When Eloy Jimenez tore his pectoral muscle during a spring training game and was placed on the 60-day IL before the start of the White Sox season, the team reacted like Jimenez had just died. Maybe it’s been awhile since you had a chance to chuckle at the tweets the team sent out on Opening Day, which were so over the top that they kicked off an “RIP Eloy” meme among White Sox fans.
But now Jimenez is back, and just 10 games into his return to the White Sox lineup he’s made it clear that any overwrought reactions to his injury were completely justified. How else were the White Sox supposed to react to losing, even if just for a few months, not a man but a god who was sent to Earth for one reason and one reason only: to smash baseballs?
Jimenez has been doing plenty of that lately. He homered in his third game back against the Royals, and then last night he socked two dingers and drove in five runs for the second consecutive game. It’s rare that MLB can get away with posting a YouTube highlight with a Ball Is Life–style title, but when you see and hear these dingers that Jimenez has been hitting, you’ll understand why “Eloy Jimenez FOUR home runs in TWO GAMES! (Absolutely crushes all four homers!)” was the right move:
And now for the part that should really scare the rest of the American League: If you were to have told a White Sox fan way back in March that their team would be 59-40 and well clear of the rest of the division on July 25, they probably would have assumed that such a thing would not have been possible without Jimenez having a breakout first half of the season and blossoming into the best hitter on the team. But the Sox achieved that record without Jimenez even taking one swing of the bat, and now they’ve gone 6-4 in the games he’s played this season. Add in the fact that Luis Robert also played last night for the first time since May—he went 2-for-5 and drove in a run—and any team in the AL Central that was holding on to even the slightest hope of catching the White Sox must now realize that they are about to get kicked further down the ladder.
I am not quite ready to declare that the White Sox are the best team in baseball, but at the moment they are certainly the most exciting. They’ve been good as hell through the first four months of the season, and now they are welcoming two of the most awe-inspiring mashers that the game has to offer back into the lineup. Not even Tony La Russa could manage to suck the fun out of that.