The White Sox pitching has been off the hook in the last week with the bullpen giving up runs in only one of their five games.
Last week, the pitching had collapsed on the Chicago White Sox after a phenomenal start to the month of May. This week was a 180-degree turn for the pitching staff and the win column. The White Sox went 4-1 against the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers last week. Against the Tigers, the White Sox gave up three total runs during their three-game sweep. Against the Angels, the White Sox limited damage in their 7-3 win and then lost 12-5 in the one anomaly of the week.
In the end, the White Sox closed the gap to 5.5 games out of first place and only 1.5 games behind Detroit for third and 2 games behind the Cleveland Guardians and their pitching for second. It is clear that the White Sox can win games when they play a complete game.
White Sox Offense
The White Sox offense did just enough to win this week. They hit .254 over the week, which is 15 points above their season average of .239 (20th in MLB). Hitting is still the main way the White Sox get on base as walks are few and far between and the OBP is still second to last at .297. The White Sox scored an average of 4.6 runs per game, which is almost a half run above their season average. The White Sox continue to prove that if they do a little better than their season average in key metrics (which are depressed due to the slow start), the pitching can take them into the win column.
The hits came from all over the lineup. DH Andrew Vaughn went 6-16 with 3 RBIs, RF Eloy Jimenez went 5-20 with 3 RBIs, LF Andrew Benintendi went 5-15, SS Tim Anderson went 6 for 19, and CF Luis Robert Jr went 6-20 but with no RBIs and no home runs. 3B/DH Jake Burger, who the White Sox have not figured how to completely use just yet, went 5-11 with two home runs and 5 RBIs (although four of those RBI’s came on one walk-off swing). 2B Romy Gonzalez was efficient with his three hits, bringing in 2 RBIs including a home run.
The long ball continues to be a very small part of the Sox’ game. Hitting just three last week, the White Sox have 63 on the season, tied for 20th, 42 home runs behind the league leading Tampa Bay Rays.
White Sox Pitching
Team pitching was exemplary last week. In the final game of the Los Angeles series, the White Sox gave up 12 runs, but in the other four games of the week they gave up six runs total. Even with the 12-run debacle, their ERA for the week was 3.52, more than a run lower than their season average of 4.69 (26th in MLB).
The starters were fantastic. RHP Mike Clevinger gave up 0 runs in his five innings, RHP Dylan Cease gave up one in 5 1/3, RHP Lucas Giolito gave up three runs in five innings, and RHP Michael Kopech is just on fire lately. He pitched seven innings, giving up two runs, and striking out nine. In April, Kopech had a 7.01 ERA, but in May he had a 2.75 figure, lowering his season ERA 1.5 runs to 4.33.
RHP Lance Lynn continues his struggles. In his four innings, he gave up eight runs against Los Angeles with three home runs. If you are going to give up home runs, you might as well give them up to DH Shohei Ohtani (two on the day) and CF Mike Trout.
If the starting pitching was exemplary, the relief pitching was otherworldly. The numbers are just ridiculous. RP Gregory Santos, RP Joe Kelly, RP Reynaldo Lopez, RP Kendall Graveman, RP Aaron Bummer, RP Liam Hendriks, and RP Keynan Middleton combined for zero earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. You read that right, zero earned runs. The 12-5 loss to the Angels was the only game where the bullpen gave up a run.
Last week was very promising but the upcoming week and the month of June in total looks awfully daunting. As the South Siders try to claw their way back in the AL Central standings, they will have to go through the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, the red-hot Texas Rangers, the Boston Red Sox, and end the month with four games in Anaheim.
At this point, there could be a good argument to move Lynn out of the rotation and leave one game a week as kind of a bullpen game. Scoring over four runs a game more consistently solves quite a few problems as well and will take the pressure off the rotation and the bullpen to be perfect.
All weekly stats are through Monday, June 5.