White Sox offense unsuitable for any opponent

USA TODAY Sports

Losing three in a row to Houston leaves hitters speechless, and for good reason

Last month, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim seemed like they had flipped the switch, and the White Sox were there to witness it.

The Sox took the first two games of a four-game set to push the Angels down a season-worst 12 games under .500. But the Angels rebounded to take the last two, and they used the salvaged split as a springboard toward respectability.

the Angels salvaged a split, and then used it as a springboard toward .500. They took two games against the Mariners, swept the Royals in Kansas City, and, after losing two to the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, returned the favor at the Big A.

Winning 10 of 12 brought them within four games of .500, and facing the lowly Houston Astros in a four-game series starting on May 31 gave the Angels a shot at reaching break-even in one shot.

Instead, the Astros kicked the Angels down the ladder with a sweep of their own, which started another stretch of terrible baseball (losing nine of 11). They haven't been within 10 games of first place since June 1.

The Sox are facing the same reality two weeks later. The Astros haven't swept them yet -- they'll try to finish the job tonight -- but they've already served the same purpose in rendering a disappointed opponent utterly ... well, I'll let Adam Dunn say it:

Star-divide

And it is all the offense. As the 12th week of the season begins, the White Sox find themselves last in the following important categories (14th-place team in parentheses):

  • Runs: 237 (Mariners; 246)
  • Doubles: 93 (Yankees; 95)
  • Walks: 164 (Royals; 167)
  • OBP: .293 (Astros; .298)
  • OPS: .665 (Mariners; .682)

And they're second to last in others (last-place team in parentheses)

  • Runs per game: 3.59 (Mariners; 3.51)
  • Batting average: .239 (Mariners;. 237)
  • Slugging percentage: .372 (Royals; .371)
  • Triples: 5 (Mariners; 4)

I guess it's a good thing Dayan Viciedo blew through the stop sign at second on his way to third, because otherwise you'd have to move "triples" to the first group.

What's most remarkable about this is the fact that there are four other teams listed in these categories. The Mariners and Royals have terrible offenses ... but at least they're OK at something. The White Sox can't make that claim. These are pretty much all the categories that count, and the White Sox are no better than 14th in every category but one.

Home runs.

They're 13th in homers.

Man.

Star-divide

This is special, albeit in the worst way possible. There hasn't been a White Sox offense that failed to break into the top 10 of any of these categories -- at least since the AL had 10 teams.

A few come close, but they reached "passable" status somewhere:

1986 White Sox

Last out of 14 teams: Runs, hits, doubles, homers, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS

Almost last: Walks (12th)

But: Triples (ninth)

1980 White Sox

Last out of 14 teams: Runs, walks

Almost last: Hits (12th), homers (13th), BA (11th), OBP (12th), SLG (13th), OPS (13th)

But: Doubles (sixth), triples (sixth)

1967 White Sox

Last out of 10 teams: Hits, OPS

Almost last: Runs (ninth), doubles (seventh), triples (eighth), homers (ninth), BA (eighth), OBP (ninth), SLG (ninth)

But: Walks (sixth)

Of course, we're looking at three different eras and two different parks. Fortunately, we can use OPS+ to account for context.

  1. 1980 White Sox (87 OPS+)
  2. 1967 White Sox (86 OPS+)
  3. 1986 White Sox (80 OPS+)
  4. 2013 White Sox (77 OPS+)

Yes, we truly are watching history in the sausage-like making.

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