This Week in White Sox Baseball: May 25-June 1

Week 8 Record: 2-5 (17-37 Overall), 5th in AL Central

The White Sox played 6 games against the AL Central this week, 3 in Detroit and another 3 in Cleveland, before returning home to start their homestand against the Brewers. Let’s take a look back at this week:

Game 48: White Sox (15-33) can’t hold on to late lead, fall 5-4

With the help of Tim Anderson’s eighth homer of the season and another multi-hit performance from Jose Abreu, the White Sox were headed to the bottom of the eighth with a 4-2 lead. However, Bruce Rondon struggled in his debut against his former team, giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Tigers would not surrender the lead in the ninth, taking Game 1 over the White Sox.

W: Buck Farmer (1-3) L: Bruce Rondon (2-3) S: Shane Greene (12)

Game 49: White Sox (16-33) mash 4 homers in 8-4 win over Detroit

The White Sox offense came to life in Game 2 of the series, as Tim Anderson (2), Jose Abreu, and Daniel Palka all hit home runs in the winning effort for the South Siders. After 5 solid innings from Hector Santiago, the bullpen came in and threw 4 innings of 1 run (unearned) baseball.  Jose Abreu was 4-4 in the game.

W: Hector Santiago (1-2) L: Francisco Liriano (3-2)

Game 50: Blaine Hardy holds White Sox (16-34) in check, Sox fall 3-2

The White Sox struggled to get anything going against Blaine Hardy in the rubber match of this series, as Hardy went 7 strong innings. James Shields pitched well on the day also, giving up 3 runs in 7 of his own strong innings of work. Yolmer Sanchez was 2-4 on the game, and Jose Rondon hit his third homer of the year.

W: Blaine Hardy (1-0) L: James Shields (1-5) S: Shane Greene (13)

Game 51: Indians’ 5-run 5th sinks White Sox (16-35) in 9-6 Loss

The White Sox looked to be in control on Memorial Day, leading 5-2 with two outs in the fifth. Chris Volstad was able to get Edwin Encarnacion to pop one up down the RF line, but it fell into No-Man’s Land, allowing all three runs to score. They would score two more in the inning and not give the lead back. Matt Skole made his Major League debut on the day as Matt Davidson was sent to the DL earlier, getting both his first career hit and home run.

W: Adam Plutko (3-0) L: Chris Volstad (0-3)

Game 52: Giolito struggles as White Sox (16-36) drop 3rd straight

The Indians took care of the White Sox in Game 2 of the series, as Michael Brantley, Jose Ramirez, and Jason Kipnis all went deep in the game. While Giolito was able to complete 6 innings, he did give up 5 runs on nine hits. On a more positive note, he didn’t walk any batters. Daniel Palka turned in a multi-hit game in the losing effort.

W: Mike Clevinger (4-2) L: Lucas Giolito (3-6)

Game 53: Lopez struggles, Kluber dominates as Indians sweep White Sox (16-37)

Corey Kluber was his dominant self in the series finale, going 6 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 10. On the other side of the ball, Reynaldo Lopez struggled, giving up 7 runs on 8 hits in just 2.2 innings. Tim Anderson was 2-3 in the losing effort, and Matt Skole added another hit to his career resume. Yolmer Sanchez homered in the ninth to give the Sox their lone run to close out the month.

W: Corey Kluber (8-2) L: Reynaldo Lopez (1-4)

Game 54: Inspired by Farquhar, White Sox (17-37) beat Brewers 8-3

Danny Farquhar had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch in this game, and the White Sox responded well to the positive energy he brought to the team. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the third, the White Sox put up 3 runs in that inning and never trailed after. Adam Engel and Jose Abreu turned in multi-hit efforts, while every single starter got at least one hit to open up the month. In addition, the bullpen threw 5.2 scoreless innings in relief of Hector Santiago.

W: Luis Avilan (2-0) L: Chase Anderson (4-4)

Quote of the Week: Danny Farquhar on throwing out the first pitch

The thing that caught me off guard was the whole team coming out to the mound. I though that was an incredibly special moment. Whoever’s decision that was, I’m sure it was James Shields. He’s an incredible leader that we have.”

-From @scottmerkin on Twitter

This is just another friendly reminder of two things: 1) Baseball is about so much more than just the game on the field. 2) The James Shields trade has become about much more than just the on-field performances involved. I continue to wish the best for Farquhar in his recovery.

“Would You Rather” of the Week/Overreaction of the Week/Stat of the Week

So, I decided to change things up a little bit, and created a new piece: “Would You Rather” of the Week, which pairs up rather nicely with my Overreaction of the Week and even my Stat of the Week this week. The inaugural “Would You Rather” was a very simple question: which of the following teams would you rather be?

Team 1) .239/.300/.385, 93 OPS+, 91 wRC+

  Team 2) .245/.316/.416, 102 OPS+, 98 wRC+

Team 3) .242/.309/.383, 96 OPS+, 98 wRC+

Team 4) .249/.302/.378, 85 OPS+, 85 wRC+

Only 1% of you chose Team 1: The 2014 Chicago Cubs (73-89)

Only 4% of you chose Team 4: The 2013 Chicago White Sox (63-99; worst 162-game finish in White Sox history)

Only 7% of you chose Team 3: The 2014 Houston Astros (70-92)

And a WHOPPING 88% of you chose Team 2………….

The 2018 Chicago White Sox.

Wasn’t that FUN?!?!? But, okay, what was the point of that poll? That’s where the Overreaction of the Week comes in. All I’m reading on Twitter anymore is how this is the worst White Sox team in history and that they might lose 110-120 games. So, that’s where Team 4 came in: the worst 162-game White Sox team was anemic at best as an offense. In addition, I have been arguing for months that the White Sox are right around the corner from success, waiting on some young guys to come up to the pros and add in some free agent help. That’s where the 2014 Cubs and Astros come in – two teams that were just 1-2 years removed from competitive baseball. The White Sox’ offense has been better than all of those teams, and while I realize there is still plenty of time for this team to slump or for players like Daniel Palka to drop off a bit, the point is that the White Sox are in a very good position as a team, though the record may not show it.

Now, I know this is an incomplete story, because the White Sox’ rotation has been a big portion of the issue. I will once again stress that Hector Santiago, Chris Volstad, and the like will not be around for much longer. Jordan Stephens has looked sharp in AAA, and it’s only a matter of time until Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon join the team. Reynaldo Lopez has been solid this year, and Giolito showed some improvement by pounding the strike zone and not walking anyone in his last start. Still, by the Pythagorean W-L formula – which takes into account only the amount of runs you have scored and allowed – the White Sox should be 20-34 (this is where the Stat of the Week part comes in). This means that the team is currently playing at least three games worse than it should be, solely based on runs allowed and runs scored. Remember, it’s only June 2 –  the White Sox pitching staff will soon be in a very good place.

But also understand one thing: even if this team loses 100+ games, you will still have a very difficult time convincing me this is the WORST White Sox team in history, should these statistics hold. If you argue that the record is proof of that, I won’t believe you – the 2014 Royals weren’t even the best team in the DIVISION in terms of record, yet still went to the World Series. Obviously, there are many examples of when the worst record means you have the worst team in baseball. But “worst record=worst team” is not a direct correlation. Keep that in mind, and focus on the process and the players, not the record.

I can’t wait to see what I whip up for next week’s “Would You Rather”…….. 😉

Player of the Week

Thanks to all who voted! With 55% of the vote, Tim Anderson held off Matt Skole and won Player of the Week! Anderson closed out the month with a solid .385/.429/.1000 slash line, mashing 4 homers and driving in ten runs on the week. Matt Skole deserves a mention here for having such a nice Major League debut.

Moment of the Week

For the fans who voted for Tim Anderson’s week, sorry to overrule you. But, by extending the week for one more day, there was a new Moment of the Week, and I think you all can guess what it is:

Thanks to our very own Jonnie Nonnie for the video. There’s a bunch of awesome pictures on White Sox Twitter too, you should definitely check those out.

Weekend Preview: Two More Against the Brew Crew

Today: Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 3.69 ERA) vs. James Shields (1-5, 4.54 ERA), 1:10 CT

Sunday: Brent Suter (5-3, 4.63 ERA) vs. Dylan Covey (1-1, 3.63 ERA), 1:10 CT

Have a great week, White Sox Fans!

Featured Photo from White Sox Twitter  

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