Through five games in the 2013 season, the Chicago White Sox were 3-2. They would finish the opening month of the season five games under .500 (10-15) and would lose 84 of the next 137 games to finish 63-99, the third-worst record in baseball. Although their five-game start has been promising for the Sox in 2014, they’re actually a game off their early start last season.
The White Sox fell to Kansas City for the second straight day on Saturday afternoon with a 4-3 loss to the Royals. Salvador Perez‘s eighth-inning double off Sox reliever Scott Downs ended up being the deciding factor.
In his first start of the season, John Danks went seven innings, gave up five hits, three runs (all earned), four walks and struck out six on 116 pitches. Danks didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning, when the Royals scored twice to take a 2-0 lead.
The Sox made another late-game push by tying the game at three in the eighth inning by scoring twice. Conor Gillaspie hit a frozen rope to center field to drive home Marcus Semien with the bases loaded. Paul Konerko followed Gillaspie’s single with a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game.
As most have stated multiple times (including myself), this White Sox team is a different bunch. Even with a small sample of the season (five games = roughly 3% of the season), the Sox have shown a sense of urgency and fight in games that wasn’t seen during the nightmare of 2013.
The one big issue that’s clear already with the Sox: the bullpen (and the high amount of walks). In Saturday’s loss, White Sox pitchers had five more walks, four by Danks.
#WhiteSox had one walk on Opening Day and 23 since.
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesCSN) April 5, 2014
(Technically, it’s 24 walks for the Sox since Opening Day. Scott Downs walked Billy Butler in the eighth inning after Hayes tweeted this stat.)
What also hurt the Sox in the loss: the Sox were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 22 runners on base. Kansas City pitcher Bruce Chen frustrated the Sox once again with a strong outing. In 6 2/3 innings pitched, Chen gave up six hits, just one earned run, no walks and struck out seven on 101 pitches.