The White Sox didn't do enough bum slaying in May and now as we prepare to flip the calendar to June, their hopes of a midseason turnaround still feel like more of a pipe dream.
Words by Terrence Tomlin
May was supposed to be a month of rejuvenation for the White Sox.
Relying on the notion that April was too early to count them out, the menu of May opponents looked ripe for a hot streak. Out of the 30 games slated for May, only 9 of them would be against teams with a record above .500 and 20 of them against their AL Central neighbors. Sitting at 9-21 and 7.5 games back in the division on May 2nd, the opportunity to climb out of the grave they dug themselves was right there in front of them.
Fast forward to May 30th, even a 7-3 victory over the Angels the day after Memorial Day to give them their 15th win of the month hasn’t remedied the feeling of running in place for the south siders.
“The first marking post is Memorial Day, we’ll probably have a similar conversation around the 4th of July about where things sit and where things go. Again, I think the frustration we all felt in April, we haven’t completely rinsed ourselves of. We know this team is capable of performing at a level we’ve seen glimpses of over the last 4 weeks but not enough consistency.”
The word I’d use to describe this month is “tease” and we already know, nobody likes those. Although it wasn’t the month from hell that April proved to be, disappointing series losses to the Kansas City Royals earlier in the month and the Detroit Tigers as the month came to a close kept them from gaining the ground they needed to if they’re hopes of a midseason turnaround would be believed by anybody outside of their clubhouse.
The 7.5 game climb they had at the beginning of the month has grown to a dream-killing 10.5. But in the weakest division in baseball, a 23-34 record doesn't put you completeley out of contention and Rick Hahn still isn’t ready to hit the proverbial panic button.
“What we want, obviously, is for the consistency to arrive and for us to be in contention to win the division come the end of the year. There will come a point where that becomes apparent that that’s not very likely to happen. At that point we’ll have to make that final decision about direction. It’s not a decision that we have to make on Memorial Day.”
Now, I don’t have a DeLorean that time travels when it hits 88mph, but I don’t need one to predict that things can potentially get ugly for a team that failed to be the bum slayers they needed to be in what just might be their easiest calendar month of the season. The only way the White Sox make it through June in one piece is if the dog in them finally rears its head. Only 4 out of 26 games are coming vs teams below .500.
Lucas Giolito, Tuesday night’s winning pitcher, gave a cliché but nonetheless honest answer when asked how this team needs to approach the next month of the season.
“Continue to win series. Tomorrow will be a big day. Continue to play good, focused and clean baseball. I know that I have a couple things I need to improve on so I can give us a better chance to win each time I take the ball but for the most part we just gotta keep staying together and keep playing hard. That’s really it. Win games and see what happens.”