Chicago White Sox: 1 issue that needs to be fixed before the playoffs begin
The Chicago White Sox is a team without many flaws. They rank seventh in the MLB in runs scored and fifth in team ERA. Overall their deep roster and well-rounded team make them a tough out this October.
However, AJ Hinch may have exposed a flaw that could cost the Chicago White Sox in the postseason. Teams can run on them and White Sox catching has done little to stop them. The Detroit Tigers ran roughshod all over the White Sox. During their three-game series, they stole nine bases including four in the final game of the season.
The White Sox have allowed the most stolen bases in the MLB and it isn’t particularly close. This season, they have had 119 bases swiped from them. The next closest team is the Los Angeles Dodgers at 108.
Yasmani Grandal is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. His pitch framing and game-calling ability make him a valuable resource behind the plate. Yet, he is lacking in the caught stealing department.
The Chicago White Sox has a problem that they need to address before Thursday.
Grandal has allowed 50 stolen bases which is the second-most in the American League. This is despite the fact Grandal missed over a month due to injury. The 32-year-old veteran figures to see the majority of the time behind the plate this postseason so that stat is alarming.
He has only gunned down 12 runners this season which ranks 12th in the MLB. Zack Collins has thrown out nine runners while Seby Zavala has only caught three runners. This is not just the catcher’s fault either. The White Sox pitching staff bears some of the responsibility for not doing a better job holding runners on and shortening their deliveries when runners are on base.
Lucas Giolito is the biggest culprit of this. A whopping 38 runners have swiped bags on his watch. Meanwhile, 32 bases have been stolen when Carlos Rodon is pitching, which is concerning because he is a lefty and it is easier for lefties to hold runners on first.
Lance Lynn has surrendered 30 stolen bases while on the bump. Reynaldo Lopez has allowed 28 and Dylan Cease 14. The only pitcher that has done a good job restraining base runners is Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel has only allowed two stolen bases while pitching but his poor performance this season was enough to bump him from the playoff rotation.
The White Sox will already have their hands full playing their first two games on the road in Houston. When playing away from Guaranteed Rate Field, they have a losing record at 40-41. Turing singles and walks into doubles via the steal adds another huge concern.
Luckily for the White Sox, the Houston Astros are not a big base-stealing team. Kyle Tucker leads the team with 14 stolen bases. They rank 27th in the MLB with only 53 stolen bases.
Tony La Russa and the coaching staff should still monitor the situation closely. If this problem isn’t dealt with it could grow into a larger issue as the playoff roll along.