Sometimes you just have to admit to being beaten by a better opponent. Based on what has occurred through the first two games of the American League Divisional Series, the Houston Astros have proven to be better than the Chicago White Sox.
Now, that’s not to say the best of five series is over despite the Astros’ two games to none lead. The White Sox have the talent to string three wins together starting with Sunday night’s game three at Guaranteed Rate Field.
However, the problem for the White Sox comes in that talent needing to do a better job in all aspects of the game. Houston has gotten better hitting, pitching and played better defense than the White Sox which has put the Southsiders’ backs against the wall.
The White Sox have totaled 18 hits through the two games, yet not once has one of those hits gone for extra bases. Conversely, the Astros have six extra-base hits including two home runs that have helped them outscore the White Sox 15-5 in the two games. The White Sox have left 16 runners on base which is not a formula to beat a team as solid as the Astros.
Those runners were left stranded because the Astros’ pitching has been very good. Lance McCullers’ four-hit, no-run performance to start things off left the White Sox trying to figure out how to get things going offensively.
In game two, they seemed to have found the answer against Framber Valdez who they knocked around in his 4.1 innings of work. Things went south after he was pulled as five relievers combined to give up just three hits and no runs the rest of the way.
Lance Lynn’s performance on the mound in the opener left a lot to be desired. After Lucas Giolito’s uncharacteristic five walks in his 4.1 innings of work in game two came back to haunt the team, the bullpen did nothing to keep the Sox in it as they imploded and opened the door for the Astros to be a step closer to playing for the pennant.
The Astros were tied for the Major League lead in fielding percentage with the Pirates and Braves and they have not skipped a beat in the ALDS. Not only have they made the routine plays but Jose Altuve, Yuli Garcia, and Kyle Tucker flashed tremendous leather Friday in stopping potential threats to break the game open.
While the White Sox have not committed an error yet, they have made costly mistakes in the field. Yoan Moncada’s decision to go home to try and get Altuve didn’t work in the first game and Leury Garcia’s misplay of a liner by Carlos Correa led to two runs that sealed the Sox fate Friday.
The Chicago White Sox needs more from everyone going forward in this series.
Manager Tony LaRussa is not without fault in this. He was hired not so much for the regular season but for his playoff experience and what he could do with the talent on the roster in October. He can be questioned for the decisions he’s made but to lay all of the blame at his feet would be a mistake.
The White Sox have not performed to the ability level they have shown during the regular season. They have not come up with timely hits and the pitching has not been as dominant as they showed in taking the AL Central division. The Astros have had a hand in why much of that has occurred.
You have to give credit where credit is due and the Astros have looked like a team that was better than the 95 wins they posted this season. Yes, they can be beaten but the White Sox certainly have their work cut out for them to make that happen.