This team can't be satisfied with a series win. They need to be thinking sweep if they want to continue their momentum changing month of May.
Words by Terrrence Tomlin
For just the third time this season, the White Sox have won back-to-back games.
Saturday afternoon’s 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals, the AL Central’s runt of the litter, gives them their second straight sweep opportunity over a division opponent as they continue to climb out of the hole that April’s 10 game losing streak placed them in.
May has brought the flowers and signs of life they hoped it would bring so far, already notching their 10th win of the month with 11 more to go before we flip the page to June.
“We’re playing good. You can feel the unity of the team and we’re having fun.” Yoán Moncada, who drove in two of the five runs on Saturday, said by way of team interpreter Billy Russo.
Wins have come few and far between for the White Sox, but the current schedule offers the south siders an opportunity to claw their way back into relevance. On May 16th they started a run of 13 straight games vs an AL Central opponent. Winning 4 of those first 5 games (2 over Cleveland and 2 over Kansas City) feels like a move in the right direction. But Lucas Giolito, Saturday’s winning pitcher (3-3), pumped the breaks on any talk that they’ve turned a corner.
“We’re still well under .500. We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Giolito, said. “In this division, I think that if we keep playing the way we’re playing we’ll be in a good spot. That’s about it.”
While being 7 games back from the division lead only halfway through May means your record is already in the trash can, the AL Central is far from being decided and no clear front runner has emerged while the Sox stumbled out of the gate to start the season. They won’t face a team that currently has a winning record until May 29th when the 24-22 Los Angeles Angels come to town. Simply put, the time is now for the White Sox to play the bully on a weak central division.
The starting pitching staff seems up for the challenge. Michael Kopech’s talent was on full display in a near perfect outing (1 hit, 10Ks, facing the minimum 24 batters) in game 1 vs the Royals and Lucas Giolito followed him with a gem of his own. He gave up just 1 run in six innings pitched, throwing only 89 pitches.
“Really, really solid defense today and a huge hit by Burger to give us more of a cushion. For me it was all about taking it one pitch at a time, executing. Working well with Seby [Savala], so overall [it was] pretty solid.”
Meanwhile, Jake Burger is playing like a man who never wants to sniff minor league air ever again. His 6th inning bases clearing double was the icing on the cake of Saturday’s win and it’s safe to say nobody is having as much fun as him.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been awesome in this clubhouse the last few series. Everybody’s really having fun. Any way I can contribute and help the team, that’s huge for me and that’s what I want to do. It’s not about individual accolades, it’s about helping the team win.”
Today’s win was cool, however,a win tomorrow is the mission. This team needs to be thinking sweep and not just a series win if they want to continue their momentum changing month of May.