By: Ross Jacobson
Friday, May 7, 2010
Dana Eveland, a castoff from three other organizations, has dominated the White Sox twice this season. Courtesy: ESPN
They call it a slump-buster, a stat-booster, even a career-changer. That one start when a pitcher puts it altogether and dominates an opposing lineup. Call it what you want, but starting pitchers are consistently using the White Sox as their own personal panacea this season.
Chicago's offensive deficiencies are well-documented. After Dana Eveland mastered the White Sox for the second time this season on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago's team batting average dropped to an anemic .225. Beckham, Quentin, Ramirez, Pierre, and Pierzynski are all struggling to stay above the Mendoza line (.200) and the offense has scored three or fewer runs in 15 games this season. The Sox record in those games, a nifty 1-14.
According to the Game Score metric devised by Bill James where a good pitching performance from a starting pitcher is any score greater than or equal to 50, opposing starters have thrown quality starts in 18 of 29 games this season.
But maybe the most interesting trend over this first month of misery is the type of pitchers this White Sox team is struggling against. While the Sox have handled the three most accomplished pitchers they've faced this season -- Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez and Gil Meche -- the South Siders are coming up empty against relatively young and inexperienced starters, most of whom have only one or two career starts against Chicago.
And it's not like the White Sox are facing Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander every time they take the field. The list of pitchers to make the White Sox look like a Triple-A team includes unhousehold names like Justin Masterson, Doug Fister and C.J. Wilson. The 16 pitchers who have thrown quality starts against them this season have a grand total of one all-star game apperance -- Francisco Liriano in 2006 -- COMBINED.
It's unclear why a veteran team like the White Sox would struggle against younger pitching. Is it a lack of familiarity or maybe just one of those random quirky things that happens in baseball. Whatever it is, the White Sox need to figure it out quickly because these pitchers aren't going away any time soon.
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