White Sox complete sweep of Rangers, improve to 13-6
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April is not a month to follow the scoreboard, but it’s not too early to list some of the bright spots for the American League Central-leading White Sox.
- The 4-1 victory Sunday over the Texas Rangers gave the Sox a 13-6 record, their best start since 2006, when they also were 13-6.
- They’re the first AL team to reach 13 victories.
- The 5-2 homestand included a three-game sweep of the Rangers for the first time since July 2012.
- The Sox are winning despite a team batting average of .227. But there are signs the offense might be coming around after the Sox outscored the Rangers 13-4 in the series.
‘‘Every guy here thinks when we walk in the clubhouse we’re going to win,’’ said Brett Lawrie, who’s hitting .347 (14-for-49) in his last 14 games. ‘‘We know we’re not going to win every game, but the mentality is there.’’
Pitching remains the obvious strength, with the starters posting a 1.15 ERA over the last six games.
‘‘[The Angels came] in here [to start the homestand] with a lot of offense, then the Rangers,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘Our pitching got the job done going through those high-powered offenses.’’
The stellar pitching of right-hander Mat Latos was on display again at U.S. Cellular Field. He improved to 4-0 with a miniscule 0.74 ERA, second-best in the AL.
The Rangers’ only run came on Nomar Mazara’s home run in the first inning. Latos surrendered six singles through six innings.
Zach Duke, Nate Jones and David Robertson (seventh save) finished the job.
‘‘This guy is confident right now in being able to throw strikes and put it where he wants to,’’ Ventura said of Latos, who has won his first four starts for the first time in his six-year career.
‘‘The biggest thing is in spring, he wasn’t throwing as many strikes. He’s filling up the zone, not only with his fastball, but letting it sink away. That’s been the impressive part, the turnaround when you didn’t necessarily see it in spring training. He’s turned it on right when the season started.’’
Games that count are part of the reason, Latos said.
‘‘Spring training and the season are two different things,’’ Latos said. ‘‘Time and time again, I’ve said it only takes one pitch or one bullpen session for everything to click.
‘‘[Pitching coach] Don Cooper and I put a plan together every time I grab a baseball. And you take that to heart. We’ve incorporated everything we did in spring training and what we are doing now, and everything has been clicking.’’
Latos credits the offense and defense for coming through for him.
And catcher Dioner Navarro has been a factor, too, he said.
‘‘I’ve had him before, and I’m real comfortable throwing to him,’’ Latos said. ‘‘He puts confidence in pitchers, the way he calls games.’’
Navarro has been hitting of late, too, homering off starter Derek Holland (2-1) for his first of the year and driving in another run with a sacrifice fly.
‘‘What you see is what you get,’’ Navarro said of his hitting, deferring to Latos’ performance.
‘‘Latos was outstanding. He’s been doing that all year long. He knows what he’s doing, and he’s throwing strikes. He’s getting ahead of hitters, and that’s all you can ask. It’s a matter of making pitches when you need to.’’
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