Chicago White Sox: How Long Will It Take for Them to Turn Things Around?
The 2013 Chicago White Sox have been virtually unwatchable all season long.
Well, that is unless you enjoy watching bad baseball.
Just how bad has it been for the pale hose?
They are currently on pace to lose 100 games in a season for the first time since 1970 and only the fourth time in team history.
Yes, since their inaugural season of 1901 the White Sox have only lost 100 games in a season three times, but it looks like they are headed back there this season.
Their losing streak currently stands at 10 games, their longest since 1976.
And if you go back to last September 18 when they were 81-66 and held a three game lead on the Detroit Tigers, the White Sox now have a combined record of 44-80 through August 4 of this year.
And most of the ineptitude stems from their lack of hitting and shoddy defense.
They currently have scored the second fewest amount of runs in baseball and there are only two teams that have a lower on-base percentage.
If you can't get on base, then you can't score—pretty simple.
Defensively, there are only six teams that have committed more errors than the White Sox, which is in stark contrast to 2012 when they were the best defensive team in baseball.
No offense and bad defense typically equates to losses, and the Sox have been no exception.
So how then are they possibly going to turn things around any time soon?
The game of baseball is still about pitching, especially starting pitching, and that is the one thing that this team has.
Despite the recent loss of veteran Jake Peavy, the White Sox starting rotation looks to be pretty strong going into next season.
Obviously it all starts with an ace, and the White Sox have one of the games best in 24-year-old Chris Sale.
He hasn't gotten any run support at all this year as evidenced by his 6-11 record to go along with a 2.92 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.
However, there's really no doubting his ability to get people out; it's his risk of injury that concerns most people.
In addition to Sale, they have a trio of young lefties in Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago and John Danks.
Quintana (3.62 ERA) and Santiago (3.28 ERA) have been impressive young pitchers this season and look like they should be strong contributors to the rotation going forward.
Danks has rebounded fairly well from shoulder surgery in 2012.
Although his record is only 2-9, he has allowed just 89 hits in 89.2 innings pitched to go along with 61 strikeouts and only 14 walks.
His ERA is a little high at 4.52, but he has had more good starts than bad and has shown an increase in his velocity, which is a positive sign going forward.
After the four lefties, the White Sox should have their choice of several solid arms from their minor league system to round out their 2014 rotation.
Right-hander Andre Rienzo, who was called up to replace Peavy in the rotation, has had a solid start to his major league career.
In two starts, Rienzo has thrown 13 innings allowing only nine hits and two earned runs, which is good for a 1.38 ERA.
Left-Hander Scott Snodgress is another possibility to land a spot in the 2014 rotation.
Snodgress is currently 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA for AA Birmingham, but has been projected by many to become a reliever at the major league level.
The most likely candidate for the spot seems to be big right-hander Erik Johnson.
Johnson has gone a combined 9-2 with a 2.27 ERA between AA Birmingham and AAA Charlotte this season.
So with the four lefties and one of their young prospects making up the 2014 rotation, the White Sox should have the starting pitching to keep the team competitive in the near future.
However, many will point to the fact that the White Sox have had good starting pitching this year and are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory because of the lack of hitting and bad defense.
And they wouldn't be wrong.
It's certainly possible that the White Sox could have an extended period of losing, but it's not likely.
The fact that the they have been so bad defensively this season is a bit of mystery because they were so good last year with basically the same defense on the field.
The difference is that normally solid defensive players such as Alexei Ramirez, Alejandro De Aza and Gordon Beckham haven't been as sharp this season.
And when you're not scoring many runs, you can't afford to give away outs on the other side.
That being said, it's hard to believe that the White Sox will be this bad defensively again next season.
The better question is, will they be able to find any offense?
Again, this season has been somewhat of a mystery offensively as well.
They just haven't gotten the production they thought they would get from several guys.
Dayan Viciedo took a step back this year and hasn't been the run producer they thought he would be.
Paul Konerko has been injured and just hasn't looked the same.
Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger haven't given them much punch from the third base position.
And although Josh Phegley looks like he may be the answer behind the plate, they haven't gotten much at all from the catcher position either—unlike the days of A.J. Pierzynski.
On top of all of this, the White Sox haven't played smart baseball as there have been way too many baserunning mistakes that have cost them numerous games.
So needless to say, going into next season there are likely to be some changes to a lineup that just hasn't found any kind of rhythm all season long.
One change that already took place and that should go a long way to improving the offense is the addition of outfielder Avisail Garcia.
Garcia, who has been heralded as a five-tool player, is currently at AAA Charlotte, but could be with the major league club soon.
He is still learning to hit at the major league level, but should give the Sox a boost offensively and probably defensively as well.
Even better news is that in the deal that brought Garcia to Chicago and sent Jake Peavy to Boston, the White Sox saved about 20 million dollars, which gives Rick Hahn and company more to work with when trying to revamp the lineup.
So even after this disaster of a season, it's not totally crazy to think that if they are able to add a few pieces offensively, they can and should be a competitive team sooner than later.
I didn't say a championship team, I said a competitive team.
And that's the first step on the road to recovery.
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