I can’t find the exact quote, but a player made a comment during SoxFest about the most frustrating part of last season being the inability of the team to sustain a stretch of good play. After all, he longest winning streak of the 2011 season was five.
While the Sox have plenty of time to top their current season-high streak of four, it’s easy to look at this week; where a three-game win streak was sandwiched between four flat losses, and bemoan the lineup chocked full of dead spots that make slumps like this weekend possible.
The White Sox scored 27 runs in seven games this week. They combined their biggest inning of the season (6 runs in the 4th inning in Cleveland on Wednesday), with one run in the final 18 innings against Kansas City pitching staff, to finish right around their average.
Actually, not ‘right around’ their average, they scored their actual average. 27 runs in seven games is 3.86 runs per game. For the season, they have scored 135 runs in 35 games, which is 3.86 runs per game.
That’s good enough for 11th in the American League, which is crippling for even an elite pitching team.
You could make an argument that the White Sox are such a team, but since they’ve spent the week reshuffling the rotation and just hemorrhaged 9 runs to the Royals, it’d be an odd time to.
Philip Humber’s command of his breaking stuff returned on Sunday–after bottoming out on Monday–and Danks gritted his way through seven decent innings. If it weren’t for Sale’s 1st inning, every White Sox starter would be coming off of a quality start going into the new week.
Peavy and Floyd in particular are both top 10 pitchers in the league in terms of ERA, and top 5 in terms of WHIP. It almost goes without saying that their early results outstrip their peripherals, which isn’t troubling in a vacuum.
What’s more bothersome is that the team has gone 9-5 in their starts, which probably isn’t cleaning up enough on 98.2 innings of work at a 2.19 ERA.
The roles are continually shifting in the pen, and this was probably the most volatile week yet. Sale was announced as the new closer, blew a save, then left. In his wake, Ventura announced he’ll return to closer-by-committee; which is a really unpalatable way of saying that he’ll make his decision based on the match-ups until further notice.
Addison Reed is chiseled for the role, but just blew up very noticeably, and Robin has already not showed a great attachment to him.
Matt Thornton is the veteran mainstay, but besides Friday night where he struck out Eric Hosmer on four pitches, he’d have allowed runs in four straight appearances.
That leaves the door open for more Hector Santiago in tight situations, who remains very much a work in progress. Jesse Crain should return from the DL this week, which adds another top-end reliever to the mix, and also likely spells the end of Eric Stults’ run with the major league club.
Nate Jones’ overpowering week–4.1 IP, 3 H, ER, 7 K, BB–figures to increase his role as well.
In an odd bit of scheduling, the White Sox have two-game series with Detroit, before flying out to Anaheim for two games. They return home without playing at home for the first chapter of the Crosstown series, all without an off-day. Adam Dunn will likely be playing left field during the series in Wrigley, but since he’ll be replacing Dayan Viciedo, the defensive risk is muted.
The Sox won’t run into Verlander, but that’s little comfort since Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer both dominated the Chicago lineup in their last meetings. The Sox are currently hitting .199/.280/.327 against lefties, so seeing three lefty starters lined up this week isn’t a thrilling development either.
Really, if you want come away enthused about any of these upcoming games, think about the White Sox pitchers, not the other way around.