The White Sox's first pilgrimage to the Western time zone left a sour taste in my mouth for more than one reason. Slogging to a 3-6 record, including losing the last three games to the Angels, the White Sox offense brought back memories of 2013, scoring no more than five runs in any single game.
Of course, Friday's MLB Draft was a welcomed distraction as the White Sox were able to add a number of players who will hopefully enter the fray over the next several years, including lefty Carlos Rodon at No. 3, but when we got back to baseball played on the field, featuring the 25-man Major League roster, it was a whole heap of ugly.
The lowlight of the last seven days, of the nine-game road trip — hell, probably of the season thus far — was Saturday's devastating loss to the Angels that saw Chris Sale give up a game-tying grand slam to Mike Trout after cruising through the first seven innings with nary a sign of trouble.
That game, and the decisions within made by Robin Ventura, have been written about at length on this site and debated across the White Sox blogosphere, so we won't bemoan the point here, but a win there would've undoubtedly sent the White Sox back to Chicago looking significantly better. A 4-5 mark isn't much better than 3-6, but knowing Sale was Sale for two of those wins would have been nice.
Anyway, back to the offense.
Jose Abreu returned from the disabled list with a bang, blasting home runs on back-to-back days against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Dan Haren. Unfortunately, the rest of the week included just three other hits, including 1-for-12 against the Angels. We've learned during the first two months of the season that Abreu is a very streaky hitter, but during the last week, the offense went as he went and he hasn't gone well.
Of less surprise is the continuing downward trajectory of Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo. Flowers, he of the BABIP-aided plus-.300 average early in the season, went 2-for-16 over the last week, although the two hits happened to leave the yard. He also leads the team with 69 strikeouts and actually has more of those than total bases at this point. Viciedo, on the other hand, went hitless against both the Dodgers and Angels. Neither Flowers nor Viciedo drew a single walk during the last week.
On the other hand, Viciedo's demise has come at the same time when Alejandro De Aza's luck seems to be taking a turn for the better. While he only got nine at bats, he had five hits — including a home run — and almost has his batting average above the Mendoza line. Improvement!
Likewise, Gordon Beckham continues to be a pleasant surprise at the plate. A 7-for-23 week at the plate was nice, but he also only struck out twice in 24 plate appearances. He's currently hitting .283/.325/.409 and has a BABIP of .323, which is hardly unsustainable. The numbers aren't out-of-this-world, but more than playable given his defensive abilities.
The funny thing about this offense is that while it's going through one of its extreme valleys, the early-season surge means the White Sox are still fourth in the American League in runs scored. Thankfully, the White Sox return home this week, but also do so against a pair of division rivals. Whether a hot spell for Abreu & Co., as well as continued solid performances from the likes of Hector Noesi and John Danks, come home with them.
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