Over the first two months of the season, Josh Harrison went from intriguing veteran starter at second base, to public enemy No. 1 for White Sox Twitter. As his batting average dipped below .150, fans called for Harrison to be DFA’d. But when Yoán Moncada and Danny Mendick each went down in June, Harrison stuck around. Harrison hinted that he saw the bevy of criticism on social media, but insisted it didn’t bother him. Harrison clearly wasn’t kidding, because as the vitriol directed at him peaked, he got hot.
Harrison continued that hot streak on Tuesday, going 2-4 with a walk and a big two-runner homer that brought the Sox back even with the Angels in the fifth inning. In all, he drove in a season-high three RBI.
“Man, I’m a vet,” Harrison said after the game. “I’ve been in this game long enough to know that you’re going to go through adversity, you’re going to go through tough times. Earlier this year wasn’t my first time going through adversity, and I know what type of player I am, what I bring to the table. Just a matter of getting into a rhythm, being in the flow and being out there.”
Harrison now has a hit in 12 of 15 games in June, in which he has at least three plate appearances. He’s raised his slash line from .172/.255/.263 on May 31 to .234/.308/.351 after Tuesday. Through April and May, Harrison had only mustered three RBI, and no home runs. Harrison now has two homers and 10 RBI in June alone.
“He’s looking like himself, isn’t he?” said Tony La Russa. “He’s looking like his bubblegum card… That’s a real boost for us, because he’s got winning all over him.”
If Harrison can keep it up he can not only continue to contribute steady defense at second, but he can help turn over the lineup out of the nine hole. That’s where Harrison has hit the most this season, and it may be worth keeping him there, even if his average continues to climb. Tim Anderson is the team’s best hitter at the top of the lineup, and giving Anderson more RBI opportunities can only help the offense as a whole.
“I’ve been blessed,” Harrison said. “I’ve been in the game for 10 years at this level, so I’ve gone through every emotion possible: happy, sad, frustrated, anger. So what I went through earlier this year, it was magnified because it was the beginning of the season, but it’s a long season for a reason.”
Maybe it’s time to start sending those apology tweets.