing a third rotation piece in Dane Dunning. The haul was a big one at the time and could prove even bigger, depending on what Giolito, Lopez and Dunning become. That trade, along with the one that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for Moncada, Kopech and others, jolted this rebuild to life two winters ago.

So White Sox fans ought to feel good about seeing Eaton succeed. They missed that chance last year, as he was sidelined for almost the entire season with a torn ACL. But he's starting 2018 in strong fashion, including a monster day Saturday in the Nats' win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Eaton went 5-for-5 and came a triple shy of the cycle, homering, bashing out a pair of doubles, scoring four runs and driving in three.

Talk about a huge afternoon.

Eaton's big 2016 season allowed Rick Hahn to ship him to the nation's capital in exchange for such a big prospect package. He finished in the top 20 in American League MVP voting, slashing .284/.362/.428 with 29 doubles, an AL-high nine triples and some great defense.

This is the kind of day the Nationals assumed would make him worth the price they paid to the White Sox. Though it's pretty safe to say the White Sox are happy with the return. Giolito, perhaps the best pitcher on the major league roster, makes his first start of the 2018 season Saturday night.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Who will win the AL Central in 2020?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Who will win the AL Central in 2020?

With only 60 games to play in the 2020 MLB season, it seems like there will be a three-team race to the top of the AL Central. To discuss and debate, Chuck Garfien is joined by Anthony Castrovince and Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com to discuss who will be crowned the division winner.

(4:30) - Is the AL Central a three-team race or will the Twins win it again?

(10:30) - Who will have the best hitting in the division?

(16:49) - Who has the best starting pitching?

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(23:38) - Bullpen break down

(31:52) - Final rankings on who should win the AL Central

Listen here or below.

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MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

MLB The Show: White Sox take down Blue Jays behind Dallas Keuchel

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

Result: White Sox def. Blue Jays 7-1
Record: 51-36 this season, first in AL Central (3 games ahead of Twins)

W: Dallas Keuchel (5-5)
L: Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4)

Game summary: The South Siders continued their three-game set vs the Blue Jays north of the border on Wednesday. And just like Canadian summers, their bats took a little longer than normal to warm up in this game.

Fortunately for the White Sox, they didn’t need a lot of runs early as Dallas Keuchel had his entire repertoire working. The veteran lefty, a frequent sore spot in the rotation this season, went eight innings while allowing just one run and striking out five batters. Sporting an ERA above 7 at times this year, Keuchel is now sitting at 5.90.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest White Sox news and analysis.

After just scoring just two runs through the first seven frames, the White Sox offense broke out in the eighth. Tim Anderson emerged from his power slump in a big way, hitting a three-run bomb to left. Then, Nomar Mazara also went deep, slugging his 17th homer of the season.

The White Sox winning streak is now at three games, the same total they lead the AL Central by as All-Star weekend approaches.

White Sox lineup:

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-4 (.311 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, 2B (.251 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 1-5, HR (23), RBI, R (.278 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 1-3, 2 BB, R (.309 BA)
Jose Abreu: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 R (.311 BA)
Tim Anderson: 1-5, HR (15), 3 RBI, R (.275 BA)
Luis Robert: 1-5, R (.256 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-3 (.283 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 2-4, HR (17), 2 RBI, R (.257 BA)

Scoring summary:

Top first

Yoan Moncada homered to left field. 1-0 CHW.

Top fourth

Nomar Mazara singled to left field, Luis Robert scored. 2-0 CHW.

Bottom fifth

Bo Bichette homered to left field. 2-1 CHW.

Top eighth

Tim Anderson homered to left field, Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu scored. 5-1 CHW.
Mazara homered to right field. 6-1 CHW.

Top ninth

Anderson reached on throwing error, Abreu scored. 7-1 CHW.

Notable performance: Mazara is the human embodiment of the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Despite being in the nine-hole, Mazara has hit 16 homers and is ninh in the AL with 63 RBIs. There's no reason to move him elsewhere in the lineup.

Next game: Thursday, July 2 - Game 88: White Sox at Blue Jays (Dylan Cease, 4-4, 5.40 ERA vs Ryan Borucki, 6-4, 5.11 ERA)

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