White Sox rally back to beat Twins; Moncada says they're just getting started
The way Yoan Moncada sees things, the White Sox are already a very good team about to chase greatness.
Moncada is thrilled with the way Brian Goodwin, Billy Hamilton, Gavin Sheets and others have jumped in and stepped up in the outfield, but Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert are both quickening their pace on the comeback trail.
"It's not a secret that we're missing them," Moncada said through a translator. "They are two key players for us and we're excited. We're excited to hear the news about them coming back soon, not to disrespect anybody because we have a good team here.
"But they are two players that we're missing and when they come back we're going to be a way better team. That's why we're excited."
Jimenez (ruptured left pectoral tendon) played his eighth minor-league rehab game Tuesday night and the left fielder could be back by the end of the month.
Robert (torn right hip flexor) begins his rehab assignment Wednesday night with Class A Winston-Salem and the center fielder is expected back in early August.
That is a potent one-two punch, but the Sox have been piling up wins without Jimenez and Robert.
They added another one Tuesday night with a dramatic 9-5 win over the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning, the White Sox erupted for 5 runs and went on to win for the ninth time in 11 games.
"There's something about this team," said Hamilton, a smash fan favorite who snapped a 5-5 tie with an RBI single before Jose Abreu followed with a 3-run homer. "We've got a lot of fight in us and I'm just excited to be a part of it."
"That was a good win, a good come-from-behind win right there," said Andrew Vaughn, who got the rally going in the eighth with a pinch-hit single that brought Adam Engel safely home with a slick slide at the plate.
It wasn't an easy win for the Sox, but manager Tony La Russa is getting used to them.
"So many twists in that game, so many guys came through for us," La Russa said. "The thing that impresses me is they come ready to play every day. If you go to work seven days a week or six days a week and you put in that kind of effort, that's hard to do. That's a real mental and hard commitment.
"They committed to it and that's why I'm confident we're going to take our best shot at the end. We'll see if we're good enough."
The White Sox have had stretches where they've failed to hit homers and score runs, and Moncada never got into much of a groove during the first half of the season.
That has changed coming out of the all-star break.
After hitting just 5 home runs in the first half, the third baseman has flipped the power switch.
Moncada hit a 2-run shot in the third inning off Twins starter Bailey Ober, his third homer in four games.
"Nothing's any different," Moncada said. "I've been swinging at good pitches and that's what happens when you swing at good pitches."
That's not to say the Sox's switch-hitter wasn't getting a little concerned with the power outage.
"I spent a long time waiting for the first one to get out of there," Moncada said. "I was able to do it and it's a good moment right now. I've been feeling good. No issues, thank God. I just need to keep working and try to stay healthy."