CHICAGO — The White Sox bats are still alive and well, as the No. 1 offense in the sport continued their offensive barrage, with a 10-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday afternoon in Chicago.
Coming into the day, the Pale Hose offense had accumulated a league-best 7.3 fWAR. The reincarnate South Side Hit Men have posted a 120 wRC+ as a team, with a triple slash of .267/.328/.479.
Leading the American League in homers coming into the day with 55, the White Sox added to that total in what could be Trevor Williams' final appearance for the Pirates. After a Luis Robert sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Nomar Mazara put the Sox up early, 2-0, second base fill-in Danny Mendick launched his third home run in the past nine games. Subbing in admirably for the rehabbing Nick Madrigal, Mendick has posted a 104 wRC+ on the year.
Edwin Encarnación has struggled a bit to begin the 2020 season, but he went deep to left field in the fourth inning to increase the White Sox lead to 5-0. The 37-year-old slugger has struggled to the tune of an 85 wRC+ in 2020. The parrot came out to play on Wednesday, but his Baseball Savant page shows severe regression, and a .184/.253/.434 line proves it to this point.
After a slow start, 23-year-old outfielder Eloy Jiménez has really picked it up during the month of August. With an opposite field, three-run home run over the glove of Gregory Polanco in the fifth inning, his dinger total is at 10 and climbing. Jiménez is hitting .306/.327/.602 on the season with a 148 wRC+ and a wOBA of .385. Eloy has played 151 games in a White Sox uniform, with 41 home runs already.
The assault on Pittsburgh pitching continued in the seventh as José Abreu stakes his claim to as the American League MVP to beat in this abbreviated season. After a leadoff double off the wall by Yoán Moncada, Abreu bashed his 12th homer of the season, to left field off of Pirates reliever Tyler Bashlor. Abreu has been the 10th-most valuable player in the sport to date, with an fWAR of 1.4, and his tear continues.
The first baseman is hitting .322/.369/.661, with 12 homers and 30 runs driven in. He's posted a stellar 148 wRC+ to go along with a .wOBA of .428. If the onslaught continues, the White Sox will be right in the mix for the AL Central title.
The Pirates leave Chicago with a 7-19 record, the worst in Major League Baseball. After being no-hit by Lucas Giolito on Monday night, the Bucs scattered six hits and three runs against White Sox pitching on Wednesday. The biggest decision the franchise will be making going forward is which Vanderbilt Commodore to take with the first overall selection in next year's draft, Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter.
While not as exciting as Giolito's outing in the first game of the set, Dallas Keuchel got the job done this afternoon. The southpaw went six innings, giving up four hits and walking three with seven punch outs. Keuchel gave up two earned runs, and his season ERA rests at a cool 2.70. The 32-year-old is lined up to pitch game two in Minnesota against the division rival Twins next Tuesday.
Jimmy Cordero pitched a scoreless seventh, with one strikeout, and Zack Burdi came out of the bullpen as well. Burdi threw hard, as usual, but gave up a solo homer to infielder Erik González for Pittsburgh's third run of the day. Burdi also struck out one, and the outing raised his ERA to 4.50 in his rookie season. Veteran Steve Cishek closed out the contest with a scoreless ninth for the Pale Hose.
Some 100 mph-plus exit velocity was still in vogue for White Sox hitters, as they peppered Pirates pitching for four more long balls on the day, increasing their American League lead to 59 on the season. The White Sox are 19-12 on the season, and have overtaken Cleveland for second place in the Central by a half-game. The club will enjoy an off-day on Thursday, then welcome the last-place Kansas City Royals to Guaranteed Rate Field for a weekend series.