Rebuilding seasons are not a walk in the park. Sure, there’s the excitement of new prospects, which have been flowing into the White Sox system since the Chris Sale trade in December. But soon that excitement fades. Our eyes naturally and slowly turn to the major league team. That team hasn’t given us much, but we can find glimpses of the future if we try hard enough. Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito have both given reasons for optimism in their White Sox debuts. Every time Yoan Moncada connects with a ball, we get a beautiful feeling that everything is going to be okay. And we were treated to one of the best sneak peeks of the future on Wednesday night.
It was a close, back-and-forth game for the duration of the nine innings. After seven innings, though, the White Sox were on the wrong side of a one-run game. They were in need of a late rally. They didn’t necessarily receive the run explosion they would have liked, but they were able to produce runs nonetheless. A Leury Garcia double was followed by a Moncada double and suddenly the White Sox had tied the game. No other runs crossed the plate that inning, but the man the White Sox need to be a star in the future had just tied it up. It was invigorating.
In the ninth inning the score was remained tied. Yes, the team could go into extras and see what happened from there, but the better route was certainly to finish it off in the bottom of the inning and go home. Once again a Garcia got things going, but this time it was Avisail that reached on a base hit. It, of course, would not be a Rick Renteria-managed game without a sacrifice bunt, which moved Garcia to second. An intentional walk of Yolmer Sanchez* put the game on Tim Anderson’s shoulders, and he delivered. A base hit brought Garcia home, and the celebration began for a team and a hitter that were both in desperate need of it.
*Ed. Note: The second of his career, both coming this season.
The White Sox win on Wednesday was more than just a fun, come-from-behind win in late innings. There have been a remarkable number of those this season (despite the team being bad) that brought just momentary excitement. This one was different. This one gave us a glimpse into what the future might be like.
Anderson has been struggling this season, hitting just .239/.260/.384 with defense that leaves a lot to be desired. But he has shown signs, both during last season and this one, that he can be a difference-maker in the future. He still has a lot to prove, but he has a more certain future on this team than almost anyone else on the major league roster. That means something, and his walk-off hit on Wednesday helped us wonder just how great it might be when he is shining as his best self on a contending White Sox team.
Moncada hasn’t disappointed in his short time with the team, but he hasn’t blown us away yet either. That leaves some fans wanting more. Despite his .192/.328/.364 slash line being lackluster, Moncada has shown an ability to drive the ball and take a ton of walks. The hits will continue to start falling. He has three doubles in his last two games, showing an ability to drive the ball into the gaps. His double, like his game-tying home run just weeks before and Anderson’s walk-off, was more than just a simple double. It meant something both in the game and for fans dreaming on the future.
The doldrums of the rebuild are just beginning, but fans can find little moments to build on. Wednesday appeared to be one of those little moments. If you’re like me, you get a twinge of excitement each and every time Moncada and Anderson turn a double play or step to the plate. They’re the ones we can dream on, the future that is growing right in front of us. Their heroics on Wednesday night could easily be extrapolated into a dream of a White Sox team down the road in a playoff race at the end of the season. It wasn’t hard to picture Moncada and Anderson carrying a much better team into the postseason rather than just to a meaningless win on a Wednesday night. Both players have struggled, but for one night they delivered in the way we expect for many years to come. They are the future, and they’re giving us a lot to dream on.
Lead photo credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports