Grant Anschuetz | Slump Sports Blogger
The MLB season has been underway for about a month now. The best record belongs to the Chicago Cubs (20-6), and the Washington Nationals (19-8) are close behind. Also right up there is the Chicago White Sox at 19-9.
Yes, read it again. The Chicago White Sox.
A club that finished with a 76-86 record last year that was sufficient enough for 4th place in the American League Central Division.
So, what has changed since last year?
First of all, there have been a few lineup changes that must be noted.
- Jimmy Rollins is this year’s SS as opposed to Alexei Ramirez
- Austin Jackson was added to play CF which moved Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia to rotate between DH and RF
- Brett Lawrie now plays 2B and Todd Frazier plays 3B
- They also acquired Alex Avila to be the catcher, but he is currently on the DL
Clearly, they added some competent players over the offseason, most notably Frazier. (mandatory HR Derby plug)
But now it needs to be said that the highest batting average on the team belongs to Melky Cabrera, who is hitting (.287). Nobody on the team has a .300 or above batting average (that starts anyways).
To further highlight their offense, the White Sox have the 18th best (out of 30 teams) runs scored. They are tied with the Miami Marlins and have scored one more run than the Cincinnati Reds. Those teams are 14-12 and 11-17 respectively.
So naturally one would conclude that the White Sox’s success can be attributed to their pitching staff, and one would be right.
They have the 3rd best team ERA in the show, a low 2.67. The Sox have 3 pitchers that have drove down that number thus far. They are Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Matt Latos (who wasn’t on the team last year). There ERAs are 1.66, 1.40, and 1.84 respectively. Even more impressive, the White Sox have only lost one game when any of those three have pitched. Sale is 6-0, Quintana is 4-1, and Latos is 4-0.
Now it’s time to discuss the real question: Will this success last?
My honest and definitely biased opinion is no, but I’ll back it up.
I, for one, don’t envision those three pitchers staying as hot as they have, and the Sox offense doesn’t seem to have enough firepower to carry the team if more runs start to be let up.
Also, out of their 8 series to start the year, only 2 have been against teams with winning records, the Rangers and the Orioles.
In conclusion, the White Sox are a much better team than last year, but it appears (at least to me) that they have taken advantage of great pitching, average offense, and a favorable early schedule to get off to a great start. I’m skeptical that that formula is one that will breed success over the course of the whole season, so hold off on buying that fire flames snapback in the header.
Before you go,
Does the departure of this combo have anything to do with it?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it played a role. Some players in the clubhouse may feel more comfortable now and everyone knows comfortability breeds championships.
You can put it on the board… YES! (some success has to come from an all-time home run call)