Tim Anderson led off the bottom of the first Sunday against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field in typical Tim Anderson fashion, hitting the ball the other way for a single.
The White Sox shortstop displayed another part of his game later in the inning, swiping second base.
The Sox will be missing that all-around game for an unspecified period after Anderson exited in the fifth with a strained right groin. After ranging to his left to field a grounder and making the throw to first, he fell to the ground in shallow center field.
Sox manager Tony La Russa said Anderson is headed to the injured list.
“If he goes down like that, you know there’s something up,” Sox infielder Danny Mendick said Sunday. “Hopefully he can get healthy and get back out there real soon.”
Anderson has a .356/.393/.503 slash line with five home runs, 19 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 40 games. His 164 weighted runs created plus (wRC+), according to fangraphs.com, ranks 11th in the majors. The stat estimates a player’s offensive contribution in total runs and adjusts that number to account for external factors such as ballpark and era. The major-league average is 100, meaning Anderson is 64% above that.
“He’s a great player, legitimately a great player,” La Russa said Sunday.
Here are four numbers that highlight Anderson’s impact.
.580 — White Sox winning percentage since 2020 with Anderson starting
Anderson is a major reason the Sox made the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history in 2020 and ‘21. Since the start of the 2020 season, they are 123-89 when he’s in the starting lineup and 28-28 when he’s not, according to the Sox.
During that span, the Sox are 104-58 when Anderson gets at least one hit and 26-3 when he homers.
Anderson has excelled in the postseason too. He collected nine hits in the 2020 wild-card series against the Oakland Athletics, batting .643 in the three games. He had seven hits in last season’s American League Division Series against the Houston Astros, hitting .368 in four games.
15 — leadoff home runs
Anderson didn’t waste any time aiding the offense against the Los Angeles Angels on April 30 at Guaranteed Rate Field, hitting José Suarez’s first pitch over the right-field wall.
It was the 15th leadoff home run in Anderson’s career and the second time he accomplished the feat this season. The first was April 24 in Minnesota.
He has hit six homers on the first pitch of a game, tied for third in major-league history, and he ranks second behind Ray Durham (20) in leadoff homers by a Sox player.
49 — 3-hit games since 2019
Anderson already had two hits during the second game of a May 22 doubleheader against the New York Yankees when he came to bat in the eighth.
Fans at Yankee Stadium greeted him with boos throughout the game in the aftermath of Yankees third baseman/designated hitter Josh Donaldson calling Anderson “Jackie” during the previous day’s game and the conversations that followed between Donaldson and the Sox, which resulted in the benches clearing.
There were two on and two out in the nationally televised Sunday night game, and the Sox led by two. Anderson provided insurance with a dramatic three-run home run to right, quieting the crowd.
“You’ve got to give me something to keep me motivated,” Anderson said two days later.
Anderson had another three-hit game May 26 against the Boston Red Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, and his 49 three-hit games since 2019 are the most in baseball during that stretch, according to the Sox. The Sox are 34-15 in those games.
.326 — batting average since 2019
Anderson entered Sunday with a .326 batting average since 2019, which according to the Sox was tops in the majors during that period.
Anderson led the majors with a .335 average in 2019, finished second in the American League in 2020 (.322) and was fourth in the AL last season (.309).
Entering Monday, Anderson ranked third in the AL this year at .356.
“Tim’s a great player having a great year,” La Russa said Sunday. “Now he’s going to have to recover. Recovering from any injury is not fun. But for us, just got to look around at who we send out. We’ve got a lot of guys to send out that can help win a game. That’s our attitude.”