1. The White Sox, a team has shaded mediocre (25-30 record) to downright bad (AL-worst -56 run differential), have kicked off their very challenging June schedule with mediocre to downright bad play, getting shelled once each by Texas and Detroit, splitting a pair of one-run games (as one does), while having a bizarre blowout of their own behind Chris Sale. They're obviously due for some greater fortune, but they've put every single serious contender between themselves and a playoff berth, and played objectively miserable to get here. There is not a ton of reason for optimism at present construction. The Sox can take that information to take action as they see fit.
2. Jeff Samardzija being atrocious was the distinctive narrative element of the week that featured the same-old consistently weak offensive performance that has become the 2015 White Sox brand. He was annihilated by Texas and became a footnote on Joey Gallo's career resume to start the week, then seemed to be on track for redemption Sunday after issuing his required first inning run. But as the innings wore on, Samardzija's in-game tendency for missing spots low just became missing spots, and he blew a 4-2 lead over the course of three at-bats (homers from Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Martinez and a bloop triple in between them) with two outs in the sixth. The combination of the liveliness of his stuff and the frequency of his mistakes make it's hard to determine what he'll eventually shake out to: a lights-out strikeout artist or a permanent punching bag. What's his true nature? Looks like the latter so far.
3. Speaking of which, why in burning crazy hell was Samardzija, with five runs on his tab, crud command all day, fresh off falling apart in the sixth inning and nearing 100 pitches, allowed to face the top of the Tigers order in the eighth inning? I try to filter out every critique that seems borne out of explicitly examining Robin's performance for flaws, and just write on what jumps out at me, and he's still on here twice per week. The Tigers wound up adding an insurance run, and dynamics of Alexei Ramirez singling with one out in the ninth totally changed.
This is nothing in Ventura's approach to in-game management that regular conversations with team leadership shouldn't be able to fix if Robin is really a transformational clubhouse leader, but this is also Year 4.
4. Tack on "letting Alfredo Simon coast through the eighth inning after scoring four in the first two frames" onto your list White Sox performances where they let bad pitchers off the hook. That can go along letting Kyle Ryan get through seven innings with just two runs allowed in his first career MLB start, and having Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis run roughshod over them. A fun statistic that flashed across the FOX broadcast Saturday, is that as much as we worry about how the Sox match up with lefties due to Adam LaRoche, The Gillaspie/Beckham situation, Melky Cabrera, and even Adam Eaton, they're one of the few teams that have faced under 10 lefty starters all year and they've STILL been this bad.
5. Here's the weirdest quote of the week:
Adam Eaton is hitting .258/.321/.406 since the start of May, and you could make the line look even friendlier if you wanted to move the cutoff a week into last month. He hasn't been what was expected, but it's hardly what you would call an urgent matter to address, and hasn't been since April ended. And that's before you even began to possibly consider who would replace him. Adam LaRoche? Jose Abreu? Avisail Garcia? It'd be innovative, but probably not your traditional solutions, even if they are the only guys getting on base at a better rate. Gordon Beckham, maybe? What a day that would be.
6. Melky Cabrera has only been teased at being sent down in the order with far more consistently awful play. He batted sixth on Friday night due to a left-handed starter, but has otherwise stayed near the top of the order, even hitting cleanup the previous weekend in Houston. He's still undergoing a fascinating loss of the ability to hit right-handed, but was slugging .317 from the left-hand side going into Sunday, so it's not like his performance is defensible from any angle.
Cabrera has been a very good MLB hitter for each of the last four season save for 2013, when a tumor was found at the base of his spine. His batted ball luck has been atrocious, but it doesn't fully account for the disappearance of his power. So, is it ridiculous to ask if he's healthy?
7. Geovany Soto had a .684 OPS in May and was hitting .240/.321/.360 in his last 10 games (a hot streak for a catcher on this team!), so naturally he was clutching his wrist in pain after a strikeout Sunday. For some reason that statistics don't back up and is probably total BS, Soto has seemed hitterish all year, and is one of the rare Sox players who looks to be angling for power in his swings. He's been playing a ton for a backup catcher, likely prompted by Flowers being terrible and his personal catcher relationship with Samardzija (such a joyous partnership). Anyways, he's probably hurt now.
8. Because it's an unfortunate thing, and thus had to happened to him, Dan Jennings was sent to the disabled list with neck soreness. He was replaced on the roster by 30-year-old rookie Junior Guerra.
CON: The Sox now have only a single left-hander to finagle with, and Robin Ventura has been using Zach Duke as a primary setup man. Hector Noesi remains on the roster doing little of consequence.
PRO: Guerra's development into a major leaguer has been a major source of fascination. Despite being a bad pitcher in the Mexican League as recently as recently as 2012, he can touch the mid-90's and features a slider and change that both show a lot of potential.
ANOTHER PRO: Dan Jennings is planning on wearing one of those Great Gazoo protective caps when he returns.
9. Global No. 1 prospect Carlos Correa is reportedly being called up and will likely debut at shortstop for Houston Monday night, as the preferred path for introducing your future cornerstone has become to have them yam on the White Sox. Chris Sale is starting, so at least the likelihood of Correa highlights leading SportsCenter while the Sox co-star as "Guys craning their necks to watch dingers" is significantly reduced.
10. The MLB draft is Monday night. Look for Collin's preview later this morning.