Saturday saw the White Sox establish a new season-high for runs scored with 14, topping their previous high of 11–which they set on Thursday–and two higher than their 2nd highest mark of the season (12) which they accrued on Sunday.
Of the five best offensive performances by the White Sox this season, four of them took place this past week.
There’s no placing this in any sort of reasonable context. After trudging through a grief-ridden Tuesday outing against the Twins, the White Sox offense scored 52 runs in five games while hitting 13 home runs.
The four straight games scoring more than nine runs was the first time the Sox accomplished such a feat since 1938, and was predictably marked by superlative individual performances.
Paul Konerko went 14 for 24 for the week and raised his batting averages 32 points, Dayan Viciedo closed the week with four-straight multi-hit games and three home runs, and Alex Rios’ new approach results in five of his eight hits going for extra-bases.
Thanks to huge Sundays from Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez, there’s no one to really feel discouraged about in the lineup.
The hyper-dominant offense covered up a pretty terrible week for the starting rotation. The only members to record quality starts were Chris Sale vs. the Twins and an improbable run by fill-in starter Jose Quintana.
Between that, Humber was hammered, Jake Peavy couldn’t keep Jason Kipnis in the ballpark, and Gavin Floyd contributed two starts devoid of any command.
Danks went on the DL, and is joined by Floyd and Humber as starters with ERA’s over 5.00.
If it seems absurd to worry about a group that was supposed to be strength of the team coming in, it’s because it probably is. Chris Sale has been superb, and Jake Peavy’s seven runs allowed on Saturday only rose his ERA to 3.07. Compared to the questions surrounding those two, wondering whether Gavin Floyd and John Danks–two guys who have been in the league for five years and remain in their 20’s–to return to league average, seems like a waste of time.
Philip Humber has gone from a low-ceiling control artist to posting an above-average strikeout rate coupled with no real command. Who knows where his happy medium is, but speaks to someone who can at least hold down a #5 slot in a rotation.
Massive run totals aren’t conducive to high-leverage relief opportunities, and this week was no exception. Addison Reed was named the closer and proceeded to only appear once through the entire week.
Hector Santiago came the closest to a challenging outing by throwing two innings on Friday, where he featured something that came close to his full compliment of off-speed pitches, though they looked suspect on Sunday.
Nate Jones is legit. The 1.13 ERA is going to rise, but his 13.5% swinging strike rate backs up the idea that he’s simply overpowering hitters with his fastball that averages 97 mph. 10 walks in 24 innings is entirely acceptable from someone with his stuff.
If anything can provide a challenge to the White Sox offense, it’s a three-game set in Tampa. Their rotation is top-3 in the American League, and the troubles of a poor hitter’s ballpark is further exacerbated by Tampa’s selection of impressive gloves in the outfield