Fans of the Chicago White Sox are no stranger to the words, “rebuilding season.” It’s been pushed onto them time and time again as the team continues to lose. Entering today’s game, the White Sox dropped to 20 games below .500, coming in at 16-36. It’s not just the losing that’s worrisome, but it’s how they are losing. Fans knew this season would be bad, but they couldn’t have expected this.
Specifically, the young members of the rotation can’t seem to get it going. Carson Fulmer struggled immensely, outside of two starts, and was eventually sent down to AAA-Charlotte in favor of Dylan Covey. The same situation is unfolding with Lucas Giolito, as his start last night against the Cleveland Indians didn’t benefit his cause.
While he didn’t walk anyone, which is considered an improvement, he still gave up five earned runs, raising his ERA rose to 7.53. He’s thrown 55 innings and given up 56 hits, walked 37, and hit 10. That’s an astounding 103 baserunners this season, and it’s not even June! While he impressed at the end of last season in his seven starts, Giolito just hasn’t found any sense of consistency.
On the other end of this, Carlos Rodon, currently on a rehabilitation stint in AAA-Charlotte, has been dominating. The third overall pick int he 2014 draft had another rehabilitation start last night. It resulted in eight strikeouts over five scoreless innings as he threw 86 pitches. Due to a freak accident in which he was struck by a line-drive, Rodon is likely to make at least one more start, just to ensure that he is ready.
If that is the case, the White Sox might have to send Giolito down once Rodon shows that he is completely ready to come back. The team has shown that they are willing to do that, as Fulmer was sent down earlier this month. His one start resulted in five innings, five strikeouts and only three hits given up, but six walks were also issued.
Giolito’s stuff is there. It’s been shown before, but he might need some time to refine it. If Rodon shows that he is ready to come back and Giolito isn’t showing more signs of improvement, he will follow the same route as Fulmer. It might do him some good as well, just to get his mind right.
I hope this doesn’t happen, but the White Sox need Giolito to return to the form he had during his brief stint last season. Especially if they want to contend within the next few years. A rotation of Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, Giolito and Fulmer has the potential to be absolutely incredible. But they all have to be ready.
Rushing them to the big leagues is only going to hinder their progress. It’s why the White Sox haven’t brought up Kopech yet. They want to make sure he’s fully prepared to handle the big league hitters. Perhaps a little more time and seasoning for Fulmer and Giolito would help them just as much. That’s still a ways off though.
Then the bigger question is going to be who is moved to make room for Kopech once he gets called up, which is expected to be around July. This season is hard to watch, but the progress from the minors is undeniable. White Sox baseball will be fun to watch again. It just takes some time.