There is no denying that this has been a brutal post-All-Star break stretch for the White Sox. In what has been a roller-coaster season since free agency, we have seemingly hit a new low. Not too long ago, we held our own during a stretch that many people said would make or break our season. While we had our mishaps, we made it out alive after splitting with the Yankees and Cubs and taking two of three from the Twins.
Now, we’re in the midst of a five-game losing streak littered with gruesomely ugly baseball to watch. Our current team’s emotional leader (whether you agree or not, he is) is still on the shelf and a big reason for the increase in ratings and attendance, Eloy Jimenez, will be joining him. On top of some key players moving forward both underperforming and suffering injuries that further push back timelines, this is about as low as we’ve been in a while. As bad as things are right now, remember how this feels. Remember how this feels because it’ll only make the champagne taste sweeter.
When having flashbacks of the starting rotation consisting of rusty-shouldered guys like Ervin Santana and Odrisamer Despaigne, remember how that feels. It won’t be like in the near future. Lucas Giolito is on pace for a better age-25 season than Randy Johnson, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber had when they were 25. Dylan Cease has pitched two decent games in his first two major league starts and is showing flashes of why he was the Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season. The best is yet to come for him. Mountain-Man Michael Kopech is clearing his mind and getting stronger than ever while recovering from Tommy John.
He’ll be peppering 99 MPH fastballs come April. Carlos Rodon and Dane Dunning suffered unfortunate setbacks as well but are on the recovery track and rearing to compete for rotation spots with young surprises like Kade McClure and Jonathan Stiever, as well as others hoping to get back on track like Reynaldo Lopez. Impact, veteran arms to dream about like Gerrit Cole and Cole Hamels are available to not only help the team win games, but to help these young guys have winning attitudes when preparing for each start. It’s about to get a lot sweeter.
With Eloy on the shelf, remember how trotting out an outfield of Charlie Tilson, Ryan Cordell, and Jon Jay feels. It won’t always be like that. Eloy will be back in the lineup hitting bombs to center that look like they’ll never land soon enough. Luis Robert has been hitting baseballs like they’re golf balls coming off of an aluminum baseball bat through three levels of minor league baseball this season and isn’t slowing down at AAA (in his first six AAA games, he’s hitting .440/.500/.960 with three homers).
Blake Rutherford has turned his season around and is showing flashes of who the organization thought he could be when we traded for him. There are other outfielders within the system that have promise, and there are outfielders within the White Sox reach to throw money at this offseason (Yasiel Puig, Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos). It’s about to get even sweeter.
We’ve found diamonds in the rough like James McCann and Leury Garcia, both of whom can be more than serviceable when we’re contenders. We’ve groomed talented bullpen arms like Aaron Bummer and seen the potential for a bounce-back with Jace Fry. Yoan Moncada is going to be a perennial All-Star. Having him hitting behind Luis Robert and ahead of Eloy Jimenez, Andrew Vaughn, Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Nick Madrigal, and whoever else enters the mix will only make him that much better. The sky is the limit with this crop of talent, it’s just a matter of each of them hitting their stride. Some may never get to that point, but others will get there sooner and with more promise than anyone expected. We’re about to reach insurmountable levels of sweetness.
It’s hard not seeing your favorite team have the most competitive roster out there, but it won’t always be like this. We deserve better, and better isn’t too far away. Barring any more setbacks, this is the last full season for the foreseeable future that we won’t be dead-center in the playoff hunt. Come 2020, it’ll be full steam ahead towards Soxtober and a playoff game at Guaranteed Rate Field. For now, pick yourself up and keep the end goal in mind. Live a little bit. Have that extra doughnut in the break room that you know you shouldn’t have. You deserve it! Remember how it feels, though, because you know what’s even sweeter? Champagne.
When you’re drinking and spraying champagne with your friends after the White Sox win a World Series in the not too distant future, remember how this all felt. It’ll only make the champagne taste sweeter.
Featured Photo: AP Photo/Nuccio DiNuzzo