Despite struggles on the mound and being a part of a team with one of the worst records in baseball, White Sox pitcher Derek Holland knows the importance of levity in a clubhouse.
Before a late June game against the Yankees, Holland pedaled into the Chicago clubhouse on a scooter wearing an Adam West-era Batman mask and a bright-red tanktop. With his arrival, the mood among his Chicago teammates lightened considerably.
Status heading into series: 45-46, 2.5 out of a wild-card spot
The bright side: The lineup remains powerful — eight players have at least 11 home runs— and they’re as healthy as they’ve been all season. A rotation topped by Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels absolutely could win a playoff series or two.
On the other hand: The division is out of reach (the Astros own a 16.5-game lead), which means they’re in a glut of teams competing for a wild-card spot. Trading Darvish, who’s a free agent after the season, could bring back a nice haul, and it’s possible he’d re-sign there after the season. The club gave Andrew Cashner a one-year deal and he’s been solid (3.54 ERA), so maybe he could bring a mid-level prospect in return. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is a free agent after the season, too, and though he hasn’t been great at the plate this year, he’d still be an upgrade for many contenders.
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks
Question: Do you have a theory on all the home runs?
Answer: “I think it’s probably because pitchers are throwing harder and the ball’s coming off the bat faster. I think that’s really the only explanation for it.”