Just over two weeks ago, the White Sox were rolling. It seemed they were scoring at will, and teams did not stand a chance to outslug the Chicago White Sox.
However, it appears that all that mashing masked a huge problem the White Sox have developed.
Now that the offense has come back down to Earth, it’s clear that outside of a few people, the White Sox pitching is not good enough to keep the team in the first place long-term.
It’s interesting too, because the White Sox have always been a good pitching team under Kenny Williams’ rule. Remember last season when we all said “Man, all we need is a little bit of consistency from the offense?”
Now, it’s the opposite, as outside of Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Addison Reed, who can the Sox rely on?
When you look throughout baseball history, you’ll notice that probably 98 percent of past division winners have one thing in common: a good bullpen. Throughout the month of May, this actually looked like a strength for the White Sox.
However, it now looks like a group that’s fading fast.
It’s clear that Matt Thornton, at age 35, is no longer the dominant lefty he once was. Nate Jones was fantastic the first two months, but has an ERA over eight in June and it’s now his turn to make the adjustments to the hitters. Like Jones, Hector Santiago and Jesse Crain have struggled mightily in June after strong Mays, and I can’t understand what the team sees in Zach Stewart and Will Ohman.
[Editor's note: Soon after this post was submitted, Zach Stewart was optioned to Triple A and Dylan Axelrod was recalled.]
In the rotation, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy have been fantastic, but will they regress at some point? The same goes for Jose Quintana. He’s been a blessing in disguise, but how big will the dropoff be when hitters being to make adjustments to him?
Those are your three strong points. The negative issues lay in the inconsistencies of Phil Humber and Gavin Floyd.
Floyd’s been on-and-off his whole career, but it’s never been this bad for this long. And is it safe to say Humber was pretty much a flash-in-the-pan guy the first half of 2011 and in one game in 2012?
Before the season, we knew this roster had a lot of question marks, and a lot of them have been answered in a good way. There were a lot of those questions on offense. Even with a hole at third base, and even though they’ll hurt you some games with how much they strikeout (like Sunday in LA), the offense is not the long-term issue here.
If this team wants to win this winnable AL Central, they are going to have to figure out how to fill these holes in the rotation and bullpen.
Since there are so many of them, I’m beginning to doubt how bright the outlook really is for the 2012 White Sox.