Horrible season for White Sox may portend bright future

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Horrible season for White Sox may portend bright future

By John Ruberry

Base­ball is a lot like life. It’s a day-​to-​day exis­tence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your oppor­tu­ni­ties in base­ball as you do in life.“
Long­time Detroit Tigers broad­caster Ernie Harwell.

For the 2018 Chicago White Sox, so far there have been a lot of downs. The South Siders, at 1230, have the worst record in base­ball. If their cur­rent pace con­tin­ues, the Sox will lose 117 games and end up just a few games ahead of the most hap­less teams since MLB expanded its sched­ule to 162 games, the 2003 Detroit Tigers and the 1962 New York Mets.

Guar­an­teed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, has been any­thing but sweet for them. Their record is a piti­ful 516 there so far this sea­son.. On a cold after­noon in April, just 974 fans were in atten­dance as the host dropped a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was at home when the team’s sole 2017 all star, right fielder Avi­sail Gar­cia, suf­fered a ham­string indus­try which placed him on the dis­abled list. Just two nights ago left fielder Nicky Del­monico was put on the DL after his right hand was bro­ken after get­ting hit by a pitch. And it was on the South Side last month when reliever Danny Far­quhar col­lapsed in the dugout when he suf­fered a severe brain aneurysm, which knocked him out for the season.

On the upside, the team slo­gan for 2018 is “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit,” a ref­er­ence to man­ager Ricky Rente­ria, a patient man – that’s the type of skip­per the Sox need – Ricky Rente­ria. While plagued by some bad baserun­ning mis­cues, the White Sox aren’t infected by lazi­ness. It’s just that they don’t have very many good play­ers. First base­man and des­ig­nated hit­ter Jose Abreu is the only South Sider bat­ting over 300. MSN Sports listed the best player so far this sea­son for each team, for the Sox they chose right hand starter Rey­naldo López, who coin­ci­den­tally starts at home this after­noon against the Texas Rangers. His ERA is a 3.50, but his record is 03 with 46 innings under his belt, which led its writer Greg Papke to opine that it “shows how abject the team is that he has failed to win a game despite those solid numbers.”

Team sta­tis­tics betray the awful truth. The White Sox rank next to last in Major League Base­ball in ERA and runs scored and they’re at the bot­tom in WHIP, that is, walks plus hits per inning pitched.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, as the Sox mar­ket­ing plan insists,” the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sul­li­van remarked last week, “but nei­ther do they score nor pitch.” The White Sox were expected to per­form poorly this year, but not this badly. Last sea­son they lost 95 games, but they ended last Sep­tem­ber one game over .500.

Back to the good news:: The White Sox are only nine games out of first place, but they play in MLB’s worst divi­sion, the Amer­i­can League Cen­tral, which the Cleve­land Indi­ans, at 2222, leads. And the Sox are only a half-​game behind the team ahead of them in the Cen­tral stand­ings, the Kansas City Roy­als, who obvi­ously are also endur­ing a hor­ri­ble 2018.

But help is on the way. Last sum­mer the White Sox traded their ace, Chris Sale, to the Boston Red Sox for sev­eral prospects, includ­ing Yoan Mocada, who is their start­ing sec­ond base­man this sea­son, and hard throw­ing starter Michael Kopech, who is cur­rently pitch­ing in AAA and is expected to join the Sox later this sea­son. Also last sum­mer the White Sox traded another starter, Jose Quin­tana, to the Chicago Cubs for two of that organization’s top prospects, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Crease.

Ear­lier this decade the Hous­ton Astros, who the White Sox swept in the 2005 World Series, went through a sim­i­lar rebuild­ing process. Now they are the reign­ing World Series cham­pi­ons. In 2011 the Astros lost 106 games, in 2012 they dropped 107 games, and the fol­low­ing sea­son 111 games.

Then the upswing began.

UPDATE 7:20pm EDT: My post must have been good luck for the White Sox. The hereto­fore hard luck López pitched eight shutout innings this after­noon against the Rangers while giv­ing up only two hits. His record is now I-​3.

John Ruberry reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

By John Ruberry

“Baseball is a lot like life. It’s a day-to-day existence, full of ups and downs. You make the most of your opportunities in baseball as you do in life.”
Longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell.

For the 2018 Chicago White Sox, so far there have been a lot of downs. The South Siders, at 12-30, have the worst record in baseball. If their current pace continues, the Sox will lose 117 games and end up just a few games ahead of the most hapless teams since MLB expanded its schedule to 162 games, the 2003 Detroit Tigers and the 1962 New York Mets.

Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the White Sox, has been anything but sweet for them. Their record is a pitiful 5-16 there so far this season.. On a cold afternoon in April, just 974 fans were in attendance as the host dropped a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was at home when the team’s sole 2017 all star, right fielder Avisail Garcia, suffered a hamstring industry which placed him on the disabled list. Just two nights ago left fielder Nicky Delmonico was put on the DL after his right hand was broken after getting hit by a pitch. And it was on the South Side last month when reliever Danny Farquhar collapsed in the dugout when he suffered a severe brain aneurysm, which knocked him out for the season.

On the upside, the team slogan for 2018 is “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit,” a reference to manager Ricky Renteria, a patient man–that’s the type of skipper the Sox need–Ricky Renteria. While plagued by some bad baserunning miscues, the White Sox aren’t infected by laziness. It’s just that they don’t have very many good players. First baseman and designated hitter Jose Abreu is the only South Sider batting over 300. MSN Sports listed the best player so far this season for each team, for the Sox they chose right hand starter Reynaldo López, who coincidentally starts at home this afternoon against the Texas Rangers. His ERA is a 3.50, but his record is 0-3 with 46 innings under his belt, which led its writer Greg Papke to opine that it “shows how abject the team is that he has failed to win a game despite those solid numbers.”

Team statistics betray the awful truth. The White Sox rank next to last in Major League Baseball in ERA and runs scored and they’re at the bottom in WHIP, that is, walks plus hits per inning pitched.

“Ricky’s boys don’t quit, as the Sox marketing plan insists,” the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan remarked last week, “but neither do they score nor pitch.” The White Sox were expected to perform poorly this year, but not this badly. Last season they lost 95 games, but they ended last September one game over .500.

Back to the good news:: The White Sox are only nine games out of first place, but they play in MLB’s worst division, the American League Central, which the Cleveland Indians, at 22-22, leads. And the Sox are only a half-game behind the team ahead of them in the Central standings, the Kansas City Royals, who obviously are also enduring a horrible 2018.

But help is on the way. Last summer the White Sox traded their ace, Chris Sale, to the Boston Red Sox for several prospects, including Yoan Mocada, who is their starting second baseman this season, and hard throwing starter Michael Kopech, who is currently pitching in AAA and is expected to join the Sox later this season. Also last summer the White Sox traded another starter, Jose Quintana, to the Chicago Cubs for two of that organization’s top prospects, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Crease.

Earlier this decade the Houston Astros, who the White Sox swept in the 2005 World Series, went through a similar rebuilding process. Now they are the reigning World Series champions. In 2011 the Astros lost 106 games, in 2012 they dropped 107 games, and the following season 111 games.

Then the upswing began.

UPDATE 7:20pm EDT: My post must have been good luck for the White Sox. The heretofore hard luck López pitched eight shutout innings this afternoon against the Rangers while giving up only two hits. His record is now I-3.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.