Tim Anderson’s placement on the 10-day injured list (strained groin) left manager Ricky Renteria with a quandry: who to lead off Saturday’s game against the Royals in Kansas City. His answer turned out to be rookie CF Luis Robert, and Robert did not disappoint.
Luis Robert. His career-opening six game hitting streak was snapped in Friday’s 3-2 win, but he quickly got back in the hit column, and in a big way, collecting four hits, three of them of the extra-base variety. He had two doubles to go along with a solo home run to right-center field. He continues to show easy power, and impressive bat control, pulling a high and inside pitch down the left field line fair for his 2nd double. He finished the night a triple shy of the cycle, going 4-for-6.
Eloy Jimenez. Like Robert, Jimenez finished a triple shy of the cycle and went 4-for-6 on the night. However, his dinger came with two men aboard, and it was assisted by Royals CF Bubba Starling, who had the ball in his mitt at the wall, but it hopped out of his glove and bounded over the wall for a home run. Robert and Jimenez figure to be the cornerstones of this franchise for the next decade, and this probably won’t be the last time they both have 4-hit nights.
Leury Garcia. The utility man quietly added four hits of his own, and it’s already his third 4-hit outing of the 2020 season. He’s batting a healthy .321 so far this year, and he was sound defensively at shortstop, filling in for the injured Tim Anderson. Anderson has had his struggles with the glove this year, so seeing clean defensive play from the shortstop was nice to see.
Gio Gonzalez. He finally made a start in a White Sox uniform for the first time after being drafted by the Sox in the first round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. He wasn’t spectacular, only lasting 3.2 innings, but he kept the Royals off the scoreboard, and scattered five hits while striking out six. He brought some much-needed stability to the bottom half of the rotation, which the Sox will need to remain in contention this year.
Matt Foster. Congrats to the Valley, AL native on his big-league debut, and he pitched a clean 5th inning out of the bullpen, and even recorded his first strikeout.
Hitting with runners in scoring position. This game could have been an absolute bloodbath, had the Sox took advantage of a couple of bases-loaded situations early on (including one inning where they loaded the bases with no one out and came away empty handed). They tacked on a bunch of runs in the 9th to turn it into a laugher as they racked up 21 hits on the night. They also got some help via 4 Royals errors.
Nick Madrigal. Twice he came up with the bases loaded, and twice he grounded into double plays. He’s still looking for his first big league hit, and it would have been nice if he had done so with ducks on the pond and drive in a few runs in the process. It’ll come, but his biggest asset is his defense and baseball IQ. He’ll be fine.
The Sox go for the sweep Sunday afternoon with Dylan Cease toeing the rubber for the South Siders. They’re back to .500, and sit just a half game out of first place in the AL Central.