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The anatomy of the White Sox’ 3-19 second half

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The league’s worst offense and worst pitching will do it

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re a rebuilding team, it’s hard to find wins anywhere, but this current stretch is a tall order for anybody.

The White Sox ended the first half with three games against the Rockies, then opened the second half with the Mariners, Dodgers, Royals, Cubs, Indians, Blue Jays and Red Sox. They’ll start a series with the Astros today, followed by more Royals and Dodgers before a softer week arrives.

That’s nine teams with winning records at the time the White Sox played them, and the Mariners are over .500 and adding now (they acquired Yonder Alonso). The math says the White Sox would find it difficult to win, and the results bear that out, with a whopping 20 losses over their last 23 games.

As a result, the White Sox are now within one game of the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

Reverse Standings

Team W-L GB 2nd Half
Team W-L GB 2nd Half
Phillies 40-69 - 11-11
White Sox 41-68 1 3-19
Giants 44-70 1.5 10-14
Reds 46-66 4.5 7-17

Here’s how the standings looked at the opening of the second half.

  1. Phillies, 29-58
  2. Giants, 34-56
  3. Padres, 38-50
  4. White Sox, 38-49
  5. Reds, 39-49
  6. Mets, 39-47

The White Sox “made up” eight games on the Phillies over a stretch of 22 games, during a stretch where the Phillies played only .500 baseball. This is like “The Phold” in reverse.

It’s been a team effort, because the White Sox sport both ...

Baseball’s worst offense: In the second half, the White Sox rank dead last in all of baseball in runs (68), OBP (.284) and OPS (.658) ... and that includes teams that don’t have the designated hitter. The position players as a group are 0.1 wins below replacement. The Brewers are the only ones worse, and by one-tenth of a point.

... and ...

The league’s worst pitching: The White Sox have the AL’s worst second-half ERA at 5.34, with the Rockies (5.68) and Red (5.84) trailing. It could be worse, because the Sox have yielded a whopping 45 homers over 193 23 innings, along with the highest OBP (.371) and slugging percentage (.520). The Rockies are the only team within 50 points of OPS, and they play at Coors Field. Most of this is on the rotation, which has a 6.28 ERA (second-worst) and a 1.69 WHIP (easily the worst) since the All-Star break. As a whole, the White Sox pitching staff has been worth -1.5 WAR, with every other team on the positive side.

It’s not all bad. Carlos Rodon has finally tied together two overpowering starts, Yoan Moncada went 5-for-14 with three walks during the Boston series, and Reynaldo Lopez is starting on Friday, although the White Sox haven’t yet made that official. There are aspects of this team worth watching on a regular basis.

They just get overshadowed by the overwhelming talent deficit the Sox face day in and day out. Most of it shows up on the scoreboard, but they’re even battling parts that get buried in the box scores (the White Sox running into outs while being unable to slow down the running game, for instance).

The arrival of baseball’s sluggingest offense figures to only exacerbate the problem, but the White Sox aren’t too good for anybody anymore. If they can only count on wins against teams with worse records, they won’t play the Philles until 2019.