White Sox off to a familiar start but in reverse order as the team has been let down early by their starting rotation despite bright spots on offense.
Like last year’s White Sox, this year’s team began their season in Kansas City. Like last year’s White Sox, this year’s team began their season with not one but one two season-opening series on the road.
Similar to last year’s White Sox, this year’s team began their season-opening homestand with back-to-back series, the second coming against Tampa Bay. Finally, unfortunately, like last year’s White Sox, this year’s squad lost five in a row in their first two home stands. The only difference: the order in which they did it.
Last season, with two outs in the ninth inning of their home opener against Detroit, the Sox gave up the lead and – in extra innings – the game itself. They would then get swept by Detroit and lose the first two games of their three-game series to Tampa Bay, before finally picking up a home victory thanks to an eighth-inning Matt Davidson home run.
This year, things were looking a lot different after the White Sox came back to win their home opener against Seattle, 10-8. Unfortunately, the pitching staff which nearly cost the White Sox in their home opener – blowing a 6-1 lead before their offense bailed them out – continued to struggle through the next five home games.
Since their home opening win, the White Sox have given up 45 runs in five games, an average of 9.0 per game. Not even the Red Sox vaunted offense of last year would be able to get much done working against that. As a result, for the second year in a row, the White Sox find themselves on the wrong end of a five-game losing streak to begin their season at home.
Sox manager Rick Renteria acknowledged that the White Sox, in terms of pitching, have not had the start to the season they wanted to. With the Sox having displayed a whopping ERA of 17.38 during their six-game homestand, it would’ve been difficult not to.
"“There’s no way of saying it other than we haven’t done very well, period. It’s a perfect storm in the pitching department right now.” Rick Renteria"
Despite frustration and concern, Renteria would go on to add that there was a reason to hope for improvement.
"“[I]t has nothing to do with not being prepared, nothing to do with not doing the work, nothing to do with guys understanding what the plans are. A lot of it is delivery mix. As soon as we can correct that, it puts us in a position where the games don’t seem to get out of hand[.]”"
The Sox are a team desiring to improve, as are all teams in the major leagues. It can be seen through the work ethic and signs of improvement from Yoan Moncada, remarks made in the offseason from Tim Anderson, and even the looks of frustration – as seen in Adam Engel following an eighth inning strikeout against Tampa Bay in Tuesday’s loss – when things don’t go according to plan. Yet if Neil Sedaka’s song “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” rings true, the same can be said with development and rebuilding.
Sox fans can be understandably frustrated with a “Here we go again feeling” based on the results of the team’s season-opening home stand. However, as Whit Merrifield urged Royals fans to think following Kansas City’s eighth straight loss on Tuesday, they should also be reminded that better days are yet to come.