After winning the first two games of the series in Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox have lost three straight games, including losing on a walk-off home run to Jose Ramirez. Chicago’s record falls to 16-21 on the season as they continue to flirt with a .500 record. Although almost everything has gone against them this season, the team is showing that they are not far off from competing.
Reliable starting pitching has been the team’s biggest issue as they have struggled to get quality performances from their starting staff. No one on the staff currently has an ERA below four and have just 12 quality starts in the 36 games played. Team ace Carlos Rodon appears to be done for this season as he still awaits a decision on whether to get Tommy John surgery and free agent pitcher Ervin Santana has already been released after just three starts.
There are only two reliable starters on the staff: Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Both have combined for six quality starts in for 14 games. Giolito has been the more effective pitcher picking up his third win in the best start for the team this season pitching seven and a third innings with no runs and eight strikeouts.
If the two can continue their progression, the staff will get a boost during the summer when prospect pitcher Dylan Cease is called up. Cease has been consistently good in Triple-A Charlotte this season as it appears he is ready to be called up but needs to build up his innings total.
From a lineup a standpoint, the White Sox have had only three consistent bats produce in Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, and Yoan Moncada. All three have carried the team at one point or another this season. Catcher James McCann has been hot hitting two home runs and driving in four RBIs in his last seven games. Rookie Slugger Eloy Jimenez is still sidelined with an ankle injury, but even when he returns to the lineup, the team is still short of another slugging bat.
The rest of the lineup and a good portion of the bullpen has been in a state of flux throughout the season as many players have been demoted and recalled from Charlotte. Many of the relievers and position players moving back and forth will not factor into the rebuild. One prospect who could be up soon and have a major impact on the lineup is catcher Zack Collins. Collins in 23 games with Charlotte has an on-base percentage of .371, has hit seven home runs, and driven in 26 RBIs. He could be a viable replacement to Yonder Alonzo who has struggled this season.
Chicago is a better team than what they were last year as last year’s team didn’t win their 16th game of the season until May 26th. One key to an improved record this season has been closer Alex Colome who has saved seven games as has an ERA of 1.80. Colome could provide general manager one more tradable veteran for a minor league prospect before the team is ready to compete next season.
Although the team has struggled this season to play consistently good baseball, they have looked better. The core, which could compete soon, is starting to solidify itself but needs just a few more players. Those players aren’t too far away as they could be called up before the end of the season. The 2019 campaign could be to the White Sox to what the 2014 season was to the Cubs before they started their championship run.