It’s a little over a week into the regular season and as usual there are some surprising starts, both good and bad on the White Sox. Let’s take a look at who was ready to go and who wishes they were still in Arizona in this week’s Streaking and Slumping.
Chris Sale: The White Sox lefty has certainly lived up to his billing as the ace of the team to start the season. Sale is the only White Sox starter with a win through the first seven games and he’s actually gotten two of them already. Sale was solid on Opening Day against the Twins working into the 8th inning before departing with the lead and the bullpen was able to hang on for the win. Sale was back to work on Sunday and played the role of the stopper perfectly tossing eight shutout innings against the Royals to halt a three game losing streak. Through two starts Sale is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA, a 0.717 WHIP and a 7.00 K/BB ratio. Pretty, pretty good.
Alexei Ramirez: The notoriously slow starting Ramirez has gotten off to a very hot start this season. Alexei is hitting .440/.500/.560 through the first seven games of the season. He leads the Sox with 11 hits and three doubles and is second on the team with five RBI. He has also walked three times and is 2-for-2 in stolen bases. He’s been spraying the ball all over the field and has even been robbed a couple times by nice plays in the field or just by hitting at ‘em balls. A pretty solid start for a guy with a career .242/.281/.331 triple slash in March/April.
Tyler Flowers: Another hot start at the plate for Flowers this year, who was 5-for-12 with two home runs to start the season last year. This year he is 9-for-19 (.474) to start the season, which included a string of seven straight hits. While most of the hits have been singles, he has spread them around to different parts of the field so that is encouraging.
Avisail Garcia: Garcia is off to a very rough start for the Sox and was even given a day off the other day to try and clear his head. Avisail is just 4-for-24 (.167) with six strikeouts on the season. He has looked lost at times at the plate and even when he has gotten some good pitches to hit, he has fouled them off. Pitchers are taking advantage of Garcia’s plate coverage by getting him to swing at pitches out of the zone low and away or fastballs at the letters. Until Garcia realizes that just because he can cover most of the plate, it doesn’t mean he should, pitchers will continue to get him out outside of the zone.
Marcus Semien: Making his first major league roster out of spring training and getting the start on Opening Day might have caused Semien to press a little to start the year. After a solid spring training where he was hitting line drives all over the field and working counts Semien started the year 0-for-13 with five strikeouts. After working a bases loaded walk in the finale against Minnesota, Semien seemed to settle down. His next at bat was a solo home run and he has had a hit in five straight games. Still that brutal start has him at .156/.206/.281 on the season with nine strikeouts through the first seven games.
Bullpen: We are going to go ahead and lump the entire bullpen into this group since it really wasn’t very good to start the season. Two losses, three blown saves, a combined ERA over 6.00 and 12 walks in 19.1 innings does not instill much confidence going forward. Nate Jones was sent to the DL after making two appearances where he didn’t record an out and gave up four runs on two hits with three walks. Scott Downs has an ERA north of 10.00 and even though Maikel Cleto has a 0.00 ERA, he has allowed three of four inherited runners to score. You have to figure that it will get better, but right now I’m not sure Sox fans or Robin Ventura really trust anyone coming out of the bullpen.