Yoan Moncada must have heard the twitter pundits who called for his demotion to AAA and proclaimed him a bust after a dismal performance in Monday night’s White Sox defeat.
He made his feelings on the matter loud and clear when he worked a 2-1 count, saw a fastball on the inner part of the plate, and demolished it to center field to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Yolmer Sanchez followed suit as he got the barrel on one the very next pitch from Adam Plutko (3-1) and deposited it into the left center field seats to double Cleveland’s deficit, and even if those were the only two runs the Sox put on the board this evening, it would have been all they needed, taking the contest 5-1.
That was, of course, thanks to a masterful performance from the man who has clearly kidnapped James Shields (2-7 but ignore that) and taken his place, because the Shields we saw in his first two campaigns in white and black would not be pitching as well as he is now. Shields, other than a blip on the radar in Minnesota last week, has put together a string of five quality starts, all going seven innings or more.
Shields exercised pinpoint control, walking nobody, using his newly found sidearm action to move towards a deceptive approach. He hit the leadoff man in the first but didn’t allow another baserunner until there were two outs in the third, then retired the next eight until another double in the sixth.
The overall story was that Francisco Lindor got on base three times in the first five and a third innings and every other Indian did so zero times in that same time frame.
Shields’ performance was just the latest in a refreshing recent string of solid outings from White Sox starting pitchers. Dylan Covey has been nothing short of spectacular since he replaced Carson Fulmer on the big league club. Carlos Rodon is back and despite some abysmal defense behind him produced a winnable effort. And Reynaldo Lopez has stud written all over him.
The bullpen has been lights out as well, in a trend that Ricky’s boys sincerely hope will continue in the coming summer months.
Up next, the South Siders look to grab an edge in their series against Cleveland. Covey will take on Trevor Bauer, who will look to continue what has been a superb year thus far, on NBCSN Chicago. Game time is at 7:10, as the White Sox go for win number 24.
Follow Jack Soble on Twitter–Feature Photo Credit: Chicago White Sox