White Sox Take Bright Perspective Into 2nd Half

"They have built great trust with each other," Rick Renteria says of his players.

Bruce Levine
July 10, 2019 - 12:40 pm
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, left, and second baseman Yolmer Sanchez celebrate a win.

David Banks/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) In making strides toward becoming a contender in the future, the White Sox have been most enthused by receiving contributions from the right players.

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The White Sox just sent right-hander Lucas Giolito, first baseman Jose Abreu and catcher James McCann to the All-Star Game. Beyond them, shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada showcased significant progress with strong first halves, and rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez has been a force since a slow start.

Chicago sits at 42-44 at the break. That's marked improvement from 2018, when the White Sox didn't win their 42nd game until Aug. 10. It has left manager Rick Renteria and the fan base enjoying the rebuild and savoring the growth of youngsters.

"They have built great trust with each other," Renteria said of the White Sox's players. "We are going to come back from the break and keep pushing. We wanted them to know we have been pushing in a positive direction, and they should be proud of themselves because they are trusting each other more and doing what they have to do.

"They are moving forward positively and obviously both from a positional standpoint."

Giolito's turnaround may be the biggest takeaway from the first half. After posting the worst ERA among qualifying pitchers in MLB in 2018, Giolito is 11-3 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.07 WHIP and has the look of a frontline starter.

Just before the All-Star break, the White Sox promoted right-hander Dylan Cease to make his big league debut. His ascension and performance will be a key storyline of the second half as the White Sox look for some consistency in a rotation that has been poor beyond Giolito and which is missing left-hander Carlos Rodon after his Tommy John surgery. Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez has a 6.34 ERA, the worst mark in MLB. Right-hander Ivan Nova has the third-worst mark with a 5.58 ERA.

The White Sox will have to offset their rotation's struggles on the offensive end. That's where Jimenez has been key, as he has been on a tear lately, with 10 homers, 24 RBIs and a .984 OPS since June 8.

"I just want to keep being me," Jimenez said. "I want to keep grinding. I want to swing at the right pitches and play hard. I learned that you must be ready every single day in the major leagues. In the minor leagues, you have to be ready but nothing like the focus you need here."

Chicago opens the second half with a 10-game road trip through Oakland, Kansas City and Tampa Bay before returning to Guaranteed Rate Field for a 10-game homestand.

"We need to keep pushing and keep fighting," McCann said. "Here we sit having opened a few eyes and hoping to open a few more eyes in the second half as the season rolls along."

Renteria has liked what he's seen.

"The first half should tell the players and everyone else that if you play clean baseball that includes all the different areas of the game, on any given day you can put together a game that can beat your opponent," Renteria said. "You have to believe that and trust the guys around you."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.