The Chicago White Sox are staggering along so far this year to the tune of 11-19 — a whopping eight games under 500, good for the worst April in team history. Yes, it may be early, but no team ever wants to be 9.5 games out of first place. The 2011 team slogan as advertised on the White Sox website reads “All In,” but so far this year the team has been all out.
Currently only one of their starting players is hitting above the .300 mark, while two of their key middle lineup guys, Alex Rios and Adam Dunn, are both hitting under .200. Dunn, who was acquired as a free agent in the offseason, is being paid $56 million over four years.
So far he has not lived up to expectations, hitting only three home runs. Although in the case of Dunn, there may be some hope. Only a few weeks back he had his appendix removed. He returned to action less than a week later, and it seems that he was rushed back too soon.
Rios, on the other hand, does not have any excuses. Now in his third season with the Sox, he usually has excellent first halves of the season but has disappointed so far with the bat. He has driven in only seven while hitting a dismal .168. If something is going to turn this team around, it is going to be a consistent offense, because pitching won’t cut it.
Perhaps the return of former Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy can jumpstart their lukewarm pitching, but it certainly won’t be enough to make up for the offense. Peavy tore his latissimus dorsi tendon, which connects the muscle in the shoulder to bone, on a single pitch last summer and was out for the rest of the year. In fact, Peavy had to undergo a surgery that had never been attempted before, so the fact that he is preparing to make his season debut is nothing short of miraculous. All things considered, the Sox not only need Peavy to pitch, but pitch effectively because four of the five Sox starters currently sport ERA’s over 4.00.
Things aren’t looking much better for the Sox in May, where they will find themselves 11 out of 29 games in foreign stadiums. By the end of May, the Sox will have played one-third of their games against the four teams that made the playoffs from the American League last year.
When evaluating the team this year, I see a lot of potential. Similar to the NL Central, the AL Central also stands wide open. While the Sox are down 9.5 games the usually lowly Indians sit in first place. The Indians have played fantastically so far this year, but it would be shocking if they were able to continue until October. With that said, I still don’t see the White Sox winning the division. They may have the potential for a great offense, but their pitching isn’t good enough to carry the team. In the end, look for the Sox to come in third behind the Tigers and Twins.