Encarnacion finds his swing
White Sox manager Rick Renteria has kept the faith that Edwin Encarnacion will break out of a seasonlong slump. It paid off Sunday.
Encarnacion, hitting .163 at the time after striking out in the first inning, popping out to short in the third and striking out again in the sixth, hit a three-run homer to deep left field that gave the Sox a 5-0 lead after starter Dallas Keuchel left the game with lower back stiffness.
Encarnacion, who signed a one-year, $12 million contract with the Sox in the offseason, has eight home runs and 15 RBI this season. But he is hitting .179 — his batting average never has been higher than .219 this year.
“He continues to chip away at what he does,” Renteria said. “He got a pitch to handle, he put it into the water, pretty deeply. He’s a professional. I don’t have to worry about Edwin. If I felt he didn’t have the quick twitch anymore, it would be more of a concern.”
Encarnacion, who homered off Danny Duffy on Thursday, got a day off Saturday.
“It’s just falling into rhythm and timing,” Renteria said. “He’s going to continue to do what he does. Obviously with being able to use both Pito [Jose Abreu] and or Yazzy [Yasmani Grandal ]as a DH, it gives an opportunity to also spell Edwin every now and then. It keeps them all fresh. He’s doing very well.”
No. 9 hitter Yolmer Sanchez had two doubles and two runs scored as the bottom of the order — Nomar Mazara (2-for-5), Danny Mendick (2-for-5) and Sanchez (2-for-3) — combined to go 6-for-13 with three doubles and walk.
With Yoan Moncada still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 virus and a leg injury, the third baseman was given a day off ahead of Monday’s off day. Moncada is 1-for-16 in his last five games and is hitting .191 with three home runs and 13 RBI in his last 25 games after a hot start.
“This is actually just protocol we’re following to give him and his legs and everything we’re trying to do to keep him on the field as healthy as possible,” Renteria said.
Robert’s catch goes viral
Luis Robert’s diving catch in the ninth inning Saturday was still a hot topic Sunday. The Sox’ twitter account tweeted video of the catch four times.
“At first I didn’t think it was that good,” Robert said through a team translator, “but then after the game I saw the replay and then I saw they were showing the play on TV and social media and that’s when I realized, yes, it was a good play.”
The play had a 15% catch probability, per Statcast.
“[There] wasn’t much time to think about it,” Robert said. “As soon as I saw the ball come off the bat, I just went after it. I always do, every time I see the ball in the air, I just run after it thinking I have a chance. Fortunately, I was able to catch the ball.”
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning and added an RBI single in the eighth Sunday.