When the projections came out pundits had the 2022 White Sox on track to flat out run away with the AL Central. With the season quickly approaching the midway point the Sox sit at 39-41 and will finish the first 81 games below with a losing record and in third pace in the division they are supposed to win by a landslide. A loss tonight against the Tigers, who just swept the Guardians, saw the first half of the 2022 White Sox season end at just 39-42.
While the White Sox won in walk-off fashion yesterday to avoid a sweep in their previous series, the Minnesota Twins left town taking two of three games in Chicago. The Sox offense seemed dormant for most of the series continuing to watch the Twins mash the baseball and show little to no fight until yesterday.
Elementary Mistakes have Doomed the 2022 White Sox
Young players frequently make mistakes. This is true in all sports however, this team is supposed to be elite. Two fly balls off the bat of Twins leadoff hitter Luis Arraez were sent to White Sox center fielder Luis Robert this weekend which should have been caught but were not. If Robert is the talent the Sox touted him as these mistakes should not be frequent. The defense was not good and the baserunning was atrocious. For the first time in baseball history, the Sox ran into an 8-5 triple play and effectively out of the game exactly when it felt like they were poised to take a lead in game two of the three-game set.
Were we all duped by Rick Hahn and company being made to believe the young talent on this team were better than they actually are? Or, are the Sox just overwhelmingly underperforming?
Poor Management for the 2022 White Sox
Being young is no excuse for White Sox skipper Tony La Russa, who is currently 77 years old and managing in his 35th season. However, La Russa continues to mismanage games. Yes, it is easy to sit and watch the games and criticize from afar, but some of the things Tony does and does not make little sense.
Not pinch-hitting for Leury Garcia in the sixth inning versus the Angels with runners on first and third with Andrew Vaughn and Jake Burger who had a .326/.388/.651 split against lefties at that time sticks out. Or intentionally walking Trea Turner with two strikes to get to Max Muncy who immediately smokes a three-run home run makes zero sense. To put the icing on that cake, he then brings in young lefty Tanner Banks to face the next batter who you guessed it, bats right-handed instead of bringing in Banks to get left-handed-hitting Muncy out.
La Russa continues to in my opinion mismanage the bullpen, leave starters a touch too long or too short, and play with lineups. Regardless of team health, we can all count on one consistency from La Russa, Leury Garcia being in the lineup. Nevermind Garcia’s atrocious slash line of .203 / .230 / .267 with a .497 OPS. Garcia deserves these at-bats. ” You see Leury’s at-bats?” Yes skip, we did and it’s why you should be fired. Not for Garcia’s lack of production, but for your inability to see it or any other issue with how this team is performing.
Health Struggles for the 2022 White Sox
The White Sox seem to be heading in the right direction in terms of overall health as we close the book on the first half of the regular season. Eloy Jimenez returned to the lineup for the first time since April yesterday and came up big in two different spots in the game. Yasmani Grandal is hoping to be ready to return following the All-Star break and after leaving yesterday’s win early, Yoan Moncada seems to be fine as he is back in the lineup tonight.
With the health of the lineup becoming better, hopefully the 2022 White Sox can start stacking up wins in bunches and play cleaner, more focused baseball moving forward. They will need to stay healthy for the remainder of the season if they want a shot at the postseason for a third consecutive season.
Going, Going Caught
It is no secret that the 2022 White Sox have been slacking in terms of hitting the ball out of the park. The question is why? Certainly missing pieces like Jimenez, Grandal, and Moncada for a large chunk of the first half of the season doesn’t help but something else seems off about this.
The baseballs are different is a dead excuse as league leading Aaron Judge has hit 30 bombs himself. The 2022 White Sox currently rank 26th in all of baseball and have only hit 65 as a team. The Yankees currently lead MLB with 139 bombs on the season. If the Sox hope to contend with the likes of the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees in October, they have to start hitting the ball out of the park with more consistency.
The time for the Sox to turn their season around began on Monday in the opener against the Twins. While they already dropped two of those three, winning the third via the home run ball and never quit attitude we saw yesterday, there is still time. Including the three-game series against the Twins, the White Sox will play a stretch of 19 straight divisional games. This is indeed, make or break time for the White Sox.
Even with the easiest second-half schedule in baseball, the Sox need to gain ground over the next 16 games. While every game is not necessarily a must-win, they are getting close to needing them all. We will know a lot more about how the Sox season will end in two weeks time.
Can the 2022 White Sox save their season? Let us know in the comments below!
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