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Infinite jest: Rodón, White Sox win in the Bronx, 6-2

Winners of four straight and 10 of 13 begets a fair query: What will a season-capper of Michael Kopech and Eloy Jiménez wreak?

Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees
Rodón Rolling: Our favorite feisty beerleaguer has been aces over his last nine starts.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Far be it for perhaps the finest game of the season — yep, better than that homer-happy, beerleaguer Opening Day in the snowy sleet of Kansas City — to get sullied by what-ifs.

But after the Chicago White Sox won again — four straight, and 10 of 13 — in a thorough outclassing of the New York Yankees, 6-2, it’s hard not to wonder what could have been this season had Michael Kopech and Eloy Jiménez been called up with some actual games left to chew on.

Coincidental or not, Kopech’s call-up has sparked Chicago, which has won seven of nine since it was announced that the right-handed fireballer would join the big club.

But tonight belonged not to Kopech or the theoretical Eloy, but to several Sox standouts, including the incomparable Carlos Rodón (seven innings, two hits, two earned, 60 game score), Tim Anderson (2-for-5, two doubles, two RBIs and countless hustle plays on both sides of the ball) and Adam Engel (3-for-4, as a speed threat with some pop).

What was remarkable is that not three weeks after being thoroughly outclassed by the Bombers in Chicago during a three-game grizzly mauling of a sweep, the White Sox on Monday returned the favor, decidedly embarrassing a Yankees club smelling blood in the water of the AL East.

Where New York’s defense was subpar, Chicago’s — particularly in the infield, where Yoán Moncada, Anderson and Yolmer Sánchez all where quick of glove and cannon of arm — excelled.

On the basepaths, the Yankees were a non-entity, with just seven baserunners all game, while the White Sox exacted torture with their afterburners (among many moments, Anderson scoring on a dropped third strike in the ninth, as the ball dribbled no more than 10 feet away from catcher Kyle Higashioka, was thrilling).

Offensively, New York relied only on the long ball, with a two-run shot by Gleyber Torres in the fourth opening and closing Yankees scoring for the game; the White Sox were relentless, slapping 11 hits and stealing extra bases with sheer speed and aggressiveness.

The game could have gone the other way, of course. In the fourth inning, no score, the White Sox loaded the bases with nobody out vs. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka and managed to ... not score.

But in the sixth, Chicago cashed in, beginning in hilarious fashion.

Daniel Palka hit a bat-topper squib down the third-base line for a single, Matt Davidson walked, and Omar Narváez (oh, another two hits for the dude) had an excuse-me check-swing safety to load the bases.

Moncada strode to the plate, just two innings removed from a similar situation, when with two outs and sacks packed in the fourth he scalded a hard-luck crush that pinballed off of Tanaka and trickled over to Ronald Torreyes to extinguish the rally. This time, the exit velo champ wormburned a grounder through the hole and all the way to the warning track in right-center, plating two to tie the game.

Nicky Delmonico chased that with the game-winning RBI, a sacrifice fly plating Narváez to put the White Sox up, 3-2.

Rodón continues to be a revelation and is showing all the characteristics (not just sparkling linescores, but vocal leadership) of a staff ace. The southpaw became the first pitcher in White Sox history (dating as far back as box score records go, 1908) to have nine straight starts of three runs or fewer and five hits or fewer.

This was a truly inspiring win, and coincidentally enough, as the 15th victory of August, it ensured Chicago’s first winning month of the year.

If the White Sox continue to splurge through the rest of the season and finish strong, playing at least .500 over the last two months, the naysayers will point to third-string lineups and meaningless late-September series to explain the change of fortune. But with the shock treatment Kopech’s arrival and Rodón’s ascendance has had on the pitching staff, and the power boost Jiménez could (theoretically) provide in the season’s last month having the same effect for the lineup, a mule of a White Sox finishing kick could serve notice that the also-rans of 2018 will be the watch-outs of 2019.