That was fun.
Sure, the Tigers weren’t running out a murderer’s row of pitchers, but the White Sox absolutely erupted, scoring 17 runs on 25 hits. A number of hitters posted gaudy stat lines (Jose Abreu went 4-for-5 for example, ho hum), but I want to highlight three in particular:
Tim Anderson. Coming into today’s game, Anderson had basically rallied to the point where his offensive statistics were in line with last year’s—K%, BB%, ISO, etc.—but for a slightly unlucky year for batted ball luck contrasted to last year’s modest good fortune in that area. It’s impressive when one considers that Anderson basically did nothing the first half of the season. In a way, that explains some of his BABIP as it isn’t “unlucky” to not reach base when you only make terrible contact, but his second half has been far more enjoyable.
From August 1 heading into Thursday’s game against Detroit, Anderson had been on a sustained tear, hitting .302/.315/.541. With a 3-for-7 showing Thursday afternoon, he’s up to .258/.276/.409 on the year. The defense has been rough, the OBP is the version of ugly one might expect when a player like Anderson isn’t hitting for a high average. But, it cuts against the potential conclusion that the league had “figured him out” and the power is looking quite sustainable. It’s certainly better than the whole year being lost.
Avisail Garcia. I’m not sure how long Garcia would have to keep hitting like an All Star before I let my guard entirely down. He’s closing in on 500 PAs on the season, and after Thursday’s 5-for-5 performance (with a walk for good measure!) he’s hitting .333/.380/.509. There is more and more evidence to support the argument that his only significant slump of the season could be attributed to his attempt to play through multiple nagging injuries.
If this version of Avisail is for real, or at least some significant percentage of it, then it may make for some tough decisions for the White Sox front office, and how his timeline syncs up with the organization’s next contention window, given that he would hit free agency after the 2019 season.
And speaking of that window, Yoan Moncada has suddenly put together a hot streak of his own. After reaching base four times on Wednesday, he reached the first six times he came to the plate on Thursday, finishing 4-for-5 with two walks and a home run. Our staff urged patience (and continue to do so) when his batting average was particularly unsightly, Moncada is now hitting .229/.353/.407 in his White Sox career. It’s funny how having a 2 at the beginning of that slash line makes it easier to appreciate his walks and power, but there you are.
Just as one must be cautious about getting too pessimistic after a month of baseball, caution is still the path of wisdom. He could just as easily go on a 2-for-32 slump as soon as this piece is posted and finish with ugly numbers, but I hope those who had already labeled him a bust can find it in their hearts to give the issue further thought. There is, after all, still the chance that he winds up morphing into the star we all hope he could be sooner rather than later.
Lead Image Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports