The White Sox washed away the stink of their disappointing series loss to the Dodgers on Thursday, by scratching out a win in their series opener against the Rangers. Each team opted to deploy their bullpens from start to finish, yet it was still a low scoring affair for most of the night. There was even the return of a little Small Ball to the South Side as the Sox started the weekend series on the right foot with an 8-3 victory.
HAPPINESS IS A WARM OPENER
Before Friday’s game, Tony La Russa said getting six outs from Reynaldo López would be “happiness,” as the Sox opted to use a bullpen day rather than a starter. Not only did López deliver those six outs, he did in a decisive fashion, allowing only one hit and striking out three, so La Russa must have been ecstatic. That gave the offense the opportunity to jump out to a 1-0 lead early on, and set up Davis Martin to come in and eat five more innings afterwards. López now has pitched one inning or more, while giving up no earned runs, in 14 of his 22 appearances. His ERA is down to 3.96. It may be tempting to try to stretch him out a bit more to see if he can earn even more outs when needed, but given López’ success in his current role, it may be best to not mess with his workload.
LUIS ROBERT STEALS A RUN
Literally. This wasn’t your typical sports cliché, like when you hear a player “stole a pitch,” or a team “stole a win.” Robert manufactured a run all by himself in the sixth inning after he reached base by beating out a double-play ball. After a couple of futile pickoff attempts from Tyson Miller, Robert was off and running, and grabbed second easily. He wasn’t done there, though. Robert took off again for third, and this time forced an errant throw from catcher Sam Huff. As the ball dribbled into left field, Robert trotted home for an easy run, and tied the game at 2-2.
JAKE RAKES, YASMANI BUSTS OUT
With Tim Anderson on the IL, and Yoán Moncada in and out of the lineup with soreness, Jake Burger has more than made the most of his opportunities, by pacing the offense since the beginning of June. Meanwhile, Yasmani Grandal has just started to find his way at the plate after a horrific first two months of the season. On Friday, the pair combined to lead the offense to a win. Burger started his day by roping a double off the left field wall. Two batters later, Grandal singled him home for the game’s first run. Then, in the eighth, Burger beat out an infield single to spark a two-out rally. This time, Grandal drove him in for the game-winning run with a double off the right field wall. After that, the floodgates opened and the Sox poured it on to put the game away. Burger now has two hits in his last three games, and has at least one hit in nine of his last 11. Grandal is streaking himself, with a hit in four-straight games, and has reached base safely in his last seven games. If the White Sox want to start making some headway in the win column they’ll need one or two guys to start heating up. If Burger and Grandal can keep it up, it would provide a huge boost for the offense.