As if a bad Chicago Cubs team was not enough to worry about…
Second year manager Robin Ventura has had his hands tied, to say the least. Key players such as Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Adam Dunn have been seen on milk cartons throughout Chicago. You cannot replace stalwarts in the lineup with any replacement player. The list of unproven players that Ventura is working with it too long to write, but trying to find a spark from them, the bench, or the minors has been fruitless to this point.
The season is still young. The Sox have played 34 games as of May 12, so selling off all your parts is not at the forefront. At the same time, general manager Rick Hahn has to have that idea climbing up his list of things to discuss seriously.
The Southsiders came into the 2013 season with a deep, albeit unsexy pitching staff and bullpen. And that was without John Danks an option in the rotation. Now, the staff has been on the ropes. Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd have missed time with injuries, including season-ending Tommy John surgery.
The bullpen pitched well out of the gates, but has run into some bad outings in recent weeks. Nate Jones put the A.L. on notice as a rookie, winning eight games. While a repeat was not expected, a 5.06 ERA for one your trusted middle relief pitchers is cause for concern. Addison Reed may have double digit saves, but it is almost set in stone to never trust a closer in today’s game.
What happened to the once proud defense? 70 errors in 2012 is very respectable. The White Sox were one of the best in baseball. Through 34 games this season? 24. Bad is being nice. The middle of the infield has suffered the most due to the injury of Gordon Beckham. Comfort is important in all aspects of baseball, but the comfort and chemistry the shortstop and second baseman changes games. Double plays, outfield cut-offs, and communication on the field generally runs through them. Expect an uptick in defense when Beckham returns.
It is tough to imagine the situation on 35th and Shields to improve much over the final 130 or so games. The rising temperatures tend to bring players out of slumps and can lift spirits. Scoff if you want, but would you rather play a game in the mid-40’s with rain, or mid-70’s and sun? Ballplayers are human. Even then, a push for the playoffs seems unlikely. What seems to be more likely is a few moves to get some younger talent on the field and some depth in the minors.
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