We’ve spent a good portion of the second half of the season talking about pretty much everything except the major league White Sox. That’s understandable. The White Sox are headed toward another bottom five finish, and subjects like when Eloy Jimenez is coming up, Michael Kopech seemingly starting to figure things out, trades or lack thereof, are quite frankly more interesting than whatever happened in the latest White Sox loss.
All that said, I’d be remiss to not give a nod, on the rare occasion that it’s warranted, to the major league team when things go right. Sunday’s 8-7 win over the Rays gave the White Sox their first four-game winning streak of the season and first road series sweep since early 2016 in Toronto. The four wins coming against the Royals and Rays isn’t exactly the stiffest of competition to be beating one’s chest over, but positive production for any period of time more than a day or two is noteworthy during a time when that hasn’t happened all that often.
1. In his first start since I wondered allowed if he had “figured it out,” Carlos Rodon lowered his ERA to 2.94 with six shutout innings in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Tampa. He also walked six. Rodon admitted after the game that he didn’t have as good of a feel for his fastball as he would have liked, but was able to wiggle his way out of trouble enough to stay in the game thanks to sharp secondaries. That he allowed just three hits and induced 16 swinging strikes is a testament to how well his stuff can play even when he’s not fully on, but against a better hitting team he may not have been so lucky, and the start just further illustrates how integral fastball command is for Rodon.
2. For players with the age and skill set Jose Abreu possesses, any prolonged slump brings with it worries that the end of his time as a productive player is near. Abreu entered the All-Star break in the midst of the worst slump of his otherwise remarkably consistent career, but has since looked once again like the Abreu of old. Prior to Sunday’s game, Abreu was hitting .357/.438/.768 in 15 post-break games and went 2-for-4 in Sunday’s 8-7 win. He’s raised his OPS by 69 points during that span.
3. OK, so I lied. We’re still going to talk about prospects quite a bit. Kopech rattled off another impressive start Sunday, striking out nine and walking zero in seven innings of work. In the link at the top, of this post, James Fegan goes into detail about both the mechanical and mental adjustments he has made to break out of a midseason slump, and the results have shown in the form of 41 strikeouts against just 4 walks in 31 IP across his last five starts.
4. While the clamoring for a Kopech promotion will only grow louder as he continues to dominate, Dylan Cease has not ceased to impress even after his late-June promotion to Double-A. After Saturday’s 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K performance, he’s now tossed 40 2/3 innings since his promotion with a 1.99 ERA, 58 strikeouts and only 13 walks. The buzz around Kopech and Jimenez is real and warranted, but Cease has been the most pleasant surprise of the White Sox minor league season. Jumping levels is one thing, but he’s also already soared past his career-high in innings pitched at 112 and counting.
5. Speaking of Jimenez, there was a bit of buzz on White Sox Twitter Sunday evening when he was scratched from the lineup in Charlotte right around the same time the White Sox announced that Leury Garcia left Sunday’s game with left hamstring soreness. It turned out to be a false alarm, as Jimenez was reportedly kept out because of flu-like symptoms. The hand-wringing continues.
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