The second half of the 2015 season will begin today for the Chicago White Sox and the rest of Major League Baseball, with the “Good Guys” hosting a doubleheader Friday vs. the Kansas City Royals.
This weekend is huge for the White Sox, as they are 11 games back of the Royals in the AL Central standings, but they are just 5.5 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot, which is currently held by the Houston Astros.
The White Sox begin this second half with a 41-45 record, but ended the first half of the season by winning 9 of their last 12 games, winning series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs.
It was a great way to end the first half, but that momentum needs to stay at an even more consistent level in this second half.
Today the White Sox have games at 1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. CT with Jeff Samardzija and John Danks on the bump for the White Sox, and Saturday the team will be sending Jose Quintana to face the Royals. Sunday’s starter has yet to be announced.
This is just a guess, but if the White Sox can win three of four against the Royals this weekend (the weekend the White Sox are honoring the ’05 World Series champions) they might decide to keep a certain pitcher nicknamed “Shark” and try to become contenders for that second Wild Card spot.
In ’15, the White Sox are 2-4 against the Royals, with KC outscoring the White Sox 29-17.
For the White Sox to become competitive and actually put up a fight in the Wild Card race, one player who must improve is first baseman Jose Abreu. Abreu’s power numbers are not what they were a year ago with the first baseman currently having 14 home runs, but his batting average is a quality .296. Abreu also has 46 RBIs and a .343 on-base percentage in 81 games.
Last year, Abreu had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 5.5, this season it currently stands at 1.9. His oWar (Offensive Wins Above Replacement) in ’15 is 1.9, but last year it was 6.6.
Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago wrote this in an article previewing the second half of the season about Jose Abreu:
"“That power show Abreu put on during his rookie season in 2014 has only come in flashes this year. His sore feet/legs seemed to have given up problems but not as much as an index finger injury that first surfaced while swinging a bat early in the season.”"
This second half of the season will begin with a lot more interest than once expected. Winning as much as they did to end the first half of the season gave the White Sox some hope.
If they can continue to play like they did, the postseason could be in the vision of the “Good Guys” in ’15, but it is going to be a tough path to do so. I’m not sure after watching the complete first half of the season this current group of White Sox players will be able to do so, but it should be more exciting to watch than what we watch the first half of the season.
WHITE SOX HEADLINES:
• Chris Sale: White Sox must play through distractions as deadline approaches: Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago.
• White Sox bat men can take pressure off Robin Ventura: By Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
• Up next: Royals at White Sox: By the Chicago Tribune
• Second chance for Chicago White Sox: By Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald.
• White Sox moving into second half at 100 mph: By Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago.