The late great Earl Weaver is credited with saying, “Momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher.” If Weaver is right, then the Chicago White Sox have the momentum of a freight train right now.
Tuesday night, Lucas Giolito continued an 11-game stretch of brilliance from the south side starters by holding the visiting Cleveland Guardians to one run on six hits over seven innings as the Sox knocked off Cleveland, 4-1.
Since the Sox returned home after that horrendous nine-game funeral procession through the Central Division, they’ve won eight out of 11. This is in large part thanks to a starting rotation that was a huge question mark at the beginning of the season.
The Body of Work
With no Lance Lynn for these first few months, Carlos Rodon lost to free agency, Vince Velasquez “gained” from free agency, and Dallas Keuchel still struggling to regain Cy Young form, it didn’t look like this starting staff was going to be the early season savior that they’ve become. However, Gio, early Cy Young contender Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Velasquez and, yes, even the much maligned Keuchel have combined to give up just 12 runs over 62.1 innings for an ERA of 1.72. Those are numbers even the most sophisticated modern metric folks will admit are outstanding.
This team possesses struggling offense that just got Yoan Moncada back in the lineup and is still missing Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn. That said, it’s been the starting pitching that has brought this team back over .500 and within striking distance of the first place Twins.
How long this string of brilliance will continue is anyone’s guess. Over a 162-game season, there are peaks and valleys in every aspect of the game. Getting Lynn back in a few weeks should only help, or at least be at the right time for one of the current five starters to need some rest. Having too many solid starting pitchers is never a bad thing, especially in the days of load management and attempts at six-man rotations.
Let’s just hope this train of momentum has enough steam to get back into first place and roll through October.