After Friday’s dramatic walk-off win, the Chicago White Sox got shutout last night and will attempt to get back on track this afternoon.
To fill the hole in the rotation, the White Sox purchased the contract of journeyman Scott Carroll. The 29-year-old right hander owned a 1.57 ERA over four starts in Charlotte, and he will make his major league debut today. It remains to be seen how long Carroll will stay in the rotation, but he has a chance to stick if he throws well given the White Sox uncertainty in the starting rotation.
In a separate move, the White Sox also optioned Erik Johnson to Triple-A Charlotte to refine is mechanics. Johnson has walked 15 batters in 23.2 innings of work, so the White Sox want him to work on commanding his pitchers better. I would expect to see Johnson again in a month or so after he shows that he can throw strikes more consistently.
Chris Sale is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, and he hopes to return when he is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 3rd. Obviously, the White Sox desperately need Sale back to help sure up the rotation.
John Danks has had a solid April, but last night was another example of why he needs to cut down on his walks. Danks has issued 17 walks in 31 innings pitched and only he only has 18 strikeouts. A 1:1 strikeout to walk ratio does not equate to long term success, so Danks’ 3.48 ERA will start to climb if he doesn’t correct that problem. Fortunately, Danks has been able to pitch out of jams, but that likely won’t last all season long.
It goes without saying that the White Sox rotation is a mess. Right now the starting rotation is Jose Quintana, John Danks, Andre Rienzo, and Scott Carroll. The White Sox aren’t sure who will start on Wednesday when they need a fifth starter, so that will be another situation to monitor. With Chris Sale coming back, and hopefully a more effective Erik Johnson in a month or so, the White Sox could be in better shape. But for now, it is looking pretty ugly.
Offense Stays Hot
The White Sox hitters have cooled off a bit, but they still have carried this team through April. The White Sox lead the American League in runs scored (134), are third in average (.269), second in home runs (30), and third in OPS (.763). This is a pleasant change after last year’s dismal offensive performance, but it is also needed with how bad the pitching has been.
Jose Abreu continues to lead the offense and he snapped out of a 1-for-25 slump this week. Abreu has 12 hits in his last 34 at-bats, including five home runs and 13 RBI. After Friday night’s two homer, six RBI performance, my man crush for Abreu has reached an unhealthy level. It was great to see him make adjustments to bust out of that slump, and he will likely have to do that a few more times this season.
Remarkably, Dayan Viciedo (.368) is leading the league in hitting, while Alexei Ramirez (.343) is fourth. Tyler Flowers is hitting .388, but he does not have enough at-bats to qualify in the rankings. All three of these averages will start to come down as the season progresses, but it is refreshing to see for now.
Gordon Beckham was reinstated from the disabled list on Friday and immediately inserted into the starting lineup at second base. Beckham will need to perform much better offensively if he wants to stay in the lineup.
Conor Gillaspie was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 22nd with a left-hand contusion below his thumb. The move might be precautionary, but it also allows the White Sox more time to figure out what to do with their infield situation. Marcus Semien now shifts over to third base with Beckham back, but he could either move to the utility role or even the minor leagues when Gillaspie returns. Either Semien or Leury Garcia will have to be sent down, and the White Sox could decide to keep Garcia to let Semien get every day at-bats in the minors.