MLB: Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox

South Side Morning 5: Hoping For The Best

1. The most significant news of the weekend, as you’ve undoubtedly read, was the White Sox announcing that reliever Danny Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage brought on by a ruptured aneurysm during Friday’s game against the Astros. He is in stable but critical condition at Rush University Medical Center.

There’s not much to say about this other than the obvious: It’s a terribly scary situation. Farquhar is, by all accounts, an earnest, humble, and endearing guy, something we’ve learned in the just nine months he’s spent with the organization.

BP South Side joins the rest of the baseball community in sending our thoughts and well wishes to him, his wife, and their three children.

2. There were actual baseball games played this weekend, of course. The White Sox were swept by the defending World Series champion Houston Astros, getting outscored 27-2 over the three-game series.

They’re on a seven-game losing streak and have lost 12 of 13. They’re 2-14 in April after winning the first two games of the season against the Royals. Feels like a million years ago, doesn’t it? In seven of 18 games, they’ve scores 0 or 1 run, and their -56 run differential is worst in the American League, tied with Cincinnati for second worst in baseball, and only two runs better than Miami.

The White Sox aren’t good, folks!

3. The White Sox being bad isn’t necessarily unexpected, but it’s the way in which they are bad that’s concerning. The rotation was expected to be iffy, but to date that unit has collectively walked more hitters (62) than it has struck out (60).

The biggest issue is with Lucas Giolito, who had his fourth consecutive subpar outing to start the season in Saturday’s loss, and one that was significantly worse than the first three. After that start, in which he gave up nine earned runs and walked seven in just two innings, he’s now walked 19 in 20 innings this season and sports a grotesque 9.00 ERA. His mechanics are out of whack, and the consistent velocity he displayed all spring is nowhere to be seen. What Giolito needs to do to be successful is clear — particularly to the pitcher himself — but any sign of him putting what is preached into practice has yet to be seen.

Reynaldo Lopez, on the other hand, has looked quite a bit better than most projected even after Sunday’s four walk/two strikeout performance in a loss to the Astros. His strikeout rate is healthy, but he’s now walked 15 in 24 innings and his sparkly 1.50 ERA is aided, in part, by an unsustainable strand rate and BABIP against.

2018 is much more important for folks like Giolito and Lopez taking next steps in their development than for wins and losses. While it’s still early, that aspect of the season is off to a questionable start.

4. How about some positives? Yoan Moncada is starting to get on base at a respectable clip. Even with a 1-for-7 weekend against Houston, he drew a walk in two of the games and, going back to the last two games against Oakland, has four walks, three stolen bases, and two home runs in his last five games. Baby steps? Sure. Moncada’s .214/.329/.400 line isn’t what you’d hope for from a former global No. 1 prospect, and yes, he’s still striking out at an insane rate. But the odds are still with him being a significant contributor over the long haul, and methinks the numbers will start to show that before long as well.

It’s kind of weird considering the White Sox offensive struggles as a whole, but when you look up and down the lineup it’s hard to be all that disappointed with several of the regulars. Tim Anderson has drawn seven walks and has eight stolen bases. Matt Davidson is tied with Moncada for the team lead in walks despite his numbers beginning to dip after his scorching start. Yolmer Sanchez has six extra-base hits already and somehow leads the team in batting average. Jose Abreu has been, well, Jose Abreu.

And then there’s Avisail Garcia. The 2017 All-Star is at .225/.243/.310 with 17 strikeouts and zero walks thus far. The weak contact that plagued the seasons prior to last year’s breakout is back. There was a lot of noise in Garcia’s surprising season a year ago, but the fact that it never subsisted brought some hope that, even with some minor regression, he’d still be a valuable player for the foreseeable future. That still may be true, but right now, it’s not happening.

5. Welcome back, Trayce Thompson! I’ve always had a soft spot for the 27-year-old outfielder the White Sox re-acquired last week, as despite his flaws he seemed easy to root for. His debut with the White Sox in 2015 went better than anyone could’ve expected, and is one of the reasons they were able to package him in acquiring Todd Frazier the following offseason, but he hasn’t been the same since, save for a hot start to 2016 with the Dodgers.

Thompson homered in Saturday, his first start since his return, and it will be interesting to see how the White Sox deploy him between spelling Nicky Delmonico or leapfrogging Adam Engel entirely. If he could just go ahead and return to that 2015 form, that’d do nicely.

Lead Photo Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

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2 comments on “South Side Morning 5: Hoping For The Best”

Mike Lipkin

Interesting that the White Sox revert to the old form of team-wide, weeks-long hitting slumps. Seems like a problem still ingrained in the organization. At least we don’t have the usual suspects (like Robin or Paulie) telling us everything is OK.

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