TCS Morning 10: White Sox teetering on edge of predictable demise

1. The White Sox were shutout for the second-straight night, haven't scored since a Carlos Sanchez RBI single in the second inning of Sunday's game in Tampa, and haven't hit for extra bases since the sixth inning of that game.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton is pretty much his ideal self at this point, and came into the game with a sub-2.00 ERA and a relentlessly burrowing sinker, but still breezed through seven scoreless innings with alarming ease. How many games does a team have to go without scoring before their manager just gets fired out of panic? The Sox might just find out.

More important to the long-term outlook: The Sox have been bad all year, but this the low point of games under .500. The record is finally starting to fully reflect the malaise, and could be bad enough soon to make the front office act accordingly. 

2. Jose Quintana sleepily stumbled his way through six innings in his 100th career start. It was somehow impressive how he got through three laborious frames to start out without anything resembling his best curveball, and some real struggles to get ahead in the count, and equally disappointing when he just tossed in a couple gopher balls to Sean Rodriguez and apparent God-catcher Francisco Cervelli in what was otherwise a smoother second half of his night. He struck out six and walked one, continuing his odd reversal of his career history by posting stronger peripherals than final results.

He's now 3-7 because this team is bad.

3. Melky Cabrera had a hit Tuesday night, but it was from kind of a disappointingly weak flare to right. Jim Margalus described it...too well.

Which got me to thinking that comparing Melky spray charts from last year to this one would probably be an unpleasant experience.

My prediction was correct. Notice the absence of any green dots past medium-depth? This is the part where you comment "OFF THE ROIDS" and ruin my day.

4. Here's a good sad read: Despite inning-by-inning splits mostly being blips, the Sox 19-53 run differential in the opening frame is so awful they provided assurances to Dan Hayes that they did actually look into it, and poll players for what their preparations are. Robin Ventura's dismissal that any more pre-game work needs to be done is reminiscent of the mystery of the Sox defensive and baserunning sloppiness. Ventura staked his name and reputation early on rigorous commitment to drilling and practice, and gets the worst results.

5. Geovany Soto threw out a baserunner Tuesday night, which--even though Starling Marte also stole second and scored on an Andrew McCutchen single in the third--will ever so slightly raise the Sox league-worst 21% caught stealing rate. This is likely the White Sox 34th most-pressing issue at the moment, but if they get through the first 33, this will be there waiting for them.

6. Dave Cameron's little point about the White Sox scandal in the Dominican Republic not getting the same fanfare as the Cardinals-Astros idiot-a-thon irked me for a number of reasons.

The White Sox self-reported the scandal, and not necessarily out of any sense of nobility, but because they were the ones getting scammed into paying inflated prices for non-prospects while David Wilder & Co. profited. There was no performance advantage gained, and the division between who was involved and who wasn't could be rather clearly-defined by who was interested in winning games or keeping their job. 

However, it's likely that the Cardinals scandal will eventually get drilled down to a handful of bad actors at the end of the day as well. And as Craig Calcaterra points out, federal hacking law is strict enough that the legal ramifications may be so severe, the MLB just glances at the smoking crater left in the St. Louis front office and shrugs if there aren't connections to the higher-ups. If there are, well, we won't be wasting time comparing this to the Dave Wilder scandal again.

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7. Thanks to their recent slump, the White Sox now have no regular with

A batting average .285 or higher

An on-base percentage .350 or higher.

A slugging percentage .500 or higher.

Magglio Ordonez once OPS'd .910 or more four years in a row. Not really related, but I just happened to be looking up his stats. No reason, no motivation. No sense of deep longing.

8. Robin Ventura and Todd Steverson both expressed confidence in Carlos Sanchez, and reminded that it's not on him to turn the offense around by himself...WHICH AS WE ALL KNOW IS THE KISS OF DEATH! 

Seriously, though. Micah Johnson had the full confidence of the organization up until lunchtime of the day he was sent down.

9. Wednesday starter John Danks has had one quality start in his last five times out (42 hits in 29.1 innings), is averaging less than six innings per start, and opponents have an .870 OPS against him for the whole season. The league against John Danks would be the best hitter on the White Sox; an unquestioned offensive MVP. But, you know, he did shut out the Astros.

10. Erik Johnson struck out 11 Pawtucket Red Sox batters Tuesday night over six shutout innings with Triple-A Charlotte. He's struck out 79 in 70 innings with a 3.34 ERA. There's still some weirdness and control issues in his profile, and the whole mystery of what the hell happened to him last year, but at least someone is doing something good in the organization.

The boys at Future Sox don't think it would be a bad move to swap him with the subject of item No. 9.