What’s wrong with the Chicago White Sox? “Our initial launch was the key to all of this” – The Denver Post

The Chicago White Sox pieced together a remarkable rally on April 30 against the Tampa Bay Rays, scoring seven points in the ninth for a memorable 12-9 win at the guaranteed rate field.

Andrew Vaughn capped the comeback with a game-ending three-run homer.

The win ended a 10-game losing streak. And the Sox are 14-9 since then, the best record in that span in an American League powerhouse in which nearly every team is looking to find a place.

Still in fourth place and nine games under .500 (21-30) in Thursday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, the Sox had made up 3½ games against the Minnesota Twins in first place since April 30 and were 5½ games behind. .

“We were talking about it (Tuesday) night, it’s crazy we went through a 10-game losing streak and had a lot of injuries early on and we’re not even close to playing to our potential, but we’re only one step away. 5½ back,” left fielder Andrew Benintendi told the Tribune on Wednesday in Cleveland. “We’re only scratching the surface and there’s still a lot of work to do and a long way to go. We’re headed in the right direction. »

The Sox have won their last three series, winning two of three against the Guardians on both guaranteed-rate and progressive field. In between, they swept the Kansas City Royals at home.

“We’ve had some more timely shots lately,” Benintendi said. “The pitchers go deeper in the games, which gives the bullpen a little less work. A lot of things are starting to fall into place. »

It all starts with the entries.

In the last 13 games heading into Thursday, the Sox starters had a 2.37 ERA, 0.193 opponents average and 65 strikeouts. They ranked first in the WHIP majors (0.97) and the opponents average and second in the ERA during that span.

“Our starting pitcher was the key to all of this,” manager Pedro Grifol said ahead of Thursday’s game. “They give us quality starts. Our bullpen is extremely talented. We have a nice little rotation going on (with the relievers) where we have more than a couple leverage guys, so we’re able to give the guys a rest, keep them sharp. It’s amazing what the tee shot does.

As a full staff, the Sox have a 3.53 ERA since April 30, fifth in the majors. They had a 5.88 ERA in their 7-21 start. The bullpen has a 2.49 ERA in May, ranking second in the majors. And closer, Liam Hendriks will continue his comeback work with a live bullpen session on Friday.

The Sox starters had 10 quality starts in the last 13 games heading into Thursday, providing length to keep the bullpen rested.

“Starting to pitch keeps you in the game,” Grifol said. “You always think you have a chance to win. The energy stays there. Everything is based on starting the pitch. They do a very good job.

Michael Kopech has stood out lately. The right-hander has allowed three hits and a walk with 19 strikeouts in 15 scoreless innings over his last two starts. He is the first pitcher in franchise history to record consecutive outings of more than seven scoreless innings while allowing two or fewer hits, one or no walks, and striking out at least nine.

“I don’t think we had any qualms about being confident from the start,” Kopech said of the team after Wednesday’s 6-0 win over the Guardians. “We had a tough time at first, but we started to click and sink and do it as a staff. (We) put six points on the board (Wednesday) in attack. This is starting to happen on all fronts. If we can continue like this, it will end up being a good race.

“We know we can win this division. A few years ago we did and last year we didn’t live up to our potential, to say the least. We know the kind of team we are, and with this streak we are about to complete (against divisional opponents), we can put ourselves in a good position.

The Sox were 11-8 against the AL Central entering Thursday and 7-2 in the first nine of 13 straight games against divisional foes. They went 37-39 against AL Central last year after going 69-47 while making the playoffs in 2020 and 21.

Grifol isn’t paying too much attention to the standings at this point.

“No matter how many games we are back, we have to worry about being ready to win,” he said on Wednesday. “The ranking will take care of themselves. I’ve never been one to look at dashboards. The human side is an element, but that doesn’t happen until much later in the year.

“It’s about getting better every day and getting better. My goal now is to get us to play good defense, find a way to keep throwing like we do, and keep improving with runners in scoring position, with two hits, moving runners and playing the team baseball. I just get better every day. That’s what I focus on. »



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