What a difference a day makes. After miserable weather kept crowds away, and bats cold, in the White Sox’ series opener against the Cubs, the lively Crosstown atmosphere was back in action on Wednesday. The play on the field lived up to the ambiance too. There was a bit of everything, including big time home runs, power pitching and some incredible glove work too. It was a nailbiter too, as the White Sox worked around men on first and third with nobody out in the 8th inning to protect a one-run lead. In the end the South Siders were able to hold on for a 4-3 victory, giving them a sweep in the short series against the Cubs, and their first three-game win streak since April 9-13, when they won four in a row.
BATS HEAT UP IN THE SUN
The White Sox offense has scuffled the past couple weeks, averaging only 2.66 runs per game over the past 15 games. A big factor for the cold hitting has been the unseasonably cold weather. On Wednesday, the sun finally showed itself in Chicago, making 52-degree weather feel like a balmy summer day. And as the sun came out of its seemingly endless hibernation, so did the bats. The first four hits, between both the Sox and Cubs, all went over the fence, giving the impression that Wednesday was going to be a slugfest. But when the sun went down, the bats cooled again and the pace of scoring slowed. If that brief amount of sun is any preview for what the rest of the summer has in store, better times could be ahead for the Sox very soon. The forecast in Boston predicts temps between the mid-50s and mid-60s, with plenty more sun. Then when the team comes back home for their series against the Guardians, temperatures are expected to be in the mid-70s and mid-80s. Will the offense fans have expected to see finally arrive with the warmer weather?
BOOM OR BUST NIGHT FOR LUCAS GIOLITO
On one hand, Giolito dominated Cubs batters, striking out 10 in just 5.2 innings. As usual, Giolito claimed most victims with the devastating combo of his fastball and changeup, but he punched out a couple of hitters with a curveball and slider too. On the other hand, Giolito was touched up for two home runs in a three-run second inning. That inning ran up his pitch count and prevented him from going as deep into the game as he would have liked. In the end, holding the Cubs to three runs was enough for the White Sox to get the win, but going forward, Giolito will certainly want to avoid the one bad inning that kept him from tossing a real gem.
ANOTHER INJURY DISASTER AVOIDED
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Luis Robert made the catch of the night on a Willson Contreras liner that seemed destined to tie the game at four runs apiece. After the catch however, Robert ran into the wall, hard. With no ivy in bloom at Wrigley yet, it was a crash course straight into the unforgiving bricks of the outfield. Robert immediately grabbed his shoulder, then fell to the ground. He stayed there for a few moments, grimacing, before jogging off the field with a trainer.
Robert felt good enough to stay in the game, and ripped a single in his next at-bat, but it was a tense moment for a team that’s already been wracked with injuries.