(Above: Brent Lillibridge, dressing to the right.)
In last night’s White Sox 9-2 pounding of Anaheim, 2B Brent Lillibridge’s stand-in for the benched Gordon Beckham (.206/.271/.280) satisfied, both in terms of leather and wood. At the plate, Lillibridge’s (.467/.933/1.433 on 15AB) 1 for 3 w/1 RBI was more than sufficient to eclipse Beckham’s lousy numbers of late, and the steady diet of rockets to second courtesy of Angels biting at Gavin Floyd’s (W, 4-7, 7IP, 5H 1R 4K 2BB) bent heaters kept Lillibridge impressively busy with numerous big-league grabs. Adequacy in his role is no delusion.
As comfortable as the replacement seems, enthusiasm is not universal for twitterer @BSLillibridge, as NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman illustrates (while raising suspicions as to which second baseman appears on his fantasy team):
Beckham has followed up his strong rookie season by hitting just .206/.271/.280 with two homers in 72 games, but the good news is that being benched in favor of Lillibridge “for as long as he hits” won’t be very long.
Lillibridge is 7-for-15 with four extra-base hits in his latest stint in Chicago, but prior to that hit just .177/.258/.251 with a 49/17 K/BB ratio in 197 plate appearances as a big leaguer. And he wasn’t much better in the minors, hitting .255/.321/.379 in 1,247 plate appearances at Triple-A. He’s a utility man-caliber hitter, at best.
Beckham has been bad enough that it’s tough to blame Guillen for riding the hot hand and perhaps losing some starts to a marginal big leaguer like Lillibridge will motivate the disappointing sophomore, but it’ll be a surprise if “for as long as he hits” lasts until the end of the week.
That’s a bet I’ll take. The evidence: the diminutive Lillibridge is less so than before; work on his strength has upped his bat speed (and gun caliber). To my eye there’s not much difference in his general acclimation to the bigs than was seen from Beckham last season. Seems it’s going to take a magnificent BP from Beckham to change Ozzie’s mind on Lillibridge.