It’s hard not to root for Eloy Jimenez, Cubs fans possibly excluded.
An impressive young power hitter for the White Sox and as likable as they come, Jimenez has worked long hours trying to make himself a better left fielder.
“I feel like I get better every day,” said Jimenez, who came over from the Cubs in the 2017 Jose Quintana trade. “I think I’m going to keep doing that, I want to be one day be a Gold Glove. That’s why I’m working hard every single day.”
Hard work aside, Jimenez already had a misadventure in left field this season. In a July 26 game against the Twins, he ran into the fence and appeared to hit his head. Last season, Jimenez injured his ankle and elbow in two separate plays on defense.
He didn’t get hurt in Thursday night’s game against the Brewers, but another gaffe put the Sox in a big hole during an 8-3 loss.
With the Sox ahead 2-1 with one out in the fifth inning, Christian Yelich hit a fly ball to left and Jimenez came in and looked ready to make a fairly routine catch. Nearing the foul line, Jimenez tried making a stabbing grab and missed. As he fell into the seats and got tangled up in the netting, the ball rolled into the left-field corner.
Yelich had plenty of time to circle the bases as Jimenez freed himself and got to the ball. Yelich was credited an inside-the-park home run and Milwaukee went on to score 3 more runs in the fifth.
“Was it a tough play for him? Yes,” said manager Rick Renteria, who still believes Jimenez can be a good defensive left fielder. “Could it have been made? Should it have been made? It’s possible. But he did everything he could to kind of corral it. He made a mistake today I’m sure he’s going to kick himself about. I’m not going to harp on it.”
Gio Gonzalez started for the White Sox and gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks in 4⅓ innings.
Leury Garcia gave the Sox the early lead with a 2-run homer in the second inning and scored the final run with a ninth-inning double.
Taking the lead: Luis Robert has moved into the leadoff spot since Tim Anderson went on the injured list Saturday with a strained groin. Robert batted first last year in the minor leagues and is comfortable at the top of the order.
When Anderson returns to the White Sox early next week, manager Rick Renteria said the defending American League batting champ will go back to hitting first.
“I look at the guy who’s actually had the experience,” Renteria said. “Right now, Luis is doing it on sheer talent ... I still consider Timmy our leadoff guy. And we’ll find a way to continue to adjust the lineup a little bit. We’ll see how Timmy’s feeling after his stint over in Schaumburg.”
Anderson was comfortable hitting seventh much of last season, when he led the majors with a .335 average. He’s liked hitting first this year.
“I get to start the party,” said Anderson, who hit leadoff in all seven games he’s played while batting .333.
Around the horn: Needing to reduce the roster from 30 to 28 Thursday, the Sox placed Nick Madrigal on the 10-day injured list and optioned outfielder Nicky Delmonico to their training facility in Schaumburg. Delmonico is 3-for-15 (.200) this season ... On the original 60-game schedule, the White Sox and Cardinals were supposed to play in Iowa next Thursday and be off Friday. The “Field of Dreams” game was postponed, so the Sox and St. Louis play a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field starting next Friday.