Moncada ends power outage with great homerun against the O’s originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Yoan Moncada chose the right time to end his month-long blackout.
The Sox were hanging on to a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game opener with the Orioles. One swing on either side could make all the difference on a day when four home runs had already been hit.
Moncada made five, sending a two-run explosion to the right stands to give the White Sox some leeway, a 7-4 lead they held for a seven-innings victory.
One area of Moncada’s game that has been lacking so far this season is his slugging. He came in on Saturday with just eight more hits in May, all of them doubles. In fact, you had to go all the way back to April 29 against Detroit for the last time it went deep.
But the 26-year-old has done a lot of good at plate this season despite the lack of long balls.
Moncada came in on Saturday with a .274 strike. His base percentage was 0.409, in part because of a 16.7 walk rate, good for the fifth in baseball among skilled hitters.
“He’s always there all year round with the best at bat,” said coach Tony La Russa in the opening game win. “You look at his at-bats, he takes the base on bullets.”
“He doesn’t really hunt a lot, uses all the ground right and left, and he makes solid contact,” added La Russa.
Moncada, after two in the opener, drew 24 goals in 25 games in May. He’s reached base safely in 20 of his last 21 games, batting .299 (20-for-67) on that streak.
The change hitter is only two seasons away from a 25 home run in which he beat more than .500. The Sox know the power is in his bat and it’s only a matter of time before he comes out.
“As it warms up there will be enough balls leaving the park,” La Russa said.
In the meantime, he’s producing other ways to help the team win.
“He’s another guy who has the ability to hit for a high average, and that’s what we need,” added La Russa.