Starting in Spring Training and carrying over through the first 25 games of the 2014 season, the Chicago White Sox have been described as “young,” “talented” and “full of potential.” After tonight’s 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on the heels of last night’s dramatic 9-6 walkoff win, the White Sox can add “average” to that list of adjectives.
The contrasts between tonight and last night are stark. Take the top of the White Sox’ lineup, for instance. Last night, the 1-2-3 trio of Adam Eaton, Marcus Semien and Jose Abreu went a combined 4-for-14 with seven RBIs and five runs scored. Tonight, those same three players in that same order went a collective 0-for-9 and stranded seven runners on base. The White Sox loaded the bases for Abreu with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the rookie slugger grounded out to end the would-be threat.
On the mound, starter John Danks had his worst outing of the season, giving up four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings and walking four. Walks continue to be a problem for the White Sox’ pitching staff as a whole, and the team’s hurlers lead baseball in walks by a wide margin.
The loss’ mediocre feeling overshadowed several decent performances at the plate. Second baseman Gordon Beckham had his first two hits since returning from the DL, first a double to the wall in right field in the third inning and a single in the bottom of the fifth. Paul Konerko went 2-for-4 with two singles as the DH, after getting off to a slow start in his final season and struggling to find his footing in a new part-time role. But the White Sox had just five hits overall, which were spread out between Beckham, Konerko and Dayan Viciedo, who singled in the bottom of the sixth inning.
In some cases, average can be a bad place to be. But, in the case of the White Sox, it’s perfect for the here and the now. For a ballclub coming off of a 63-99 year in 2013, average is a marked improvement. To come that far, even if it means simply reaching average, should be a point of pride for the White Sox in 2014.