Lucas Giolito and the White Sox put together a well-rounded win today, taking their first back-to-back series this year after beating the Kansas City Royals, 5-1.
It took nearly two months, but they finally did it, folks!
May has treated the South Siders better thus far, as after finally extinguishing their 10-game losing streak they’ve won 10 of their last 18, which is really just a generous way of saying they have still been hanging around .500 — the White Sox way.
Bobby Witt Jr. led off the game with a sharp single, looking to set the tone, but Giolito and Seby Zavala were having none of that today — striking out Tyler Pasquantino, and throwing Witt out at second while attempting to steal on the play. Unfortunately, as Giolito noted in his postgame interview, Salvador Pérez “continues to own him,” and he gave up a two-out solo shot in top of the first to put the Royals up early, 1-0.
Giolito recovered well for the second and third, forcing a double-play ball and relatively weak contact to retire all six batters. He got into some trouble in the fourth inning, getting the first out, but subsequently letting up back-to-back singles to Salvy and MJ Melendez to put the South Siders into a jam. Giolito was able to strike out the next batter, but he pushed the knife deeper into the wound when he walked Nick Pratto to load the bases. In the end, he came to his own rescue, ringing up Freddy Fermin on a filthy changeup to end the threat and get out of the inning.
Lucas Giolito, Elevated 81mph Changeup...and is fired up. pic.twitter.com/HOPcTprZl3— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 20, 2023
The White Sox offense, however, was clutch when they needed to be, with Yoán Moncada and Jake Burger accounting for all five RBIs. After giving up the Salvy bomb, Moncada picked Giolito up by ripping a two-run single to left to bring home Andrew Benintendi and Luis Robert Jr., immediately stealing the lead back in the bottom of the first, going up 2-1.
Yoán Moncada gives us an early lead! pic.twitter.com/4QtKgsZYDc— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 20, 2023
Moncada has been phenomenal all year, and has been excellent since he returned back from the IL, slashing .375/.444/.438 over his last five games. And now, Moncada’s back is feeling healthy, like before the injury. Surely this news his a huge blow to those that choose to hate on him:
Yoán Moncada said he hasn't had to think about his back since returning.— James Fegan (@JRFegan) May 20, 2023
"Physically I feel good. I was feeling good before the injury. Good baseball-wise. Now I feel good physically, and things are going my way. But I still need to keep working."
Robert might not have been the top story today, but he managed to get on base twice today, and scored both times. Burger has been the talk of the town, and he continued to be a difference-maker on this team. His bases-loaded double broke the game open and gave the White Sox three additional insurance runs to set the bullpen up for success and alleviate some of the pressure. Over the last week, Burger has gone 11-for-22, and is slugging an insane 1.045, adding up to a 1.545 OPS — the point being, the man is just ridiculous right now. You almost forget he started the year in Triple-A with stats like those.
Jake Burger is the only player in the MLB with less than 30 games played to have 9 or more home runs.— WhiteSoxMuse (@SoxMuse) May 17, 2023
He has a 1.009 OPS this season. pic.twitter.com/QRWLkHfYGo
While core guys like Tim Anderson and Andrew Vaughn remained dormant at the plate, the rest of the team were able to run the show today. Garrett Crochet came in to relieve for his second outing since returning to the White Sox, getting himself into a jam after giving up a base hit to Pratto and walking Fermin. Crochet forced a fly out before Reynaldo López came in to finish the job. The sixth inning might not have been pretty, but the pen were able to work themselves out of it. Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman were lights-out once again, and it feels great to have the bullpen work (almost) exactly how it should.
The Good Guys have set themselves up for their first series sweep, and Lance Lynn will be on the mound tomorrow, looking to put the Royals in their place — six feet under.