When a team wins a game by a score of 14-3, it shouldn’t make fans angry. Yet I found myself getting annoyed during yesterday's victory over the Reds. First off, due to the game being delayed by rain, I was late to tune in and missed the first inning, which is when the majority of the scoring happened.
But the primary reason for my anger was because I wondered why the Phillies hadn’t come close to that type of offensive output over the previous five games. More importantly, I am convinced that Sunday’s outburst was an aberration, and they’ll go right back to their low-scoring ways in the days ahead. It felt like they used up a week’s worth of RBI hits in a single game.
Due to the poor weather in Chicago, we’ll have to wait a day to see if that suspicion is correct. Monday’s game has been postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday. It is yet to be determined if manager Rob Thomson will still make Andrew Bellatti pitch on Monday despite the absence of a game.
Record: 6-10, Third place in American League Central (4 games back)
After a couple of years with Tony La Russa at the helm, the White Sox went in the opposite direction and hired a rookie manager in Pedro Grifol. While Grifol is undoubtedly less of a scumbag than La Russa, it is still to be determined if he will be as good of a manager. Early returns do not seem good.
Pedro Grifol is not good at this.— Sammy Davis Jr. 5000 (@SDJ5K) April 16, 2023
The bar actually isn’t set all that high. La Russa might have had a Hall of Fame career, but most of that success came with other teams. Under his watch, the White Sox lost 93 games last year, and there weren’t too many fans sad to see him go.
The last time they met
The White Sox came to Philadelphia in August 2019 and won two out of three as the Phillies were in the midst of another Gabe Kapler-led late-season collapse.
What’s the deal with the White Sox?
It isn’t clear what the White Sox’s offseason plan was. They allowed star outfielder Jose Abreu to leave, and instead spent money on outfielder Andrew Benintendi and pitcher Mike Clevinger.
The Abreu-less offense has been mediocre in the early going, ranking eighth in runs scored in the AL. They’ve gotten a boost from outfielder Luis Robert, Jr. who appears to be healthy after two injury-shortened seasons.
The team strength was supposed to be the pitching staff, led by Dylan Cease, Clevinger, Lance Lynn, and Lucas Giolito. But Lynn and Giolito are off to disappointing starts, and the White Sox bullpen has the highest ERA in baseball.
Boo this man
The last time we saw Clevinger, he was getting destroyed in game four of the NLCS.
Despite that shoddy performance - as well as domestic abuse allegations - the White Sox decided to give him $12 million to pitch for this in 2023. The Sox claim they didn’t know about the allegations, but considering his accuser was reportedly in touch with MLB last summer, it feels like the they simply didn’t want to know.
The White Sox as an MCU villain
Much like Taskmaster, the White Sox look cool. Maybe I’m biased because I had awful uniforms for most of my Little League career (I’m still not sure why the Angels had green uniforms with yellow trim). In my last year in the league, they finally spent some money and my White Sox team had awesome replica uniforms. (Sadly, I helped cost the team our playoff game by playing so poorly. I made multiple errors at third base and ended the game getting doubled off second base.)
But it’s not just me. You know you’ve got a good look when the top rappers in the game are wearing your gear.
The movies got Taskmaster’s look right. But if you were hoping for the character from the comics, you were assuredly disappointed by the silent henchman we got instead. Good look, questionable plan, disappointing results sounds a lot like the 2023 White Sox.
Never forget how Marvel completely missed with Taskmaster in Black Widow pic.twitter.com/PErLLIjxVd— Joshua Chenault (@joshuachenault1) April 6, 2022
Last series’ answer: Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto both had 18 hits against the Marlins in 2022. Nobody got it right.
This series’ question: The first game of that 2019 series between the Phillies and White Sox went into the 15th inning. Who was the losing pitcher for the Phillies?
I’m frustrated, but not majorly worried about the Phillies’ offense. The inconsistency is annoying, but many of the underlying numbers look fine. You also have to figure that at some point this season, either Nick Castellanos or Trea Turner will hit a home run.
The #Phillies in MLB rankings:— schmenkman (@tgpschmenk) April 17, 2023
#1 in hits
#1 in doubles
T-1st in triples
#1 in BA (10th with RISP)
22nd in HRs
4th overall (wRC+)
T-14th in scoring
And the league's most feast-or-famine scoring so far.
(Tampa Bay in the upper right, the Orioles right below them)@TheGoodPhight pic.twitter.com/aFBiRXCDHs
The pitching staff is more concerning. The plan of going easy on the starters in Spring Training and April seemed like a good idea since they wanted their pitchers to adequately recover from last year’s postseason and make sure they would have enough left for the 2023 postseason. That plan seemed less good once two of their projected starters went down with injury.
We’re now left with a rotation full of starters that can’t make it past the sixth inning - and we’re lucky if they get that far - and a bullpen that already appears to be overworked. They may be forced to trade for another reliever and based on this franchise’s sordid history in that regard, that’s a frightening thought.
Of course, if the offense could deliver consistent scoring efforts, that would put less pressure on the pitching staff and make life easier for everyone.