What Happened to the White Sox

White Sox
Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago has asked all season long, what happened to the White Sox? They have struggled in just about every category a baseball team can struggle in. After having a promising 2020 and 2021. It was expected for this team to dominate the division and make a deep playoff run.

Unfortunately the exact opposite happened. From horrible approaches at the plate to sloppy play in the field to pitchers looking lost on the mound. This team looks unfocused! What happened to the White Sox? Even with the current odds of them making the playoffs at 55%, nobody on the south side believes in this team.

Fingers have been pointed at manager Tony La Russa, hitting coach Frank Menechino, and pitching coach Ethan Katz. Fans have gone as far as to chant “Fire Tony” at a couple of games. Social media has been brutal on the 77 year old with 43 years of managing experience in the MLB.

What about the pitching?

The starting pitching has been horrible this season, outside of Dylan Cease and Johnny Ceuto. Cease who has put his name up there with the Cy Young candidates. Ceuto who did not join the team until the ceiling was falling off in July. Losing Carlos Rodón in free agency was a bigger loss than expected. He might have been able to carry this team through a few slumps.

Entering the season there were injury problems with pitching that everyone assumed as they got healthy they would be okay. However pitchers Lance Lynn and Michael Kopech never looked right this season since coming back. Kopech got injured again in his last start during warm-ups. That sentence alone could sum up this season.

Early in July, when it became apparent things were not working out on the mound, the White Sox released former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. At the time of his release he had an ERA over 7.

The bullpen aside from Liam Hendricks, who even for his standard has hit a bit of a slump, has struggled to keep games close in the late innings.

In 2021 the White Sox threw a 3.73 ERA as a team, that was an impressive 2nd place in the American League. This year however they have pitched, up to this point, a 3.97 ERA, which is 10th in the AL.

What is going wrong at the plate?

This team went from being elite in the batters box to being one of the worse swing and miss teams in the league. Chasing pitches outside of the strike zone on a regular basis.

Although the stats do not look to have worsened that much over the last two years. It is the timing of the strikeouts and bad at bats that is the real killer. They have struggled with plate discipline all season long especially in those big moments.

True, this season has been tough on the Southsiders when it comes to injuries. Eloy Jimenéz has been on and off the field never catching any rhythm. Luis Robert in center field also has looked 60-70% all season long. Tim Anderson has missed the last 3 weeks with an injury of his own. I can not forget to mention Yasmani Grandal behind the plate dealing with his own injury issues all season.

Besides bright spots from rookies Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn, José Abreu has been the only reliable bat. Even he started the first two months batting below .200 until catching fire in late June. Yoán Moncada has come up with his fair share of big hits, single handily winning a game or two on his own. Still both Abreu and Moncada have not played up to their own potential this season as of yet.

How about the fielding?

At times the White Sox have looked like they simply do not care while playing defense. Numerous dropped balls that should be routine as well as botch gathers after scooping up a ground ball causing a no throw to first.

Their fielding alone has cost them a handful of games. Which brings the question to my mind, who is to blame for such a colossal collapse this season after 2 years of winning? After two seasons in which young players improved dramatically showing superstar potential. Coming in to this season what was once one of the most feared lineups in the AL has turned into mediocracy at all positions.

What happened to the White Sox?

At the end of this 2022 season, there is no doubt in my mind that there will be a fire sale on the south side of Chicago. Fire Tony, fire Ethan, and fire Frank! Nothing about the decision making and coaching this season has been up to par.

There are 4 to 5 players that I would trade also. Starting with center and left field followed by 2nd base and catcher. Injuries have kept half of our outfield off the field way too much the last 3 seasons. Stopping the young talent from reaching its potential.

Feels like this team is cursed at 2nd base. They traded Nick Madrigal who is blossoming nicely with the crosstown cubs for closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel who left for the Dodgers in free agency. We then brought in Caesar Hernandez who looked lost with the club. This year it is safe to say the Josh Harrison experiment has not been reliable. Harrison has only batted in 23 RBI’s on his 75 hits this season.

AJ Pollok has had his moments but he usually looks like he does not want to be here. The chemistry of this team is all off. There is a weird desperation over the team that grows with each loss.

Fans have been waiting 3 months for this ship to get corrected and put back on a winning path, yet with each week that passes it is more and more evident that this ship is lost. Left at sea to wander until the off season comes to rescue it from the press. Then and only then will the GM Rick Hahn be able to figure out which pieces are salvable and which ones need to be replaced before the 2023 journey begins next March.

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Rowan Donaghey is a Sports and Betting Insider for Fantom Sports Industries. Follow him on twitter for daily content via @RowanDonaghey

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