White Sox Offense Stuck in Neutral
After the getting off to a scorching start, it appears the White Sox offense has come to screeching stop. Through their first nine games the Sox were averaging nearly seven runs per contest. Obviously, that is not a realistic pace but one would think such hot bats wouldn’t cool so quickly. Wrong. It was somewhat of a surprise to see the team get off to such a good start offensively. As has been the case of the past several seasons, the Sox don’t seem to hit in April. The results usually being a sub .500 month. For whatever reason, it’s almost a rule that if you wear a Sox uniform, you must hit with the weather. By that I mean, when it’s cold outside so are the bats and when it warms up the offense tends to produce more. I hope that is not the case, but the Sox appear caught in one of their patent April offensive swoons.
Looking at the stats over the past seven days, a stretch in which the Sox are 1-6, the team is hitting a collective .205, managed lowly on base percentage of .269 and scored only 17 runs. These numbers are unacceptable with the amount of talent on this roster. Before you begin to panic too much about this White Sox offense, realize that three of these poor offensive showings have come against three of top pitchers in the American League. Jered Weaver and Dan Haren baffled White Sox hitters this past weekend with pinpoint control and excellent stuff. There’s a reason the duo is a combined 8-0 with an ERA around 1.25. In the team’s most recent game, they were shutout by Tampa phenom David Price. A 19 game winner a year ago as well as the All-Star game starter for the AL. So, come back from the ledge a little. It’s not as if the Sox offense is struggling against middle of the road pitchers.
I realize there has been criticism of both Juan Pierre and Adam Dunn early on in this season. Fans have every right to critique players. That is what makes talking sports so interesting. Everyone has their own opinion. I understand that Pierre is under the microscope because of his poor defensive start to the season. Offensively, he is what he is. Juan has never been a great OBP guy. He is a slap hitting leadoff guy that will get on base at a clip a little below league average. Not ideal, but he has been a successful leadoff man in the past and the White Sox don’t really have any other options there. As for Dunn, he is under the same microscope, but for a different reason. He was paid a lot of money to come in here and flat out mash the baseball. He has yet to do so. In a small sample size before the appendectomy, he was getting on base at an impressive clip and not striking out at his normal rate. Since rejoining the lineup, his on base numbers are way down and he has struck out 11 times in his last 19 at bats. Be patient with him. This is the kind of guy Adam Dunn is. He will hit home runs, draws walks and strike out a ton. I realize how bad strikeouts look, but really, they are just another out. No different that a pop out, ground out, etc. That is the way fans must look at a player like Dunn. Otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy if you get mad every time he strikes out. Come summer, expect Dunn to be launching the ball to fans all over the outfield, but also brace yourself for some bases loaded strikeouts. It will definitely be a give and take relationship with the Big Donkey.
Even those who have been consistent since opening day, namely Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin, have struggled in recent games. Those two can’t be expected carry the load forever. Others much get out of this funk for the offense to work well as a collective unit. I am confident this team will hit. They always do. All the regulars, with the exception of Brent Morel, have a proven track record. Be patient with this team. It is made up of a lot of veteran players who now how to hit, and hit well. We are just experiencing a typical White Sox April. When the whether warms up, watch out. The White Sox offense will be a strong suit for the team this season.