Can the White Sox Outrun their Poor Season?

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Written by Georgia Dykstra , Sports Editor

With the start of September comes the beginning of the end–for baseball at least. Playoffs are just under a month away, and it’s time to get down to business. Chicago’s very own White Sox is only a couple of games behind the leading team in the Central Division, The Cleveland Guardians. This means they have a month to catch up in order to get into the playoffs and have a chance of taking home the World Series for the first time since 2005. 

Based off of their stats, The White Sox have played average baseball all year. However, many fans and observers notice that the team is much more talented than what their record suggests, which creates a stronger case for their potential comeback this October. They have one of the best starting pitchers in the MLB (Dylan Cease), three more successful, veteran pitchers (Lucas Giolito, Lance Lyn, and Johnny Cueto), and a younger pitcher that shows promising talent for the future (Michael Kopech). On the field, they have 10 players with a batting average of over .250, three of which have at or above a .300, and some seriously talented defensive players, so it seems pretty clear that the White Sox should be playing well above average. 

Their underperformance has been attributed by many fans and outsiders to their team manager, Tony La Russa. La Russa is a retired baseball player and has had a very successful managerial past, leading two of his former teams, The St. Louis Cardinals and The Oakland Athletics, to three World Series Championships altogether. An accomplishment only held by him and 9 other managers in MLB history. He is also one of only two managers to win the title with both a National and American League team. With all this said, since he joined The White Sox in their 2020 season, the team has not performed to their fullest potential.

So, if Tony La Russa is a highly respected and successful baseball manager, why hasn’t he been able to help The White Sox? Well, part of the reason may be because before the 2020 season, Tony La Russa hadn’t managed a team in 9 years, and in a game that evolves and changes season to season, he has not been able to catch up with the game itself. In the last 10 years, new technology has created better pitching and batting strategies and has completely changed the technique used to hit the ball. This means that Tony La Russa came into the 2020 season without a clear understanding of current gameplay. Because he lacks the young mind to catch up with today’s baseball and has a poor understanding of how the game has evolved, White Sox fans had to watch in frustration and confusion as he continually made mistakes involving the lineup, pitching matchups, and the misuse of the closer that ended up costing them many winnable games.

 That is, until August 31, 2022, when he underwent testing for his heart and had to be pulled from coaching. Although created by upsetting circumstances, The White Sox have taken 9 out of the last 12 games coached by his temporary replacement, Miguel Cairo (the White Sox bench coach). Assuming the problem was indeed La Russa and The Sox can keep up this .750 pace for the next 21 games, they are more than capable of winning the division and possibly going on to win the entire World Series. 

So, will the White Sox make the playoffs this year and take the World Series Championship home? Outsiders may have their doubts at the prospect, but fans that have religiously watched The White Sox for the last three seasons know there’s always a chance with them, and this year is no exception.