Sox observations: Hitters topple José Berríos originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago:
After losing two of three to the Astros, the White Sox got back to their winning ways on Monday in their series opener at home against the Blue Jays. The temperature was a balmy 94 degrees at first pitch, and the hitters’ bats heated up along with the weather. The Sox knocked three balls out of the park, which broke a streak of 16-straight home games with one, or no home runs. That was enough for Lance Lynn, who gave up three earned runs to the Blue Jays in five-plus innings, and earned his first win of the season in the process.
HITTERS GET REVENGE AGAINST BERRÍOS:
José Berríos has been a White Sox killer for most of his career. Dating back to his time with the Twins, Berríos has a 12-5 record against the South Siders, with a 3.12 ERA, 1.111 WHIP, and a remarkable 135: 30 K: BB ratio. The 12 wins and 135 strikeouts are more than he has against any other team in MLB, and his ERA and WHIP are well below his career averages of 4.08 and 1.223. But today, the White Sox hitters had their way with Berríos. They launched three homers off of him, well more than the 0.67 HR / game average they had coming into the game. Their nine hits resulted in a .450 batting average against Berríos for the day, which, again, was well beyond their .234 average against him over his full career. But what may have been most impressive was that the production came throughout the lineup. Tim Anderson, Andrew Vaughn and Luis Robert did damage from the top of the order. So did Josh Harrison, from the nine-hole. His two-run shot in the second inning was a clutch homer with two outs, and it ended up giving the White Sox the lead for good.
JOSH HARRISON APPARENTLY READ YOUR MEAN TWEETS:
Ok, we do not really know what Harrison does and does not read on the World Wide Web, but White Sox Twitter has been calling for Harrison to be DFA’d for weeks due to his underwhelming season at the plate, so far. Add in Danny Mendick’s admirable job filling in for Tim Anderson over the past few weeks, and many thought Monday would be the night Harrison got his marching papers, as Rick Hahn needed to make room for Anderson to be activated off the IL. As it turned out, Yoán Moncada ended up on the IL himself, meaning no one needed to be sent down, and Harrison drew the start at second. We’ve already gone over Harrison’s big two-run homer, which helped fuel the late offensive explosion. But Harrison made a spectacular play in the field, too. In the top of the fifth, Harrison made a diving stop to rob Gabriel Moreno of a hit, and kick off a 1-2-3 inning for Lance Lynn. Then he made another nifty play in the ninth to help stave off a Blue Jays rally and seal the win. We’ll see if the game is a blip in Harrison’s year, or if it’s the catalyst for better play moving forward.
MISTAKES COST WHITE SOX MORE RUNS:
Throughout the White Sox ‘disappointing season, mistakes have cost the team big runs in big moments. There have been lapses on the field and lapses on the basepaths, both physical and mental. Despite the win, Monday was no different. In the second inning, Jake Burger committed his sixth error at third base, in 32 games this season. That turned Ramiel Tapia’s following homer from a would-be solo shot into a two-run homer. In a sort of inverse situation, Tim Anderson was picked off of first base, following a fourth-inning single. So when Andrew Vaughn lifted a pitch over the fence one batter later, he only drove himself in, instead of driving in Anderson, as well. Finally, Reese McGuire was charged with an error when he let a ball get by him during a potential play at the plate in the sixth. That allowed Teoscar Hernández to advance to third on his double, which in turn allowed him to score on a groundout to shortstop two batters later. If not for the error, Hernández would never have made it home, since no other balls were put into play that inning. Yes, the White Sox got the win on Monday, but they could’ve won it in a much more comfortable fashion if they had played a clean game.
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