That's the only way to describe the White Sox performance the last two days. -- Yeah, I'm including yesterday's 1-0 victory. They only managed 1 run (a home run by Paul Konerko) against a bad Kansas City team, going 0-8 w/ RISP. It looked like the August offense had shown up again. -- They followed up that sorry offensive performance by getting absolutely shut down by a soft-tossing rookie with 1 career victory.
JP Howell threw junk all night. He only used two different pitches, and didn't come close to touching 90 on the radar gun. Yet he had no problem making the White Sox, Aaron Rowand in particular, look like a little league team all night.
The Sox getting shut down by a soft-tossing lefty is nothing new. I've grown used to watching Jamie Moyer and Kenny Rogers make our hitters look over matched with slow, slower, and practically motionless pitches off the outside corner, but that's not what Howell featured.
No, Howell didn't have pinpoint control to paint the outside corner with 80MPH fastballs all night. In fact, he walked 5 batters in just 6 innings. He was trying to hit the outside corner, but more often than not he was well outside to right handers. It appeared as if the Sox had no plan against the young southpaw. Just one of the outs made by a right handed batter against Howell was to the right fielder, first baseman, or second baseman. I can understand if that happened the first time through the line-up, but if happened all three times. Juan Uribe was the lone batter to go the other way, but that was the second inning.
The offense is still struggling. The Tigers and Rangers pitching just made it look good temporarily. -- Just how bad has the offense been?
The Sox have not had a come from behind victory of more than 1 run since July 30th.
July 30th!!! -- And that was against the Orioles who were busy making off season tee time reservations.
Last season the White Sox ranked last in the AL in at-bats with runners in scoring position. They made up for their lack of scoring opportunities by hitting at a much higher rate with RISP than without. This season, the Sox rank last in all of baseball in at-bats with runners in scoring position. It gets worse. They're not even close to the 29th ranked team, the Nationals (who not surprisingly rank last in baseball in runs scored). The Sox have about 7% fewer at bats with RISP than the Nats.
When compared to the Major League average, the White Sox have about 12% fewer RISP at-bats than the average team.
True, they rank in the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored, but that's because the Sox have 107 solo HRs, and 34 with a runner on first base. That accounts for 27% of their total offense. "Ozzieball" which was supposed to provide us with more scoring opportunities simply doesn't exist. Or if the off chance that it does exist, it sure as hell doesn't work.
Thank God for good pitching, otherwise it would have been a long season.