What are the Chicago White Sox’s chances without Tim Anderson?
In the middle of a three-way scrap for MLB’s American League Central division, the Chicago White Sox can ill afford to lose their shortstop.
There is never a good time for losing your short stop to injury. The key player on the infield dirt, the short stop is often the difference between the ball that gets through to score a run versus a quick 6-4-3 to get out of a jam. Especially when that short stop is Tim Anderson.
The White Sox are within touching distance of the AL Central, only 1.5 games out of first in a three-way scrap alongside the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians. Their All-Star short stop is hitting .301 and putting rallies together with the bat. In a heavyweight fight, he packs a hefty punch.
So when it was announced that Anderson had a torn ligament in his left hand that would require surgery, it came as a hammer blow to a White Sox team that are looking to three-peat a playoff spot. They are on a roll that would be a first in their 120 year history, with last year marking the first time ever that they had made the playoffs in consecutive seasons, this year would extend that run.
Manager Tony LaRussa is nonplussed about the lack of their key playmaker, keeping the day-to-day front and center. “The way it was described to me, we expect to have [Anderson] play before the season is over, so it’s up to us to keep winning games in the meantime. So that when he gets back, we’re contending.”
Tim Anderson is expected to miss six weeks which would put him coming back for the tail end of the final push for the playoffs.
Starting pitcher Davis Martin, who was brought up from Triple-A Charlotte to fill the 27th player slot for Tuesday’s double header, explained that the news about Anderson would never change Chicago’s outlook.
“It’s the fighting mindset. Whoever is in this locker room is going to fight for nine innings to win a baseball game. All the older guys set a good precedent for what is expected of us younger guys.”
Despite throwing a sterling game to get the win, splitting the double header with Kansas City, Martin was sent back down to Charlotte, illustrating the plan of attack that LaRussa intends to take. Use all of your tools, bringing players up and sending them back to eke out wins.
“It happens. You just have to play through it,” said the White Sox skipper, referencing how the Atlanta Braves rallied to win the World Series after a season-ending injury to Ronald Acuña Jr.
Leury Garcia made his second straight start at shortstop in game one of the double header, looking for all the world like the primary replacement for Anderson, but the real bomb blast came in game two, when the Sox tried out prospect Lenyn Sosa, himself called up from Triple-A for the occasion, and he dinged a 428-foot home run to put the Sox up 1-0 in the third.
La Russa was sanguine about any future playing time for Sosa, saying, “The more you do, the more you play.”
It will be a tall order to replace an All-Star shortstop on any team, but Anderson is a catalyst for this Chicago White Sox offense. They will need players, regulars and those just called up, to step to the plate looking to take on that role.
If the White Sox can stay the course and keep plugging away with the wins, they could just make history this season. Again.