Here are three takeaways from the series at Yankee Stadium, where the Chicago White Sox have won two of three games against the New York Yankees.
1. Tim Anderson silenced the crowd.
Tim Anderson heard boos when he came to the plate in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader.
The Sox shortstop memorably silenced the crowd in the eighth inning, connecting for a three-run home run. It served as an exclamation point in a 5-0 victory.
“It says a lot about the character of Tim and what we try to be in this clubhouse, and he’s a family,” Sox pitcher Michael Kopech said. “It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen, watching a whole crowd showing him low class, booing him, calling him ‘Jackie’ and all that, then hitting a home run and giving us back in a good position to win.
“I have nothing but respect for him.”
As he headed for home plate, Anderson made a signature move, giving the “shh” signal.
Anderson had three hits a day after words were exchanged with New York Yankees third baseman/designated hitter Josh Donaldson in the third inning of Saturday’s game.
“I basically tried to call myself Jackie Robinson: ‘What’s up, Jackie?'” Anderson said. “He made that comment and it was disrespectful and I don’t think it was necessary. It was unnecessary.”
The benches cleared ahead of Donaldson’s fifth inning at bat after he and Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal had a conversation.
Donaldson admitted after the match, “I called him Jackie”, later adding, “I thought it was a joke between him and me because we had already talked about it. … His name is Jackie Robinson (referring to a 2019 Sports Illustrated story). That’s why I thought it was funny between us.
It was an explanation that brought Sox closer to Liam Hendriks the wrong way.
“Usually you have jokes with people you get along with, not with people who don’t get along at all,” Hendriks said ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader.
Sox manager Tony La Russa was surprised by the boos on Sunday night, but certainly not by the results of Anderson, who cuts .359/.400/.517 with five home runs and 18 RBIs.
“Think about the game he had under those circumstances,” La Russa said. “That made him special. But he’s played that kind of game a lot this year.
2. Michael Kopech capped off a great day of shooting.
The Sox placed Kopech on the paternity list on Tuesday. He returned after the birth of his second son, Vander, on Friday.
“My mind wasn’t on baseball until (Saturday),” Kopech said.
He added with a laugh, “That probably helped me a lot.”
Kopech had an incredible outing in Game 2 of the doubleheader, allowing one hit with six strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. He struck out the first 17 batters before Rob Brantly broke up his perfect game with a two-out double in the sixth.
“I was still doing everything I had to do in Chicago, pitching and practicing,” Kopech said of his week. “But I was definitely more focused on the baby I had on the way, and he came and he was fine. And then I got a call saying I had to come back, and I showed up and I tried to refocus.
Kopech struck out the last 13 batters in his May 15 start against the Yankees at guaranteed rate field. Combine that with Sunday, and that’s 30 straight batters.
“I felt like I was in a rhythm the last time I played them and I started in a rhythm today and tried not to lose it,” Kopech said. “I like playing against a good team and they are a great team.”
He lowered his ERA to 1.29 with his first win of the season.
“My man just had a baby the other day and I was telling him that dad’s strength got him 10 more shots in that game,” Sox outfielder and first baseman Andrew Vaughn said with a laugh. “It was great to see that. He throws the ball so well and we finally gave him a few runs.
Kopech capped off a tremendous day of pitching for the Sox.
Johnny Cueto started in Game 1, allowing six hits over six scoreless innings. Joe Kelly entered with two runners and no outs in the seventh, working out of the jam without allowing a run. Kendall Graveman rebounded from giving up a solo homer to Aaron Judge, giving the Sox a chance to win before Hendriks closed out the Game 1 win with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth.
3. The Sox still have work to do with RISP.
The Sox charged the no-outs in the fifth inning of Game 2 of the doubleheader.
Two forced plays at home plate and one strikeout later, they came out empty.
But they finally went wild in the eighth.
“I was looking at the scoreboard, I said ‘We’ve got eight hits, let’s do something here,'” Vaughn said. “And then good things happened.”
The Sox scored five runs on five hits. The runs, RBI singles from Vaughn and Reese McGuire, and Anderson’s three-run homer, all came with two outs.
The Sox also had hits late in Game 1 of the doubleheader, with AJ Pollock breaking the tie in the ninth with a solo shot and Adam Engel leading Vaughn with a brace.
The Sox know they have work to do with runners in scoring position. They are 11th in the American League with an average of .227 in this category (73 for 322).
They went 3 for 13 in that department on Saturday and 2 for 8 in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader. They were 4 for 15 in Game 2, with the eighth-inning breakthrough leading, helping the Sox finish 5-3 on their two-city road trip.
“It’s one of those things that you can laugh about later, all the opportunities we’ve had,” La Russa said. “We will work on this man in third (situation). We will be better. And then explode like that (in eighth), that game, you can never understand it.