Luis Robert’s ninth-inning game-winning single to help the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees on Saturday night was the type of remedy the team needs to fix what has been ailing them for a while.
The White Sox were 1-8 with runners in scoring position prior to Robert’s heroic and it’s the lack of coming through in the clutch that has been a thorn in the side of the team’s offense.
The inability of the White Sox to drive in runs at times most needed has led to wasting solid pitching performances and dropping games they can ill afford to lose.
If one wants to pinpoint what the White Sox’s biggest problem is, it could be their inability to drive in runs when runners are in scoring position.
The White Sox are hitting an abysmal .218 in RISP. In 239 at-bats, White Sox hitters have struck out 61 times compared to just 52 hits while scoring 85 runs. In 102 at-bats with two outs, the team is hitting .186 with 33 runs scored.
The Chicago White Sox needs to be much better with runners in scoring position.
Baseball-reference.com has an offensive category labeled “Clutch Stats” which includes an item called “Late and Close” in which it records the offensive output of the batting team from the seventh inning on in which the game is tied, the batting team is up by a run, or the tying run is on deck.
In that category, the White Sox are hitting .237 while posting nearly a strikeout per every hit (34 strikeouts to 35 hits). In 21 games under this category, the White Sox have scored just 21 runs.
Putting together an inning in which the White Sox plate multiple runs has been a challenge as well. The White Sox have scored two or more runs in an inning just 23 times over the course of 285 innings.
For a team projected to be very good offensively, the White Sox are averaging only 3.67 runs a game. Of players who have played in 10 or more games this season, Gavin Sheets leads the team with a batting average/RISP of .267 (Andrew Vaughn has posted an average of .417 in nine games).
Jake Burger’s .263 average is the next highest with only Luis Robert (.250), Tim Anderson (.231), AJ Pollock (.208), and Leury Garcia (.200) hitting over .200. Jose Abreu and Vaughn each have nine RBI to lead the team with runners in scoring position followed by Pollock with eight.
Seeing when the team scores its runs is rather interesting as well. In the 13 games in which the White Sox scored two runs in an inning, the team managed to do it three times apiece in the first and sixth innings and twice in the second and seventh innings.
The White Sox put across three runs in the third and seventh innings two times. They have scored four runs in an inning only three times while putting up five or more only once. In 285 innings, the White Sox have failed to score in 209.
While the bullpen and the defense have been shaky at times and in need of improvement, the offense has not lived up to its billing and needs to provide better run support when the opportunities arise.