This baseball season has been frustrating so far. The weather is terrible (snow in late April?), and the White Sox are just as cold. But we've been here before. The White Sox rarely roar out of the gate. The difference between good years and bad is the length of the slump. Since we've been here before, I present your guide to White Sox slow starts.
I'm going to cover the post World Series years, since they involve the same ballpark and some of the same players.
Slow Start? No.
The Sox beat Cleveland 10-4 on a rain-soaked opening night. They proceeded to lose the next four games. They would then go on to win 13 of their next 15 games. They ended April with a 17-7 record, identical to their record in April of 2005.
What happened? The White Sox looked like they were bound for the post season. But, the AL Central was much more competitive in 2006. The Indians didn't come close to fulfilling the potential shown during the second half of 2005. But the Tigers and the Twins were much more competitive, and 90 wins weren't enough to get the White Sox back into the playoffs.
Slow Start? Maybe.
The 2007 White Sox season was a dumpster fire, but the month of April wasn't an indication of the horrors to come. The Sox would not post a victory until game No. 3 (Roberto Hernandez "hit" AJ Pierzynski with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run). They would end the month of April 12-11.
The high water mark of the 2007 season came on May 25, when a 5-4 win over the Devil Rays put the White Sox at four games over .500. They won 10 games in June, and eight games in August. They would finish the season with a record of 72-90, their worst showing since 1989.
Slow Start? Kinda
April wasn't a problem for the 2008 Sox. They dropped the first two games in Cleveland. But they won the next five games. But they never got much traction throughout April. They finished the month with a record of 14-12. Late April/early May included a disastrous road trip through Minnesota and Toronto that saw the White Sox go 0-6. Despite the result, the team's ERA dropped during that same stretch. On May 13, they were in third place with a record of 18-21. One week, and one eight-game winning streak later, the Sox were 26-21 with a three game lead. The Sox went on to win the AL Central.
Slow Start? I guess
April didn't kill the White Sox as much as May. The Sox ended the month with a record of 11-10. The Sox also kicked off May with another disastrous road trip. Unlike the year before, they were not rescued by an eight-game winning streak. The high water mark of the season came on July 23, when Mark Buherle's perfect game pulled the White Sox into a tie for first place. They would go on to drop three of the next four games.
Slow Start? Yes.
The Sox went 2-4 during their opening home stand. And then they went 2-5 during their first road trip of the season. They finished the month 9-13, and 33 percent of their wins came from a three game sweep of the Seattle Mariners.
The month of May would bring even more indignities, including the game on May 14th where Ozzie Guillen penciled Omar Vizquel into the lineup as the DH. By June 1, the Sox were seven games under .500 and 8½ games out of first place. The Sox would go 26-5 between June 9 and July 15. That was good enough to push them into first.
Slow Start? Of course.
The 2011 Sox season was a carbon copy of 2010, without the epic winning streak(s). The Sox finished April with a record of 10-18. The low water mark came on May 3, when they were no-hit by Francisco Liriano.
Slow Start? Kinda
The Sox were 12-12 in April of 2012. But the losses were back-loaded. During the final week of April, the Sox went 1-5. By May 17, the Sox were 17-21 and 4½ games out of first place. The Sox would then go 14-2 to push them over .500, and into first place. They would not give up that lead until the final week of the season.
We've seen this show before. The miseries of April are compounded by a winter that never seems to end. Cold bats combined with cold weather are a recipe for bad tempers. But as we've learned from previous years, the difference between a good year and a bad year is an eight-game winning streak.