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Streakers & Slumpers: Red Hot Starts for Some, Ice Cold Beginnings for Others

Well we are one week into the season and the White Sox had a successful homestand by taking two out of three against the Royals and the Mariners.  While it is certainly too early to draw any conclusions from such a small sample size let’s take a look at who is hot and who is not after the first week of the year.


Streaking

Alex Rios

After a less than stellar performance in the World Baseball Classic and missing some time with back soreness Alex Rios has picked right back up this year where he left off last year, namely being the White Sox best hitter.

Rios went 8-for-22 on the homestand (.364) with 3 home runs and 5 RBI.  He also drew three walks, stole two bases and scored four runs.  He has recorded a hit in each of the Sox first six games.  So far moving Rios to the third spot in the lineup has paid off.

Tyler Flowers

The hero of Opening Day Flowers has gotten off to a good start this year.  He has caught five of the White Sox first six games and recorded a hit in each of his first four starts of the year.  He became the just the second player in American League history with a home run in a 1-0 game on Opening Day.  He also became the ninth White Sox player to homer in the first two games of the season.

Three of his five hits have gone for extra bases and his 1.244 OPS leads the White Sox.  It’s a good start for Flowers, who has the task of replacing longtime fan favorite AJ Pierzynski behind the plate.

Addison Reed

Coming into the season the White Sox bullpen was looked upon as a strength, but its success is ultimately going to fall on the right arm of Addison Reed.  One week into the season and it’s hard to ask for much more from the Sox second year closer.  Reed has made four appearances, picked up a save in the first three and got the win in the other.

He has allowed one hit and two walks in four innings with four strikeouts and has not allowed a run.  While it is still early, it’s good to see Reed pick up some early saves, especially since two of the saves were in one run games.


Slumping

Jeff Keppinger

Baseball is a finicky sport.  The guy who hit over .400 in Spring Training and was lining balls all over the field is now 1-for-21 on the young season and has been beating everything into the ground.  On top of that he has already struck out twice this year, he didn’t record his second strikeout until May 10th last year.

While I am confident that Keppinger will his this year, most Sox fans who didn’t see him in Spring Training probably think he is the next Mark Teahen.  Kepp is too good of a hitter to keep beating the ball into the ground but with Connor Gillaspie off to a good start at the plate (3-for-6 with a triple) and in the field he better watch his back or White Sox fans will be calling for his benching.

Paul Konerko

The Captain has also gotten off to a very slow start after a good Spring Training.  Paulie is 2-for-20 with a double, one RBI and a couple strikeouts to start the season.  It has to be a concern for Sox fans after the way he finished the last season hitting just .243 in August and September.

The good news is that Konerko has been hitting the ball to all fields and has had a couple that it looked like he just missed.  If the White Sox are going to do anything this year they are going to need their Captain to be productive at the plate.

Alejandro De Aza

(PICTURED ABOVE) The top of the White Sox order has not done a very good job of getting on base and making things happen in the early part of the season.

We already mentioned Keppinger’s start but De Aza has also struggled out of the gate, with the exception of his home run to help get the Sox back into the game on Friday.  Overall he is hitting just .167 (4-for-24) with six strikeout and no walks.  His on-base percentage is actually lower than his batting average at .160.  Those are not the type of numbers you want to see from your lead-off batter.

As a result of the struggles of De Aza and Keppinger the White Sox have had a hard time putting up runs through the first six games of the season.

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