'Never give in, never give up' Sox keep rolling with win over Jays
The White Sox have been diligently following the "no cry" rule since late in spring training, when slugging left fielder Eloy Jimenez went on the extended injured list.
They followed suit with Luis Robert and Adam Engel, and also lost Lance Lynn, Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu for short spells.
Michael Kopech and Billy Hamilton are also on the current IL, and now comes news that Nick Madrigal might be lost for the year with a torn hamstring.
So many injuries so early in the season would cripple most clubs, but the Sox continue to squeeze out the most with what they have.
That continued in Thursday night's 5-2 win over the Blue Jays, which gives the White Sox (38-24) a 4½-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.
"Only positive I can think of is we've proven we can handle it, play as hard as we can and as good as we can with the guys we have," manager Tony La Russa said. "We started the spring with deep depth and now we have depth, so we've been banging at it.
"Never give in, never give up. Look at the lineup today, that's a quality starting lineup. Quality starting pitcher, quality bullpen."
Shaking off the loss of Madrigal, the Sox got plenty of offense, a quality start from Dallas Keuchel and flawless relief work from Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Liam Hendriks, who earned his 11th straight save.
Keuchel (5-1) got the win after pitching 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 6 hits to go with 8 strikeouts.
"That was artistic, what he did," La Russa said.
The White Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on the first of 2 RBI doubles from Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal's 2-run homer.
Adam Engel, who rejoined the Sox Sunday after missing over two months with a hamstring injury, hit his first home run in the seventh inning.
"We have a lot of really good players that have been in bench roles or even just that have been in Triple-A that are really good players," Engel said. "We've all kind of bought in, it takes 40 guys to do what we want to do and we've got some really good players that are hurt. Guys like myself and some of the others that have had an opportunity to play a little bit more, our job is to keep this team in a place to accomplish the goals we want to accomplish.
"And then when those guys get back, just hit the ground running."
Still on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, pitcher Michael Kopech is getting to close to a throwing program.
"He's going to, in the coming days, resume throwing sidelines, bullpens, and possibly have a sim game here in the near future," GM Rick Hahn said. "We want to see how those go first before we decide whether it makes sense for him to go out on a rehab assignment or, similar to what you saw last year, we're able to get enough work done here to be able to just activate him back to the roster. So he's making progress, and that's the next phase that he's moving into now."
"He's going to, in the coming days, resume throwing sidelines, bullpens, and possibly have a sim game here in the near future. We want to see how those go first before we decide whether it makes sense for him to go out on a rehab assignment or, similar to what you saw last year, we're able to get enough work done here to be able to just activate him back to the roster. So he's making progress, and that's the next phase that he's moving into now."