White Sox Offensive Woes Illuminate Team’s Struggles

Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field - credit City of Chicago_Chris McGuireThere is an old adage in baseball that a team always looks bad when they aren’t hitting. This could very well be the case with the Chicago White Sox in the early stages of their season.

Granted, there has been a lot of bad baseball in the first month of the season on the south side of Chicago aside from the team’s offensive ineptitude. The starting pitching hasn’t lived up to it’s expectations and the defense has been very shaky at times. But standing tall above the crowd of struggles is the lack of hitting.

The wonderful sport of baseball works in mysterious ways. Sox play-by-play announcer Hawk Harrelson, who has spent over 50 years in professional baseball, often says that the more he is around the game, the less he knows about it. Furthermore, baseball teams have a tendency to appear worse than they really are if they are struggling on offense. For some reason, it seems that fans are more satisfied with a 12-10 loss than a 1-0 loss. Sure, a loss is a loss; but the fact remains that fans want to see their team put some runs on the board regardless of how good the pitching staff and defense performs.

As a baseball fan who tries to rationalize the game, even I admit that I fall into the same group of fans. Last year around this time, I drove fives hour to Cleveland to watch the Sox play the Indians. After two and a half hours of sitting on my hands in the Progressive Field bleachers while the Sox failed to score a single run, I was just about ready to question the meaning of life. I drove five hours to see a 2-0 loss? Really?

Sure enough, I felt at the time that if the Sox would have at least scored one run, the loss wouldn’t have seemed quite as bad.

Perhaps this is the reason that this year’s team seems so terrible. They are dead last in the American League with 70 runs scored. The Blue Jays lead the AL with 144 runs, more than double the Sox output. The Sox have just 12 home runs as a team which is also fewer than any other AL team. If I said that they have 4 stolen bases as a team here over one month into the season, most of you would laugh and assume that I am exxagerating. But no, I’m not exxagerating. The Sox have 4 stolen bases in 22 games. They have scored more than 5 runs in a game just 3 times this year.

The team’s offense is so bad right now that games are getting hard to watch. As a fan, I feel hopeless if the Sox get behind by more than 3 runs. It’s sad to admit, but the process of getting runners on base and driving them in seems like it’s too much to handle for this team right now.

The bottom line is that the team needs to clean up their play in more than just the offensive department. Less than a handful of the 25+ players to wear the uniform this year have performed up to their abilities.

But if the Sox will turn things around, it will start with the offense. Despite all that I have just said, I like the their chances to find their way out of this slump. After all, they have 140 games to do it. The lineup have a lot of talented hitters and I expect them to start hitting the baseball very hard, very soon.