KANSAS CITY – Over the past few weeks, the White Sox have been in some unfamiliar territory, but they don’t look like it.
Many players on the team haven’t been through a chase for the postseason before, with a handful of exceptions here and there. So it might be easy for some to look at what could be as the White Sox have entered September in the lead in the American League Central division.
Yet there’s been no looking ahead by this White Sox team as they’ve kept their eye on the now to stay out front.
Against the struggling Royals, the White Sox continue to get the job done to stay a step ahead of the Indians and Twins, who each won on Saturday. A 5-3 victory that was paced by strong early offense and a solid effort on the mound by Lucas Giolito keeps the team a half-game ahead of their division rivals in the AL Central standings.
Saturday marked the two-thirds point of the shortened 2020 campaign as the White Sox now begin the real push towards the playoffs. For Yasmani Grandal, who’s been in the postseason with the Dodgers and Brewers, you couldn’t tell this is a young team with how focused they are on the present moment.
“They’re not thinking about it too much. They’re taking it one game at a time. There’s no talk of playoffs, there’s no talk of World Series,” said Grandal of the young players on the team. “It’s just talk of today’s game and what we need to win.”
For a third-straight night, it started in the opening innings, where the White Sox build a lead and never let it go. For a second-straight contest, the visitors struck first, this time with Jose Abreu’s 13th home run of the year, a two-run shot, to make it 2-0.
Grandal made his own contribution to the effort in the fifth inning when the White Sox got all the runs they’d need. After Tim Anderson’s infield hit drove in James McCann, Grandal sent a pitch into the left field seats for his fifth home run of the year to make it 5-1.
Giolito had strong control during six innings of work, striking out nine batters without a walk. Maikel Franco’s two-run double in the seventh inning chased the starter, but the bullpen would pick him up. After Adalberto Mondesi’s infield RBI hit off Ross Detwiler, they White Sox wouldn’t allow another run.
Alex Colome finished it off in the ninth with his ninth save of the season, as this focused team holds their AL Central lead for another day.
“That’s pretty much what you need,” said Grandal of the team’s mindset. “You can’t be looking ahead right now.”
So far, they are not, even though there could be a lot to look forward to soon.