At the plate and on the mound, the numbers reflect the rough start to the Chicago White Sox season.
Offensively, the Sox were 23rd in the majors with a .678 OPS entering Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The pitching staff had the third-highest ERA in the big leagues at 5.44.
Those are just some of the contributing factors to a 7-17 start after the Sox lost 7-0 for their sixth consecutive defeat.
Manager Pedro Grifol is focused on adjustments.
“I don’t see this like our season is over by any means,” Grifol said before Tuesday’s game after hearing teams had similar stretches at various points last season and went on to the postseason. “Every team goes through this. But we obviously have to make adjustments.
“We can’t hide the fact we have to make adjustments at the plate, as a team and staff. We have to get better. But as far as being 7-16 and panicking … we’re not feeling it. We’re going to have our stretches where we’re really, really good and we have to take advantage of those stretches and extend them.”
Third baseman Jake Burger said the clubhouse leaders and coaching staff have the right mentality to help guide the way during this period.
“You’re going to have some bad streaks and really good streaks and everything in between,” Burger told the Tribune on Tuesday. “As long as you’re taking care of your business every single day, the results will end up being there.”
Here are three numbers that stand out during the struggles.
The question pertained to Luis Robert Jr., who struck out three times in four plate appearances Monday.
But the answer was universal for the Sox offense at the moment.
“We’ve got to shrink the strike zone,” Grifol said after the 5-2 loss. “If you get out of the strike zone, they’re going to keep throwing it out there.”
The team’s Outside the Zone Swing Percentage (O-Swing%) is 37.3% according to Fangraphs, the highest in the majors. The Detroit Tigers are next at 36.8%.
The Sox were slashing .191/.253/.323 with 44 runs in their last 14 games before getting shut out Tuesday. They had a .229 average with runners in scoring position during the stretch and had scored three runs or fewer nine times during that span.
Burger said a key for hitters in limiting chasing is sticking with their approach.
“You can’t control how the umpire is calling the game that day or how the pitcher is attacking you,” he said. “You can’t get away from your approach when you step into the box.
“I’ve done that from time to time where you kind of let other factors control the game rather than yourself. And if the pitcher executes three good pitches, you have to tip your cap there. More times than not, especially for me, you give them the extra strike by expanding and it takes you from a 2-1 count to 1-2 and he’s got a couple of pitches to play with.”
Walks were the major topic of discussion after Monday’s game, with the Sox surrendering eight.
Starter Lance Lynn pointed to a two-out walk to Alejandro Kirk in the fourth inning as a big moment. The Blue Jays went on to score four in the inning.
“Two-out walk, pretty much it, gave up four because of it,” Lynn said.
The Sox had allowed 105 walks entering Tuesday, the second-most in the majors. Mike Clevinger walked three in five innings in Tuesday’s loss while allowing six earned runs on seven hits.
Grifol said the team’s goals of throwing a strike for at least two out of the first three pitches of an at-bat has “actually been OK.”
“But obviously walks are a really big part of the game and are sneaky,” Grifol said. “On the offensive side, if you are taking your walks, you’re probably going to put up some crooked numbers at some point.”
According to the Sox, the projected lineup has started together only twice this season — April 2 in Houston and the April 3 home opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Injuries have been a factor, with shortstop Tim Anderson (sprained left knee) and third baseman Yoán Moncada (lower back soreness) on the injured list.
Grifol said Anderson, who last played April 10, is “doing really good.”
“He ran (Monday), ran (Tuesday),” Grifol said. “He’s in a good spot. He should be going out (on a rehab assignment) here pretty soon.”
Grifol said Moncada, who last played April 9 and went on the IL on April 14, is “feeling way better.”
As for a timetable, Grifol said: “It’s the back so you have to be careful about it. It depends on the symptoms. The last couple of days he’s made significant improvements.”
The Sox know improvements are needed in many departments to avoid falling into a deeper hole.
“We just have to get better,” Grifol said. “As a staff, as a group, we have to just get better and find ways to win baseball games.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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