Chicago White Sox: It is not time to be worried yet as fans

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 25: Aaron Bummer #39 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the San Francisco Giants on February 25, 2020 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 25: Aaron Bummer #39 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the San Francisco Giants on February 25, 2020 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

The 3-4 start is probably not what Chicago White Sox fans hoped for heading into the home opener, which is the first time the Sox have had fans at Guaranteed Rate Field since 2019. Especially with the team being a hot pick to win the American League or even the World Series in 2021.

Indeed, judging by the reactions of fans on Twitter, the word “letdown” is an understatement. Twitter is obviously not a representative sample of all Sox fans but there certainly was an undercurrent of “oh man, this team is actually bad” sentiment on the platform.

I am here to tell concerned Sox fans, and given my reaction to Wednesday’s sixth-inning meltdown, I am one of them, to relax. It will all be okay.

There is no reason for the Chicago White Sox fans to be worried so early.

The bullpen’s bad week wasn’t that bad: Some of the problems sprung not from poor pitching but poor defense. Yes, untimely homers and hits hurt. That said, the bullpen didn’t look completely disastrous, rather key hits/home runs overshadowed otherwise decent if not great performances.

The Los Angeles Angels, who took three of four from the Sox, are good. They have a lineup that includes the game’s best player in Mike Trout, an aging slugger who can still mash (Albert Pujols), and the dangerous player from both sides in Shohei Ohtani. To expect the Sox to go into Anaheim and wipe the floor with a solid Angels club was to buy into the hype.

It’s hard to sweep, especially on the road. I think a lot of Sox fans thought the good guys would sweep a subpar Seattle time right out of Safeco Field T-Mobile Park. The Sox took two of three and probably would’ve had the sweep if not for another defensive miscue (this time an errant throw after a bloop hit) that opened up the floodgates for a big inning.

Yes, there were concerns about Matt Foster’s outing, and his failure to finish off Ty France when France was 0-2 led to Kyle Seager’s crushing blow, but the whole fiasco might have been avoided if Adam Eaton hadn’t misfired his throw into the infield on Dylan Moore’s bloop single.

The injuries are scary but perhaps not as bad as one might think. Yes, Eloy Jimenez is out for the bulk of the regular season and that is bad but Tim Anderson’s injury doesn’t seem quite as bad. Same with Billy Hamilton. We could see both back sooner rather than later.

The Sox didn’t hit in Anaheim. This team will hit and the offense was better in Seattle but save for 12 runs in game two against the Angels, the Sox mostly struggled to score. Nothing looks good when a team built around offense isn’t hitting. That said, Jose Abreu has two grand slams already and as noted, the Sox looked much better against the Mariners. There are signs of life, even with Jimenez’s and Anderson’s bats unavailable.

The Sox will be playing some bad teams this year. The Sox should mostly roll over the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers. Those teams will be pesky, possibly, and they may steal a few wins but the Sox should mostly feast on two bad teams that happen to be in their division.

The defense probably won’t be this bad the entire year. It’s true the Sox defense isn’t considered a strength of the team but it hasn’t been thought of as terrible either. Yet, it’s been the biggest problem and much more so than the bullpen or inconsistent hitting in this author’s opinion, so far this season. I do expect the Sox will start making more routine plays. That will also help the pitching, especially the bullpen, since giving away outs puts a lot of pressure on pitchers.

Finally, the biggest reason not to panic is it’s not 2020 any longer. We have a full 162-game schedule to play. Being 3-4, just one game under .500, after seven of those games is not really that big a deal. Take two of three from KC this weekend and the Sox are suddenly 5-4. Sweep and they’re 6-3.

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Even if they drop two of three and fall to 4-6, there’s no reason to panic. I might get concerned if they get swept and find themselves 3-7, especially if they play poorly as opposed to losing close well-played games. Even then, there would be plenty of time to catch up. So Sox fans, sit back, relax, and strap it down. It’s going to be a long six months. Don’t fret about one week.