Sweeping Royals is good, but White Sox need more from Lance Lynn, Tim Anderson

Lynn tossed the Sox’ sixth consecutive quality start Sunday, but the rotation lost Mike Clevinger to the IL. Meanwhile, a struggling Anderson began the 5-2 victory on the bench before coming on as a defensive replacement.

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White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn delivers during Sunday’s game.

White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn delivers during Sunday’s game.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

The White Sox traded for right-hander Lance Lynn in December 2020 to be their veteran ace, an experienced starter who could throw on Opening Day and begin a playoff series. With his pedigree, the Sox need him to live up to his advanced billing.

Same goes for shortstop Tim Anderson.

On Sunday, one of them looked like his old self, while the other didn’t have much of a chance to contribute.

Lynn allowed two runs in six innings in the Sox’ 5-2 victory against the Royals, giving them their first series sweep of the season and a 6-3 homestand. The Sox’ rotation has been a reason for the team’s relative improvement recently, and Lynn’s outing was its sixth consecutive quality start.

Lynn, who had a 7.16 ERA through April, won for the third time in his last four starts and has given up a combined three earned runs in his last 13 innings. Unfortunately for the Sox, Lynn and his fellow starters will need to step up further because of something announced Sunday.

Minutes before the game, the Sox put right-hander Mike Clevinger on the 15-day injured list — retroactive to Thursday — with inflammation in his right wrist. Clevinger, who was scheduled to start Monday in Cleveland, is 3-3 with a 4.56 ERA.

‘‘That’s a blow, and we’ve got to figure out how to get through that,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘We’ve got somebody coming up, and they’ve got to be the next man up. That’s the mentality you have to have through the long season.’’

The Sox will announce a corresponding move Monday.

Manager Pedro Grifol said the team noticed an issue with Clevinger during the fifth inning of his start Wednesday against the Guardians and seemed OK with giving him a bit of a breather.

‘‘He’ll take his break that way,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’ll also regroup and get his body in the right place. These guys haven’t missed a start, so this is a good time for him to regroup, get his body back to 100% and go, just like Michael [Kopech] did [Friday].’’

That was the thinking with Anderson, who didn’t start and was replaced in the lineup by Romy Gonzalez. Gonzalez justified the decision with a go-ahead two-run triple in the fifth, but anything they get from him is a bonus.

Of course, that isn’t true for the scuffling Anderson, one of the faces of the franchise and one of the cornerstones of the lineup. Even with his seventh-inning hit after coming in for injured Hanser Alberto, the former batting champion is hitting .252 and is waiting for his first home run. His defense also became a focal point after a costly error Thursday against the Guardians.

Grifol, however, said Anderson didn’t sit because he’s struggling.

‘‘He’s getting a day off because we feel his body needs to recover,’’ Grifol said before the game. ‘‘He’s played a lot of games in a row. We don’t necessarily take players of his caliber out because they’re scuffling; that’s not what we do. We give players a day because their body needs it. They need to recover. That’s where we’re at.’’

As a group, the Sox know where they’re at. Winning 12 of their last 20 games has given them some hope, but much more is needed to overcome the Twins, Tigers and Guardians in the American League Central.

‘‘It’s no mindset that was different early in the year; we’re just having success now,’’ Lynn said. ‘‘If you stay the course, keep doing what you’re supposed to do and keep working hard, good things will happen. Right now, they are.’’

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