White Sox

A statistical look at the White Sox slow start


A statistical look at the White Sox slow start

Following a busy offseason, expectations soared around the White Sox. But the South Siders are off to a slow start to begin the 2015 campaign.

Heading into play Tuesday, Robin Ventura's squad is just 12-17 with the worst run differential (-39) in the American League. Of course, the White Sox have played the fewest games in the AL, thanks to rainouts and the two postponements in Baltimore.

Shockingly, the Sox are actually 10-5 at home to start the season. It's their road record that's the problem. The White Sox are 2-12 on the road, tied for the worst stretch in the first 14 road games in franchise history. They have never started a season 2-13 on the road (went 2-12 in 1932 and 1942, but won the next game both years). Can they avoid history Tuesday night in Milwaukee?

The Sox have scored the fewest runs in the American League with only 106 through their first 29 games. Only the Giants and Phillies have scored fewer runs in Major League Baseball, and they don't have the benefit of the DH.

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On offense, the Sox are seventh in the AL in average (.254), but they're not drawing walks (72 free passes; only Kansas City has drawn fewer) and they're not driving the ball, with the fewest extra-base hits (65) in the MLB.

After much ado about Vince Coleman's impact on the team's baserunning in spring training, the Sox have the fewest stolen bases in the AL with only six, and they've been caught stealing 10 times. They're the only team in the AL with a stolen base percentage below .500.

Pitching hasn't been much better. As a staff, the White Sox have allowed a .276 batting average against, the highest in the AL and second only to the Colorado Rockies (.291) in all of baseball.

A lot of that has come from the starting rotation:

—Highest Starter ERA MLB this season (entering Tuesday):

5.66 Rockies
5.63 Red Sox
5.46 Indians
5.21 Blue Jays
5.16 White Sox
5.14 Phillies

—The White Sox have a quality start in only 13 of 29 games this season - three each by John Danks, Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana, one by Carlos Rodon.

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—Jeff Samardzija first 7 starts of season:

2014: 0-3, 1.62 ERA, 41 hits in 50.0 IP, 2 HR
2015: 2-2, 4.80 ERA, 53 hits in 45.0 IP, 6 HR

Bonus quirky stat: Adam Eaton got his first RBI of the season Monday in his 109th plate appearance. He had the most PAs in MLB this year without an RBI to that point. Former Cub and current Mariners outfielder Justin Ruggiano (45 PAs) is now the leader for most PAs without an RBI this season.

Thanks to CSN Stat Guru Chris Kamka for stats/info.

Rick Renteria approaching 2020 season like White Sox already in first place

Rick Renteria approaching 2020 season like White Sox already in first place

Rick Renteria's strategy for getting his team off to a fast start in baseball's 60-game sprint to the postseason?

Act like the season's already two-thirds of the way over — and that his White Sox are the team to beat in the AL Central.

"We've got a 60-game schedule. I'm going to assume we've already played 102 games and we're in first place and we're trying to hold on to that slot," the White Sox skipper said Monday. "It is important for a club to get off to a good start because obviously the schedule is waning, it's short. So I'm going to approach it that way and put us in a position where we are creative, try to have a good eye on what everybody's doing and see if we can kind of maintain ourselves through the whole schedule."

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Indeed, when the White Sox regular-season schedule begins later this month, they will be in first place. As part of a five-team tie, but in first place nonetheless.

If they want to be there when the regular season comes to a close just two months later, they'll need to topple the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians, the two teams who fought it out for the AL Central crown last season. And with every game carrying twice or thrice as much weight as in a normal season, getting off to a good start is paramount. There's no time to dig out of a hole.

The White Sox appear capable of competing alongside their division foes, thanks to their young core breaking out in a big way last season and Rick Hahn's front office going to work to add impact veterans with winning experience over the winter. In fact, should everything go right for the White Sox, they could find themselves the most balanced of the three teams.

The Twins have a thunderous lineup that added perennial MVP candidate Josh Donaldson in the offseason, but will their pitching staff, past ace José Berríos at the top of the rotation, be able to match the impact of the bats? The Indians, meanwhile, might boast baseball's best starting rotation, but after Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez, two MVP types on the left side of the infield, how will their lineup perform?

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The White Sox have their own questions that need answering — specifically in the starting rotation, though the months-long layoff has allowed them to build some depth in that department — but should a revamped lineup and a talented collection of young arms meet the high expectations the team has set for itself, things could get very interesting as this brief season approaches October.

It's not at all outlandish to suggest that how Renteria will approach the season, as if the White Sox are in first place, is how it could end.


Richest MLB contract: When Chicago White Sox, Albert Belle made history

Richest MLB contract: When Chicago White Sox, Albert Belle made history

The Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes rocked the sports world on Monday when it was reported the two agreed on a 10-year extension worth $450 million. According to Adam Schefter the deal will be the richest in American sports history.

Which got us thinking… remember when it was the White Sox making these headlines?

In 1996, less than 25 years ago, Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox signed Belle to the richest contract in baseball history, a (what is now measly) five-year, $55 million deal. That deal also made Belle the first baseball player to average over $10 million per season.

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While Belle only played two seasons on the South Side, the Sox certainly got their money’s worth for his services. He slugged 79 homers, drove in 268 runs and slashed .301/.366/.571.

Now, that record has been shattered of course. Mike Trout was previously the highest paid American athlete after he signed a 12-year contract extension worth $426.5 million in March of 2019. That number is still good for highest in baseball.

But if you’re looking for the most-expensive free agent signing in baseball, that award goes to Bryce Harper who signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019.

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