Well, this was a fun afternoon for White Sox fans.
The White Sox came into today with a clear game plan against Justin Verlander, and they executed it brilliantly all afternoon, peppering singles to right field while delivering knock out blows with doubles down the left field line. Every starter except for AJ Pollock had at least one hit on the afternoon, including multi-hit efforts from Andrew Vaughn and Luis Robert. Robert was the start of the day with four runs batted in, including the two-run double that knocked Verlander out of this game early in the fourth inning. All told, the White Sox did strike out 10 times on the afternoon, but were clearly executing a strong game plan and made Verlander work all afternoon. This was the first time the White Sox beat Justin Verlander since 2014.
On the other side of the bat, Johnny Cueto was brilliant all afternoon. He mixed all of his pitches in almost equally, keeping the Astros off balance all afternoon. He would complete seven innings of scoreless baseball before turning it over to Reynaldo Lopez, who completed the last two innings of the game to give the depleted bullpen a much-needed night of rest. The defense was also solid in support of Cueto and Lopez all afternoon in what was a full team win.
With the win, the White Sox improve to 31-32 and will look to get back to .500 tomorrow night. This was the White Sox first win in Houston since 2019.
W: Johnny Cueto (1-3) | L: Justin Verlander (8-3)
White Sox Scoring Recap:
Top 3rd: Luis Robert singles to RF. Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick score. 2-0 White Sox
Top 3rd: Jose Abreu doubles to LF. Andrew Vaughn, Luis Robert score. 4-0 White Sox
Top 4th: Andrew Vaughn reaches on error by Jose Altuve. Josh Harrison scores. 5-0 White Sox
Top 4th: Luis Robert doubles to LF. Adam Engel, Andrew Vaughn score. 7-0 White Sox
Johny Cueto: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
The White Sox needed a shutdown performance today from their pitching staff. Cueto set the tone perfectly today, and when it was all said and done, threw seven shutout innings against one of the best teams in baseball. Cueto has been nothing other than brilliant for the White Sox all season when the rotation has needed him most, and he ends today with a sub-3.00 ERA through his six starts this season.
Luis Robert: 3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI, R
Luis Robert has pretty quietly put himself together a nine-game hitting streak, and he looked great in his at-bats today. He, like many other Sox hitters, executed their gameplan of going the opposite way against Verlander perfectly, and his double down the left field line was the final blow for Verlander’s outing. Robert finds himself now hitting .290 on the season.
Andrew Vaughn: 3-for-5, 2 R
Andrew Vaughn didn’t do anything too flashy today, but he had some pretty professional at-bats all day on his way to a three-hit outing with two runs scores. He raised his average to .322 on the season in the effort – which easily leads the team right now in Tim Anderson’s absence. Vaughn is now 13-for-23 on the road trip.
Jose Abreu: 1-for-4, BB, 2 RBI
Abreu came into today’s game against Justin Verlander hitting 16-for-44 in his career off the right-hander. Abreu had good at-bats all day, and even delivered a huge blow with one out in the top of the third inning with a double down the left field line off of Verlander. Abreu is hitting .267 on the season and has shown some of the best plate discipline of his career in the process.
The Next Matchup
Michael Kopech makes his return to the mound tomorrow night as the White Sox will try and win their first series of the year in Houston. He will go up against Christian Javier, who sports a 3.20 ERA so far on the season.
The game will begin at 6:08 PM CT and is the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on ESPN.
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Featured Image: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports