Yankees rough up White Sox’ Vince Velasquez, providing tough test

Yankees providing tough early test for White Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When asked about the Yankees’ deep lineup before Friday’s game, White Sox manager Tony La Russa took his answer in a different direction.

“It’s not just the lineup,” said La Russa, who added the Yankees are a ‘well-rounded club.’ “The starting pitching has been good; the bullpen has been outstanding.”

New York has looked like the class of baseball through one month and the White Sox have gotten a potential early look at what could be awaiting them in October halfway through this weekend’s four-game series on the South Side.

New York has won both games, by a combined score of 25-11, after Friday’s 10-4 win over the Sox.

“It’s a team that’s hot right now,” said Gavin Sheets, who homered for the third time in four games, of the Yankees, who improved to an MLB-leading 24-8 with the win.

“And it’s a team like this you’ve got to beat come October to get to what the end goal is, a World Series.”

The Sox entered this series 7-1 over their last eight games.

The Yankees roughed up White Sox starter Vince Velasquez to the tune of seven runs and eight hits (three home runs) in five innings. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson each took him deep.

On the other side, Gerrit Cole threw 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball, scattering six hits while striking out nine compared to one walk.

Velasquez, who gave up five runs in the first two innings, said he felt out of sync right out of the gate.

“This team is very selective when it comes to finding what they like,” Velasquez said of the Yankees. “If you don’t execute, they’re going to capitalize. Look at the standings, look at what they’re doing.”

New York is 9-2 in the month of May.

“They’re going to ambush,” Velasquez added. “When you don’t have your best stuff, then it makes things a little bit harder. You’re going have your good days, you’re going have your bad days.

“It’s just a matter of getting back on the horse and going back to work.”

The White Sox have two more games against the Yankees this weekend to change the narrative, not to mention three more in the Bronx next week.

Outside of Sheets’ homer, the White Sox’ best chance against Cole came in the first inning, when they loaded the bases with one out and didn’t score.

Are the Sox hitters collectively trying to do too much?

“It’s unfortunate,” Sheets said. “It’s baseball. It’s a game of failure, and it’s who can fail the least. Right now, collectively, as a whole, we’re not swinging as well as we can. But at the same time, we’ve got a lot of guys that can really hit in here.

“It’s May, it’s still early. I’ll take this team, though, in the long run. Right now, it might be tough, but come September, October, I still like our chances. There’s way too much talent in here to panic.”

Sheets was asked when it stops being too early.

“End of October,” he said. “That’s the best I can give you. Right now, we’re in a race with Minnesota, not with anybody else. We’re trying to win the AL Central, and that’s our job. Everything else takes care of itself

“We’re going to continue to play as hard as we can and put our best foot forward and trust the talent in here, with the work ethic. We’re going to be OK.”

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