KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nothing that happens in the first month of a baseball season is assured to carry through to the remaining five. And certainly nothing that happens in the first three games of a baseball season is assured to carry through to the remaining 159.
But in the finale of the White Sox opening series against the Kansas City Royals, everybody got a glimpse at what this offense is capable of.
Surely there will be higher-scoring days than the six runs the White Sox scored Sunday in a 6-3 win. And surely there will be lower-scoring days. For an example of what this offense can look like at its low points, just rewind back to Thursday's opener, when the White Sox mustered just three base runners through the first eight innings of that game.
But Sunday was a great look. Jose Abreu and Yonder Alonso, batting third and fourth, went back-to-back with home runs in the fourth inning, starting the scoring. Those two ended up reaching base four times apiece. Yoan Moncada added two more hits to his early season hot streak, raising his batting average through three games to .462. Eloy Jimenez picked up his second career RBI, amusingly on the second of back-to-back bases-loaded walks in the sixth inning, giving him two RBIs without an RBI hit in the early going of his big league career.
But six runs, 11 hits and five walks? That's a good look for a team that needed to show some offensive improvement after last year's 100-loss season.
"We've just got to be competitive. We've got to make sure we hand the bat to the guy behind you, not try to do everything, not try to do too much," Alonso said after the game. "Just making sure you have good pitches and get good pitches and when you do get them, make sure you don't miss them.
"I think our lineup is good. Our lineup, we can run, we can do so many different things. We can hit the long ball, we can play small. It's just nice to see. We've just got to continue our work and continue to get ready every single day."
Moncada's red-hot start to the season is the most eye-opening of the developments in the White Sox lineup. In three games in Kansas City, Moncada — who struck out a major league leading 217 times last season, the most talked-about aspect of a disappointing 2018 — went 6-for-13 with a home run, a double, three RBIs, five runs scored and a walk. After going the first two games without striking out, Moncada did so twice Sunday. But pair the offensive success that's carried over from a torrid spring with solid defensive play at third base (he made a real nice pick on a hard-hit grounder Sunday), and there's something worth getting excited about.
Abreu could also use a bounce back in 2019 after an uncharacteristic slump and a couple fluky injuries prevented him from reaching his usual levels of production in 2018. He's already got a pair of home runs, a couple of walks and four RBIs.
Alonso, who is splitting time with Abreu at first base and designated hitter, was brought in to provide pop and on-base skills for this lineup. He's already walked four times in three games and got his first hit in a White Sox uniform, the homer, Sunday.
Jimenez will be the story of the season, and while he went hitless in two of the three contests against the Royals, he had two hits on Saturday and left Kansas City with a pair of RBIs.
Tim Anderson, unmentioned to this point, quietly picked up four hits in the opening series. James McCann had two hits in Sunday's game.
None of this is to suggest the White Sox tore the cover off the ball, nor is it to suggest that Sunday's strong showing canceled out the woefulness from the vast majority of Thursday's opener. But the somewhat transformed middle of the order — Moncada, Abreu, Alonso and Jimenez — has been a positive for the White Sox as the season has started, and it could make for a different kind of summer than the one that ended with 100 losses last year.
Sunday's performance is hardly a guaranteed sign of things to come, but at the very least it was a taste of what this White Sox offense is capable of. And it appears to be capable of more than it was a year ago. If the top and middle of this order could become something reliable, something dependable, that would make a world of difference for this team.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.