White Sox

Beckham, Morel, Dunn come alive vs. Mariners

740754.png

Beckham, Morel, Dunn come alive vs. Mariners

The White Sox aren't going to lose many games when the three hitters before Adam Dunn get on base a total of six times -- and Dunn looks like the old version of himself.

That's what happened Friday against Seattle, as Gordon Beckham (2B, BB), Alejandro De Aza (two 1B) and Brent Morel (1B, BB) set the table for Dunn, who clobbered two home runs and picked up a double in perhaps his best game with the White Sox.

Okay, it wasn't perhaps Dunn's best game with the White Sox -- it was his best game with the White Sox. The only other game close to Dunn's 3-4, 10 total bases, 5 RBIs effort came last May 11 against Los Angeles, in which Dunn hit a home run and double as part of a 4-5 day against the Angels.

Dunn hadn't had a multi-homer game since Sept. 24, 2010. He hadn't drove in five runs since that day, and the only time he drove in more than three runs with the White Sox came on Opening Day last year in Cleveland.

But the RBIs wouldn't have been possible without the efforts of Beckham, De Aza and Morel. The first inning saw De Aza single, Morel walk and Dunn double to put the Sox up 1-0 early. Dunn's second-inning home run was powered by a Beckham double and then back-to-back singles by De Aza and Morel, the latter of which scored Beckham.

Dunn hasn't struggled as mightily as he did last year out of the gate, but it hasn't been a roaring start to 2012, either. But Dunn has shown some signs of life lately, going 6-10 with four walks, three doubles, two homers and 9 RBIs in his last three games. Even a three-game stretch that good would've been unprecedented in last year's struggles.

For Morel and Beckham, there's a much longer way to go. But, for what it's worth, Beckham has started to see some results in his last few games, and the Sox have to hope that's a product of him feeling more comfortable with his newly-tweaked approach. For Morel, he had only reached base multiple times in a game once this year, that being April 14 vs. Detroit. He followed that up by going 1-17 with no walks and nine strikeouts in his next four games.

These three players -- Beckham, Dunn and Morel -- are extremely important to the success of the White Sox offense, at least as they're positioned now in the lineup. When the lineup turns over, Beckham and Morel sandwich De Aza, who can't be very effective setting the table for the middle of the order with two offensive black holes around him. But if Beckham and Morel are hitting, it'll do wonders for the RBI totals of Dunn and Paul Konerko, assuming Dunn can keep up his .265.378.571 line which, dare I say, looks an awful lot like the Adam Dunn of old.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The White Sox should be better than this

tim_anderson.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: The White Sox should be better than this

It's still April, but we all agree: the White Sox are underperforming as a team.

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, Vinnie Duber and Chris Kamka break down the reasons why (1:30). What's going on with Ivan Nova and Ervin Santana? (5:20)

Could Dylan Cease be the answer sooner rather than later? (10:55)

Why the White Sox should be .500 (17:15).

What's going on with Jon Jay and how his signing is backfiring so far (19:30) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

A White Sox team with raised expectations was supposed to beat the bottom of the barrel, but they haven't so far in 2019

adam_engel.jpg
USA TODAY

A White Sox team with raised expectations was supposed to beat the bottom of the barrel, but they haven't so far in 2019

The White Sox might not be destined for the postseason in 2019. They might not be destined to finish .500, what with the rebuild still grinding along on the South Side.

But this team spent spring training talking about raised expectations, a logical next step for a group of young players supposed to make up part if not much of the rosters of the future that will carry expectations of a lot more success. And while the individual improvements of Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson and and Eloy Jimenez and Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez are more important than whatever the win-loss record ends up being, there was a realistic hope within the fan base for more wins.

In part, that was due to the competition around these White Sox. The AL Central is aggressively weak, the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers further back in their own rebuilding efforts than Rick Hahn's front office ever was and the supposed "upper echelon" of the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins anything but terrifying. Outside of the Boston Red Sox (who to this point have been atrocious in defending their World Series championship), the New York Yankees (with a ridiculous number of players on the injured list) and the Houston Astros (generally taking care of business though not in first place in the AL West), did any other American League team look unbeatable during the preseason?

And yet, 23 games into their 2019 campaign, the White Sox have been knocked around by the American League — the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

Wednesday's 4-3 defeat to clinch a series loss to the Baltimore Orioles was particularly disheartening when it comes to which teams the White Sox will be able to take advantage of this season. The Orioles lost 115 games in 2018, the worst team in baseball, and things aren't exactly looking up this time around, either. Well, they just took two of three against the White Sox, knocking the South Side starting staff around enough that Ervin Santana's 4.2 innings of work Wednesday were the most of a White Sox starter in the series. Manny Banuelos and Ivan Nova went four innings apiece in the first two contests.

The Royals and Tigers? Those two teams combined to lose 202 games last season and seemed good bets to finish with worse records than the White Sox this season. That can certainly still happen, but so far the White Sox have split six games against the Royals and dropped two of three in their first series against the Tigers last weekend.

They've split two games with the Indians. They went a gross 1-5 against two surprise division leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners. The only team the White Sox have a winning record against is the aforementioned Yankees thanks to taking two of three in The Bronx earlier this month.

A rebuilding team not expected to make the playoffs losing to a smattering of teams including two of the best in the game to this point is not surprising. No one should pretend that other teams aren't seeing the White Sox in the same light White Sox fans see the Royals and Tigers and Orioles. The White Sox lost 100 games last year, too.

But if the expectations have truly increased, if there is progress truly being made, then these are the teams the White Sox should be showing that progress against. They haven't.

Now, individually, things are a bit of a different story. This series in Baltimore featured no starting pitcher that can be considered a part of the White Sox long-term plans, and Nova and Santana turning in losing efforts against the Orioles, no matter how frustrating, doesn't really have negative consequences for the future. Anderson and Moncada are still batting over .300, Jose Abreu could be in the middle of an early season turnaround, and the bullpen only gave up two runs in three games despite pitching more than 12 innings. In the end, what the young guys do will be what's most important, not the White Sox record against any individual team this season.

But the frustrations can be understood — and surely they're being felt inside the White Sox clubhouse as much as they are outside it — because taking care of business against teams expected to be at the bottom of the standings was supposed to be one of the examples of progress, one of the examples of improvement. The White Sox haven't taken care of business against those teams yet this season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.