Saying the White Sox are happy to have Tim Anderson back in the lineup might be the understatement of the season.
In his second game back from a 10-day IL stint, Anderson again set the tone for the entire day, this time with a 10-pitch leadoff at-bat that culminated in a home run. He finished the day going 4-5, with three runs, and was a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
And no one knows how important he is to the Sox offense better than Anderson himself.
“I definitely want to start the party,” Anderson said. “I’m the energizer bunny, baby. Just my presence being in that lineup, definitely makes the guys go, makes the other team scared.”
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Opposing teams should be terrified, as Anderson is somehow hitting the ball even better than last season when he won the MLB batting title. Tuesday’s performance pushed his season average to .385 and his OPS to a whopping 1.107.
Anderson’s assertion that he makes the rest of the White Sox lineup go is backed up by the numbers, as well. Since returning to the lineup, the White Sox have gone 2-0 and scored 15 runs. In the six games before that, the team went 1-5 and only scored 11 runs.
Anderson’s teammates have felt his presence, too, but it’s not just his ability at the plate. Anderson provides intangibles for this team and is starting to feel like a “glue guy.” Think A.J. Pierzynski or Aaron Rowand. Yes, these guys played great in the field, but they added even more value in the clubhouse, off the field.
“He’s an excellent leadoff,” said Luis Robert via translater Billy Russo. “Just the energy he provides in the dugout, in the field, it’s important.”
“You can’t overlook it,” said Rick Renteria on Tuesday. “You know, what he does, he does. It’s just natural, it’s who he is. You know when it’s missing.”
If you’re somehow still dubious about how much of an impact Anderson makes on this team, he doesn’t mind.
“Let ‘em sleep, baby,” Anderson said. “Let ‘em sleep. There’s a lot of doubters out there. They’re motivating me like, ‘Who’s gonna be the leadoff guy?’ Nothing against Luis Robert, but, c’mon man. C’mon.”
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