Can Streaking White Sox Sustain Success?
By Ian Acosta
After having a stellar 9-3 record their past 12 games against formidable opponents from both the NL Central and AL East, the Chicago White Sox are suddenly full of life. They find themselves four games under .500 and just five and a half games out of a Wild Card spot.
Can the White Sox actually salvage this once abomination of a season and make some noise in the postseason?
Let’s first take a look at the numbers during this stretch.
First, the Sox only averaged 2.92 runs per game over this 12-game run and had a +8 run differential which is actually lower than their season average of 3.40.
Next, let’s look at the pitching.
Over these past 12 games, White Sox pitching as a team owns a spectacular ERA of 1.90 with 2 complete games from Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija. All in all, the pitching has been absolutely spectacular for the better part of the season, especially with Sale, Samardzija, and Jose Quintana’s recent outings.
We have seen that the pitching staff is more than up to the task but I still fear about the offense.
I am confident that our top five hitters, especially Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia can continue to hit and get on base and I LOVE Abreu in the two-hole. It provides more at-bats in the game for our best hitter and provides a solid one-two punch with him and Adam Eaton at the top.
The two biggest concerns with our offense is hitting with runners in scoring position and the bottom half of the lineup producing and getting on base.
In our regular bottom half of Ramirez, Flowers, Beckham/Gillaspie, and Sanchez, not one is hitting over .237. Not one. Outside of Alexei Ramirez’s recent stretch of good hitting, I just do not see the White Sox making a legitimate push unless the bottom half of the order picks it up or add another bat in a trade.
Jun 28, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) walks off the field against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
This whole stretch has brought up another interesting debate the White Sox have to discuss. What happens to Jeff Samardzija?
Many fans including myself believe that no matter how the next couple weeks play out, he will be traded and I believe it is the right move. With Samardzija’s last seven starts being at least seven innings pitched, including a complete game shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays, he is the most valuable trade piece the White Sox are willing to move.
Being on a one-year deal as it is, the common perception is that Samardzija will test free agency to try and get a well-deserved pay day. So why not get a major-league ready bat and a prospect or two while we can? The Oakland Athletics gave up top shortstop prospect Addison Russell to the Chicago Cubs and while I am unsure the Sox can get as good of a prospect, they have to let him go to get another hitter and prospects for this still struggling offense, plain and simple.
So can the White Sox still make a run and fulfill the hopes of making the postseason after a rocky first half? I believe that they can but it has to start this weekend against the Kansas City Royals.
The bad news is that they are only 15-25 against their division rivals in the AL Central.
The good news is that they still have 36 games left within the division to make up some ground in both the Wild Card and the AL Central.
Lastly, the White Sox offense needs to finally, FINALLY, breakthrough and live up to the expectations set from the beginning of the season.
The first step, get to .500 again. The next step, sustain some offense and see where this thing goes from thre.
There is still plenty of baseball left and I hope to see our guys in October. Go Sox.
Next: White Sox trade revisit, Hector Santiago out, Adam Eaton in