The White Sox are a bad baseball team. They have the third worst record in all of baseball, behind only Houston and Miami, two teams that are actively trying not to win. The White Sox have not finished behind the Royals in the standings since 1995, so enjoy this feeling. Hawk Harrelson's tears sustain us and make us stronger.
The White Sox sport a decent rotation, with a 3.98 ERA, above league average. All-Star Chris Sale fronts the rotation (wish we had a chance to land pitchers like him in the draft!) with a 2.81 ERA, although he has just a 6-9 record. He can commiserate with tonight's starting pitcher James Shields in the "no run support club."
Jake Peavy, on the trading block, has been decent when healthy this year as well, but its a pair of young lefties in Hector Santiago and tonight's starting pitcher - Jose Quintana - who have been the bright spots in the rotation. The bullpen has been less effective with a 4.01 ERA, but young closer Addison Reed has 26 saves and a 4.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jesse Crain has been fantastic out of the pen with a 0.74 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine innings, and a .562 OPS against, but he's on the disabled list. Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom are the only other dependable relievers on the staff, with the rest of the pen comprised of AAAA rejects like Ramon Troncoso and Donnie Veal. If the Royals can get deep into the White Sox pen, it could spell trouble for Robin Ventura's bunch.
The White Sox offense however, is just putrid. They are 14th in runs scored, worse than even the Royals. They are 14th in on-base percentage at .303, 11th in slugging, and 12th in home runs. The days when Royals pitchers would tremble with fear at the big boppers in the White Sox lineup are over. Adam Dunn is still there with his 24 home runs, but he hasn't managed to hit over .220 in a season since 2010. The seemingly ageless Paul Konerko is finally starting to decline, with a .680 OPS season that includes just seven home runs. Infielder Gordon Beckham has the best OPS+ on the team at 107, but in limited action, and he is questionable to play this series after a wrist injury.
Outfielder Alejandro de Aza has had a surprisingly nice year, and rightfielder Alexis Rios is cromulent enough for the Royals to be interested in trading for him. Other than that, the rest of the lineup is a disaster. Jeff Keppinger - a popular player on this site - has been a huge free agent bust. Tyler Flowers is a black hole of offense. Alexei Ramirez has been disappointing. Dayan Viciedo is drawing comparisons to former Royals great Josh Fields.
So the table has been set for James Shields to give us his typical 8 IP 7 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 7 K performance. The only question is - can the offense provide any runs for him?