Chicago Sun-Times

Gran­dal high on Sox’ youth

- BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN, STAFF RE­PORTER dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com | @CST_­sox­van Sports · College Sports · Baseball · Boston Red Sox · Chicago White Sox · Yasmani Grandal · Los Angeles Dodgers · Frank Thomas · Miguel Cabrera · Minnesota Twins · Schaumburg · MLB Baseball · Milwaukee Brewers · Yoan Moncada

The White Sox won’t bring a ton of post­sea­son ex­pe­ri­ence to the play­offs, but that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to be a bad thing, catcher Yas­mani Gran­dal said.

Gran­dal, who has played in the last five post­sea­sons with the Dodgers and Brew­ers, said the Sox’ youth is one of the things that makes them dan­ger­ous.

“A team like this team that runs ev­ery­thing out, can steal, bunt, hit the long ball, string runs to­gether, is pretty much never out of a game, that’s pretty nerve-rack­ing for some­body else,” Gran­dal said Thurs­day of the Sox, who clinched their first play­off berth since 2008.

Gran­dal, Ed­win En­car­na­cion, No­mar Mazara, Jar­rod Dyson, Dal­las Keuchel, Rey­naldo Lopez, Gio Gon­za­lez and Steve Cishek have play­off ex­pe­ri­ence. Gran­dal and Keuchel have been to the World Se­ries.

Ten Sox play­ers made their ma­jor-league de­but this sea­son, in­clud­ing re­liev­ers Codi Heuer (the win­ning pitcher in re­lief Thurs­day), Matt Foster and sec­ond base­man

Nick Madri­gal, who have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions. They have been fu­eled by play­off-starved Jose Abreu, Tim An­der­son, Alex Colome and James McCann, as well as young play­ers such as Eloy Jimenez, Lu­cas Gi­olito and Yoan Mon­cada, who are es­tab­lish­ing them­selves as stars.

The nar­ra­tive among the young Sox is that they are play­ing play­off base­ball al­ready.

The in­ten­sity level is up, but of course that’s not the case.

“The play­offs are com­pletely dif­fer­ent to what we’re play­ing right now,” Gran­dal said. “I don’t think for us this is a play­off men­tal­ity right now. The stakes in the play­offs are slightly higher, in­ten­sity gets way up there. For now, [the young play­ers] just seem re­laxed, they seem like they’re con­fi­dent in what they’re do­ing. And that’s a pos­i­tive. You want to see that on a daily ba­sis.”

And that just might work for a young team. “You don’t need to be ‘ready’ for the play­offs,” Gran­dal said. “Ninety per­cent of these guys have never been there. So don’t try to get ready for it or amp up for it. Take it one step at a time, and if it ends up hap­pen­ing, great. We know we can come back next year and do it all over again. If it doesn’t, we got ex­pe­ri­ence un­der our belt, and then we can come back next year and do it all over again.”

This and that

Per STATS, Abreu be­came the first Sox player with 51 RBI in the first 50 games of a sea­son since Frank Thomas in 1996 (52) and the first in the ma­jors to ac­com­plish the feat since Miguel Cabr­era in 2013 (57). Abreu has hit safely in 28 of his last 29 games, hit­ting 392/.434/.808 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI.

The win Thurs­day was the Sox’ 11th come­from-be­hind vic­tory. They’ve scored 84 runs in the sev­enth in­ning or later, most in the AL.

Dyson started in right field in place of slump­ing Mazara and went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run scored. En­ter­ing the game, Dyson was 4-for-12 with a home run and dou­ble against Twins right-han­der Kenta Maeda.

The Sox re­called right-han­der Jose Ruiz from Schaum­burg to shore up their bullpen and op­tioned in­fielder Danny Men­dick to Schaum­burg. “We needed to make sure if some­thing went side­ways, we had enough pitch­ing to get us through the ball­game to­day,” man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said.

 ?? AP ?? The Twins’ Josh Don­ald­son kicks dirt on home plate af­ter his home run in the sixth in­ning Thurs­day, prompt­ing um­pire Dan Bellino to eject him from the game.
AP The Twins’ Josh Don­ald­son kicks dirt on home plate af­ter his home run in the sixth in­ning Thurs­day, prompt­ing um­pire Dan Bellino to eject him from the game.

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