CHICAGO -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura has taken a great deal of heat for the team's 10-23 run over the last 33 games, after starting the season at 23-10. But he certainly deserves credit for moving Tim Anderson to the leadoff spot and Adam Eaton to second in the order.
Ventura made that change prior to the start of the South Siders' three-game home series with the Tigers, giving Anderson, the team's top position player prospect, three games to get his bearings in the ninth spot after coming up from Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Since that new lineup was configured, Anderson and Eaton reached base a combined 16 times and what was a sluggish-looking offense scored 23 runs.
Five of those runs came Wednesday night during a 5-3 victory over the Tigers. Anderson had three hits, including his first career triple, and scored three runs. Eaton reached base three times and drove in a run.
"Yeah, it has been awesome. Just to get it started, and [Eaton] just follows up with it," Anderson said. "Just like tonight, he told me, 'Way to make the job easier.' That was a good thing."
"T.A. brings an element there," Ventura said. "You know, he's fun to watch when he gets it going. As soon as he puts it in play, you like watching him run. He's had great at-bats. I think that's the other thing. He looks really comfortable."
Teams often worry about how young players such as Anderson handle failure. Most of these top picks never face true struggles until they get to this highest level of competition.
There doesn't seem to be much concern for Anderson in this area. His calm demeanor hasn't changed since being part of big league Spring Training in March, while also having leadoff experience during his stint at Charlotte.
"He's been unbelievable, very professional. There's very little up and down with him, very little emotion," said White Sox ace Chris Sale, who picked up his 11th win on Wednesday. "He keeps himself in check, and that's a very positive thing to see from someone like that. It's not easy coming up here in the position he's in, with all of the other hoopla that goes with it.
"Seeing what he has done, he basically won the game for us. He got three hits, scored three runs, got a triple. Right there, he gets the game back at zero. One guy in our lineup gets us back at zero, and I have confidence in our eight other guys to get a couple more, too. He changed the game for us today, so it was big."
Don't look for the top part of the lineup to change any time soon. Not after the one-two punch from Anderson and Eaton made crucial contributions to an important American League Central series win.
"You really don't look around and see games or series that you're just going to walk away with," Ventura said. "It's going to be a dogfight the whole way."