3 numbers that stand out during the Chicago White Sox’s recent hot stretch, including the return of power to the lineup – The Denver Post



The Chicago White Sox announced the surprising news less than an hour before the first pitch of an Aug. 30 home game against the Kansas City Royals.

“At the direction of his doctors, Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa will miss tonight’s game vs. Kansas City,” the Sox said in a statement. “La Russa is scheduled to undergo further medical testing tomorrow in Chicago. Bench coach Miguel Cairo will manage the club in La Russa’s absence.”

The Sox lost 9-7 that evening but have been one of the hottest teams in baseball since with nine victories in 12 games.

La Russa went to Arizona for further evaluation and received clearance from his doctors to participate in a ceremony honoring former pitcher Dave Stewart before Sunday’s Sox-Oakland Athletics game at the Oakland Coliseum.

La Russa has not been cleared to return to the dugout in an active managing role, saying Sunday when asked about his expectations to be back: “A lot of it is going to depend on the experts. … It’s uncertain.”

La Russa told Janie McCauley of The Associated Press he had a pacemaker inserted for his heart. He flew to Chicago with the team after Sunday’s 10-3 loss to the A’s.

The Sox begin a two-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. They have a makeup game Thursday in Cleveland against the Guardians — the team they’re chasing in the American League Central — before heading to Detroit for three games against the Tigers.

Here are three numbers that stand out during the last two weeks.

20

Elvis Andrus began Thursday’s game against the A’s with a homer. Yoán Moncada followed with another. The back-to-back blasts set the tone for a 21-hit night in the Sox’s 14-2 victory.

Moncada hit a three-run homer an inning later. He matched a career high with five hits.

The offensive outburst continued Saturday. Andrus hit a three-run homer during a four-run second inning. The Sox were on their way to a 10-2 victory, finishing with 20 hits.

It marked the second time in franchise history the Sox had at least 20 hits twice in a three-game span. The other was June 19 and 21, 1974 — 20 hits at Cleveland and 21 at Minnesota.

In the 12 games leading up to Sunday’s series finale in Oakland, the Sox had a combined .301/.353/.492 slash line and averaged 6.4 runs.

“Hitting’s contagious,” left fielder Andrew Vaughn said after a four-hit game Saturday. “We’re all feeding off that and just rolling with it.”

4

Dylan Cease continued to make his case for the AL Cy Young Award, allowing four hits and no runs in 15 innings during his last two starts.

He was sensational Sept. 3, taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field. Luis Arraez ended the chance at history with a two-out single.

Cease gave up a single in the first inning of his next outing Thursday against the A’s. He allowed just two more the rest of way, pitching six scoreless innings in the 14-2 victory.

“To go out there and make a statement, both on the pitching and the offensive side, is important,” Cease said afterward.

Sox starters had a combined 2.03 ERA from Aug. 31 through Saturday, when the team went 9-2.

21

The Sox trailed by three entering the ninth Friday against the A’s.

Designated hitter Eloy Jiménez homered to right with one out. It was the beginning of an incredible comeback as the Sox scored five in the inning and won 5-3.

The power has returned for the Sox lineup with home runs in 10 of their last 13 games. They have 21 homers during that stretch with six multi-homer games. That includes five homers Thursday in Oakland.

Friday’s rally was the second dramatic win during the trip. The Sox fought back from an early four-run hole Wednesday to beat the Seattle Mariners 9-6 at T-Mobile Park.

The team’s first runs in that game came on a two-run homer in the fourth by Jiménez.

“Eloy has been getting really good at-bats,” Cairo said Friday. “He’s not chasing out of the strike zone. They are looking for a pitch, they’re attacking the strike zone. That’s what good hitters do.”

Cairo said that has been the approach up and down the lineup.

“We’re swinging at strikes,” he said before Sunday’s game. “We’re not chasing balls out of the strike zone. When they throw strikes, we’re ready to attack the zone and I think that’s the difference before and now.

“They’re taking good at-bats and they want to win. That’s what you’re looking for in a team.”

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