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This is the 10th year of Rick Hahn’s tenure as White Sox general manager, and the White Sox just wrapped up their 18th half during this time with a dispiriting 2-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday.
(I’m counting the 60-game season as its own half, although if you wanted to disregard it completely due to the 21-game deficit, the entirely Central-based slate of opponents and everything else that made it such an unprecedented ordeal, I wouldn’t blame you.)
With the White Sox closing out this most recent first half at 39-42, the White Sox have only had winning records in four of those 18 partial-seasons. Here’s the tale of the tape:
- 2013: 33-48, 30-51
- 2014: 37-44, 36-45
- 2015: 37-44, 39-42
- 2016: 41-40, 37-44
- 2017: 36-45, 31-50
- 2018: 28-53, 34-47
- 2019: 39-42, 33-47
- 2020: 35-25
- 2021: 49-32, 44-37
- 2022: 39-42
The bold type only captures half the halves, but it emphasizes the ones in which the White Sox played at a 90-win pace. That’s both a nice, round number and a convenient marker for October-worthiness in an expanded postseason.
The White Sox have played 18 halves of baseball under this administration, and they’ve only cleared that very low bar twice. Twice!
This year was supposed to be the one in which they put it all together. Instead, they’ve dropped a dead skunk on the porch as an offering. The smell doesn’t appear to be going anywhere for a while.
No. 1: The White Sox’s 130-homer pace is the lowest and slowest in 30 years. The 1992 White Sox only hit 110, mostly because they only produced 19 homers from their outfield. The 1990 White Sox were the last team to not field a 20-home-run hitter, at least if you don’t count 2020.
No. 2: Leury García has recent comps as a player who is on pace for -1.6 WAR over 430 plate appearances, but none of them are good. Adam Dunn and Alex Rios both played that much because Ozzie Guillen managed as though their failure nourished him, and Jeff Keppinger was cut less than halfway into his three-year deal. Hm.
No. 3: Andrew Vaughn’s season is a revelation at the plate and a nightmare in the field. Gavin Sheets is what it looks like when the bat doesn’t pull its weight.
No. 4: Josh Harrison has played his way into an acceptable season, which is cool. It’s a shame that he’s stuck with García as a three-legged race entrant.
No. 5: The White Sox were supposed to have built an age-in-place facility for José Abreu by now. Instead, all the bathrooms are in the attic.
No. 1: If you can overlook the score of unearned runs, this is the Dylan Cease season everybody wanted to see. Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito, not so much.
No. 2: There’s decent chance that Bennett Sousa doesn’t resurface with the MLB team this season, but I like the concept of a 6-0 record combined with an 8.41. The only comparable season is Bob Veale, who went 6-0 over 37 games with the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates while posting a 6.99 ERA.
No. 3: Johnny Cueto isn’t having a Carlos Rodón season in terms of stats, but he’s filling the shoes in terms of “pitcher delivering way more than $3 million.”
No. 4: It feels like Reynaldo López needs to throw more than 74 innings, especially if Kendall Graveman is laboring on a 73-inning pace.
No. 5: Joe Kelly is still on that Kelvin Herrera pace his contract and condition warned us about.