Often on base, White Sox's Moncada praised as 'the whole package'

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada shouts as he is congratulated in the dugout after a home run off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Janson Junk on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at Guaranteed Rate Field.

    White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada shouts as he is congratulated in the dugout after a home run off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Janson Junk on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at Guaranteed Rate Field. Associated Press

 
By Matt Baron
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 9/19/2021 5:52 PM

With a base on balls in the fourth inning, Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada extended his on-base streak to 28 games.

His consistent play has been a relatively quiet force in the lineup. For example, that walk came with two outs and set up a bases-loaded scenario for Jose Abreu. He proceeded to knock in two with a bloop single, expanding Chicago's lead to 5-0.

 

Before the game, Sox manager Tony La Russa called Moncada "the whole package as a hitter."

"Watching him, even in spring training, he's equally dangerous and talented hitter from both sides (as a switch hitter)," said La Russa. "You can't turn him around and get an advantage. He has the things you look for: He's got a good eye and if you watch his hit chart, he hits the ball all over the field and he hits all the pitches."

During the 28-game streak, Moncada has hit safely in 26 games. His career-high .378 on-base percentage is third in the American League. Moncada has been solid defensively as well, including a strong play in the sixth inning Sunday to throw out Nathaniel Lowe, the first Ranger to face relief pitcher Aaron Bummer.

Abreu HBPs piling up

On Sunday, Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was hit by Texas pitcher Jordan Lyles curveball in the first inning, raising his season total to a career-high 20 -- despite his not getting hit until his 26th game of 2021. Since 2014, he is the fourth-most frequently hit batsman (103) in the majors.

The last time a Sox batter got hit so often was 2010, when Juan Pierre (21) and Carlos Quentin (20) both got plunked with regularity. This season, only Oakland's Mark Canha and Seattle's Ty France (24) have been hit more often.

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By contrast, Sox pitchers have hit 47 batters, lowest in the majors.

Ranger fouls up Giolito whiff plans

Going into his Sunday start, Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito was third in the majors with 451 swing-and-miss pitches, or roughly 16 per outing.

But in the second inning, he met his match -- Ranger rookie third baseman Yonny Hernandez fouled off eight consecutive offerings before Giolito got him to pop out on the confrontation's 12th pitch.

Sox even September mark

With their 7-2 victory on Sunday, the Sox evened their record in September at 8-8. All season, the team has been steady -- two to four games over .500 for each month, apart from a dominant 19-10 in May.

The last time the franchise won the AL Central, 2008, the Sox had a winning mark every month except September, when Chicago stumbled to a 12-15 record. Their 12th win was the one-game playoff victory over the Minnesota Twins to take the division.

When the Sox won the World Series in 2005, it came on the heels of a season in which their only sub-. 500 month was August (12-16).

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