White Sox struggle with Orioles

About a week removed from the Series against the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago White Sox have more or less come back down to Earth. That is, back to the expectations that many people had prior to the season’s start.

April and May bring out a lot of mixed feelings and reactions in sports fans. It does the same for managers and players; you can’t really predict what’s going to happen. Here’s one thing I can predict, though, without a doubt: If the Sox continue to leave nearly 20 base runners in a 24 hour period against sub-.500 teams, they will not contend.

In the final two games of the Sox’ four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Sox left 19 runners on base. Nineteen, which is one away from twenty. It is also ludicrous. With runners in scoring position, they went 3-12. You’re also not going to win games when your entire team strikes out 16 times, which is what the Sox did Thursday afternoon. There were way too many wasted opportunities throughout this series.

Wednesday night’s game was a good example of what the Sox should try to do every game. They trounced Baltimore 8-1, getting timely hits when they needed them. Even Gordon Beckham broke out of his slump and got a couple of hits and a RBI that night. But across the board, we’re now seeing some of the same problems from last season. Alex Rios particularly comes to mind. And yes, he gets picked on because entering his third full season with the Sox, he still has barely given any indication that he’s going to turn things around.

Although he hit the ball fairly well throughout the series, he struck out three times on Thursday, including the final strikeout of the game in which he went down looking. Even if he did think the pitch was too high (it wasn’t), there’s no way you let anything even remotely close to the plate go by in that situation. It’s moments like these where one would think the Sox may be better off putting Kosuke Fukudome out there every day.

Of course, every black cloud has a silver lining. The bullpen was solid, save the last two innings of Monday night’s game. Manager Robin Ventura seems to have taken a liking to Nate Jones, as he’s only allowed two hits in his four relief appearances thus far. Addison Reed also pitched well in his appearances, and it’s a good sign as the weeks go on.

Gavin Floyd, however, needs to get his act together. The rest of the rotation has been OK thus far, but Floyd seems to be having the most difficult time, as he seems to every April and May. In my eyes, this is a make or break year for him. He needs to improve his stuff and his confidence now. He has all the potential in the world as Don Cooper and Kenny Williams have raved about time and time again, but his current efforts won’t cut it for long. The Sox, now at 6-6, are on standby to face Seattle on Friday, and are hoping their “big” hitters come back when they need them most.

Follow on Twitter @Midwaynick

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