It’s probably not a good sign when one of your position players has two relief appearances in the same three game streak. The Chicago White Sox lost two of three against the San Francisco Giants in their first home series of the 2023 season, and after Wednesday’s massacre, a new South Side home run record was set.
The Giants hit five home runs against Michael Kopech in Monday’s home opener in a 12-3 victory, and then they hit three more long balls against Lance Lynn on Thursday en route to a 16-6 victory. In all, the Giants homered 13 times, setting a record for most successful home runs in a three-game streak at the White Sox’ home stadium.
Meanwhile, the White Sox hit one home run against San Francisco, a solo shot by Louis Roberts in Monday’s nine-run loss.
Still, that wasn’t the only bad record the White Sox posted after Wednesday’s loss, because thanks to 13 home runs in the last three games, the team has already given up 15 home runs, which is the new franchise record for most home runs allowed. in the team’s first seven games to start the regular season.
The numbers continue to get ugly after the disastrous series against the Giants, because even though Dylann Seaz has surrendered just two earned runs and three total hits in 11.1 innings, the White Sox lead in runs allowed, walks and apparently home runs allowed.
Now, that doesn’t mean Kopech and Lin are going to give up 3-5 home runs every start because manager Pedro Grifol has been a little slow with his bullpen moves this week. It’s still early and only the White Sox know who is and isn’t available out of the bullpen on any given day, but with Tuesday off, it was odd to see Kopech stay as long as he did in the home opener. Kopech was crushed throughout the game and especially during the fifth inning when he allowed four home runs before finally getting the hook.
Grifol, meanwhile, had at least two or three opportunities to come out and get Lynn out of Thursday’s game, but he chose to stick with the veteran right-hander despite his control issues and also getting hit hard. It must be a difficult balancing act for a manager to not try to drain the bullpen while also trying to keep the match within reach. In the end, after cutting the lead to 4-2, Lin allowed four more runs before being pulled in the fifth inning Thursday.
In the first week of the season, Cease is the only pitcher in the starting rotation to go into the seventh inning, and that was on Opening Day, when he was incredible in 6.1 innings. Since then, however, only Lin has reached the sixth inning, which was the next game in Houston.
But then again, over the course of the season Lin and Kopech shouldn’t be too bad. However, another part of the home run problem in the Giants’ streak was right-hander Jose Ruiz, who gave up three home runs in two innings against San Francisco. The White Sox are done with Ruiz for now, and the DFA will be the pitcher on Friday.
On the other hand, the White Sox hitters are hitting for a high average, just like they did in 2022, but not hitting for much power… just like last year.
The Giants’ 13-1 win over the White Sox is obviously extreme, but the 2023 home season picked up right where it left off in 2022. Last year, the White Sox were defeated 98-77 at home.
Much was made of the plate approach, and hitting coach Frank Menechino got the ax after the 2022 season, when the White Sox had the fifth-highest ground ball percentage in baseball at 45.6%. You can’t hit home runs by hitting the ball on the ground. That’s only a seven-game sample size, but entering Friday, the White Sox had the highest ground ball percentage in the majors at 50.8 percent. The White Sox are also still not a team that will draw many walks, ranking dead last in BB% so far in 2023.
TL; DR, the White Sox need to hit more home runs and stop allowing a lot of home runs.