Great Expectations

The 2011 Chicago White Sox came into spring training with high hopes for the season. Many media outlets picked them to win the division and possibly contend for the World Series. Looking at the team on paper, it’d be hard to disagree with those sentiments, but unfortunately baseball isn’t played on a piece of paper.
So far through the 2011 campaign, Sox fans and players have just been left puzzled with tons of questions and no answers for the poor performance on the field. The offensive firepower that was expected has been no more than a sizzle at times before being doused by average pitching. The starting pitching has been suspect at times with control issues and inconsistency that’s given up leads at the worst of times. The bullpen has blown numerous games when given the opportunity to shut the door on their opponent. Frustration is a word that could easily sum up the first couple weeks of the season.
They say hope springs eternal and that’s a phrase Sox fans can’t tell themselves enough. Perennially, the Southsiders struggle out of the gate. Blame it on weather, traveling, whatever it may be. Their offensive numbers don’t seem to pick up until mid-May to June when the bats get hot. As a fan, you’d have to stay optimistic that the pitching will follow suit as well. Sooner or later, the pitching situation has to be settled if the Sox figure to contend for the postseason. The closer situation has been a mess, but Santos can hopefully end the speculation there. Once the team gets on the same page, things should start to get rolling.
The man in the dugout can’t be solely to blame, but game management is his job. Ozzie Guillen has always been the type of guy to do things his way and there’s no difference in that approach this season. Throughout his career on the South side, he has made many questionable decisions, but many were overlooked due to the winning ways the Sox had become accustomed to. Managing the bullpen has always been a controversial point for Ozzie. Questionable decision-making in that department has continued at the start of this year. Who’s to say that another manager could do better than Ozzie? Who’s to say they couldn’t? It’s not my decision or yours, but if things continue to spiral downward the way they have, it may be a situation that has to be addressed very seriously.
Heading into the final week of April, the Sox start a 3-game set in the Bronx against the Yankees. Going in 8-14 against the 12-6 Yankees will not be an easy task by any stretch. For a team that was once 7-4, they now find themselves losers of 10 of the last 11. The road has been rocky and doesn’t get any easier. As the weather warms up, so too must the Sox if they wish to live up to their great expectations and become the kings of the AL Central.

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