Consistency — be it consistent hitting or consistent pitching — has been very hard to come by for the Chicago White Sox in the first month of the 2014 season. This showed blatantly so in the White Sox’ past two games against the Texas Rangers, a 12-0 shutout loss last night and a 6-3 loss tonight.
Based on these past two games, you’d never guess that the White Sox rank within the top five teams in runs scored and within the top 10 in batting average. However, inconsistent hitting isn’t the only problem here.
Jose Quintana had his worst outing of the year on the mound for the White Sox, going five innings and giving up five runs on nine hits and walking two. In those five innings he also threw 98 pitches, a near-normal tally for him but still high nonetheless.
The White Sox’ rotation ranks in the bottom five in rotation ERA and dead last in bullpen ERA. Having a strong offense can help neutralize poor pitching, but the two forces ideally need to work in tandem to win games. So far, most of the White Sox’ eight wins this year have come from some combination of the bench cleaning up the mess left behind by the bullpen, or conversely the offense exploding for enough runs that the bullpen has a solid cushion to work with.
These combative internal forces showed in the eighth inning, when the White Sox rallied and tallied two more runs on the board, decreasing the Rangers’ lead to two runs. But in the bottom of the frame, the Rangers responded with a leadoff home run off of reliever Jake Petricka, essentially negating some of the momentum created by the runs.
If losing the game wasn’t bad enough, centerfielder Adam Eaton, one of the White Sox’ most exciting offseason acquisitions who quickly made an impression with his consistency on the field and jovial persona off the field, exited the game in the middle of the fifth inning with an injury. According to reports, Eaton is day-to-day with a mild left hamstring strain, and losing him could be very costly for the White Sox.
The Rangers are the kind of team that the White Sox need to show they can compete against to succeed in the long term. Losing twice to a very good team is nothing to be ashamed of, if you put up a fight. The White Sox went down looking.