One of the biggest flaws this White Sox team has dealt with this season is their play away from 35th and Shields, as they entered this weekend’s Crosstown Classic series a few miles north at Clark and Addison a very underwhelming 25-26.
But after a three-game sweep on Chicago’s North Side, it can be argued that they play well in their home city, regardless of which side the ballpark is on.
Dingers. All the dingers. The Sox pounded out 8 homers in the series, including four in Sunday night’s series finale on ABC. Cesar Hernandez hit his first two in the eighth inning of each of the first two games of the series, and Jose Abreu kept up his hot streak, with a homer Saturday.
Sunday, the Sox ambushed Cubs starter Zach Davies for three homers in the first inning, starting with the very first pitch of the game to Tim Anderson. Eloy Jimenez followed that with a long homer to center for the first of his two dongs against his former organization, and then Andrew Vaughn connected for another two-run dinger to make the score 5-0 before Dylan Cease stepped on the mound. Jimenez added a solo shot in the fifth as part of his three-hit, 5-RBI effort.
Starting strong. Sox starters lived up to their reputation for the most part this weekend, with Lance Lynn going six strong on Friday, striking out 8, and only allowing one run on four hits. Rodon only went five, but he fanned 11 Cub hitters, but he held the Cubs scoreless, and the bullpen held that bagel on the board as the Sox won Saturday’s contest 4-0. Dylan Cease also went five uneven innings, but he did enough with the big early lead he was given to get the win. Cease fanned 10, but he allowed 3 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks sprinkled in too. Three Sox relievers covered the final four innings to keep the Cubs at 3 runs on the board as the Sox tacked on to win comfortably 9-3 Sunday night.
Abreu heating up. Jose Abreu is coming out of a slump, and it’s coming at a great time for the Sox offense. Andrew Vaughn had been carrying the load offensively of late, and Vaughn had another solid series at Wrigley this weekend, but if the Sox are gonna go anywhere, Pito will have to lead the way. Yoan Moncada has been struggling, Tim Anderson has been up and down of late, and Eloy Jimenez is still trying to get his timing back at the big league level, while they await the returns of Luis Robert (more on that below) and Yasmani Grandal. Pito is the unquestioned leader of this team, and he’s gonna have to carry the mail offensively.
Getting healthy. Luis Robert’s rehab stint at AAA Charlotte has come to an end, which the team confirmed before Sunday’s game. He’ll fly to Minnesota and join the team there and presumably be in the lineup Monday against the Twins. It comes a couple weeks after Jimenez returned to the lineup and he’s showing signs of getting his timing back at the plate, with his three-hit effort Sunday night at Wrigley Field.
Kimbrel’s rude welcome back. Newly acquired reliever Craig Kimbrel returned to the mound at Wrigley Field, this time in a road gray White Sox uniform, and the Cubs rudely welcomed him back, to the tune of three runs on four hits, which tied the game at 4 and forced the game in to extra innings. But the Sox offense had Kimbrel’s back in the 10th, as Brian Goodwin hit a huge 2-run homer, and the Sox added on, which was crucial as Garrett Crochet served up a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th in the 8-6 win on Friday.
The Sox head to Minnesota for a three-game set against the last-place Twins before heading to Dyersville, Iowa for the Field of Dreams game against the Yankees on Thursday. They take a 10.5 game lead into Minnesota, who sits a whopping 18 games behind the Sox.