In any sport, teams who turn a season from bad to good usually point to a game or a moment that brought them together. The Chicago White Sox are still searching for their own “ah-ha” moment.
Mired in mediocrity, the White Sox have yet to show the baseball world that they can live up to the preseason predictions many had to not only win the American League Central division but contend for the American League crown and get to the World Series.
As the season closes in on being two months old, the White Sox have a lot of work to do to be more than just a .500 team.
The White Sox have been praised for being an extremely talented team which they are. The problem is that they can’t seem to put that talent together at the same time and run off a series of wins.
The Chicago White Sox needs to be better than a .500 team moving forward.
Twice last season the White Sox won six games in a row. They have managed to do that once this season but have also posted a streak of eight losses in a row as well. The latter hurt because it involved divisional opponents while the former included two against a not-so-good Chicago Cubs team and the Boston Red Sox who were six games under .500 when that series began.
Prior to the start of the six-game win streak, the White Sox fought back against the Los Angeles Angels to score five runs in the ninth inning before dropping a 6-5 decision. At the time, the near win was viewed as being something to build on which could wake the Sox up and get them going.
They did get some momentum from it but after the win streak they split two games with Cleveland before the New York Yankees showed them what a title contender looks like by taking three of four games in a decisive fashion. Those losses cut short any good feelings the team had about the way they were playing.
If the White Sox couldn’t build on the six-game win streak, perhaps they could come together following the Tim Anderson vs Josh Donaldson tag dust-up or the controversy over Donaldson calling Anderson “Jackie”.
Nope. Neither could spark the team to go on a run as they took two of three from the Yankees before letting the Red Sox take two of three at Guaranteed Rate Field.
After not playing very well following the All-Star break last year, the White Sox have not been able to find whatever “it” is to maximize the talent they have. They have looked more like a middle-of-the-road team scratching for a playoff spot than one that should be atop the division.
Injuries are a convenient excuse but all teams go through them so that really isn’t what is keeping this team from being better than it is. The White Sox overcame injuries last year to finish with 93 wins.
It is easy to say they have to play better and that is true. But that is easier said than done. The Philadelphia Phillies are an example of having a lot of talent right now but have little to show for it. Manager Joe Girardi could be on the hot seat which is a place some think Tony La Russa should be.
Right now, the combination of injuries, poor defense, terrible hitting, average pitching, and head-scratching managerial decisions have put the team in a position where they are looking up at Minnesota.
Viewed as a major disappointment to this point of the season, the White sox have their work cut out for them to get things turned around quickly or run the risk of being the most underachieving team of the year.