Since joining the Chicago White Sox starting rotation in early April, pitcher Andre Rienzo seemed to have finally put the inconsistencies that dogged him in the past as he tried to stick around and make his mark in the majors. He began 2014 4-0 in six starts, and kept his ERA slightly below his career average.
But Rienzo’s fortunes, which have fluctuated a lot over the course of his parts of two seasons in the big leagues, took on the familiar downward pattern that he faced last season. After picking up the loss against the Los Angeles Angels last night, Rienzo is 0-3 in his last three starts, dating back to May 25 when he lost to the New York Yankees, and has surrendered 14 earned runs in those 12 innings.
Based on his early season performance, there’s no reason why the White Sox shouldn’t let Rienzo work through this rough stretch; when he’s good, he’s great, and the White Sox know they have something special in the young Brazilian righty. But Rienzo’s slide comes at a rather tenuous time for his ballclub.
After taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox face the interesting chance to make up ground in a divisional race that they are surprisingly in the thick of. These California series can set the tone for the third month of the season, both because of what lies ahead and because of what the White Sox can be capable of if they try.
The White Sox sit in second place in the AL Central at this point, 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers. After last year’s terrible collapse, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, on the South Side or elsewhere, who thought the White Sox would be in second place in June.
The White Sox face an interesting stretch right now, clinging on to the tail end of a long road trip and facing a four-game homestand against the Detroit Tigers when they return to Chicago. Even though the Tigers are struggling right now, winning the next two games of this series against the Angels is crucial to keep up some kind of momentum.