The White Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 Sunday afternoon to finish a five-game road trip with back-to-back wins. Chicago has been on the cusp of .500 for nearly a month now. One of the main reasons why the team hasn’t been able to get about .500 could be because of their manager and his questionable decisions.
Rick Renteria has had several questionable managerial decisions in the last few weeks. Renteria’s most troubling move was the handling of pitcher Reynaldo Lopez in his starts against the Royals and Nationals. In Lopez’s start against the Royals on May 29th, He struggled to open the sixth inning as he allowed a two-run homer and a walk to start the inning. He started the inning with 88 pitches and was pulled 30 pitches later finishing at 118 pitches.
Renteria’s move to leave Lopez in that long is concerning from a health and strategic standpoint. It was the third time through the Royals lineup and Lopez already nearing 100 pitches where numbers show that teams have a higher success rate against pitchers seeing a lineup a third time.
From a health standpoint, it is troubling that Renteria would allow a young pitcher to rack up such a high pitch count given the team’s recent rash of injuries to their starting pitchers. The team’s rotation next season could feature four pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery already.
Against the Nationals earlier this week, it was Renteria’s decision to stay with Lopez too long which led to the team’s loss. His young pitcher only lasted four innings plus giving up six runs as the White Sox blew a 5-0 lead.
Lopez clearly did not have it against the Nationals as he only had one clean inning against Washington’s lineup. With off days sandwiching the short two-game series, Renteria had a rare opportunity to go to his bullpen early to preserve the lead while not overusing his relievers. Chicago lost 9-5 as it was a gut-wrenching loss as the team missed the opportunity to have an even win-loss record.
On Wednesday, Renteria made two decisions that had a large impact on the team’s walk-off loss. With the game tied in the top of the ninth, he had Ryan Cordell sacrifice bunt with Tim Anderson on first.
Given his frequent use of the bunt, Washington’s defense was ready as third baseman Anthony Rendon threw to second getting the force out. There was no need for a bunt as Anderson could have stolen second to avoid any double play possibility.
In the bottom of the ninth, he chose to put in closer Alex Colome with the game tied. It was questionable as closers have often struggled when put in non-save situations. Furthermore, who was Renteria planning to use had the White Sox taken the lead in extra-innings as although his bullpen has been better, Colome has been the team’s most consistent reliever being perfect in save situations. The White Sox lost as Colome gave up a walk-off two-run home run as he failed to record an out.
The team could have easily won all five of their games on this past week’s road trip and be well over .500 had it not been for their manager’s moves. Renteria’s managing should be concerning to the front office from an in-game and player’s health standpoint.
A manager has a large impact on how well his team can perform, for a young team like the White Sox, they have performed better than expected, but have been hampered by their manager.