On a night when Dallas Keuchel and the bullpen weren’t stellar by any means, Billy Hamilton and the White Sox bats were up to the task. For the fourth game in a row, the offense put up nine-plus runs, powering the team to its fifth-straight victory. Multi-hit efforts from Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, and Billy Hamilton led the Sox to a 13-8 victory over the division-rival Twins. Both Abreu and Yasmani Grandal homered in the effort, while Hamilton was 4-for-4 and a homer shy of the cycle.
Relegated to essentially two pitches (he used a sinker or changeup 71 percent of the time tonight), Keuchel continued a trend that The Athletic’s James Fegan touched on earlier this week. His cutter command just has not been there of late, as the southpaw threw the pitch just 13 times tonight, generating a single swing-and-miss. Still, props to Keuchel for continuing to generate ground balls in key situations. He produced a pair of double-plays tonight that helped him wiggle out of potentially dangerous situations.
W: Dallas Keuchel (2-1) | L: J.A. Happ (2-1)
Billy Hamilton: 4-for-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB
We’ll elaborate more on Hamilton’s night in a bit, but, boy, did his bat wake up tonight. Just as everybody predicted, he ended the night just a home run short of the cycle. Those wheels, too…
Andrew Vaughn: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB
He’d already arrived, but tonight, Andrew Vaughn really arrived. Frank Menechino might not give a f*** about home runs, but we do just a little bit. With the first career long ball out of the way, Vaughn can continue with his rock-solid approach and not have to worry about a thing.
José Abreu: 2-for-5, 3 RBI, 1 R
Yeah, José Abreu mashed yet again, but let’s focus on the glove. Not long ago, Abreu drew the ire of Sox fans for his lackluster defense at first. Well, that’s far from the case anymore. Pito made a pair of spectacular defensive plays tonight, one on a diving stop (with a six-run lead) in the fifth and another over-the-shoulder, Willie Mays impression in the 6th that surely saved a run.
Alright, fine, let’s talk about the bat quickly, too. The MVP got tonight’s scoring barrage started with an RBI-triple (yes, a triple) and tacked on a couple more RBI in the fourth. Other bats in the lineup getting hot have surely taken pressure off of Abreu, but it’s great to see that the breakout we all knew was coming might be here.
Yoan Moncada: 2-for-5, 2 RBI, 1 R
The home runs will come for Moncada, but for now, this type of production will do just fine. His night was highlighted by an inside-out double in the 1st and a two-run single in the 5th.
Yasmani Grandal: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
This was possibly the most Yasmani Grandal performance of the season. A pair of walks, a strikeout and a moonshot to left field. Seemingly doing a better job of getting the ball into the air (two-straight days with a HR is a good indicator), it’s nice to see some pop out of the catcher, along with those free passes that we all love.
Matchup of the Game
On a night that saw plenty of favorable offensive matchups, none stood out quite like Andrew Vaughn vs. J.A. Happ in the 4th inning. With a 1-1 count, Happ hung a slider and Vaughn did the rest, launching his first major league HR 436-feet into the left-centerfield bleachers.
While it might’ve felt like it took a while for a hitter of Vaughn’s quality, Jason Benetti and Steve Stone reminded us that he still did it quicker than Frank Thomas. He turned out to be an okay player. With the monkey off of his back, you’d have to imagine Vaughn’s bat could start to heat up even more in short order.
Player of the Game
How ’bout that Billy Hamilton bat?! Coming into the game without a hit since April 6, the speedster decided tonight was the night to end that drought, and then some. He ended the game just a home run shy of the cycle, a perfect 4-for-4 performance while adding on a stolen base for good measure. There isn’t a sane human in the world who expects Billy Hamilton to replace Luis Robert‘s bat on an even somewhat consistent basis, but on this beautiful Wednesday night, he did just that.
Let’s go get a sweep tomorrow. First pitch is at 1:10 PM CT over on NBC Sports Chicago as Lance Lynn will take the hill against his former team. The Twins, meanwhile, will counter with Michael Pineda who is off to a strong start in 2021, sporting a 2.43 ERA over 33.1 IP.
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