5 things to know about White Sox as they prepare for weekend set vs. Cubs

  • White Sox starter Johnny Cueto has thrown 12 scoreless innings in his first two starts.

    White Sox starter Johnny Cueto has thrown 12 scoreless innings in his first two starts. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/27/2022 5:10 PM

The White Sox were really bad against the Red Sox Tuesday, losing 16-3.

They came back with a solid all-around game the following night, beating Boston 3-1.

 

On Thursday, it was back to bad in a 16-7 loss that ended with infielder Josh Harrison on the pitcher's mound.

Up, down. Down, up.

As they prepare for a two-game weekend series against the Cubs -- Johnny Cueto makes his home debut Saturday and Dylan Cease gets the start Sunday -- the Sox fittingly have a 22-22 record.

Expected to breeze to a third straight trip to the playoffs, they have been exactly what the record says. Average.

Here are five things to know about the Sox as they prepare to play a pair vs. the Cubs:

Stalled offense

Late in Thursday night's blowout loss, the White Sox drew four straight walks.

It's was quite a sight for a team that has been highly allergic to taking pitches, but most of the blame for the string of free passes falls on erratic Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.

The White Sox rank last in the majors in walks and that's why they're also near the bottom in on-base percentage (.290) and having so much trouble scoring runs.

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More injury issues

Last year, the Sox had one injury after another but they kept on trucking.

This year, not so much.

Key players like Lance Lynn and Eloy Jimenez are still on the IL and Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Andrew Vaughn and Joe Kelly have also dealt with health issues.

Center fielder Luis Robert went on the COVID-19 injury list Tuesday and not expected to play against the Cubs.

New guy watch

The White Sox made several roster changes since the end of last season. The early results are decidedly mixed.

Relief pitchers Kendall Graveman and Kelly were signed to lucrative contracts because they are proven performers in pressure situations.

Graveman was great in April, but a heavy workload took a toll and he's given up 5 runs in 10⅓ innings in May.

Kelly missed the first month of the season with a biceps injury and was just heating up when he injured his hamstring Wednesday. He could miss three weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

New outfielder AJ Pollock is off to a slow start, batting .217/.248/.340 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI.

New second baseman Harrison has been worse with a .182/.258/.284 slash line.

Signed to a minor-league deal in early April, Cueto is looking like a great addition with 12 scoreless innings in his first 2 starts.

Better days ahead

Lynn is expected to be back in the starting rotation in mid-June, and a group that also includes Giolito, Michael Kopech, Cease and Cueto should be good enough to help the White Sox stack wins even if the offense remains stuck in neutral.

Anderson the man

Whether it's on the field or off, Tim Anderson is always in the middle of everything for the Sox.

As long as Josh Donaldson's not involved, that's usually great news for the Sox.

Overcoming an early defensive meltdown, Anderson is far and away the most dangerous bat in the lineup and ranks third in the majors with a .363 average.

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