CHICAGO -- The philosophy for success espoused by White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn is pretty straightforward.
“You just got to go 1-0 every day,” Vaughn said.
Mission accomplished on Wednesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
In the midst of a 19-game stretch in which the White Sox are facing opponents under .500, the South Siders have a 5-3 ledger. The upcoming 11 games to close this run could hold a strong influence on where the White Sox finish in the American League Central picture.
The Twins, clinging to a one-game lead over the Guardians and a two-game lead over the White Sox, have four upcoming battles at home against the Blue Jays before going on the road for two with the Dodgers and three against the Angels. The Guardians host the Astros for four games before traveling to Detroit and Toronto for three games apiece.
Meanwhile, Chicago begins a four-game series vs. the Rangers in Arlington on Thursday night, followed by four in Kansas City and three with Detroit.
“We have to do our thing and win as many as we can no matter what,” Vaughn said. “No matter how close we are or how far we are, we have to keep going.”
“Day in and day out, we just have to keep playing hard, put quality at-bats together and make our pitches,” Lynn said. “When it’s all said and done and we do that and start winning some games, that’s when the swagger comes back. It’s hard to have swagger when you’re playing [bad], to be honest with you.”
Injury-based distractions or offshoots from lackluster play may have slowed the White Sox, but it certainly has not stopped them. A one-hour, five-minute rain delay also couldn’t prevent them from improving to 12-6 in their past 18, or from winning consecutive home series for the first time since April 12-17 against Seattle and Tampa Bay.
That delay began with a 1-0 lead, two outs and the White Sox at the plate. Both Lynn and Royals starter Brady Singer returned after the stop in action, and Lynn went on to allow one run over six innings with eight strikeouts and no walks.
He joked about playing cards during the rain delay, but quickly explained what he needed to do to stay loose.
“I threw twice, had hot packs on the whole time, rode the bike,” Lynn said. “It was an hour and 10 minutes of staying hot. I’m too old to sit down.”
"Their guy [Lynn] was good,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Lynn. “Mixed it up with hard sink, hard cut, and just didn’t give you the same look much two times in a row. He was at the top of the zone all game, too. He kept us off balance and didn’t give us much."
Lynn made his season debut on June 13 after having right knee surgery before the season began, and he is moving toward regaining his All-Star form of 2021. Eloy Jiménez, who also has come back from right knee surgery, extended his hitting streak to nine games with a .485 average during that run.
And then there’s Abreu, in his ninth season with the White Sox and still one of the best middle-of-the-order run producers in the game. His 242nd career homer gives him three in the past four games, not to mention 23 RBIs, a .375 average and a .997 OPS over his past 35.
Simply having this full crew back and healthy will go a long way in helping the White Sox fulfilling Vaughn’s mantra.
“We have to prove it from here to the end,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “The additions to the lineup make everything better because we're deeper, can score every inning. We've got a shot, a legitimate shot. That's part of the fun. We've just got to capitalize.”
“Baseball is a team game, but every individual has to contribute,” Vaughn said. “We got to keep doing what we did today. That’s pretty special.”