To end the series, Josh Harrison was on the mound. When a position player is on the mound in 2022, it means one of two things. Either your team is up by a lot of runs or trailing by a lot of runs. The Chicago White Sox losing two of the three games to the Boston Red Sox with the way they lost, might say it all.
The White Sox have underachieved to start the season. A team that was expected to win the division, and cruise through the regular season are hovering around .500 and continuing to do so through the first two months of play.
Quite the day for Chicago baseball. The Cubs and Sox were outscored 36-12.
With an off day tomorrow, it'll mark 21 straight days the Sox have either been 1 game under, even, or 1 game over .500. No better. No worse.
The W-Sox are 22-22 with a minus 42 run differential. Yikes.
— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) May 27, 2022
Following the series loss, it’s time to look at this team in the grand scheme of things. Why are the White Sox unable to string together enough wins? Why are the White Sox underachieving? Lastly, how concerning is the average play of the White Sox?
White Sox haven’t been scheme proof
A few days ago, I wrote about the starting rotation and how it can carry the White Sox. The pitchers can lift the team and allow them to win games, even when the offense struggles, as it has to start the season. But what happens when the starters are having off nights?
Turns out, that Dylan Cease having a rough start was a case in point for the underlying issues. Cease has been the ace for the White Sox this season, dominating on the mound. However, against the Red Sox, the right-hander struggled, and the runs started to pile in, four in the first inning and seven in a short three-inning start.
Dylan Cease went 3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 48 of 71 pitches for strikes, with 11 swinging strikes.
Something was off tonight. His ERA is 4.24
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) May 25, 2022
The problem isn’t that Cease had a bad start. Even in a great year, he will have those games as he did against the New York Yankees a few starts back. However, the lineup can’t keep up. When asked to win a high-scoring game the batting order has oftentimes failed to keep up with the opponent. The White Sox have not won a game this season when allowing five runs or more.
Moreover, the White Sox haven’t adjusted to the circumstances. When the season started and the team played in the cold weather, they couldn’t win low-scoring games. Suddenly, in the warmer weather, the offense isn’t doing its part. This team has shown that it can rebound, or more accurately start to play up to its potential but a few weeks in, the roster has greatly underachieved.
Keuchel struggles (again)
The White Sox have gotten a mixed bag from Dallas Keuchel to start this season. In eight starts, Keuchel has at times looked like the ideal veteran pitcher at the end of the rotation, using off-speed pitches to force weak contact for scoreless innings. However, the inability to locate the cutter and the loss of velocity have cost him and the White Sox.
Keuchel once again struggled on the mound. The Red Sox attacked him early and often, starting with the second pitch of the game.
— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2022
The Red Sox scored 16 runs in the Thursday night matchup but it started with six runs in two innings pitched by Keuchel. The team was in a hole once again and had to play from behind. The backend of the rotation has only been as good as its veteran pitcher and the recent start makes it questionable who will start in that fifth spot moving forward.
White Sox division race concerns
The White Sox trail the Minnesota Twins by 4.5 games in the American League Central Division. The deficit is concerning but also something that understandably, is easy to shrug off.
The Twins have looked different this year. Byron Buxton is playing at an MVP level and the roster is a complete one. The White Sox hovering around the .500 mark allows the Twins not only to pad their lead but possibly run away with the division by the All-Star break.
However, the average play isn’t a reason to panic, not yet at least. For starters, the Twins’ success is largely dependent on health. Buxton has been healthy while Eloy Jimenez has been out of the lineup, and the results, reflect that. In addition, it’s still early in the season 44 games to be exact. Lastly, the White Sox are still in the race, despite playing poorly. They have underachieved but once they start to pick things up, could pile on the wins.
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