The Chicago White Sox possess one of the game’s most dominant pitchers in Chris Sale and their acquisition of Jeff Samardzija had White Sox fans buzzing about the prospects of their team. However, the White Sox were not projected to have a strong season due to their lack of offensive players. This projection has held fairly true through the first half as they sit in last place in the AL Central, eleven games out of first place and five and half out of a wildcard spot.
The acquisition of Jeff Samardzija was hailed by White Sox as a big move that would give them a strong starting rotation. On paper, this belief was not totally far-fetched. The White Sox already possessed Chris Sale, one of the league’s best aces, and John Danks, a strong veteran with a proven track record of solid pitching.
Graphic via baseballessential
However, the White Sox’ Achilles heel did not take very long to show itself. Although they had Jose Abreu, a promising young slugger, the rest of their offense was seriously lacking. Nagging injuries and inconsistent performance from their bullpen added to their struggles, but they have finished up the first half strong, winning seven of their last ten games.
Finding a strength in the current composition of the team is pretty much impossible. The White Sox rank in the bottom half of the league in pitching, hitting, and fielding. In order to point out strengths, you would need to look at individual players instead of aspects of the team. However, the game is a team sport and Chicago’s inability to perform has led to their current position in the standings.
The White Sox’ primary weakness can be expressed simply: They rank dead last in runs scored. Even though they have one of the game’s brightest young sluggers, the rest of their lineup struggles to provide him with the necessary support. Consequently, the White Sox are the worst offensive team in baseball through the first half of the season.
The same thing can be said about the team’s pitching. Chicago’s pitching staff has a subpar 3.90 ERA. However, this cannot be blamed on Samardzija or Sale as both pitchers have pitched extremely well this year.
The Second Half
Without any major injuries, there is little hope for Chicago in the second half of the season. The teams ahead of them in the playoff hunt would need to fall apart in order for them to stand a chance. As the trade deadline nears, expect Chicago to be a seller instead of a buyer. They will be unable to acquire talent to improve their team and will likely look to purge salary obligations.
Graphic via bleacherreport