The Los Angeles Dodger lineup was poised to bounce back, it did with four runs. That, however, wasn’t the reason the Chicago White Sox lost. Once again, the White Sox failed to help out their starting pitcher, scoring only one run in their 28th loss of the season.
The batting order has been the weak link of the White Sox all season. Against the Dodgers, the lineup looked hapless with Tony Gonsolin and the bullpen mowing down the batting order. Aside from Jake Burger hitting a home run in the sixth inning, the White Sox struggled to make hard contact, if any contact at all, mustering only four hits in the game.
Some of the issues for the White Sox seem like quick fixes. Likewise, some of the lineup woes are easy to shrug at, after all, things will average out when the season ends. However, some issues make it easy to question if this roster can succeed this season and if the runs will pile in at some point.
White Sox lack plate discipline and power
On the surface, the White Sox stolen base success looks like a good, even great attribute. The team has successfully stolen 27 bases in 29 attempts for a success rate that significantly adds value to the basepaths. However, it’s not a coincidence that the White Sox are attempting to earn runs by advancing without contact.
The White Sox team’s On-Base Percentage (OBP) as a team is .294, the fourth-worst in the MLB. Likewise, the team’s Slugging Percentage is .362 which is the sixth-worst in baseball. The lineup can make contact but is an aggressive swinging team with little power.
Granted, Eloy Jimenez has been out of the lineup for a significant number of weeks, and he provided power. Granted, Tim Anderson has recently been out of the lineup, and he is the on-base machine that gets things going. However, the White Sox as a collective lineup has struggled at the plate. They haven’t been waiting for their pitches and more so, aren’t drawing walks to pressure opposing pitchers. The team is last in the league in the walk category, with only 122 this season.
The Dodgers haven’t pitched superbly, not in this series but in the recent game, they didn’t need to. Instead, they just allowed the White Sox to defeat themselves, failing at the plate inning after inning. The Dodgers are a measuring stick and notably, a team that can expose the weaknesses, and two games in, they have done just that with the lineup.
No Anderson = no leadoff production
to be fair, the lineup is without their leadoff hitter in Anderson. The All-Star shortstop has been dealing with an injury and his absence has affected the entire batting order.
Prior to tonight’s series opener at Toronto, the #WhiteSox placed All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to May 30) with a strained right groin and reinstated outfielder Luis Robert from the Covid-19 Related injury list.
Anderson was the leadoff hitter for a White Sox batting order that otherwise struggled. Slashing .356/.393/.503 with 82 total bases, he’d not only get into scoring position but oftentimes singlehandedly drive in runs for the offense. Everything a team would want in a leadoff hitter, Anderson provided. Suddenly, the walks, hits, and power are all out of the lineup.
The recent game was a case in point to Anderson’s value and how much the White Sox miss him. Replacing Anderson at the leadoff spot in the batting order was Leury Garcia, who went 0-4 with three strikeouts. To put it lightly, the lineup was playing without production from the hitter that generally receives the most plate appearances.
White Sox need a jolt to the lineup
The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves were treading water in the first half of last season. Both teams not only made moves at the deadline that kickstarted their seasons but propelled both teams to the playoffs, with the Braves winning the World Series.
Any team can take last year’s trade deadline to heart, specifically, the right moves can turn around the season. However, the Yankees and Braves particularly resurrected lineups that otherwise looked lost, like the one the White Sox possess currently. The Yankees acquired both Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo, adding plate discipline to an otherwise free-swinging lineup. The Braves added Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario, bringing power to a lineup that lost it when Ronald Acuna went down.
To start the season, Rick Hahn is facing a similar issue. He needs to fix or even put the energy back into the lineup. Whether it’s rolling the dice on power hitters like Nelson Cruz or Jorge Soler, or making a move for Andrew Benintendi or Rougned Odor, the White Sox must add a jolt to this lineup. The batting order needs that piece that can allow everyone to thrive otherwise.
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