White Sox Scorecard: 5 Takeaways from a Tough Week in a Tough Season

The White Sox’ most recent week, May 29 until June 5, Sunday to Sunday, seemed a microcosm of their season.  They went 3-4 last week, .428 winning percentage, very similar to their 25-27 season record of .480. There were highs, like winning two against a good Tampa Bay team that is 31-23. And there were lows like losing 4 in a row, three to Toronto and one to Tampa Bay.  Here are five takeaways from last week,that seem to mirror the season at large.

1 – Starting pitching digs a hole for the offense.

In all the losses this week, the starting pitching waivered putting the Sox behind in the first half of the game. Lucas Giolito gave up 6 runs in 4.2 innings on Tuesday, Michael Kopech gave up five in three innings on Wednesday, Johnny Cueto gave up 3 earned in 6 which wasn’t bad on Thursday, and Davis Martin gave up 4 runs in the first inning on Friday. For an offense that is struggling, these early runs were insurmountable.

2 – Starting pitching give the White Sox a chance to succeed.

When the Sox won, the starting pitching was able to limit the run count early, putting the pressure on the opposition and giving the offense a chance to score.  On Sunday, against the Cubs, Dylan Cease went 7 innings giving up 1 run and then on Saturday against the Rays, he had one of the weirder stat lines in that he gave up 1 hit over 4.2 innings, 2 runs but zero earned, and seven walks. Cease didn’t give up a run until the 7th against the Cubs and not until the fifth against Tampa Bay. Giolito didn’t give up a run on Sunday against Tampa Bay until the fifth inning. These early shutout innings allowed the White Sox offense time to get started and keep the game close.

3 – The offense struggles to get on base

Over the week, the Sox batting average was .256, 16 points higher than their season average. This would make them fourth in the league behind the Mets, Rockies, and Red Sox. Their OBP for the week was .295, consistent with their season at .294, which puts them at 27th in the MLB. The hits just aren’t turning into runs so extra runners on base could really help. The White Sox are 27th in runs in the league with only the Pirates, A’s, and Tigers scoring less. The White Sox scored over 3 runs three times last week, two were wins. And they won once with three runs.

4 – The Bullpen has a tendency to give up runs late

In the losses on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, there were some back-breaking late rallies by White Sox opposition. On Wednesday, Toronto scored two in the eighth off Bennett Sousa. This compounded a lead since the White Sox didn’t score after the 5th inning. On Thursday, Toronto scored four in the eighth off Reynaldo Lopez. Those runs turned a 4-3 deficit into an insurmountable 8-3 lead. On Friday, Tampa Bay scored 2 runs in the seventh, turning a 4-2 game into an out of reach 6-2. With an offense struggling to score, these late inning rallies are not recoverable.

5 – Injuries at the wrong time to the wrong people

Injuries to any players are disappointing, but injuries to stars can be soul-crushing. Lance Lynn, Giolito, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Roberts, and Yoan Moncada have all spent time on IL. Last Sunday, the White Sox best player, Tim Anderson, suffered a groin injury and was out all week. Anderson has a .393 OBP and is contending for another batting title. Anderson is expected to be out most of the month of June, which means that the Sox will be without their full starting roster for at least another month.

This isn’t to say that we didn’t have some heroes and bright spots over the week.  Andrew Vaughn has raised his batting average to .298 and an OPS of .839 with several multi-hit games this week. Jake Burger had a pinch-hit home run that took the lead and snapped the losing streak. Jose Abreu is absolutely on fire. Over the last 16 games, Abreu is slashing .379/.493/.690 for a 1.183 OPS. He has doubled his home run total and RBI total over that span as well (now has 7 home runs and 23 RBI’s).

But the White Sox seem to be stuck in the mud, hovering around .500 and having trouble breaking out, each and every week. Let’s see if they can ride this two-game winning streak coming out of the weekend.     

Author

  • Larry Goldman

    Larry spends his nights and days watching, researching, and writing about sports in Chicago and the national conversation.

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