White Sox Notebook: No Easy Answers from Sizing Team Up So Far

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images Jose Abreu unloads a two-run home run in the White Sox's Tuesday evening win against the Dodgers.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Jose Abreu unloads a two-run home run in the White Sox’s Tuesday evening win against the Dodgers.

WARR baseball writer Kevin Luchansky writes about the Cubs and the White Sox weekly for WARR.com.

Also, check out Kevin’s daily baseball betting picks on NorthSideWire.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the White Sox are sitting oh-so-close to the .500 mark still, featuring a 31-32 record heading into today’s finale of their weekend series with the Angels.

After taking two of three from the Dodgers at Chavez Revine earlier on their West Coast trip — and coupled with the Detroit Tigers’ recent struggles — the White Sox now sit within a few games of the American League Central lead and within a game of the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers for a Wild Card slot.

The South Siders rank sixth in the majors in runs scored this season with 277 and eighth in hits with 543, but their run differential is -15. Of all 30 clubs, only the Sox and Rangers (31-31) can claim a .500 record or thereabouts despite a negative run differential.

Power production has been on blast this season for the Sox as they rank in the top 10 in almost every offensive category. Only four teams have hit more home runs than season than the Sox’ total of 65, and their total bases mark of 858 is very impressive, especially with all the injuries they’ve sustained.

As for general offensive output, the Sox sit mainly in the middle of the pack with an average sitting just inside the top ten at ninth in the Majors (.255). Shortstop Alexei Ramirez leads the charge with a mark of .321 through 62 games. The teams’ on-base percentage of .317 is where you start to see the Sox fall from the upper tier, ranking 17th in that category as well as 17th in doubles, with 104.

(Not) Real in the Field

Aside from shaky pitching, fielding woes have certainly plagued the Sox’s chances for victory at times throughout this season. With 48 errors and a 9.80 fielding percentage, both third worst in the majors, only the Nationals (51) and Indians (57) have had more difficulty in the field.

As I alluded to earlier, the pitching is another place that leaves a lot to be desired. The Sox rank 26th in team ERA at 4.30, their 34 quality starts is actually a solid number at this point in the season, so much of the ERA blame falls on the shoulders of the bullpen, who have just 13 saves to their credit.

As for control, well, there isn’t a team in the league who have handed out more free passes than the 248 walks the Sox have handed out. It’s tough to win ball games any day of the week, much more when you don’t make opponents earn their trips to first base. For a little perspective, the Mets have the second worst walks figure and they still have walked 24 fewer batters than the Sox.

No Slowing Down Abreu

Now that slugger Jose Abreu is back in the lineup, let’s take a look at how he’s fared since then and collectively. How’s this for quick production? In the four games he’s played in since returning, Abreu has collected four extra bases and driven in five runs, two of which were home runs and one off none other than Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw — not bad for a guy that has struggled slightly against lefties this season to the tune of a .213 batting average.

Overall, Abreu has certainly preferred facing right-handed pitchers, as his .284 average suggest. He enjoys playing at US Cellular as well, marked by a home batting average (.305) 69 points higher than his average away.

As for his splits on batted-ball type, there is quite the disparity. Abreu certainly likes getting under the ball, and it shows with an average .500 and .857 on flies and line drives respectively, but he struggles reaching base any time he gets on top of the ball.

And as for that “clutch” gene, it sure it can’t be measured, but Abreu likes hitting in high leverage situations. Abreu features  a .326 average with runners in scoring position, so it will be interesting to see if starting pitchers change their approach against Abreu now that scouts should have a better read on the Cuban slugger with more exposure to him. Time will tell.

Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio; follow Kevin on Twitter @kpLUCH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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