If the Chicago White Sox can point to their five-run ninth inning effort in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on May 1st as being something that sparked them to win six games in a row, then how should people view them after allowing the Cleveland Guardians to erase an 8-2 deficit and win?
Will the team take a tumble and go on a losing skid or will it rebound and put the game in the rearview mirror? The White Sox have not really shown anything to indicate either one which is why they are average at best to this point.
What makes the early going of the season so frustrating is the White Sox have not played consistent baseball, yet they find themselves at the .500 mark. While the starting and relief pitching has been very good, the offense and defense have not risen to the occasion.
The opening game between the American League Central rivals started off in an odd fashion with Gavin Sheets setting the tone for the night defensively by dropping a routine fly ball to give the Guardians a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Sheets later made up for the miscue with a three-run bomb in the bottom half of the inning but the defense seemed to feed off of the error more so than the offense did from the homer.
The Chicago White Sox have to cut down on the errors to contend in the AL.
The White Sox defense committed four errors on the night, tying them with the Pittsburgh Pirates for most errors in the league at 26. The two teams are also tied for last in the majors in fielding percentage at a woeful .974.
Two of the four errors came from shortstop Tim Anderson who has three multiple error games thus far. Anderson’s nine errors on the season are two more than the New York Yankees have committed and tied with the Kansas City Royals.
The White Sox’s inability to field the ball is nothing new but it was an area targeted for improvement coming into the season. To date, there hasn’t been much improvement.
As if the errors weren’t bad enough, the loss dropped the White Sox to 3-10 against the AL Central Division. Heading into Tuesday night’s game with the Guardians, they are a combined 0-7 vs Cleveland and Minnesota. They will definitely need to pick up the pace if they plan to match or better their 44-32 record in the division from last season.
During the team’s six-game win streak, the White Sox scored 20 total runs. The team is tied with Oakland for 26th overall in runs scored (98), 22nd in batting average (.222), 28th in on-base percentage (.281), and 22nd in slugging at .350.
Although the league as a whole is having trouble scoring runs, the White Sox find themselves not being able to hit the long ball, much like they had trouble doing in 2021. The team joins the New York Mets and San Diego Padres for 17th in the majors with 25 homers.
April marked the first month under Tony La Russa the team posted a losing record, going 8-12. The offense sputtered along by being outscored 87-64 during that period. In a span of just over two weeks, the White Sox went from a high of four games over .500 on April 16 to five games under by May 1.
While it is still early in the season, the question as to what this team is remains. It does not seem to have an identity, save for having a very good starting pitching staff. If having a poor defense is an identity one wants to have, then the White Sox have that down pat.
But the pitching needs help and the bats also have to find a way to wake up soon. The easy excuse is to say it’s been cold and when the weather gets warmer things will turn around. However, the same could be said for the rest of the teams in the division and the White Sox can’t find themselves falling too far behind the likes of Minnesota and Cleveland.
There is plenty of talent on this team and it should be better once Andrew Vaughn (hand), Lance Lynn (knee), and Eloy Jimenez (hamstring) return from their injuries. In the meantime, the White Sox needs to improve on the fundamentals and avoid making careless errors.