With eight losses in their last nine games, the Chicago White Sox are on more than a losing skid.
The total collapse over the last week and a half has plummeted the Chisox right out of the race.
Following Friday night’s 7-3 defeat to the division-rival Cleveland Indians, the White Sox are in last place in the AL Central Division
Chicago is now 25-34, and has fallen seven games off the pace being set by the division-leading Minnesota Twins.
The primary culprit has been the pitching staff. While losing eight of their last nine games, the Chisox have surrendered at least seven runs on six separate occasions. Three times they have allowed the opposition to score in double digits.
The collapse is particularly difficult to swallow for fans, as well as for manager Rick Renteria
and the team itself. Chicago began the season strong in April.
After winning six straight towards the end of the opening month, the White Sox sat at 13-9. But since reaching 15-12 on May 4, Chicago has gone just 10-22 to fall out of the race.
PITCHING A PROBLEM
, acquired in a trade last June with the San Diego Padres, is currently on the Disabled List. The 35-year old now in his 12th big league season was driven to the DL by a strained lat muscle in late April, and has made just three starts. He should return in about a week.
The bullpen really hasn’t been that bad for most of the year. And with Shields out, the #3 and #4 starters, Derek Holland
and Mike Pelfrey
, have pitched as well as could have been expected.
The 28-year old Quintana, the subject of numerous trade rumors that are sure to increase, has made a dozen starts. He has a 2-7 record with a 5.30 ERA and 1.407 WHIP, and has allowed 70 hits over 69.2 innings with a 71/28 K:BB ratio.
The 33-year old Gonzalez is 4-7 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.466 WHIP mark. He has allowed 84 hits over 73.2 innings with a 42/24 K:BB ratio.
The White Sox also gave eight starts to a 25-year rookie, Dylan Covey
. But the right-hander was shelled for 52 hits over 37.2 innings with just a 22/16 K:BB mark before ending up on the DL himself with a left oblique injury.
NEW SKIPPER ON THE HOT SEAT
Renteria has clearly seen enough, having huddled the team in the dugout for what was described by Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago
as a “fiery meeting” on Thursday night. Hayes quoted Renteria on the timing.
“It’s like a dog that’s always barking — at some point you just start to ignore it. I think you just have to have purpose, you have to have a good feel, a sense of time for when it is you’re supposed to speak to people…you have to have the ability to articulate a message if you need to present it. Just depends, everybody’s different. The people that you’re working with alongside are ultimately dictate what you need to do.”
If the White Sox players are indeed ignoring the Renteria message, that would be a troubling development. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and it would turn into a long, ugly summer on the South Side.
It’s hard to imagine that Chisox management would throw in the towel on the Renteria managerial era just a few months in. But if this level of play continues, the skipper will find himself on a short leash. Meanwhile, the worst record in the American League has already buried his team.