White Sox

Tim Anderson doesn't think he got hit on purpose this time, but his personal rivalry lives: 'I don’t like the Royals'

Tim Anderson doesn't think he got hit on purpose this time, but his personal rivalry lives: 'I don’t like the Royals'

By the end of the evening, it seemed nobody who was actually involved in the play thought Glenn Sparkman hit Tim Anderson on purpose.

But Anderson’s opinion on the Royals doesn’t really fluctuate much anymore.

“From my end, I don’t like the Royals. I don’t like them,” Anderson said after the White Sox completed a sweep of their division rivals Wednesday night. “It’s going to be a forever beef for me. But we are going to try to whoop them every time we play them.

“Just period, man. I don’t like them.”

That’s the eye-catcher from Anderson’s comments, which were otherwise mostly understanding about the 1-0 changeup that left Sparkman’s hand in the bottom of the second inning and nearly hit Anderson in the head, clipping the bill of his batting helmet and earning Sparkman an immediate ejection.

It didn’t look like the kind of pitch a pitcher throws in retaliation. But the context was too much not to notice.

It was Anderson’s first plate appearance since the April 13 brouhaha in which Brad Keller responded to an Anderson bat flip by plunking the shortstop. That cleared the benches, and during the to-be-expected chirping, Anderson used a racially charged word that earned him an ejection and a suspension.

That wasn’t even the first incident between Anderson and the Royals, who got mad at the White Sox shortstop during the 2018 season, too. Throw in the fact that in the top half of the second inning Wednesday night, Reynaldo Lopez lost control of a 95 mph fastball that went smoking toward the face of Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier.

It all seemed to make for a dramatic scene in which Anderson was once again the subject of the Royals’ ire. The umpiring crew knew the history, and that’s why home-plate umpire Mark Carlson tossed Sparkman right away, so the umpire told a pool reporter after the game. But Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both said after the game they didn’t think Sparkman was trying to hit Anderson on purpose.

“I knew it was an accident. I saw it on his face. He was looking scared,” Anderson said. “It was a changeup that got away from him. It was just a tough moment for me, but I was able to control myself and stay in the game.”

“The poor guy,” Renteria said. “Personally, I don't think the kid was throwing at him. The changeup got away from him is what I believe. Maybe they were on high alert, I don't know. I certainly do not believe he was trying to hit Tim.”

But that doesn’t mean that Anderson didn’t savor the sweetness of his game-winning double in the eighth inning.

Anderson didn’t get to bat against the Royals in the first two games of this series, limited to one pinch-running appearance while nursing a wrist injury. But he was back in the lineup Wednesday, only for his first plate appearance against this team to end the same way as his previous one did: with a hit by pitch. This time, he actually made it to first base, but the bigger moment came in the eighth, when after White Sox pitching blew a 7-1 lead, Anderson broke a 7-all tie by doubling down the left-field line.

“I was able to get the hit to win the game,” Anderson said. “It was payback. It felt good, man.

“You see me at second? Yeah, that got me going. It got the guys going. It was a huge hit and a huge moment.”

Neither the White Sox nor the Royals have had much to get excited about during the two seasons Anderson has been beefing with the Kansas City baseball club. The two teams combined for more than 200 losses in 2018. While the White Sox are in the midst of a much better season now, they’re still under .500 at 26-29. The Royals are way below .500, at 18-37 after Wednesday’s loss.

But this has added some fuel to this division rivalry. Anderson might not like the Royals, but he’s amped every time he sees them.

“That gets me going. I’m excited to play them,” Anderson said. “I want to whoop them every time we play them.”

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MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

MLB The Show: White Sox fall behind big early, drop second straight to Twins

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: Twins def. White Sox 10-4
Record: 28-31, 3rd in A.L. Central (4.0 GB of Twins)

W: Rich Hill (4-4)
L: Reynaldo Lopez (5-2)

Game summary: All good things must come to an end. In the case of the White Sox' winning streak, things have come to an abrupt end. A day after the Twins put up 11 runs in the first two innings, Minnesota jumped on Chicago early again.

Reynaldo Lopez failed to make it out of the fourth inning. The Twins harassed him with singles a plenty, including RBI base knocks from Alex Avila and Miguel Sano in the second and fourth innings. Then, the big blow came from Jorge Polanco, whose grand slam gave Minnesota a 7-1 lead before the final out of the fourth. Lopez' day came to an end. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of solo home runs in the third and fifth. Yoan Moncada added a couple more runs on a late two-run blast but the White Sox dropped their second straight to the Twins to fall four games back of the division leaders.

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White Sox lineup

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3 (.316 BA)
Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, R (.269 BA)
Yoan Moncada: 2-4, HR (12), 2 RBI, R (.261 BA)
Nick Madrigal: 1-4 (.261 BA)
Jose Abreu: 2-4, 2B (.298 BA)
Tim Anderson: 0-4 (.298 BA)
Luis Robert: 0-4 (.232 BA)
Yasmani Grandal: 3-4, 2 HR (21), 2 RBI, 2 R (.309 BA)
Nomar Mazara: 0-3 (.243 BA)

Scoring summary: 

Top first

Luis Arraez grounded into double play, Byron Buxton scored. 1-0 MIN.

Top second

Alex Avila singled to right field, Josh Donaldson scored. 2-0 MIN.

Bottom third

Yasmani Grandal homered to left field. 2-1 MIN.

Top fourth

Miguel Sano singled to left field, Eddie Rosario scored. 3-1 MIN.
Jorge Polanco homered to right field, Sano, Max Kepler and Avila scored. 7-1 MIN.
Nelson Cruz homered to center field, Arraez scored. 9-1 MIN.

Bottom fifth

Grandal homered to center field. 9-2 MIN.

Bottom sixth

Yoan Moncada homered to center field, Eloy Jimenez scored. 9-4 MIN.

Top eighth

Polanco homered to left field. 10-4 MIN.

Notable performance: With his two homers on Saturday, Grandal now has 21 on the season, which trails only teammate Eloy Jimenez for the team lead. Grandal is third in the AL in RBIs (49) and leads the league in WAR (4.5). Not too shabby for the eight-hole hitter.

Next game: Sunday, May 31 - Game 60: Twins vs White Sox (Devin Smeltzer, 6-2, 2.42 ERA vs Michael Kopech, 0-0, 3.78 ERA)

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White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

White Sox 2005 Rewind: Controversies or not, dominant pitching won the ALCS

“Realistically, I don't know if they could be pitching much better than they have.”

By the end of Game 4 of the ALCS, Joe Buck had a different way to summarize things.

“The dominance continues.”

Realistic or not, the White Sox starting rotation was just plain unhittable in the penultimate series of the 2005 season.

First it was Jose Contreras, setting the tone in a losing effort in Game 1 and coming two outs away from a complete game. Mark Buehrle followed with what he called — to that point, before the no-hitter and the perfect game — one of the best games of his career. Game 3 saw Jon Garland take the baton and stifle the Los Angeles Angels. And then it was Freddy Garcia, dealing as the White Sox cruised to a Game 4 win.

And so while the Fox broadcast spent an awful lot of time on supposed controversies, missed calls by the umpires and breaks for the White Sox, let’s face it: Those Angels weren’t hitting that pitching staff.

After the way Game 2 wrapped up, with A.J. Pierzynski swinging, missing and running to first base in a baffling display that for some reason worked, controversy was a storyline. And boy, did it get milked in Game 4.

Now, this isn’t to say that there weren’t missed calls or that the White Sox didn’t experience a couple breaks in this contest. There were. And they did.

After the Angels chopped the White Sox lead to 3-1 on an RBI hit in the second inning, they still had two men on with only one out. But instead of a rally, Steve Finley hit into an inning-ending double play. His bat, replay clearly showed, hit Pierzynski’s glove on the swing, meaning by rule he should have gone to first on catcher’s interference and loaded the bases. Instead, he turned around to argue while running out the ground ball, hence the double play.

He should have learned from Pierzynski and just busted it down to first base, leaving the details to be sorted out later. No call came, and Finley was out, the Angels’ rally stopped.

The White Sox lead back to three runs in the fifth inning, Scott Podsednik — who had a remarkable game, on base four times with two stolen bases and two runs scored — was seemingly picked off at first base. But the call was safe, and he scored later in the inning to extend a tight three-run game to a four-run game.

But did it really matter? Would any of it made a difference?

Garcia was on point, just like his three rotation-mates before him. He allowed just two runs on only six hits, walking one. He did that 2005 White Sox thing where he pitched fast, pitched to his defense and pitched the Angels into a whole bunch of outs.

You can point to the breaks all you want, attempt to stir up controversy. But the White Sox pitchers were so good that nothing was stopping them as they marched to a pennant.

The only thing that could, as we saw in Game 1 of the series, was an equally strong pitching performance on the other side. That’s exactly what Paul Byrd turned in against Contreras in that first game, and a White Sox lineup that slugged against the Red Sox in the ALDS was stymied. A sick Jarrod Washburn did his best in Game 2, with some help from a terrific crop of relievers, only for Pierzynski to flip the series on its head. In Games 3 and 4 in Anaheim, the Angels couldn’t match Garland and Garcia. An awakened group of White Sox bats hung a crooked number on John Lackey in Game 3 and had the same rude greeting for Ervin Santana — a future member of the South Side rotation, however briefly — in Game 4.

The old sports cliche goes that defense wins championships. In baseball, pitching wins championships. It did in 2005. And no amount of supposed controversy was going to change that.

Keep reliving the White Sox march to the 2005 World Series with #SoxRewind, which features Game 5 of the ALCS, airing at 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago.


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