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Time to sell for White Sox

After last year’s surprisingly strong performance, the Chicago White Sox gave fans every reason to believe they would compete this year.

 

They have been a huge disappointment offensively and defensively – and are just painful to watch at this point. And it is only July! The only thing that kept the Chicago spotlight off the train wreck this season has become for the White Sox was the amazing (and long) playoff run of the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

The departure of leader A.J. Pierzynski and the lack of any eye-popping off-season acquisitions was questionable, considering how close the Sox were to capturing the Central Division last year. But with a stable of young, talented arms, it seemed the Sox would simply go out and win the 3-2 and 2-1 games on their strength of their young guns. How wrong that assumption has turned out to be. They can’t even win a 1-0 game with the offense they have.

 

The Sox can’t win the close games because they can’t score. They have been shutout nine times already this year. They were shutout 12 times during all of 2012. Though Sunday, they were last in the American League in runs scored, doubles, total bases, runs batted in, and slugging percentage;

tied for last in home runs; second to last in runs scored, on-base percentage and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage); and tied for second to last in triples. It is an offense that is downright terrible.

 

Even southpaw sensation Chris Sale can’t save the Hitless Blunders. Despite giving up just 20 runs in 49 1/3 innings since the end of May for a respectable 3.10 earned run average, Sale has an 0-6 record for that stretch.

 

Combine the anemic offense with a defense that has committed the third most errors in the American League and you have a pitching staff needing to be razor sharp just for the team to compete.

 

A few key injuries – Gordon Beckham early in the season and Paul Konerko now – have taken some of the firepower from the offense. However, there is a line-up full of underachievers who could have picked up the slack, but they have not.

 

It is hard to imagine the Sox not waving the white flag in the coming weeks as the trade deadline approaches. Jesse Crain, Jake Peavy and Alex Rios all seem likely to have new addresses by month’s end as the Sox will be dumping payroll and getting prospects by dealing the few coveted players they do have.

 

It will be interesting to see just how far the fire sale goes. It is hard to imagine the offers will be good enough for defensive liability Alexei Ramirez and homer-or-nothing overpriced slugger Adam Dunn to be shipped elsewhere, but both do have some upside for pennant contenders.

 

Four left-handed starters is a luxury the Sox cannot afford to keep and at least one may be sent packing or converted into a reliever should some contender actually wants to take a risk on the ever-erratic Matt Thornton, the left-handed relief specialist now.

 

Few bright spots remain for Sox fans for the rest of the season. The emergence of catcher Josh Phegley and third baseman Conor Gillaspie could be two highlights in an otherwise dismal season.

 

But keep your heads up, Sox fans, hockey season is less than three months away.

 

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