Sox's Robert regroups, closes out rookie season with a bang
After sifting through all the rubble left by the White Sox's 6-4 loss in the deciding Game 3 of the playoffs Thursday, Luis Robert turned up in a big way.
Not only did the rookie center fielder open the scoring in the second inning with a 487-foot home run, the longest by a Sox hitter in the Statcast era (2015), Robert had an RBI single in the third inning and singled in each of the first two games.
He also went 5-for-11 in the three-game series against the Cubs to close the regular season after enduring a miserable September that featured a 6-for-70 stretch.
"September was a really bad month for me but I think the last two series I was better at the plate, my approach was better," Robert said through a translator. "I think my offense showed up and I showed what I can do."
Robert tore it up at the start of the season and was named American League Rookie of the Month for late July/August after batting .297 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI.
Moving into next season, the gifted 23-year-old is positioned to be a much more consistent player. Playing in the postseason makes Robert an even more important piece for the White Sox.
"I think overall for me and for us, it was a good experience just because it was something new," Robert said. "For me especially, it's one I'll just add to the whole experience I had during the regular season and I truly believe it's going to put me in a better position for next year, it's going to make me a better player.
"Every experience we had every day is something that's going to make you better as a person, as a player, and that is how I see it."
In the swing:
Shortstop Tim Anderson became the first player in major-league history to have 3 hits in each of his first three playoff games.
Anderson was 9-for-14 against the Athletics.
"These are the moments you want to be in," Anderson said. "Who's going to come up big? Who's going to get that big hit? It's all about those moments, and you never want to turn away from those moments.
"That's how you stamp your name, that's how you carry your team as well. Just have to keep going, continue to be a great teammate, continue to lead and try to guide these guys in the right direction. Hopefully we'll be having this same conversation next year but on the other end."
After throwing 49 pitches over 2 innings and almost letting Oakland's lead get away in Game 2, closer Liam Hendriks came right back in Game 3 Thursday and held the White Sox scoreless in the ninth inning after James McCann led off with a single.
Hendriks struck out Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert and Nomar Mazara to end it while throwing 19 more pitches.
After the A's won the series, Hendriks heaped praise on the Sox.
"Hats off to the White Sox," he said. "They're a fantastic team. They've got a great lineup and they're going to be a powerhouse in the AL Central for several years just based on these young guys they've got in their lineup and the rotation behind (Lucas) Giolito and (Dallas) Keuchel."