MINNEAPOLIS -- Pitching coach Don Cooper doesn’t believe the White Sox have yet come close to their peak.
Not only are the sliders of both Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija up to speed, the White Sox haven’t offered their pitchers must assistance on offense or with their gloves. Cooper thinks it’s a residual effect of having a group with a ton of new faces. But Cooper wants more time before people write off the White Sox, who have been outscored 20-4 the past two games even with Sale and Samardzija on the mound.
“I don’t think we are up and running yet,” Cooper said. “The addition of a lot of new guys, on the pitching staff as well as the everyday players, we haven’t brought the three big elements on a daily basis for us to be considered a good team yet. That’s forming.
“Whether it be pitching, hitting or defense, it hasn’t been on a consistent note.”
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The team’s starting pitchers are the second-worst in the league with a 5.47 ERA, but much of that has been accrued in the past two days with Sale/Samardzija having allowed 17 earned runs in 8 innings. The offense is averaging 3.37 runs per game and the defense is in the lower half of the majors in several categories.
Whereas Sale and Samardzija have been able to mask some of those other areas in previous outings, they haven’t this week. Cooper thinks Sale’s slider is a bit behind because he missed most of spring training with a right foot fracture. He also noted that Samardzija’s slider is 2-3 mph slower than normal and the two plan to address that in a bullpen session Saturday.
“Nothing can be worse for a team than when a starter goes out there early in a game and stuff happens like (Thursday),” Cooper said. “It can take the wind out of your sales a little bit as a team.
“Not only do I expect it to be better, I’m guessing it’s going to be better. Normally we are used to the starters here over the last 12 years, doling out many quality starts. It hasn’t happened just yet. There is some inconsistency there. We are on it.”