After getting swept in Minnesota by the Twins to begin the month of May, things seemed hopeless for the Chicago White Sox.
Their record sat at 8-14, not to mention the fact that they were playing awful baseball. Well, things have changed since then. Starting with their series at home versus the Detroit Tigers, the Southsiders have managed to go 10-4, moving their record to 18-18 before their game Wednesday night vs. the Cleveland Indians. Any casual baseball observer would have all but written the White Sox off just a few weeks ago.
Well the guys who matter the most, the players on the White Sox, didn’t have the same way of thinking.
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Currently the White Sox are in the middle of their fifth series since being swept by the Twins, and they have yet to lose any of those series. They even swept the Oakland A’s in Oakland which is something they hadn’t done since 1997.
This 2015 White Sox team has a knack for a coming back, as they have done so many times this season. Considering the fact they have hit the fewest home runs in the American League this year (23), it is incredible to think that somehow this team has been able to pull off a .500 record.
The main question about their lack of power is will they be able to stay in the race once the weather heats up?
One big concern I have with the team is the bottom of their order. If the White Sox do manage to stay in contention, they will need to acquire a catcher.
While I understand the fact that Alexei Ramirez has been a major rally killer, but he can still hit in the .240-to-.250 range. Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto have been non-existent in the offensive attack, and may just continue to be.
Apr 30, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) and catcher Tyler Flowers (21) walk to the dugout before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Flowers is hitting .213, and has 25 strikeouts. That is awful considering the fact that he only has 75 at-bats, which means he strikes out one out of every three at-bats.
Soto’s numbers are even worse, considering the fact that he is only hitting .170 with 17 strikeouts in 47 at-bats. That strikeout rate isn’t a whole lot different than Flowers. Catcher is a major black hole for the Sox, that will need to be addressed if they have any shot at lasting long term.
If Sale truly is back, the team has an ace. Assuming Samardzija pitches the way he did Sunday versus Oakland, the White Sox have a starter that is good as well as pitch deep into ballgames. Jose Quintana seems to have settled down, and John Danks is surprising many people.
Danks is going to have to be at least an average fifth starter for this team to have a shot, by keeping them in the majority of his starts. Carlos Rodon will have his starts of dominance, as well as those where he doesn’t make it through the fifth inning.
Overall, the White Sox are no different than most of the AL. That would be very flawed. If anyone looks up and down the majority of the roster outside of the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, and Detroit Tigers everyone else is pretty much the same (outside of the bottom feeders).
While early, making trades is going to be tough this season, because of the second Wild Card spot, which will be wide open. Expect the trade market to be slow developing, as well as be a sellers market. That is why it would be huge to acquire a catcher that may not be great, but an upgrade over what they have now.
Just due to how odd this season has begun, the White Sox may need to may small upgrades early to keep them afloat as long as possible. Then, assuming they hang in, make bigger deals. This year will be a frustrating one, but they are definitely headed in the right direction.
There are some very good young players on the White Sox, headlined by Abreu and Garcia. If they continue to be impact run producers, the Sox have two bats to build around.
Finding impact young bats isn’t easy, as the team hasn’t done so in years. Obviously there are holes, but just think about where this team was just two years ago, it is astounding how far they have come.