CLEVELAND — Tim Anderson has a nice combination of things helping him get through his first major league experience at the tender age of 23. He’s a new father, and he has what manager Robin Ventura calls “supreme” confidence.
Anderson’s fiance, Bria, delivered baby Peyton into his life during spring training and, as any new parent knows, changed everything. For Anderson’s baseball life, for the good.
“It has,’’ Anderson said. “Being a father doesn’t let the game of baseball beat me up. When I have a bad game, I can go home and see her smile. It helps me out, playing the game.’’
A first-round draft choice in 2013 and now the White Sox shortstop of the present as well as the future, Anderson is playing a capable shortstop while batting .272 with six homers and 15 RBI in 55 games. He extended his hitting streak to nine games with a double in his first at-bat in the Sox’ 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians Tuesday at Progressive Field, and is 11-for-34 with four walks during that stretch. The walks are worth noting, considering the rookie’s 71-6 strikeout to walks ratio.
“I’m still figuring out who I am at the plate,’’ Anderson said. “Figuring out my good pitch to hit, figuring out my zone and just locking in.
“I would love to [cut down on the strikeouts]. It’s something I’ve been working on. I’m also working on a getting a good pitch to hit. I still have a lot of work to do — I’m just getting my feet wet and basically preparing myself for next year.’’
Next year is becoming a good place to look for the Sox (56-62), who aren’t going anywhere this year. Tuesday’s loss, their seventh in a row to the AL Central leading Indians (68-49) dropped the fourth-place Sox to a season low six games below .500 and 12 ½ games back in the standings.
Tough-luck loser Jose Quintana (9-9) was denied a career-high 10th victory for the second straight time despite another quality start – six innings, two runs. Quintana owned a 2.68 ERA against the Indians going in, including a 1.17 ERA at Progressive Field.
“It was a tough game,” said Quintana, who had Rajai Davis going on his pickoff move, only to watch his 33rd stolen base when first baseman Jose Abreu’s throw to second was off the mark. “They can run. I wanted to keep runners off base. But all my stuff was working good, especially my breaking ball.”
Back-to-back doubles by Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor in the first and Mike Napoli’s RBI single in the third was all that was needed for Tribe right-hander Corey Kluber (13-8), who gave up one run – Justin Morneau’s fourth homer – in six innings. Kipnis added an RBI single against Matt Albers in the seventh.
No matter what the Sox front office decides on what direction to go during offseason – major rebuild, minor one or patch things up with a few additional pieces and hope to compete – Anderson is all but assured of being part of the plan.
He has no doubt he belongs.
“My confidence is something I never lose, no matter what,’’ Anderson said.
“I know we play a tough sport. But you get to come out and play again the next day. Even if they get you the day before you get to come out and compete again.
“It’s been up and down. I’ve had some good days and some bad days but overall I’m enjoying it and having fun with it and really locking in.’’