Although a comeback 12-9 win over the Rays on Sunday put an end to their embarrassing 10 game skid, the hole they have put themselves in is deep enough to side-eye their latest victory.
Words by Terrence Tomlin
For the White Sox, the last 4 days have been the stuff nightmares are made of.
After spending the spring pleading to anybody who would listen that last season’s display of “mid” was a thing of the past, the wheels seem ready to fall off just 29 games into their 2023 campaign.
On Thursday, after not winning a single game on a six-game road trip that made stops in Tampa Bay and Toronto and in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, they returned home. But nobody was singing “Sweet Home Chicago.”
Instead, an eager group of Chicago media greeted Rick Hahn with questions poking at the security of his ten-year stint as the team’s general manager and waited for his take on the commotion that his teams (then) 7-18 start to the season was causing.
“Put it on me.”
Hahn’s now infamous quote let it be known that any blame for his teams frustrating start should be placed on him. Problem is, most of anybody who has been paying attention to the South Side was already doing that. With just two seasons of winning baseball under Hahns belt since 2013, his longevity can only be described as the result of an owner who is sleep at the wheel and allowing a level of leniency not seen in sports today.
Who in the world would envy Rick Hahn’s seat? Albeit safe all these years, but as the poster child for what it looks like when an organization doesn’t value winning, is this what anybody wants?
“But I want to make something abundantly clear. I’m not a king. I don’t sit in this chair by divine birthright. It’s an absolute privilege to be general manager of the White Sox, one that I need to continue to earn,” Hahn told reporter Gordon Wittenmyer.
But there’s no denying that even while we still sit in the calendar month of April and the bulk of the MLB season has yet to be played, calls for the end of the Hahn era are more than deserved.
It’s also no denying that the White Sox started this year with their backs already against the trade deadline wall and needed to come out swinging. But their nose dive start to the season has already generated buzz that a fire sale could be right around the corner for a team that some felt, on paper, should at least be competing for an AL Central division title.
“I think it [the season] naturally has a timeline. Look, the trade deadlines at a certain date so you start backing up from there in terms of when decisions start getting made about which direction you go. This start has created quite a hole for us so that we need to start getting right, quickly, so that we’re in a position to make that a difficult decision at the trade deadline, much less an obvious one that we need to add. Again, the timeline’s longer than 25 games, but we’ve got to start getting this thing right quick,” Hahn told The Bigs.
Later that night, the Tampa Bay Rays proceeded to kick the White Sox in the head, just in case they showed any signs of getting up. No mercy, Kobra Kai style. Handing them a 14-5 L that extended their losing streak to 8 games, Tampa would beat them again on Friday (2-3 Final) and Saturday (3-12) to push their losing streak to 10, officially scratching point of no return territory.
Here’s a look at just how bad things are right now for the White Sox: They have yet to win a series over a month into the season. They’ve had more players on the injured list so far than they have wins. Only the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s have a worse record than them. Since Tim Anderson left the lineup with a sprained left knee on April 11th, they have gone 2-15 and are currently on pace to lose over 120 total games, which has only happened twice in the history of baseball.
So, although a comeback win over the Rays on Sunday, by way of a 7 run 9th inning that was capped by a 3-run walk-off home run from Andrew Vaughn, put an end to their embarrassing 10 game skid, the hole they have put themselves in is deep enough to side-eye their latest victory.
The White Sox are firmly in the “We don’t believe you/you need more people” lane until further notice.
For fans that are keeping the faith, I’ll leave you with this glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Tim Anderson, the teams Lebron, is slated to return Tuesday just in time for their 3-game series vs the Minnesota Twins. He is the straw that stirs the drink on the South Side. Tim is hitting .298 (14-47) with five doubles, four RBI, has five stolen bases, two walks and nine runs scored in 11 games played this season. Before his injury, Anderson ranked among American leaders in steals (T2nd), doubles (T3rd), multi-hit games (T4th, 5), runs scored (T6th) and hits (T9th).
All eyes will be on #7 to see if he can not only pick up where he left off, but if greener pastures are ahead for this team, he will need to play better than he ever has as a White Sox.