It’s been a wild three weeks to begin the season for the White Sox. With a mix of both positive and negative moments, the feeling surrounding the organization and its rebuild remains slightly optimistic, yet skeptical. The flashes of greatness are there, but the results and the consistency is still lacking.
For instance, Yoan Moncada began the year red-hot at the plate, but has since cooled off in his last seven games. Eloy Jimenez on the other hand, had a rough start before becoming more comfortable and eventually smacking two home runs at Yankees Stadium on Friday. As for the pitching staff, Reynaldo Lopez has not been very good at all, while Carlos Rodon has been inconsistent, accumulating plenty of strikeouts in the process. Lucas Giolito took a no-hitter into the 6th inning in his first start, which happened to be his best since joining the White Sox. However, he then gave up a combined 9 runs in his following 9.1 innings. Then there’s Ivan Nova who threw 7 innings of one-run ball, only to go 2.1 innings and allow 7 runs in his next start. Unfortunately, this is all part of the rebuilding process.
Following Sunday’s series win, the White Sox now have a record of 5-9. While this is not terrible, it stings a little knowing that Ricky’s club could easily be 6-8 or even 8-6 if not for crucial mistakes on defense, bad situational hitting, and awful bullpen performances. One aspect to note that attributed to this rough start is that they played possibly the two hottest teams in the American League in the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays. The two clubs currently have a combined record of 25-9 and went 5-1 against the White Sox. Nevertheless, it is still the first month of the season and many players are still finding their way.
While the White Sox do have a handful of guys that were not in the original plan of contention, they still have enough players of value and potential to finally win the games they should be winning. And yes, the White Sox are playing games they should be winning. It’s nowhere near the point in the season where anybody should be hitting the panic button because there are definitely those flashes. Now, have the core of the young players that still exist at both the major and minor league levels set lofty expectations for the future? No doubt, but that comes with all the prospect rankings and untapped potential that could be unleashed in the coming months and years.
Putting the team’s largely frustrating start aside, fans should try to focus on the positives that exist thanks to guys like Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada. At the end of this weekend, Anderson still boasts the best batting average in the majors and hit his first career grand slam on Sunday. Moncada is still on pace to have his best season at this point, and is beginning to look like an All-Star caliber player. Jimenez is starting to find his power stroke and his place in the league, hitting .432 and slugging .692 entering Sunday’s game. The pitchers are the main concern because of their inconsistency but again, they each have had their moments. Rodon entered Sunday’s start versus the Yankees in the top 10 for AL strikeouts (24) and had a better ERA (3.38) than Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber. Lopez and Giolito still have to show a little bit more to relieve some the pressure they’ve put on themselves.
The White Sox cannot afford to have those games where they look like the next best team in the league, then go back to playing like the team with the worst record in franchise history. The growth needs to be sustained and maintained for more than just a game or two in a row. Consistency will be key for Ricky’s Boys because if this team collectively succeeds together, rather than individually, they will be a force in the league. They just need to find a way to reach the next level of this rebuild by the end of 2019, and the glimpses of what can be in the future shows that this group is not far off.
Featured Photos: Michael Owens / AP