White Sox Week That Was: 5/28-6/3 - This week's episode features lots of wins

White Sox Week That Was: 5/28-6/3 - This week's episode features lots of wins
Fist-bumps, bro-hugs, the works // Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune

For the most part, the White Sox spent the week riding the hot streak that last weekend's emphatic offensive demolition of then-1st place Cleveland kickstarted. Floyd has been terrible, Danks is hurt, Philip Humber has an ERA over 5.00, and the one loss this week featured 10 runs being allowed to the Seattle Mariners, whose offense usually resembles one that's been lost at sea for a month.

They scored 5.33 runs per game, but they also bookended the week with hyper-dominant starts from Chris Sale, and squared off against pitching-dominant teams in Tampa and Seattle, and the only real bad start, resulted in a loss.

Offense

What's most impressive about the Sox offense is that they did it largely without Paul Konerko, who had two singles and two walks in five games, and didn't even play Sunday.  Adam Dunn was similarly held to two hits, but both of them traveled quite far.

Instead, there was Gordon Beckham headlining the Seattle series by hitting three home runs in front of his parents, and .310 for the week.  Of course, his OBP for the week was also .310, because he's as resistant to taking walks as ever, but any pop from the #2 spot in the order is gravy at this point.

Dayan Viciedo hit two more home runs this week, but six strikeouts in the weekend series indicate some contact issues may be re-emerging...or some 'swing-for-the-fences' issues.

Alex Rios continues to be silently solid, going 9 for 26 with a double and a homer, and I suppose 6 for 23 with three doubles counts as a good stretch for Alexei Ramirez this year.

Of course, the key to any success is De Aza, who got on base at a .542 clip for the week.

Starting Rotation

Chris Sale started the week by sealing up the AL Pitcher of the Month award for June by striking out 15 Tampa Bay Rays, then finished the week with a complete game (where he hit 95 in the 9th inning) to beat the Mariners and save a spent bullpen.  He's on pace to make the All-Star game at this rate.

Jake Peavy lacked control and dominant stuff, but still managed to get through 6.1 quality innings against the Mariners, and belongs with Sale in the category of starters that there's no point in worrying about at the moment.

Humber got through seven innings in Tampa after a rough beginning, and now has quality starts in three out of his last four outings.  Jose Quintana avoided trouble until he was tossed out of the game while filling in for an injured Danks, and Gavin Floyd has been so awful in his last four starts that my mother is asking me about him.

The inconsistency of this trio makes a new starter part of every trade deadline wish list, and between their struggles and possible durability concerns with Peavy, Sale and Danks, there could be room for another arm.  But if they really find an impact starter, someone would need to be kicked out.  Danks is very much committed to, Humber hardly seems like a lost cause when he has a K/9 over 8.00.  So that would leave Floyd, the rotation mainstay who currently sports the best K/BB ratio of his career.

There's room for improvement, but no one who screams to be banished.  I say this, realizing full-well that the entire fan base hates Floyd and sees this as the most obvious decision ever.

Bullpen

Jesse Crain gave a textbook example of the murkiness in evaluating relievers.  He was charged with two blown saves on the week, but also threw 3.2 IP, struck out 4, walked one, and wasn't hit especially hard at any point in time.  His velocity looked down a tick, but he's coming off an oblique injury, and was still able to blow the fastball by people when he mixed it with his off-speed stuff.

Ultimately, do you trust Jesse Crain?  If so, nothing occurred to really mess with that.

I might not trust Matt Thornton anymore, at least not to be dominant against both-handed hitters.  His swinging strike rate is below 10% yet again to start the year, his fastball isn't enough to overwhelm on its own anymore, and he's not developing a dependable breaking pitch at this stage of his career.  Hector Santiago's development is important in light of this.

Other than that, the only other bullpen blowup belonged to a gassed Addison Reed.

Defense

Between an error, a slow reaction on a double down the line, and letting a throw spill into left field for a run, Orlando Hudson had a rough Saturday at 3rd base, and may have hastened Brent Morel's return.

It's two months into the season, and no defensive metrics are reliable at this stage, but eyes and numbers both have Viciedo as pretty much harmless in left field.

Upcoming Schedule

The homestand continues for another week, with Toronto and Houston coming to town.  The Blue Jays series could get dicey, with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow making the first two starts, but Houston is simply a cut below the typical AL competition.  Old friend Lucas Harrell returns on Sunday.

 

 

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