By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The White Sox fell under .500 for the first time in two weeks with a 7-2 loss to the Twins on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.
At 15-16, Chicago now trails Cleveland by 2.5 games in the AL Central. Here in the season’s early going, the White Sox have more than held their own until a recent skid has led to a four-game losing streak.
So is this a case of a team finding its true level like you’d expect during a rebuild? Prior to the game, manager Rick Renteria wasn’t operating with that mindset.
“The guys are doing a nice job since spring training,” Renteria said. “They have taken on the desire to just go out there and play baseball. I don’t think they worry about who they are or who they are not. They are just thinking about playing the game and doing it in a certain way. For the most part, they prepare well. They are hustling. We have gotten really good relief pitching. The last couple of days we have not played as well on defense as we had throughout the course of the season. I think the guys will make some adjustment and move forward.”
The adjustments didn’t come Tuesday, as Mike Pelfrey got hit hard in the fifth inning and the White Sox were held to four hits on the night. Run production has been slim for Chicago lately, as it went 12 innings without a run before plating two in the third frame Tuesday. The White Sox have scored 121 runs this season, which ranks 27th in baseball.
Despite the recent struggles, new blood isn’t expected to be on the way for the White Sox just yet. They’re in a rebuilding mode and don’t plan to rush any prospects through the minor leagues.
Top prospect Yoan Moncada, a 21-year-old infielder, is batting .345 with six homers and 24 runs in 28 games at Triple-A Charlotte. Calling him up after May 15 would ensure the White Sox retain contract control on him through 2023, as opposed to 2022. Waiting until late in June or early July could have a benefit too, in that it would assure he’s not eligible for Super-Two status down the line, a process that allows a select group of players to enter arbitration a year early, which can cost teams more money.
“We think the world of his talent, and we think he is responding to all the challenges we put ahead of him,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We are not going to rush this. He’ll be here when he answers all the questions we have for him with the developmental standpoint at the minor league level. He’s done a really good job. There is, however, a benefit to letting him answer all of those and continue the repetitions at that level until he is ready for that next stage to take place at this level.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.