This Week in White Sox Baseball: April 13-19

Week 3 Record: 0-3 (4-11 Overall), 4th in AL Central

Mother Nature was the real winner this week, as the White Sox lost three games to the snow and cold in Minnesota. The next three games provided no better results, as the Sox went winless in Oakland. Let’s take a look back at that series.

Game 13: Lopez outdueled by Mengden as Sox (4-9) fall 8-1

Reynaldo Lopez threw another solid start, giving up 2 runs in 6 innings, walking 4 but striking out 10. His efforts, however, were outshined by Daniel Mengden, who went 8 scoreless innings before giving up a home run to Jose Abreu in the ninth. Avilan and Volstad both struggled in relief.

W: Daniel Mengden (2-2) L: Reynaldo Lopez (0-2)

Game 14: Gonzalez struggles, Moncada homers in 10-2 Sox (4-10) loss

The A’s celebrated their 50th anniversary in style, pounding out 10 runs on 13 hits. Miguel Gonzalez didn’t have his best stuff on the night, lasting just 3 innings and giving up 8 runs. As a bright spot, Yoan Moncada hit his 2nd home run of the season, accounting for both of the Sox runs.

W: Trevor Cahill (1-0) L: Miguel Gonzalez (0-3)

Game 15: White Sox (4-11) lose 14-inning affair to Athletics (9-10)

The White Sox jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead after 2 innings, but Carson Fulmer struggled throughout this game. He only lasted one inning, which hurt the most as the game crept into the 14th inning and caused James Shields to need to come into the game. Bruce Rondon was the lone highlight out of the bullpen, throwing three scoreless innings while striking out 4. Yoan Moncada hit a grand slam and made two stellar defensive plays late in the game, but the Sox were swept.

W: Lou Trivino (1-0) L: James Shields (1-1)

Quote of the Week: Ricky Renteria after the White Sox’ 14 inning loss

“You can bleep it, but my fucking guys showed a lot of balls today in this loss.They’re going to end up winning more games because of the way they went about their business today in the long run than they might imagine.”

From James Fegan’s article on The Athletic

We don’t need to bleep it here on Sox On 35th! This is the sort of fire that I feel Ricky has been missing. Granted, I don’t know how he is in the clubhouse, but it never felt like he displayed a ton of passion in press conferences. This is what I’ve been looking for.

Ricky is the man for the job; he has a good hold on the clubhouse, and the guys clearly love to play for him. For those of you looking for Girardi to replace Renteria, just remember that clubhouse issues are part of why he got fired.

Overreaction of the Week: The Start to the Season (Trust the Process)

I read through the comments on Twitter and Facebook a lot more than I probably should. Granted, it helps me write segments like this, but still. I’ve noticed that a lot of groups – including some within Sox on 35th (you know who you are!) – are worried about the start of the season by the White Sox, and upset and annoyed by the results on the field. Obviously, the play has been less than ideal. But this disappointment I’ve read, I believe, is a result of your expectations being too high.

This season was not supposed to be a winning one. Giolito, Lopez, Moncada, Delmonico, and others are still getting their first full season in the big leagues right now. We knew the rotation was iffy at best, and the bullpen has been about as bad as I expected it to be. I predicted 78 wins, and even that felt too high when I finally decided on it. This team is not ready for the Postseason. I know the Twins weren’t either last year, but sometimes the pieces just fall together somehow – that’s the beauty of baseball. The worst thing you can do is set expectations too high for an unfinished product – it’s like expecting to win a NASCAR race with a killer engine, but only three wheels. There are still essential pieces of this “car” (if you will) missing: rotation and bullpen pieces, a couple OF’s, and a 3B. This team isn’t ready yet, and it won’t be ready if/when Kopech and Jimenez come up later this year. It’s an exciting time to be a White Sox fan, but don’t jump too quickly to playoff aspirations. The time will come for that. But for now…

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Stat of the Week: The Cuban Connection

Chris Kamka tweeted out a cool fact, and since I’ve been telling you forever that Moncada was fine, I thought I’d finally move him out of the “Overreaction” segment, and into the “Stat” segment:

For those of you who may not remember, that was the Grand Slam Alexei hit against the Tigers late in the season when the Sox were fighting for the Division. Great memory:

Player of the Week

Thanks to the 464 of you who voted, and congratulations to….

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Collen Kane/Chicago Tribune

Yoan Moncada! He received 61% of the total vote, followed by Reynaldo Lopez (22%) and Mother Nature (13% – and my vote!). I wonder how many of you 61% were worried about Yoan just the week before 😉

Moment of the Week

This is staying with the same player, Yoan Moncada! His Grand Slam was the best moment of the week, according to 82% of you! Thanks for voting!

Weekend Preview: The World Champs Come to Town

Tonight: James Shields (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Justin Verlander (2-0, 1.35 ERA)

Saturday: Lucas Giolito (0-2, 5.50 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (0-3, 3.52 ERA)

Sunday: Reynaldo Lopez (0-2, 1.42 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1 5.57 ERA)

Bold Predictions of the Week

Thanks for continuing to send these in! Again, I picked my top 5:

5. “Yoan Moncada raises average to .250 and never looks back.” – @bwid10

4. “Sox shut out the Astros twice.” – @skuchta28

3. “Giolito goes 7 1/3 giving up two striking out 7.” – @modeloman14

2. “Sox sweep/take 2 of 3 from Astros.” – @chisoxfan328, @nrfield, @DannyGreenJr, @kevintaylor5555

1. “There will be a no-hitter in the series vs. the Astros” – @HanrahanKerrick

Honorable Mentions

“Trayce Thompson hits a dinger in his return.” – @mikeysteff37s

“Sox will win the next 15 straight games.” – @__matt__12__

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