Sox Trends So Far in 2012
By Ryan Ganser
I think we can all agree that taking 3 of 5 games is a good start to the 2012 season, considering that 3 of those games were against the reigning AL Champs. But what kind of trends have we seen from our White Sox so far? As it is extremely early in the 2012 campaign these trends may not mean anything, they also could be a sign of things to come.
First up, the offense. Last season the Sox left a small village on the base-paths (which was arguably our biggest problem in 2011) through the first few games this season the Pale Hose picked up where they left off leaving 34 men on base in the first 5 games. Coming into Cleveland the Sox were 2 for 19 with men in scoring position, if you took Paul Konerko out of that stat, we were 0 for 16. The bats seemed to wake up a little bit when they got to Progressive Field, posting 14 runs in two games against the Indians. It is way to early to panic about this early lack of production, especially since the bats seem to be waking up and guys are settling down at the plate. But none the less, this was a pretty horrific trend in the first two series of 2012.
Paul Konerko continues to trend in a positive direction, posting 9 hits in his first 20 at bats, driving in 5 and picking up 3 doubles. Konerko has been slowly shifting from power hitter to hitting for average. It seems as evident this season as ever that Paulie has matured into someone who can spray the ball to all fields depending on how he is being pitched to. He is still a threat to go deep, but these days he can post an impressive average along with his usual lot of RBI’s. Paulie understands how to take what pitchers give him and turn it into gold, that is a direction I would like to see more guys on this team trend in.
Lets shift to pitching. Our young bullpen has been outstanding these first few games, only allowing a few runs to cross the plate. The young guys like Addison Reed and Hector Santiago have not seemed intimidated in the least standing on a big league mound. This bullpen seems to have an arrogance about them that demands respect, I like it. We’ve needed some guys in our bullpen with the guts to go after hitters for a few years now.
The starting rotation has been solid. Peavy and Danks have both had outings already where they didn’t have their best stuff, but pulled out a win. Gavin Floyd struggled with the command of his breaking stuff in only a way that Gavin Floyd can, while Chris Sale electrified fans with a fantastic outing against Cleveland on Monday night. Overall, this pitching staff seems to have a quite confidence about them that has them embracing a winning attitude and as Hawk says “Attitude can overcome anything.”
Finally, the coaching staff. Ventura and his fellow coaches have transitioned smoothly into the regular season thus far . The players really seem to be responding well to the way that Robin has things set up. He has shuffled the lineup in all 5 games, giving all the bench players a chance to see the field and stay involved in with the team. McEwing has already shown he is going to be aggressive on the base paths and Cooper…. well Coop is Coop, as always. What I’ve enjoyed out of Ventura is his willingness to try new things early. Before Tuesday nights game was cancelled due to the weather in Cleveland, Ventura had Beckham written in at leadoff on the lineup card. Why not move some guys around early in the season and see what will get them going? There is a youthful feel to this coaching staff, a certain freshness that can only come with a promising bunch of new coaches and so far I like what I’ve seen out of them.
As I said, to make predictions based off of or read anything into these trends after only 5 games of a 162 game season would be absurd. But keep these in the back of your mind as the season progresses and new trends emerge. Some of these things might remain consistent throughout the course of this season and some might not. But being aware of such trends early on in the season always helps when trying to track the progress of a team as the season marches on.