White Sox Week That Was: 7/9-7/15 - The results were good enough to overlook some things

White Sox Week That Was: 7/9-7/15 - The results were good enough to overlook some things
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According to dictionary.com, "cromulent" is a real word now and not just a joke from The Simpsons, which makes it the perfect word to sum up the White Sox week in Kansas City.  It was fine, adequate.

They came away from the All-Star Game unscathed mostly by not playing, and scratched out two wins out of three against the Royals thanks to Adam Dunn, endurance,and--since they were outscored by a run over the weekend--good timing.

Offense

This weekend, the Sox were handed three fairly tried-and-true back-of-the-rotation types in Chen, Hochevar, and Mendoza, and punished all but one of them.  Neither Chen nor Hochevar saw the 6th inning, and not a single Kansas City starter exited with the lead.  The Sox offense even hit a burly .267/.362/.475 for the series.

And yet...

The best team in baseball at hitting with runners in scoring position went 6 for 36 in that category for three games, hence the middling run output.

At least they got Adam Dunn back!  The Donkey homered, walked, and struck out in all three games, producing the wonky series line of 4 for 10, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 4 K.  He did a lot more work dragging his average up than he usually does even in good stretches.  Tom Fornelli pointed out that Dunn has as many hits as RBI (65) at present.  He also has more walks (72) than hits, a feat he accomplished last year, but with only 75 walks total.  The only other time he's come close to that is 2008, where he had 122 hits and walks apiece...and a .386 OBP.

He's covering up for Konerko, who looks completely off his timing, completely miserable in his body language, and is without an extra-base hit this month.  Getting plunked on his forearm/wrist twice this month cannot have helped, as that area can't be described as stable.

Corner outfielders Rios and Viciedo reached base at a combined .448 clip for the weekend, and Dayan more than did his part (5 for 13, HR, BB, 2 K).

Starting Rotation

For a threesome of starters the Sox queued up specifically to beat Kansas City to death, the returns could have been greater.  Sale's Sunday outing was the only quality start of the bunch, and the trio accumulated a 5.40 ERA in the process.

Quintana has now sandwiched two erratic-looking clunkers around his masterpiece versus Texas.  Friday's outing lacked the charming recovery that his night in Yankee stadium had, only a sense of accomplishment that he managed to get through five innings despite not being able to spot any of his off-speed stuff.

A rough-but-decent-enough night for Peavy was ruined by a poor choice to allow him out for the 8th when he was already out of gas.

Chris Sale danced around 10 hits for outstanding results (8 IP, ER), but he's too valued, coveted, and fragile-looking for anyone to pass up the opportunity to worry about his diminished velocity and whiffs.

Bullpen

Thanks to Ventura's long leash, Addison Reed and Hector Santiago were the only relievers to appear in multiple games in the series.

Reed looked shaky and has no feel for his slider at the moment.  He throws 96 and has a changeup that gets its man every now and then, so he hasn't quite fallen to pieces, but this situation brings him way too close to actually earning the anxiety-causing closer reputation he's picked up.  He blew the save Friday with a single run, and put the tying run on 2nd Sunday.

Santiago has been working with the 'not having a breaking ball' issue for a lot longer, with better results of late, though not good enough to be trusted in any meaningful way.

If anything, this weekend just reiterated the need for some veteran bullpen help.  Nate Jones, and Leyton Septimo look top-notch when at their best, but it's a guessing game as to whether they'll have their command when the 7th and 8th innings come up, and there's not enough security blankets to go around.  Jesse Crain is on the comeback trail, but won't be available to work or talk to Matt Thornton about life in the 80's until next week.

Looking Ahead

Boston and Detroit are two teams barely hanging over .500 with rosters and run differentials too good to suspect that seven consecutive against them on the road will be anything but grueling.  Justin Verlander is the only big pitching obstacle on next week's slate, and could be effectively paired with Chris Sale or Jake Peavy.  Conversely, there could be two Dylan Axelrod starts this week unless Gavin Floyd returns.

 

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