By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Questioned about the White Sox’s offensive woes, outfielder Adam Eaton laughed.READ MORE: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Reports 336 New Cases, 30 Additional Deaths
Are the White Sox worried at all? Heck no.
“Next question,” Eaton said with a smirk.
With the postgame victory music pumping in the winning White Sox clubhouse after a 2-1 win against the Angels on Wednesday, the sputtering offense was of littler concern for Eaton and his team.
Chris Sale pitched like an ace, going seven innings and allowing just one run. He’s now 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts. The White Sox have gotten productive outings from Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Mat Latos, too.
Had it not been for some terrific plays by third baseman Todd Frazier on Thursday, the White Sox wouldn’t have been able to hold the win for Sale. Credit goes to catcher Alex Avila too for gunning down Mike Trout with one out in the fourth inning and some clutch work by closer David Robertson to seal the White Sox’s 10th victory of the season.
Tyler Saldino’s solo home run in the first inning loomed large in the White Sox victory. Two runs, stellar defense and solid bullpen work brought home a win for Sale.
“If we can strike across a couple and play some good defense, the way he’s pitching, you feel really confident about him going out there,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Sale’s starts.
Added Sale: “It’s important, individually and as a team, to get off to a good start.”
The White Sox lead the American League through Wednesday afternoon with a 2.45 team ERA and a 2.88 mark for their starting pitchers. Take away left-hander Rodon’s five earned runs in 1/3 innings on Monday, and that number would look a lot better. This team has gotten superb starting pitching, something that should be a trend.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Illinois: 268 New COVID-19 Cases, 15 Additional Deaths; 52% Of Adults Fully Vaccinated
When will the bats become a trend? Entering Wednesday, the White Sox were averaging 3.1 runs per game, which ranked 25th in baseball.
Don’t sweat it, the White Sox say — and with good reason. A 2015 All-Star, Frazier won’t hit .186 all season. He should revert to his baseball card number, creating a formidable meat of the order with Jose Abreu, whose .204 average won’t hold, either.
Eaton’s hitting well out of the gates, and Jimmy Rollins could be a fit in the No. 2 hole for the White Sox, ahead of Abreu and Frazier. The lineup has also gotten good production from Melky Cabrera, a solid contact hitter batting fifth behind the two sluggers.
The White Sox lineup has potential to be very good once this April slump dissipates. Eaton’s outspoken in that belief.
“It’s freaking baseball,” Eaton said. “Baseball is so weird … It’s just a game that’s so unpredictable. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that we’re worried about our offense.”
Still, the offense is the focal point of concern for the White Sox, simply because that’s the collective flaw in a 10-5 start. Chicago left its Wednesday win just percentage points back of Kansas City for first place in the AL Central.
Following a 2015 filled with the struggles, the White Sox didn’t go for the huge splash of a signing. Rather, they bolstered the lineup with low-profile additions who were better than the players they were taking over for. They upgraded with Frazier at third base, Rollins at shortstop, Brett Lawrie at second base, Avila catching and Austin Jackson in center field. There were questions to the White Sox’s offensive prowess, though the expectations were still fairly high.
Thus far, the White Sox have gotten excellent pitching and a good defensive effort, plus consistent work from the bullpen to sustain leads. The offense just needs to hit its stride.
Once their bats begin slugging, the White Sox could be set for a fun season.
“This group has got it,” Saladino said. “And we’re going to keep going.”MORE NEWS: Chicago Police Sergeant Struck By Hit-And-Run Driver