After the Chicago White Sox lost 4-1 to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, starting pitcher Michael Kopech told reporters, “Nobody is panicking. We know we are a good team and we can turn it around tomorrow if things go well. It’s frustrating, yeah, but I think we know what we are capable of.”
I believe I speak for the entire fanbase when I say that Kopech’s optimism is enviable.
The White Sox are currently 35-39 on the season with a run differential of -48.0. The team is third in the AL Central in the baseball standings, with World Series odds of +3000, and seven teams ahead of them for just three wild card slots. It’s a long way from the most horrific record in the MLB, but it is particularly disappointing when you consider how high the expectations of fans were going into the season.
I’ll be the first to admit that I bought into the offseason hype. I was telling all my Cubs-supporting friends that this was the year of the White Sox, singing the roster’s praises from my tower of blind optimism. It didn’t take too many games for me to settle down.
The 2022 season has been one drama after another, with a seemingly endless IL, angry fans chanting “Fire Tony!” from the stands, terrible baserunning, and bizarre batting orders leading off with players hitting below the Mendoza line.
Easy wins have been thrown away due to avoidable errors and bad calls — like the now-infamous intentional walking of Trea Turner on a 1-2 count — and it often feels like talented players are at the plate just trying to prove that they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.
Tony La Russa decided to intentionally walk Trea Turner on a 1-2 count with two outs, and then Max Muncy came up and hit a three run HR pic.twitter.com/uanxPJ1X1T
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) June 9, 2022
The reality is that despite Kopech’s comments coming across as extremely overconfident considering the current situation, the team has in fact already proven that he isn’t entirely delusional.
The White Sox beat the Angels in an 11-4 upset on Tuesday and surprisingly bettered the Toronto Blue Jays in two out of three games in their series last week. The issue is that these wins seem to be more luck-based than anything else — rather than hope for the White Sox to perform well in any given game, fans have turned to simply hoping the opposing teams perform worse.
Where To From Here?
Considering we are now at the start of July, are the chances of a White Sox appearance in the 2022 postseason officially over?
I hate to sound like an eternal optimist, but not necessarily. With the Twins currently eight wins ahead, I think it’s a bit much to hope the South Siders come back and win the AL Central division, but most other teams are well within reach to battle for a wild card spot into the postseason.
This month is make or break. Until now, the White Sox offense has been inconsistent at best, without a single player on pace to hit 20 home runs. The team’s defense is in the bottom half of the league in fielding percentage and errors committed, with a team ERA in the bottom ten teams. So how do they turn it around?
What are the White Sox doing?
This is Tim Anderson's second error tonight, his ninth of the season (leading the league), and it kicked off a six-run comeback ninth inning and the Guardians tied it
And the very next pitch, they commit another error pic.twitter.com/76OvAbhewr
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) May 10, 2022
If the White Sox want to stage an extremely impressive comeback to contend in the postseason, there is no longer room for error. From July 4 through July 24, the team will play 15 games against the two teams beating them in the AL Central Division — the Twins and Guardians.
This is crunch time.
It certainly doesn’t help that La Russa seems intent on making questionable in-game calls, but regardless, it’s time to go back to basics. Approaching the All-Star break, it would be great to see an aggressive strategy to trade for some left-handed hitters, but since that isn’t historically the White Sox’s style, it looks like it’s just up to the boys to turn it all around.
Speaking about his own underwhelming batting average, which is currently .193, utility player Leury García told MLB.com on June 29, “My body feels good. I feel good at the plate. I feel good with everything I’ve been doing. I just stink right now.”
I love a man with self-awareness.
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