The White Sox will be without one of their best bats for the final series of the regular season.
Eloy Jiménez sprained his foot while scoring from second base during the seventh inning of Thursday's game in Cleveland and departed the game early. Though he slid into home plate, Jiménez said he felt the injury when he touched third base. Now he's expected to miss the entirety of the White Sox weekend series against the Crosstown-rival Cubs. According to manager Rick Renteria, Jiménez will be re-evaluated during the weekend and again Monday before the team begins its opening-round playoff series Tuesday.
"Right now, I’m day by day," Jiménez said. "Monday, I’m going to be re-evaluated, and they’re going to decide what we’re going to do and what we don’t. Let’s hope I can play."
"They're going to continue to treat him up, and he'll be off his feet for a few days and see if they can calm it down," Renteria said. "Right now, we're just straight out day-to-day. There's some inflammation in there that they want to calm down, and we'll know more in a few days, after continuing to get it treated, where we're at."
There's never a good time to lose a middle-of-the-order bat like Jiménez, but this has to count as one of the worst times for it to happen to the White Sox. The offense has generally struggled for the last week, and because of it, among other reasons, the White Sox just went 1-6 on a disastrous road trip through Ohio.
Jiménez has been one of the few White Sox hitters still swinging a reliable bat. He's got a .296/.332/.559 slash line on the season and a .302/.333/.512 line in the month of September. Plus, Jiménez has hit the ball extremely well when facing his former organization. He's got eight hits, three homers, two doubles, five RBIs and five runs scored in his seven career regular-season games against the Cubs.
With players like Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada, Edwin Encarnación and Nomar Mazara slumping at the moment — heck, even MVP candidate Tim Anderson struggled during the team's four straight losses in Cleveland — the White Sox lineup is not flexing its muscles the same way it did during the bulk of the season, when it proved to be as potent as any in the game.
And taking Jiménez out of the middle of it certainly doesn't help the White Sox as they look to right the ship and win the AL Central crown in the final three games before the playoffs.
Of course, things could still get worse, and the question becomes whether Jiménez will be ready for the postseason, which begins Tuesday.
That answer will have to wait until next week. Right now, the White Sox have to figure out how to snap out their funk and do it without one of their best offensive threats.