The Chicago White Sox were swept away by the Oakland Athletics over the weekend, pushing their losing streak to six games. To illustrate how poorly the White Sox have played over this stretch, they have scored a total of nine runs over the last six games. Normally, I would share my thoughts about some of the standout performers for my game recaps, but I’m not going to do that today. I’d rather not vomit all over my keyboard. If you watched the series, or looked at the box scores, you already know what happened. The White Sox got solid starting pitching and the offense was anemic. In other words, this series was the first two months of the season in a nutshell.
Instead, I’m going to use this time to talk about my overall feelings about the first two months of the season. After two months of the season, the White Sox sit at 24-30, 5.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. For as bad as the Sox have played, it is remarkable to think that they are just 5.5 games out of first when they should probably be about 10 games back. However, that doesn’t mean that you should get your hopes up too high. Before the season, I had the White Sox finishing with an 87-75 record, good for 2nd place in the division and just outside the playoff picture. In order for the White Sox to finish with 87 wins, they will have to go 63-45 over the final 108 games of the season. Is that possible? Yes. Is that likely? No.
I wish I was more optimistic about the final four months of the season, but this White Sox team provides little reason for hope. I’m not sure if it is because the Sox are on a six-game losing streak or not, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply do not like this team. Let me rephrase that. Outside of the starting pitching, the back-end of the bullpen, and a couple position players, I do not like this team. At all.
Before we get to the bad parts of this team, it is important to point out the strong points. The starting rotation has been outstanding. Coming into today, the White Sox starting staff owns a 3.61 ERA, good for 2nd best in the American League. Their combined WHIP of 1.16 is the best in the American League. Despite those lofty numbers, the White Sox starters have a combined record of 18-19 in 54 starts. The sub-.500 record is due entirely to a horrid offensive attack. In addition to the stellar rotation, the back-end of the bullpen has been terrific. Set-up man Jesse Crain and Closer Addison Reed might be the best late-inning duo in all of baseball. They have combined to pitch 49 innings on the year, giving up just 8 runs on 35 hits, 16 walks, while racking up 59 strikeouts. That was the good.
Now here is the bad. The White Sox offense is one of the worst the franchise has had in my lifetime. The White Sox are dead last in the American League in runs scored, hits, triples, RBI, walks, batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). They ranked second to last in doubles and slugging percentage. They ranked third to last in home runs. In all, the White Sox are at or near the bottom of the American League in virtually every offensive statistic. In addition to the normal stats, the Sox are second to last in batting average with runners in scoring position at .226. Wait, there’s more. When a runner is on third and there are less than two outs, the Sox are dead last in batting average (.235) and runs scored (44). Saturday’s game was a prime example of the White Sox’ offensive woes. In the first inning, the Sox had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. What happened next? Adam Dunn struck out swinging. Two outs. Paul Konerko struck out swinging. Three outs. This team simply can’t get a hit when they need one. They don’t make contact. They don’t move runners over. They don’t run the bases well. They don’t score many runs.
So, the White Sox can pitch pretty well and can’t hit a lick, but what about the defense? It too is awful. The Sox boast the worst fielding percentage in the American League at .981, while committing the second most errors at 37.
When you add all the parts of the 2013 White Sox team, there is no wonder why their record stands at 24-30. The good news is that things should get better because they can’t get any worse. Or, at least I hope…
Friday, May 31st – Athletics 3, White Sox 0
Saturday, June 1st – Athletics 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings)
Sunday, June 2nd – Athletics 2, White Sox 0
Record: 24-30, 4th place in AL Central (5.5 games back)
Up Next: The White Sox stay out west and travel a little north to visit the Seattle Mariners (24-33) for a three-game series that starts tonight.
Monday, June 3rd at 9:10pm CT: John Danks (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (3-5, 5.57 ERA)
Tuesday, June 4th at 9:10pm CT: Jake Peavy (6-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (6-4, 2.38 ERA)
Wednesday, June 5th at 2:40pm CT: Dylan Axelrod (3-4, 4.04 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (6-1, 2.13 ERA)
Prediction: Both teams enter this series struggling to string together many wins. The White Sox appeared to be headed in the right direction just one week ago, but things have quickly changed. You would like to hope that things could change with a three-game series versus a team that is nine games under .500, but I’m not overly optimistic. The Mariners are sending their two best pitchers to the mound in the final two games of the series, so tonight’s game may be the best chance to pick up a victory. The White Sox will snap their six-game skid tonight, but that will probably be the only game they win. Mariners win two of three.
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