Chicago White Sox surge continues with sweep against Twins
Tony La Russa has made some mistakes over the first quarter of the season. To his credit, the White Sox's 76-year-old manager has stepped up and owned them.
Back in the dugout for the first time since 2011, La Russa has been knocking off some expected early rust, and he now finds himself guiding the team with the best record in baseball.
The Sox improved to 22-13 on Thursday afternoon with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The three-game sweep boosted their winning streak to six, and the White Sox also led the majors leagues with a plus-66 run differential.
There's obviously a lot to like in all areas, but La Russa has learned plenty during his first 33 seasons as a manager while winning three World Series.
"We're in the middle of the second month of the season," he said Thursday. "So the record, I like the fact that we're winning more than we're losing, but there's so much more ahead and you just don't want to lose an edge."
The Sox could have lost an edge after center fielder Luis Robert joined left fielder Eloy Jimenez on the long-term injury list, but they have roared forward with elite pitching and a deep lineup.
The White Sox scored 40 runs in four games before cooling off a bit Thursday. Starter Lance Lynn and relievers Matt Foster, Garrett Crochet, Jose Ruiz and Liam Hendriks picked up the slack and held the fading Twins down.
Minnesota, which won the AL Central the past two seasons, is 12-23 and 10 games behind the first-place White Sox.
"They had their shots at whooping on us," said shortstop Tim Anderson, who homered on Twins starter Michael Pineda's first pitch to give the Sox the early lead. "So you know, it feels good for the tables to turn a little bit and for us to finally be in the position to be able to whoop on these guys. Keep pushing."
Lynn (4-1) got the win after pitching 5 innings and allowing 1 unearned run on 2 hits to go with 9 strikeouts.
"That's kind of my thing, so glad to be able to do it," Lynn said. "I wish it was more like the seventh or eighth inning to get through it that way. Five (innings) and 111 (pitches) is too many."
Lynn was hit by a Max Kepler comebacker in the fourth inning but was able to stay in the game and should be able to make his next start.
"They did an X-ray just to make sure that nothing was wrong with the (right) wrist, forearm area there, everything came back clean," Lynn said. "Just kind of one of those things that it tightened up as you stopped moving, so it actually feels worse now then it did then."
As for the Sox, they are feeling great heading into Friday's doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals, La Russa included.
"I think I said in spring training, when I saw the talent on the roster, it's real," he said. "I'm talking about pitchers, starters, relievers, offense, defense. Now it's a question of just great preparation, great practice, you have the coaches keep tweaking and take it into the games. The baseball gods are listening, so I'll say we've got to keep doing it.
"I think the heart and the spirit we have is going to bring that talent out, continue to bring it out."