5 Things We Learned From Chicago White Sox In First Three Weeks Of 2013 Season
Chicago White Sox Out To Slow Start
Just three weeks ago today, Chris Sale was able to shut down the Kansas City Royals on Opening Day and the Chicago White Sox began 2013 1-0. Unfortunately, the excitement and optimism surrounding the South Siders after their Opening Day victory has somewhat vanished.
After winning their first two series of the year, the White Sox have lost nine of their last 12, and currently sit at 7-11.
Although many Sox fans have already pressed the panic button and are starting to wonder if 2013 will be a losing season, I think it's way to early to count Chicago out of the AL Central race.
There’s no doubt the Sox need to improve in a lot of areas, but even after playing just about as bad as they could, the Pale Hose still only sit 3.5 games out of first as of Monday morning. It may be a little early to be checking the standings, but it’s encouraging to know after three weeks of frustrating baseball, the Sox aren't dead in the water.
From the small sample we have seen from the Sox this season, there have been plenty of things that have stuck out. Despite the tough start, I’ve taken away more positives than negatives from the first three weeks of the year. Of course the results are what matter most, but as of right now, the Sox are still very much playoff contenders in my mind.
Here are the top five things we have learned from the White Sox in the first three weeks of the 2013 season.
5. Alexei Ramirez Is No Longer A Slow Starter
Ever since breaking into the league back in 2008, Alexei Ramirez has been known to struggle in the early months of the season. Ramirez has never hit over .265 in the month of April. However, it seems as if his trend of starting slow has finally come to an end in 2013. The 31-year-old shortstop has a triple-slash line of .306/.353/.435 to start the year, and he’s been one of the only consistent bats in the Sox lineup. Hopefully Ramirez can continue to hit as he waits for his teammates to join him.
4. Jake Peavy Is The Ace Of The White Sox Starting Staff
Although Chris Sale was awarded with a big contract this offseason and manager Robin Ventura named him the Sox Opening Day starter, Jake Peavy has left very little doubt who the Sox ace is through the first three weeks of the season. Sale hasn’t been terrible— Peavy has just been better. Other than one sub-par start against the Washington Nationals, Peavy has been lights out. In three of his four starts this year, the right-hander has allowed just one earned run. The majority of his success is due to his incredible control. In 25.1 innings pitched this season, Peavy has struck out 33 batters and walked just five. As of right now, Peavy is the leader of the Sox starting staff, both on and off the field.
3. Adam Dunn Is Back To His Old Slumping Self
After a rebound year last season, all White Sox fans were finally ready to put Adam Dunn’s painful 2011 season behind them and move forward. However, it seems as if we might have jumped the gun. Before hitting a solo home run in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, Dunn was hitless in his last 31 at-bats. Even with his homer on Sunday, Dunn still has just three long balls and six RBI so far in 2013. His .108/.159/.262 triple-slash line is awful as well, and it seems as if the DH is headed toward another rough year. Obviously, Dunn has plenty of time to turn his season around, so let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
2. Addison Reed Is Ready To Become An Elite Closer
The 2012 White Sox bullpen featured a variety of impressive rookie arms. Of the young relievers, closer Addison Reed was arguably the top Chicago rookie. Reed has only improved on his rookie season so far this year. By using his slider more often and effectively, the Sox closer has been automatic in 2013. In eight appearances this year, Reed has allowed just one run and owns a 0.75 WHIP. If he keeps pitching like he has so far in 2013, there’s little doubt Reed will become on the league’s most feared closers.
1. Alex Rios Is Capable of Leading The White Sox Offense
Alex Rios was a big reason the Sox won 85 games last year. Rios put together a career year in 2012, and many were saying he would need to do the same this season in order for the Sox to compete in the AL Central. Well, so far so good for the Sox right fielder. Rios leads the South Siders in all most every offensive category, and it looks as if he’s ready to carry the Sox offensive attack in 2013. The 32-year-old outfielder has a hit in all but three of the Sox first 18 games, and even with the Sox inconsistent hitting Rios has remained locked in.