Tim Anderson — stuck in the No. 7 hole? — stays hot, but White Sox stifled by A’s 7-0
Anderson had two of the three hits allowed by Mike Fiers to extend his streak of reaching base to nine plate appearances. It was his fourth consecutive multihit game and lifted his average in August to a robust .457.
The White Sox were shut down by the Athletics on Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field. Stifled. Handled without a care.
Veteran starter Mike Fiers saw to it, throwing seven scoreless innings in the A’s 7-0 victory. Having his finest season at 34, Fiers — who pitched his second career no-hitter in May — has won nine consecutive decisions to move to 11-3.
He joined an interminable list of pitchers who have managed to dominate the Sox’ lineup during this rebuild, but it came at a time when the Sox were crushing the ball.
They came in off a 5-2 stretch in Philadelphia and Detroit, a rarity, indeed, to win consecutive road series. They came in with at least 10 hits in five consecutive games. Hard to believe but true: They came in with 39 straight non-1-2-3 innings by their offense, the third-highest total in the major leagues since at least 1974.
“We’ve been setting the table early,” shortstop Tim Anderson said. “Going out and playing hard. We’ve been able to get a couple of wins. We’ve been grinding.”
But the Sox went down in order in the first, ending that really cool streak. They did it again in the second because that’s the kind of day it was.
And also because Anderson, the team’s hottest hitter, remains in the No. 7 hole in the order.
“He likes that No. 7 slot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I’m going to continue to put him there.”
Anderson had two of the three hits allowed by Fiers, singling in the third and fifth innings to extend his streak of reaching base to nine plate appearances. It was his fourth consecutive multihit game, a flurry in which he’s 11-for-17 (.647) at the plate.
After missing 26 games with an ankle injury, Anderson apparently knocked the rust off in the last two games of July and is 16-for-35 (.457) in August.
“I’m just happy to be back in the lineup and to be able to bring what I have to the squad,” he said. “Go out and win ballgames. . . . Yeah, I feel pretty good.”
And he likes batting seventh, as his manager mentioned. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bat like Anderson’s in use as much as possible, or close to it? He has batted seventh 30 times this season and second 29 times, with a smattering of other appearances in the order.
“I’m trying not to disrupt anything that feels good for him,” Renteria said.
Especially with Yoan Moncada out of the lineup with a hamstring injury, Anderson’s presence is vital. Since his return, Anderson has been the same thing he was early in the season before he got hurt — the team’s most important position player.
The entire team rallied around his hot hitting and swagger early. It’s looking to him now as an energy source.
Catcher James McCann agreed that Anderson could be not just one of the leaders, but the one at the very top of the pecking order.
“Obviously, it’s easy to say that with the kind of numbers that he’s putting up right now,” McCann said. “But just the type of energy that he brings, the type of person that he is, the passion that he brings for playing the game — whether he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, he’s an integral part to that lineup and that dugout.”
There haven’t been many zeros in the hit column lately.
If he can keep hitting against the A’s, he can do it against anybody. They’re 16-4 against the American League Central, and 4-0 against the Sox, this season.
The Sox, meanwhile, are off to another poor start at home after going an abysmal 2-8 on their last homestand.