White Sox Plummet Back to Earth

Robin VenturaThe Chicago White Sox have been embarrassing lately. And that’s putting it mildly. It’d be more accurate to say that the White Sox have been playing like a little league t-ball team struggling to figure out how to hit the ball, let alone pitch the ball and get it over the plate for a strike.

I can fully admit, I was having so much fun watching the White Sox play for the first month and a half of the season. It was no longer a chore to watch all nine innings of the game, and I welcomed the opportunity as I got home from work to sprawl out on the couch and watch the Sox kick some tail for a good nine innings. But now, it feels like we’re back in the 2015 season, where just trying to watch a game was intolerable. It seems like ever since the middle of May, the Sox just can’t get it together, with the crushing blow to Sox fans’ dreams coming this past Saturday when the Sox gave up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals, blowing a six-run lead in a pathetic loss.

Let’s look back a bit, shall we? Not that far though, only about two and a half weeks to May 13. On May 13, the White Sox were in first place in the Central Division and had the best record in the American League at 24-12. They were five games up on the Cleveland Indians, and six and a half games up on the Royals, who didn’t even have a .500 record at that point. On that day, they had just beaten the New York Yankees 7-1. The following day, they would lose 2-1. No big deal. No reason to panic. The pitching looked good, as it had up until that point, but the bats were just a little silent.

But then we saw the bats stay silent after that. We saw the pitching start to falter, and it’s apparent that a real answer to the fifth man in the rotation is needed. We’ve especially see the bullpen start to implode. Let’s take that last series against the Royals into account. In those three games over the weekend, the bullpen gave up 14 earned runs, 15 hits and eight walks…  and this was only in six and one-thirs innings! How can a team that was right up there with the (still) Major League best Chicago Cubs fall back to Earth so quickly?

Going into Tuesday’s game against the New York Mets, the Sox now sit at 27-25. In 16 days, the Sox have only won three games. That’s it. And now, they sit a few games behind Kansas City in third place in the Central Division. Obviously, the Sox have dropped the ball playing against their Central Division foes.

So what can we take from all this? Are the Sox the team we saw through the first six weeks of the season, or the ragtag bunch of misfits we’ve seen try to play in the last two or three weeks? Some of the blame is being put on Robin Ventura for how he’s decided to manage the team and the bullpen. Some of it is squarely on the players.

I can’t figure this team out right now, and I have no idea how’s it’s going to turn out. I didn’t expect the Sox to play stellar ball all season like they did the first six weeks, but this fall is something I never would’ve predicted, especially when the pathetic play culminated in blowing that six-run lead on Saturday.

Hopefully winds will change again soon, but we can be sure of this; any hopes for a Crosstown World Series have been greatly reduced.