Series Recap: Whipping the Woeful

Good teams have to beat up on the bad teams, and the White Sox did just that by sweeping their four-game series with Baltimore.

Another series sweep is in the books for the Chicago White Sox after a four-game sweep of the last-place Baltimore Orioles. Say what you want about the O’s, but a win is a win, and Chicago cannot let these games slip away from them. And they made sure they took care of business over the weekend.

This series would not have gone the way it did if three-ish things did not happen. Below I briefly dive into those keys from the Orioles’ series that brought the White Sox four more wins.

Keys to the White Sox Sweep over the Orioles

Starting Pitching and Liam Hendriks

Coming into the season, many speculated the White Sox pitching would be one of the best in the game. Most of the attention (at least to me) was put on the strength of the bullpen, especially after what they did last season. But the starting rotation is pretty solid as well. The White Sox have their fifth starter currently pitching as an ace, the guys in between pitching like vets and getting themselves out of jams, and the ace finally finding his stride as fans saw Sunday.

White Sox starting pitching during the O’s series pitched 23 innings while posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. They gave up just six earned runs, six walks and struck out 31 batters to go along with that. Five of the six earned runs came off of solo home runs.

The Sox 2.85 starting pitching ERA is the second-best in MLB.

Also making noteworthy pitching performances was Liam Hendriks. Hendriks pitched in and closed out three games this weekend. He tossed three scoreless innings, allowing no walks, and striking out five. Hendriks has not allowed an earned run since April 24, which is 14 straight outings.

José Abreu Cleans Up

Quiet day on Sunday from José Abreu with just one hit and a walk, but he can’t do everything, even though some days it seems that way. Over the weekend, Abreu was 6-for-13 with three runs, two doubles, a home run, six RBI, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. He currently leads baseball with 45 RBI.

Over his last 21 games, he is slashing .365/.437/.703/1.139 with 15 runs, 12 extra-base hits, and 26 runs batted in.

Bench Assistance from Billy Hamilton and Jake Lamb

Two additions to the White Sox team that fans were not sold on were Billy Hamilton and Jake Lamb. Both players have had success during their career, but they haven’t had things click and work out as of recent season.

After a weekend like this one, the gamble is paying off. Billy Hamilton was a major contributor this weekend. He had just 3 hits, but they were significant. Thursday, he hit a two-out RBI single to score Andrew Vaughn for the go-ahead run. In Game 2, he started the offense off by hitting his first home run of the season, giving Chicago an early 1-0 lead. A couple of innings later, Hamilton made a stellar diving grab that saved some runs. And on Sunday, Billy the Power Hitter repeated what he did on Saturday- a solo home run that gives the White Sox the lead.

Jake Lamb also shined this weekend. Lamb played just five innings in Game 1 of the doubleheader but made every moment count. He went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs batted in. He currently has a .362 on-base percentage over his 16 games played.

What’s Next

The White Sox are in the midst of a long stretch of games as they play 18 games in just 17 days (before the postponed Orioles game). They current are 6-4 during the stretch with series wins over the Cardinals and Orioles.

Chicago heads east to play four games against the Cleveland Indians. They will play another doubleheader on Monday, a night game on Tuesday, and a day game.

White Sox are 32-20 and 3.5 games up on the Indians in the AL Central. Their +80 run differential is the best in the American League and the second-best in baseball.