There’s an early storyline to the 2021 White Sox: World Series caliber team needs to get its shit together. And it’s driving the south side faithful insane – even after only a few games.
The sky isn’t falling. The team’s chances of reaching the postseason aren’t squashed. The Chicago White Sox will be in the playoffs unless Godzilla smashes into the park and destroys everyone, all at the same time. (Take that King Kong.) But boy, howdy, can this team be frustrating to watch. The White Sox do not suck. Guys are mashing. The pitching staff is (slowly) finding its stroke. I mean, look at Carlos Rodon coming out like he had a score to settle with every time we dogged him for stinking a floater the following day after a long night pounding talls of PBR and honking nose beers in the Exit bathroom.
Pitchers need a month or so to find the fastballs, and hitters spend a lot of time in the early months of the go-round working on their mechanics because better now than in the playoff hunt come September. Last night’s rout of Seattle was a pick-me-up after a dismal weekend in Anaheim, which, to be fair, the Angels will be a lot better than people expect. Mike Trout is still the best player in the game, and guys named Rendon and Ohtani aren’t exactly scrubs, either. The White Sox just had to shake out rust within the machine. The errors at times were pretty heinous, but them’s the breaks. They’re a young squad that needs to understand their place in the American League food chain, and there are no free lunches when every team in the Central wants to bite your ass off the bone.
You can’t expect these guys to crush straight out of the gate, but that’s the problem. White Sox fans aren’t used to this. Think of your average White Sox fan like a hormone-driven teenager, frothing at the mouth over their high school sweetheart. The black cap-clad honey means everything to them, only to play with their emotions just a little bit, and it’s not malicious; they don’t know any better. It’s a new thing, these intense feelings of lust, rejection, and emotional overdrive.
White Sox fans typically expect tepid predictions of where the Pale Hose will fall in the middle of the AL Central pack. It’s not an everyday thing on the south side to be a unanimous pick to be a possible ALCS player when just a few years ago, we were grabbing Manny Ramirez off the scrap heap for one last swing of glory to a half-full field. Now? We’ve got the best baseball team in Chicago, with a few of the best the sport has to offer. Watching these kids gives many folks hope when so much hope has been dismantled over the past year.
For all of the dumb, I mean, dumb errors, the pitching screw-ups, the Sox core stuck with it. They’re working out the kinks. We’re a week into the season. The flashes of brilliance are white-hot. There are undeniable moments where that cosmic roux it takes to win a championship is there: they’re staying in the games they lose, and manufacturing wins out of nothing. Anyone who follows baseball knows when you see that potent mixture, the threat is real.
Jose Abreu socked a grand slam. Giolitto still delivers the goods, and Tony LaRussa shows his managerial prowess with how he’s playing a core that can make you pay both with the reliever matchups and how aggressive the team is while swinging the wood. The team is stacked. There’s firepower from people like Mean Yemen Mercedes coming out of nowhere, while Andrew Vaughn should be finding his groove, too. Losing Eloy Jimenez is a bummer, but you know what, the kids are going to be ok, and they’re going to give us an electric summer.