Paul Roumeliotis

Tim Anderson records milestone as Jose Abreu inches closer to one with White Sox

Tim Anderson records milestone as Jose Abreu inches closer to one with White Sox

Here are some notables from the White Sox 10-4 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night at Comerica Park.

1. White Sox offense erupts again

With Saturday's win, the White Sox have won six of their last eight games. In those eight contests, they have outscored their opponents 69-26. 

2. Reynaldo Lopez battles cold and Tigers

Lopez didn't have his best stuff on Saturday. In fact, he struggled quite a bit — even though his numbers don't exactly show that.

In the second inning, he allowed a double, a walk, a triple and a sac fly to quickly cut the White Sox lead in half, 6-3, at that point. The 23-year-old right-hander finished with only one strikeout but managed to hold the Tigers to four runs in seven innings on seven hits and two walks. It was also his longest outing of the season.

After the game, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reported that Lopez was dealing with a cold and that Yolmer Sanchez guided him through his rough second inning.

"It was a constant battle for me because I wasn’t feeling good, and under the circumstances, it was a very good outing," Lopez said.

3. Tim Anderson records a milestone

Anderson had his first career four-hit game against the Tigers, going 4-for-5 with three singles, a double and two stolen bases. The White Sox shortstop has been on fire as of late.

In September, Anderson is batting .428 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBIs to go along with 13 runs and seven stolen bases. He also has nine multi-hit games in his last 12 outings and extended his hitting streak to eight games, as pointed out by Kane.

4. Jose Abreu approaching 100 RBIs

The White Sox first baseman tacked on two more RBIs in Saturday's win, bringing his season total to 97. Should he record three more, it would be his fourth straight season with at least 100-plus RBIs — and 25 home runs. Barring any injury in the final few weeks, it's pretty much a lock. Not only that, but Abreu needs 10 more RBIs to tie his season-high of 107, set in his rookie year in 2014.

OTHER NOTES

— The White Sox have won the season series against the Tigers (10-8) for the first time since 2008.

— Yoan Moncada went 2-for-6 and recorded two hits, two RBIs and a run in Saturday's win. He also extended his on-base streak to seven games, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

John Lackey trending in the right direction at the right time for Cubs

John Lackey trending in the right direction at the right time for Cubs

Now is as good a time as any for pitchers to start stepping up.

Helping the Cubs make another playoff push, John Lackey turned in one of his best outings of the season, even though his team had nothing to show for it in a 2-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Wrigley Field.

Entering the day, the Cubs were 9-1 in Lackey’s previous 10 starts. Even though the Cubs couldn’t muster any offense against the Brewers, Lackey certainly did his part. That’s encouraging to see, given that the Cubs are already without their hottest pitcher right now in Jake Arrieta.

“I’m feeling strong, I’m feeling a lot better,” Lackey said. “Even at this point last season I was kind of grinding through a shoulder situation around this time last year, so it’s nice to feel good and compete when you’re feeling physically nice.”

The 38-year-old righthander pitched seven innings of two-run ball on four hits, two walks and a homer on Friday. He also recorded nine strikeouts, one shy of his season-high. His only mistake came in the third batter of the game, a two-run blast to Ryan Braun.

After that, Lackey looked sharp.

“I felt really good tonight,” Lackey said. “Really with the week off, I was almost a little too strong in the first inning. Threw too many fastballs, I was up in the zone a little bit, but my arm just felt great. Physically it felt great.

“Then once I kind of settled in and started using everything after that, things started rolling pretty good.”

A free agent at the end of the season, Lackey is showing the Cubs he's giving all he's got. And in a season where the Cubs have been plagued with injuries – including star pitchers Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Arrieta – Lackey’s production will surely be a nice boost if the Cubs want to pull away in the NL Central.

Right now, Lackey is doing his part, and it couldn't come at a better time.

Where Joe Maddon, Craig Counsell stand on Cubs-Brewers time change

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USA TODAY

Where Joe Maddon, Craig Counsell stand on Cubs-Brewers time change

When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reported last week that the Brewers “vigorously objected” Friday night’s time change from 1:20 p.m. to 7:05 p.m. at Wrigley Field, it fueled the division rivalry — and weekend series — even more.

Especially at this time of the year, any competitive advantage would be appreciated for either side, no doubt. Both teams are fighting for the division lead in the NL Central, where the Cubs have a five-game advantage over the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals entering Friday.

While the Brewers — who had the day off on Thursday — were reportedly upset last week when they heard about the time change, Cubs manager Joe Maddon thought it was the right thing to do. He stood by that — and situations like this — for a while, and he didn't back down in his pregame media session.

"There’s no reason it shouldn’t always be a Friday night (game). Period," Maddon said. "It’s a big deal right now but it shouldn’t be. Friday night baseball is appropriate. It should always be appropriate. There’s plenty of time on the weekends to enjoy Saturdays and Sundays. I’m happy that it turned out this way but it should always be this way."

Surely, the Cubs were happy with the time change since they had to return to Chicago from Pittsburgh following their Thursday night game, which featured an impromptu 52-minute rain delay to start the game.

Though it may have given the defending World Series champions an extra few hours to rest, Brewers manager Craig Counsell understands why the change was made.

"It’s an advantage for them to have the game changed to tonight, yes," Counsell said. "Because nobody wants to sleep for five hours and then have to come out and play. So we would obviously have preferred the other way, but the game’s at 7, let’s go. Let’s go play."

If the scenario was flipped, would the Brewers feel the same way?

"If we had a chance to change it, I think we would have," said Counsell. "We would have tried to. Would they have let us? Maybe a bigger question. But that gets into the conspiracy part of the world."

Sounds familiar, right?

This obviously isn't the first time the Brewers had an issue with the Cubs this season.

In May, Counsell threw major shade at the North Siders after a scheduled game was postponed due to rain in which Milwaukee believed was prematurely called. The Brewers skipper half-jokingly said it was the first time his players were treated for sunburn after a rainout.

Friday's time change added another layer to a rivalry that's ready to boil over. And things could get interesting with less than a month of baseball left to play.