With Wednesday’s impressive 6-2 win over Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox now sit at a record of 33-33. The White Sox are just over 35% of the way through the season, and it is a perfect time to analyze their performance so far.
Team Grade: B
Heading into the season, the outlook for the White Sox was grim. They were projected to be the 30th best team, according to an ESPN.com power ranking. Currently, the White Sox are just 2.5 games behind the Tigers for the division lead.
This solid play has not come easily. The White Sox have battled through a good amount of injuries from top players. In early April, both Avisail Garcia and Nate Jones sustained injuries requiring them to be put on the 60-day disabled list. Top players such as Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and Jose Abreu have also spent some time on the 15-day disabled list as well.
However, the White Sox have kept on fighting. It hasn’t been pretty. The White Sox own the 5th worst team ERA, at 4.28. The starting pitching has not been the problem; they are in the middle of the pack for number of quality starts, and are keeping the team in games. A lot of the trouble has occurred late in games with the bullpen blowing leads.
Despite the pitching struggles, White Sox hitting has been picking up the slack. The team has scored 298 runs, which is the 6th most of any offense. This offensive firepower has made for some entertaining games, especially when the bullpen blows a lead late, but the team fights back and hits a walk-off. This has happened numerous times already this season. This potential to come back keeps fans engaged for all nine innings, and is the reason the White Sox sit at such a respectable record.
Obviously, the White Sox can play better. I would like to see more consistent play. The team shows flashes of brilliance in one game, and follows it up with mediocrity. Pitching and fielding are the two areas where I would like to see improvement.
The White Sox have the second worst fielding percentage, only ahead of the Cleveland Indians, at .979. With such close games and the bullpen struggling to close out games, the team needs to limit the number of chances they give to opposing offenses. In particular, I would like to see Dayan Viciedo improve his fielding. He has a fielding percentage of .951, and is far and away the worst fielder on the team.
Despite some of these struggles, the White Sox are right in the hunt. Jose Abreu and Chris Sale are both healthy, and things are looking up for the team. When looking at the expectations heading into the season, it has been a successful third of the season.
On their performance so far, White Sox pitcher John Danks said, “Yeah, we’ve had a good feeling from the get [go]. We’re not looking at the scoreboard just yet or the standings; we’re just trying to win every game we can. Nothing’s changed. We’ve been a pretty confident bunch from the start of it and fully expect to be in the thick of it when the time comes.”
I like it. Just keep trying to win games. We’re only 66 games into a 182 game season, but the White Sox have turned some heads so far. Hopefully they will continue to do so over the course of the summer.