By Adam Hoge-
U.S. CELLULAR FIELD (CBS) No phrase in baseball is used more often in the month of April than “it’s early.”
That qualifier gets added onto nearly every single baseball opinion that is thrown out there by coaches, players and the media.
It’s done that way because the start of the season can be very deceiving. The best teams in baseball can sometimes look like the worst (Angels) and the worst can sometimes look like the best (Orioles). Every good team goes through bad stretches and every bad team goes through good stretches – and sometimes those stretches happen in the first couple weeks of the season.
Of course, then there are teams like the Cubs, the ones that start 3-10 because they really are a team that should be 3-10.
So where do the White Sox fit in all this?
It’s tough to tell. Sunday morning the White Sox were in first place at 5-2 and looked to be blowing expectations out of the water. 5-2 means absolutely nothing, by the way, and the White Sox proved that by losing four of their next five games, including three of four to the Orioles.
After one good week, the White Sox blew a save, kicked the ball around a ton and failed to get clutch hits, resulting in their record falling to an even 6-6, also known as .500.
And .500 is a fitting place for the White Sox to be after two weeks. We’ve seen the worst case scenarios (Gordon Beckham and Brent Morel continuing to struggle) and we’ve seen the best case scenarios (Jake Peavy with a 2.45 ERA after three starts and Paul Konerko looking as good as ever).
Then there are those who don’t look great, but have shown glimpses of potential (Alex Rios and Adam Dunn).
“I think I’m being a little too selective,” Dunn said after Thursday’s loss. “When I am getting myself in hitter’s count they are making pitcher’s pitches. I’m usually able to lay off and you know, I’m swinging at them.”
Dunn is still in a better place mentally, however. He’s seeing way more pitches (saw the most on the team Thursday with 26) and he’s having much better at-bats than a year ago. He hasn’t hit a home run since opening day, but he’s still batting .222 on the season and added a double, a single and an RBI on Thursday. The point is, there are signs he will break out.
Of course, there is always the possibility that he won’t. But Dunn’s situation symbolizes what the White Sox might be – a team stuck in the middle. One would assume Beckham and Morel will improve, but one would also assume Peavy will end up on the disabled list at some point this season.
“Other than the last four or five innings in Texas on the third night, we’ve either won or been in every game all the way up until the end. That’s a good sign,” Paul Konerko said.
That’s true, but for every positive sign, there’s a negative sign. And through 12 games, we’ve seen that play out on the field.
The bottomline is that verdict is still out on the White Sox and might be for some time.
Just remember: It’s early.
Adam is the Sports Content Producer for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the White Sox, Blackhawks and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.