White Sox open season with worst start in franchise history: How offense, pitching have combined for failure


The Chicago White Sox’s latest thrashing came Sunday against the Reds. The 11-4 loss to Cincy dropped the Sox to 2-13 on the season, and that gives the South Siders their worst 15-game start in franchise history. The 1968 White Sox squad started off 3-12 en route to a 95-loss campaign, but their unfortunate record is no more. 

As for the 2024 model, their current winning percentage of .133 puts them on target for a 140-loss season. To state the obvious, that’s not going to come to pass, barring the unimaginable. However, SportsLine presently projects the Sox for a 53-109 record. Such a loss tally would be the highest in franchise history by a margin of three over the 106-loss 1970 club. That SportsLine projection at this early hour mostly reflects the uninspiring nature of the Chicago roster, but that grisly start is playing a supporting role. 

What’s also notable is that the Sox at a fundamental level have deserved such a fate. That’s because the Sox thus far have been out-scored by their opponents by a margin of 51 runs. That’s the worst run differential in Major League Baseball right now by a huge margin. The Marlins, at minus-35, have the second-worst run differential. 

So how bad have things been for Pedro Grifol’s club? Let’s undertake a brief walking tour of the carnage: 

  • The White Sox have allowed as many runs over their last four games, 34, as they’ve scored all season long. 
  • The Sox presently rank last in MLB in runs scored and OPS. 
  • They’re last in runs scored per game and 28th in runs allowed per game. 
  • Sox hitters have the “distinction” of having scored the fewest runs in all of baseball by a wide margin and also being tied for the fewest runners left on base in all of baseball. 
  • They’ve been out-homered by the opposition 21-8. 
  • The Sox’s eight homers are one more than Braves DH Marcell Ozuna has hit thus far. 
  • In more positive news, the club is besting former Sox prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. by three home runs on the season. 
  • Framed another way, Erick Fedde and Michael Soroka in their combined 34 innings pitched have allowed more home runs (9) than the entire team has hit.
  • The Sox have already been shut out five times, which comes to 33% of their total games. 
  • The Sox’s offense has an OPS of .583. For context, Myles Straw had an OPS of .597 last season. Now imagine a roster populated by 13 Myles Straws, none quite himself. That’s the Chicago offensive “attack.” 
  • On offense, lineup regulars Nicky Lopez, Andrew Benintendi, and Martín Maldonado have respective OPS+ figures of 10, 7, and -41.  
  • They’re 1-5 in games decided by one run and 0-5 in games decided by more than five runs. 
  • They’re 1-7 at home and 1-6 on the road. 
  • In those eight home games, they’ve been out-scored 49-16. 
  • Sox hitters are averaging a home run every 59.25 at-bats, which is the worst figure in baseball. The Tigers are 29th with a home run every 42.92 at-bats, and the Brewers lead all comers with a home run every 21.91 at-bats. 
  • Benintendi and Robbie Grossman have been Chicago’s leadoff hitters this season. They’re on pace to score 65 runs on the season. Combined.
  • Pitcher wins and losses are not particularly illuminating unless, like Chris Flexen, you’re on pace to go 0-30. 

You get the idea, and anything further would probably qualify as unnecessary roughness. 

Theoretically, these early depths aren’t all that surprising. This is a club coming off a 101-loss campaign in 2023. As well, they traded away ace Dylan Cease to the Padres for a package of younger talent that isn’t going to help much right away. Last year’s deadline also saw the Sox move some useful veterans, and this year injuries to core contributors like Luis Robert Jr., Yoán Moncada, and Eloy Jiménez have also exacted a price in the standings. The bullpen has also been hit with its share of health woes. 

Under new lead operator Chris Getz, the Sox are into what figures to be a yearslong rebuilding process. That’s relevant because this year’s deadline could occasion even more trades of vets that could set up the Sox for an especially miserable stretch drive. Would Getz seek to cash in on Garrett Crochet‘s thus far promising transition from reliever to starter? It’s entirely possible the front office sees him as a member of the next relevant Sox team, whenever such a thing might come to pass, but a trade of him would be defensible, too. Michael Kopech may have lockdown potential in the bullpen, and those sorts are always in demand. Perhaps if those injured core hitters get healthy and leveled up in time for tradin’ season they’ll be dangled. 

This leads us to two related points. One is that, no, the Sox aren’t going to continue winning games at a clip that calls to mind Nicky Lopez’s current batting average, but the other is that the trade deadline could turn this husk of a roster into … something worse than a husk. A “putrescent rind of devil flesh” perhaps?

The White Sox have been built to be bad in 2024, you see, and they’ve done a fine job at that. Congrats? 



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