CHICAGO -- Tim Anderson is back.
Back from a high right ankle sprain sidelining him from June 26 through July 29. Back in the same impressive first half form making the White Sox shortstop a worthy candidate for All-Star consideration.
Even in a 7-0 loss to the A’s on Friday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field, where there were precious few highlights for the home team, Anderson’s presence is important to notice.
“Timmy’s an integral part to our lineup,” White Sox catcher James McCann said. “Obviously it’s easy to say that with the kind of numbers that he’s putting up right now, but just the type of energy that he brings, the type of person that he is, the passion that he brings for playing the game, whether he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, he’s an integral part to that lineup and that dugout.”
“It's a great sign for him,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He's been trying to get himself back on track and we're starting to see it the last few days, more than a few days, where he's starting to have really good at-bats and seeing the ball better, putting good swings on pitches.”
The White Sox managed four singles in total against Mike Fiers and two relievers, with three of those singles recorded against the Oakland starter. Anderson had two of them in the third and the fifth, giving him a stretch of nine straight plate appearances reaching base dating back to the Detroit series.
That streak ended with a swinging strikeout to finish the seventh. But it marked the longest such streak of his career and the longest by a White Sox player since Yoan Moncada also had nine from Sept. 13-14, 2017. Anderson exited the contest with a .326 average, including 11 hits in his last 17 at-bats.
“I'm just happy to be back in the lineup,” said Anderson before Friday’s series-opening loss to the A’s. “To be able to bring what I have to the squad. Go out and win ballgames.”
“He's getting his sense of timing back,” Renteria said. “He's feeling more and more comfortable, physically speaking, with that leg.”
Other than Anderson, the highlight of Friday was the showing of Field of Dreams at Guaranteed Rate after the White Sox dipped to 51-63 overall and 1-9 in their last 10 home games. Oakland supported Fiers with home runs from Matt Chapman and Stephen Piscotty against White Sox starter Ross Detwiler, and Chad Pinder’s two-run blast off of Jace Fry during a five-run eighth.
Fry had given up two runs total in his last 14 1/3 innings entering Friday but faced four batters without retiring one. Detwiler, meanwhile, turned in another decent start, yielding two runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out four.
“I felt pretty good. A couple of pitches got away from me and against a really good team, they put them both on the board,” Detwiler said. “Yeah, it would be nice to get through the sixth and save the bullpen a little bit, but I feel pretty good and we’ll see what’s to come.”
Anderson picked up his 16th stolen base of the season to go with his two hits, marking his first stolen base since June 1. He’s clearly feeling comfortable again across his game, posting a .457 average during his current eight game hitting streak.
Don’t look for this impressive number to move Anderson out of the lineup’s seventh slot.
“Honestly he likes that No. 7 slot,” Renteria said. “I’m trying not to disrupt anything that feels good for him. He likes that No. 7 slot; I'm going to continue to put him there.
“If there's times when I feel like, I'll move him up, just to extend the lineup with the rest of the guys we insert on a particular day, we will. But right now, I think that the best thing I can do is to continue to have him feel good about what he's doing.”