Reynaldo López’s return won’t mean much if White Sox offense remains missing

Before the White Sox’s 8-0 loss to a right-handed starter who had the audacity and ingenuity to locate a slider on Saturday night, Reynaldo López threw a simulated game and declared himself ready to return by Tuesday.

This feels like it would’ve been a godsend during most months, but with Joe Kelly figuring out a winning recipe — 50 percent curveballs, 70 percent grounders, staying off the injured list — it feels like the White Sox have successfully hunted 900 pounds of reliever, but can only bring 20 back to the wagon.

López certainly adds depth, and he gives Tony La Russa an arm to sub into the troika of Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks when he wants to avoid overuse. That scenario just presupposes that the White Sox will have a cluster of games that necessitates the deployment of their winning bullpen, and that hasn’t proven to be the case. The prospect of healthy relievers returning can be thrown into the bucket as the White Sox’s easiest schedule remaining, in that the White Sox have to prove that either story matters.

Right now, the offensive morass remains front and center, and the two-hit effort against Dane Dunning made José Abreu the center of disparate news cycles this weekend.

Prior to the series, he apprised reporters about the stretch run of his contract year. Entering the season, he sounded uncharacteristically gray about what the future held, at least in comparison to his insistence that he would re-sign himself to the White Sox in his previous contract year.

But two-thirds into another strong season, Abreu’s still-circumspect answer had a little more joy in it.

“As long as I can or as long as life wants me to,” Abreu said of how much longer he’ll keep playing. “I’m in a good place right now. My family is in a good place. I’m in a very good organization here. We’ll see. I don’t put numbers or limits. We’ll see what life has for me, and I will go with it.”

(My theory is that he enjoys baseball more when he’s on pace for seven HBPs, rather than a score of bruises.)

After the game, Abreu returned to the gloomy kind of evasiveness.

There’s a risk in making too much of specific answers given through a translator when the subject matter is this grim, because it only takes one or two imprecise words to confirm priors and feed the beast.

If nothing else, it is a reminder that Abreu — who has played 17 more games than the next-most durable White Sox — is the only one in position to speak on behalf of the team. Yasmani Grandal probably should be the backup catcher. Tim Anderson is hitting .249/.287/.290 since coming off the injured list mid-June, and has as many pending suspensions as homers.

Abreu also said the Sox are searching for consistency …

… when the White Sox could actually stand to be more inconsistent. Consistency is a neutral quality, and in this case, the White Sox have been steadfast in their mediocrity all season. Their inability to gain meaningful separation from the .500 mark means that quotes from two months ago remain relevant. While I might not be inclined to make too much of Abreu’s quote, word for word in isolation, you can compare it to what he said about the clubhouse in June.

“It’s easy to blame the manager when things aren’t going right, but at the end of the day, it’s on us,” said Abreu, through interpreter Billy Russo, during a 17-minute session with the media before the White Sox faced the Astros. “We are the ones who are performing on the field. The responsibility has to be on us. It’s easy to say whatever you want to say, or the critics will say whatever about the manager.

“But they are not here. They are not in the clubhouse. They don’t know how united or how good we are. Everybody knows we’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries. People don’t know how you have to overcome those situations and being able to play every day. They don’t know that. In order for them to blame Tony, that’s easy. But they don’t know how good we are in the clubhouse.”

So yes, the tone does seem different, and it probably has to be. And when you think of all the chaotic leadership crises Abreu has witnessed over his time with the White Sox — Robin Ventura retained three years too long, L’Affaire LaRoche, Chris Sale knifing throwback jerseys, and now all of this, one can understand why he might be a little more open to exploring new environments.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Right Size Wrong Shape

Vince Velasquez has dysentery.

Date: August 7, 2022
Health: poor
Food: 800 pounds
Next Landmark: 562 miles
Miles traveled: 984 miles

MikeAndrews2

I suspect we will look back on this disaster of a season and view last night’s game as the ultimate turning point. It was a completely embarrassing performance. They may well win today, but who really cares at this point? Last night’s game confirms to me that they lack the talent, the heart, the desire to break out and seize an incredibly available division title (if only to be destroyed in the playoffs). I wonder how much team leadership realizes the fanbase good will that has been eroded by this season’s awful performance.

asinwreck

Anderson now has a day and a half off while Sosa tried to inject some energy into this moribund offense.

hankthetank35

But he’s not in the lineup. This team never fails to baffle me.

mrridgman

Hahn can require TLR to accept Sosa as a bench player, but not play him. It really does seem that we are at the point where they are finding ways to stick it to each other.

gibby32

I recognize that fans can disagree with manager lineup decisions, but why should he be in the lineup? With Anderson out, they need infield backup. Sosa has already been up such that they are not using up one of his options. It makes sense to me to call him up. I am agnostic as to whether they play him. To be clear: LaRussa is a baseball moron, but the decision to play or not to play Sosa is a non-event.

soxygen

I feel strongly that Garcia should never play. I don’t really feel strongly about the Sosa part of it, but if Sosa is the best non-Leury shortstop available then I would like to see him in there.

gibby32

Leury looked pretty good today.

Foulkelore

Best case scenario for this suspension: he got it reduced by 1 game, needs a day off today with how he’s looked this series, and almost never plays both games of a doubleheader anyway.

Marty34

Are the Sox allowed to appeal to get the suspension back to 3?

ForsterFTOG

Harsh but fair.
🤔

Nellie Fox

the sox have done some confusing things, but your idea will be a first, just like the walk with an 0-2 count.

Augusto Barojas

I’m not on the bandwagon dissing TA7, but your comment was damn funny!!

GrinnellSteve

I saw the Beloit Snappers are going to have a guest organist at Saturday night’s game: Nancy Faust.

Elena

What a treat! Nobody better. I miss live organ music at the various ballparks and decry the standardization of music and cheers throughout the MLB.

GrinnellSteve

It would be wonderful to see a team do away with all the canned music and just use an organist. The Sox would be the perfect team to resurrect this given their long association with the Vin Scully of organists.

NancyFaustsOrgan

Agree. Hence my username!

soxygen

Thanks for this excellent piece.

This has been the least enjoyable year of White Sox fandom since the 1994-1996 era. Dumb, uninspired, boring, and disappointing.

Even the bad parts have been boring, insofar as it is all stuff we have seen before. The most exciting bad thing that happened this year was when LaRussa intentionally walked a batter with a 1-2 count…but that became boring a few weeks later when he intentionally walked someone with an 0-1 count so we don’t even have that to look back on fondly…

I used to like watching Tim. Now I don’t. Luis Robert has had a disappointing season. Dylan Cease has been awesome, but I don’t find him to be likeable. Nobody has done anything batshit crazy like cut up the jerseys or refer to a child as a team leader even if both seem like the sorts of things that should happen in 2022. The execution on a daily basis is just so bad
that it is embarrassing.

The highlights for me have been Johnny Cueto (all of it!), Reynaldo (happy for him), and Eloy (the last couple of weeks – he’s back, baby!). The rest of it is just awful.

Last edited 1 month ago by soxygen
NancyFaustsOrgan

I feel very similar. I do remember 2007 being a real stinker of a season with stars from ’05-’06 quickly fading and a bullpen of garbage except for Bobby Jenks. I guess I’d add Liam Hendriks to players I’d add to my highlight reel for his criticism of Josh Donaldson. When the Sox send out those surveys indicating how I feel about players, I wish I could just check a box that says “Meh”.

hankthetank35

Anyone else notice the drama about anderson that came out in mid June? Just saying could be why he’s looked so messed up.

ForsterFTOG

Tim Anderson slash line:

Before Clown Donaldson incident .350/.393/.493

Since Clown Donaldson incident .270/.306/.327

(Not at all blaming Anderson)

hankthetank35

I was actually talking about some drama in his personal life but i guess the donaldson stuff was just a couple weeks before that too

ForsterFTOG

Agreed.
He’s not the same guy.

Greg Nix

I’ve wondered this as well. I was happy to see his family together at all star weekend, at least.

Marty34

I suspect it has more to do with the onset of his decline phase. He’ll have a bounce back year or two over the next five but this looks like a contract Hahn got right.

asinwreck

He hasn’t been the same since the late-May groin injury. Which is one of a parade of injuries this team has faced over the past couple of years, raising questions about the training and medical staff.

Nellie Fox

Maybe grandahl will lead off? maybe robert will play shortstop?

jorgefabregas

I recommend following the Chicago Sky to take the sting out of disappointing Sox summers. They are a well-run organization and are poised to be the number one seed when the playoffs start shortly.

Papa Giorgio

I can’t believe no one has mentioned it yet, but the Oregon Trail reference here is an absolute gem.