The first question for manager Tony La Russa in his postgame media session Saturday was about the offense.
La Russa took his answer in a different direction.
“You’ve got to start with Vince [Velasquez],” La Russa said after the 4-0 White Sox win over the Angels. “Their lineup has been creating a lot of opportunities, a lot of runs. To give us 5 2/3 [innings] like that, he was good and relentless. Just can’t give him enough credit.
“Just a really solid, well-played game.”
Pitching at times through pouring rain, Velasquez delivered his best outing of the young season. He shut out the Angels in his 5 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and no walks with six strikeouts.
It came against an Angels team that was 8-2 over its last 10 games and entered the day on a six-game winning streak.
Velasquez said he didn’t know what to expect Saturday morning with the poor conditions in the forecast. He credited flipping his mindset as helping him during the outing.
“But I think going back to all the work that I've been putting in, it seems like it was just a couple clicks,” Velasquez said. “It's something to keep on going and build off of. Just try to repeat next time.
“But it was good. I felt amazing. I felt really good, to be honest with you. I'm still kind of thinking about how locked in I was. That's just a glimpse of something I could do on a regular basis if I keep on working on what I need to do."
If Saturday is just a glimpse, it could mean big things for the White Sox pitching staff, especially in the near-term. The Sox will be without ace Lance Lynn for at least the next few weeks.
They also face a difficult May schedule, with two series against both the Red Sox and Yankees.
Velasquez said having an extra day to prepare for his start helped, and Tim Anderson’s leadoff home run that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead was comforting.
But the confidence he had in himself seems to be just as big of a difference maker.
“I'm not letting anything get to me,” he said. “Just the ability of creating a momentum and a tempo on the mound. Sometimes I kind of get lost in my thoughts and it's just a matter of not getting too stuck into that.
“We tend to do it. We already have a lot of pressure as it is. It's just a matter of kinda minimizing that damage and just moving on, turning the page."
Velasquez’ day only ended when it did because home plate umpire Larry Vanover called a rain delay as the storms picked up. But Velasquez initially stayed on the mound, and Angels star Mike Trout in the batter’s box.
The two shared a laugh, their competitive spirits on full display.
"I wanted to get that last throw in there,” Velasquez said. “That's just how the competitive nature takes over and how much I wanted to at least finish that inning out."