(h/t: The Dugout)
Well, skin me alive and call me lunch. The White Sox are 8-14.
After posting a 1-5 week, most teams would reflect on their deeds, be horrified beyond measure, and steel themselves to ensure it didn’t happen again. Not the White Sox, who wistfully glanced over the edge of the cliff, and then hopped on down. They went 1-6 this half-a-fortnight, and looked darned bad doing so.
The Sox can still break even for the month if they win out, which is worth noting. It’s a short road to becoming a competent team again.
Any rumination on the White Sox struggles begins, and can go
ahead and end if it so chooses, with the decrepit state of the offense.
Pitching and defense hasn’t been perfect for the Sox, in fact a lot of
the stuff that’s gone down in the outfield might attract an angry rant
or two on its own, but until you start scoring over 2 runs a game,
baseball is just too hard.
14 runs over 7 games, shutout three
times, a team-wide .179/.250/.265 triple-slash for a horrendous .515 OPS
on the week (I crunched the numbers, and really wish I didn’t). As J.J. pointed out, all of the luck variables for the White Sox are either neutral, or hinting at further deterioration (yes, further),
suggesting alongside their strikeout and walk rates (20.9% and 6.6%),
that the White Sox hitters are playing every bit as bad as they look.
While the Sox continue to face tough pitching in losing 3 out of 4 to
the Rays (David Price, James Shields), and getting swept by the Tigers
(Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer), but even if they caught all these guys
at the worst time possible, 2011 Brad Penny doesn’t throw a one-hitter
against anybody without help. This is ho-ho-rendous.
are specific guys to point who are having particularly rough
starts–rather than just simply stepping into the middle of the
clubhouse and doing ‘the lawn sprinkler’–I’d go with Adam Dunn, Gordon
Beckham, and Alex Rios.
Dunn, simply has not come back
from his appendectomy, or more his appendix has and he hasn’t.
Post-surgery he’s “hit” .097/.213/.195 while striking out in 44.7% of
his plate appearances (yes, this is higher than usual). Given the way
he started (1.045 OPS in 4 games), it seems like a big stretch to say
that he’s healthy right now.
Beckham peaked with a .964
OPS (and a .400 OBP!) on April 10th, and has been unimaginably awful
since, going 3-38 with no walks and a double. Safe to say he’s
developed a history for streaks of both the awe-inspiring and
franchise-paralyzing variety, which is probably why Guillen has already
ripped him out of the 2-slot. Scouts are chattering about how bad he looks, Jim identified that his swing has a loading-up phase
that leaves him late often, and I’m catching him waving at breakers way
out of the zone a bit more often, as if he may be compensating for that
by guessing more. You’d think he might be able to recover quicker
after last season. You’d think.
Rios, simply hasn’t
started the season yet. While the rest of the offense boomed in the
opening weeks, Alex went his first three games without a hit, and since
then the only thing that can be said about him is that he realized he’s
struggling enough to become more patient at the plate. As Jim Margalus
covered, his power outage has coincided with the highest groundball
rates since his first break into the league, and we’re still waiting for
his first month over .800 OPS since last May. His .163/.254/.210 line
combined with several misplays in centerfield has been easier to swallow
only because this man is the team’s only real major league option at
the position. Unless the Blue Jays want to pass us DeWayne Wise on
In all three cases, these guys have gotten way too far in their careers
for this to be representative of their true talent, and recovery is
almost inevitable at this point. Still, it’s hard to cover up
sub-Mendoza months and still have the yearly totals the Sox were banking
for from these guys.
It’s far from over for these three, or the White Sox in
general…obviously. But sitting at the bottom of the division
standings, it’s obvious an opportunity has been missed. The Twins and
Tigers both stumbled badly out of the gate, offered opportunities for a
sizable early lead to be built upon them, and only the Indians took them
up on it.
As it stands, they’ll need another strong mid-summer kick, and will have a potentially stronger team to pull it off with.
It’s far from all bad, but it’s friggin’ annoying.
Looking ahead: Continuing with the idea of “If you’re in a
horrific rut, keep charging blindly into it!”, the Sox head to New York
for four straight with the Yankees, before coming home for a four game
set with the Orioles that curiously loops over to next Monday.
With the Yankees running up Burnett, Nova, and Colon to start the
series, the “they’re only facing aces!” argument surely bites the dust
And yes, the Sox are now banking on a road trip to Yankee Stadium to turn the season around.