If you’ve ever heard an athlete giving an interview, and thought maybe you were hearing spin instead of the truth, it probably wasn’t Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson you were hearing.
At least, not about his chances of winning an American League batting title.
Among the bright spots from another down year for the White Sox (67-86), Anderson added two hits Friday to raise his batting average to majors-best .336 as Chicago defeated host Detroit 10-1 in the opener of a three-game series.
The teams meet again Saturday evening, and with the White Sox out of contention for months, Anderson isn’t shy about talking about his personal quest.
“I ain’t afraid to say it: Damn right I want to win the batting title,” Anderson told the Chicago Sun-Times this week. “I’ve made it this far, so why not go for it? We all know it’s possible. Why not? We’re in September. We’re only playing for a [little] while longer. It’s only right to go for it.”
A career .258 hitter in his first three seasons, Anderson has spent this entire season over .300, save for the first two games. In fact, his average has been below .310 for only a few games, and he’s finishing with a flourish, posting a .364 average in August, and he’s off to a .392 start for September.
Chicago manager Rick Renteria says the batting title chase is “pretty cool. You think of the path he’s taken and where he’s at — just to be even in the top 10, the growth that has had to occur for him. It’s been significant. I think it would mean a lot to him.”
The next challenge for Anderson and the White Sox is Tigers rookie left-hander Tyler Alexander (1-3, 4.87 ERA), who has moved into the rotation for Detroit (45-108).
Alexander is coming off his first career win in his sixth major league start, pitching six innings and allowing only one run and four hits with no walks and three strikeouts in beating the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. He made 85 pitches.
“I felt like I was ahead of almost everybody, which helped keep my pitch count down. And ultimately it helped me eat as many innings as I could,” Alexander told reporters afterward.
It’s all about opening eyes, said Alexander, who also has made five appearances in relief.
“September pretty much is a showcase or a way to prove that you belong for a lot of guys that get called up later in the year,” Alexander said. “And I’m included in that. Every time I pitch, I’m trying to prove that I belong here and pitch for a long time and I can be a starter, a long relief guy, a one-inning guy, whatever they need me to be.”
Alexander has made two starts against the White Sox this season, going 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA. In 9 1/3 innings, he has allowed 14 hits, including three home runs.
The White Sox are countering with Ivan Nova (10-12, 4.83 ERA), a 10-year veteran.
Nova has made two starts against the Tigers this season, going 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA. In 10 career appearances against Detroit, nine of them as a starter, he is 1-3 with a 4.97 ERA.
–Field Level Media