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Tim Anderson is the Heart of the Chicago White Sox

Photo Credit: David Richard - USA TODAY Sports

After a rough stretch of baseball over a 1-4 homestand that left the team in 4th in the AL Central, the White Sox seemed deflated and out of energy.  The once uber-hyped offense had run dry, and the culmination of a 14 runs in 7 games stretch was a loss to the lowly (but second place) Detroit Tigers on Monday.  While the postgame Dallas Keuchel call out seemed like a moment poised to spark the team from a verbal standpoint, they needed a match to catch the flame.  Someone who could come in, stir the drink, and let their play do the talking.

Well, the White Sox got just that with the return of Tim Anderson, who returned from a stint on the injured list, missing every game in August thus far.

In those 10 games without the 2019 batting champ, the White Sox hovered at 5-5, beating up on the Royals and Brewers in Milwaukee, but looking outclassed by the Indians.  While not a horrible stretch in terms of record, the gap in production was very apparent after the Sox got out of Kansas City.

The effects of Tim Anderson’s return were immediately seen on Tuesday, with TA scoring two runs in his first game back in the leadoff slot during the team’s 8-4 win.  While he wasn’t the main contributor, he started the game off with a rare walk to get things going.  The main job of the leadoff man is to set the tone for the lineup, and finally having their guy back seemed to trickle down to the rest of the lineup.

On Wednesday, Tim Anderson’s impact was more immediately seen in a tangible way, literally speaking.  On a tenth pitch of the first at bat of the game, Tim deposited a ball deep into the seats of Comerica Park, completing the homer with an epic pimp job and a shush sign to the empty seats as he rounded third.

Clearly, the effect rubbed off on Eloy, who kept the train rolling with a dinger of his own immediately after.

Throughout the game, Tim Anderson made his presence known as the best offensive player on the field, at least for this one day.  It’s hard to make any other argument after a 4/5 day with a homer, a triple, three runs, and an RBI.

Even when the team fell behind, he was the one that got things going in the inning that took back the lead.  Without a TA lead off single, Luis Robert doesn’t clear the bases to put the Sox back up 6-5 in the 5th.

Just like that, the White Sox took the series in Detroit, putting them back over .500 and only half a game back of the Tigers for second in the Central.  In a season that has wavered continuously like a metronome between the sky falling and absurd offensive explosions, it’s certainly a relief that a series in Detroit ended with the needle on the latter portion of that spectrum.  With a (possible?) series agains the COVID19 stricken Cardinals on deck, the White Sox needed some momentum badly.

And while the team as a whole took a leap forward over the last two games, it’s hard to imagine it happening without Tim Anderson there.  It certainly doesn’t feel like just a coincidence that this team flipped a switch as soon as he was back in the lineup.

Tim may not be the best player, talent wise, on the roster.  If he were, then something in the rebuild went wrong, given the pedigrees of the likes of Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez.  With that being said, as Tim Anderson has shown time and time again, is that there is no one more important to this team than him.

I’m not the first person to say this and I won’t be the last, but TA is the heart and soul of this team.  I’m not going to do some in depth statistical analysis to prove this.  This is one of those times where you can just see with your eyes what’s going on. You can feel what’s happening, beyond just numbers.

For Christ’s sake, when he was asked about potentially losing his leadoff spot to the superhuman Luis Robert, his response indicated this thought never crossed his mind.  Not everyone is made that way.

When Tim Anderson is on, the White Sox are on.  No one has embraced this franchise more than him, from the fact that he lives in the Chicago area year-round and is extremely active in the community, to the “Ride with us or get run over” quote from last year, to the bat flips, to the constant reminders of “Why not us?”  Tim Anderson plays with a chip on his shoulder every day, and continues to remind everyone just how crucial he is to the success of the White Sox.

And yes, this is just a two game sample set, a possible hot streak until the next bout of inconsistency sets in.  For now, I’m just going to focus on the fact that Tim Anderson helped the White Sox get going again, by merely being in the lineup.  It may not end up being the turning point in a World Series run, but it’s gotten a dormant offense looking scary again.

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