Ideally, Tim Anderson would've joined the White Sox with no real expectations. If the Sox didn't lose 20 of 26 to fall below .500 for a day, the Sox might've been able to get closer to July before calling him up, allowing him a little more time at Charlotte to hone his plate discipline and defense, and making his debut a little less conspicuous.
Alas, with the Sox scuffling and getting little from their shortstop tandem of Jimmy Rollins and Tyler Saladino, it was time to see if he could give the Sox a different dynamic. Rick Hahn and Robin Ventura both denied the savior talk, but they are hoping for a spark.
Anderson delivered, at least for one night. He went 2-for-3 with a double, a groundout and a single. He didn't get to finish a four plate appearance, as Avisail Garcia was cut down stealing during Anderson's time up.
MLB.com has video of Anderson's first career hit ...
... but what made it nicer was that it came in a situation where he was supposed to be vulnerable. Ian Kennedy was ahead 0-2 with a couple of fastballs, after which he threw a good curve to try to get Anderson to chase. I'm away from my GIF machine, but because I'm grindy, I found a way to get the job done:
Anderson laid off the low-and-away breaking ball, then covered the inside corner at 93 to rope a double inside the bag.
In his second at-bat, he grounded out to second on an 0-2 fastball off the plate, but considering the previous pitch caught the outside corner, you could call that "protecting."
In his third-time up, he shot a single past Kennedy's head on a 2-0 slider, which was low but on the outer half. Had he taken the pitch, he would've been one away from drawing a rare walk in his first MLB game. Instead, he showed why he has confidence in swinging the bat.
Anderson wasn't tested defensively, at least with challenging-but-feasible opportunities. He did make a really nice effort on a Paulo Orlando grounder up the middle in the sixth inning, but it didn't show up in highlights because the throw wasn't on time. Perhaps he gets the out if he makes a clean exchange -- although Orlando is fast -- but when you see where he started, you realize that Rollins would have pulled up and watched it roll into center field.
One inning later, he couldn't reach Alcides Escobar's top-handed liner through the left side with his diving attempt. Robin Ventura came to the mound to pull Sale, who seemed to be cursing up a storm around the mound. I can't tell whether Sale was lashing out at himself with people around, or if he's directing it at teammates, but if expected Anderson to catch it or stop it, his expectations are a touch unreasonable. (Maybe Anderson was poorly positioned, but that's going to happen with rookies.)
Otherwise, Anderson didn't have any plays to make until he caught a routine jamshot in the eighth, and that was it. Which is fine, because he had enough on his plate by making a debut for a struggling team. Anderson could've had more to do, but he did well with what he had. He'll only be tested further from here.