Over the weekend, Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson reached a settlement with Major League Baseball which saw his three-game suspension reduced to two. Anderson was suspended by the league for making contact with an umpire during an argument over balls and strikes in late July.
White Sox Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa was adamant that there was fault on both sides and that any suspension should take that into consideration. “Did you see how the interaction happened?” asked La Russa after the incident. “The way we see it, there’s an argument to be made that the umpire didn’t move back, he was moving forward as well.”
Given the reduction of Anderson’s suspension by a game, clearly someone in the league office felt the same.
Now suspensions are never a good thing, but for TA this may actually serve as a much-needed break to reset. The White Sox struggles have been well documented this season, but as of late their superstar shortstop has also been on the skids.
While Anderson remains in the 98th percentile in expected batting average, he has struggled since the All-Star break. Over his last 15 games, Tim is slashing .258/.281/.290 with just 16 hits and seven runs scored in 62 at-bats.
One glaring difference is his batting average against fastballs this season. In 2021 TA hit a blistering .331 against fastballs, but so far this season he’s seen that average drop to .286.
Now Anderson is still seeing the fastball at the plate 56 percent of the time, but the production simply isn’t there. A .286 average may be respectable for most of the league, but not for TA. His batting average isn’t the only issue, as his slugging percentage versus the fastball has plummeted 100 points from .495 to .393.
Even with his struggles now mirroring the team’s underwhelming season, Anderson has continued to tell whoever’s willing to listen that there are no issues in the White Sox clubhouse.
“Nobody really knows what’s going on,” said Anderson. “It’s just a lot of people with a lot of opinions, and we’re on the inside laughing. But we understand when you’re going through a lot of things, there’s going to be a lot of opinions, and the biggest thing is to not really buy into those opinions. Just stay the course and stay focused and keep rallying around each other.”
Anderson and the Sox will need more than rallying around each other if they want to make the playoffs this season. They’ve battled back to two games above .500 and are only two games behind the Twins, but without a return to their early 2021 form, it may be impossible for Chicago to live up to preseason expectations.