Even in a rebuilding year, when White Sox fans seem to grasp what’s going on and know losing will be part of the growing pains, there are limits.
A 10-27 start is not sitting well with all who expected to see signs of progress on the field after the Sox lost 95 games in the first year of a rebuild under manager Rick Renteria, general manager Rick Hahn and vice president Ken Williams.
“If there’s anything I can say [to the fans], it’s that the one thing I and our staff can’t lose sight of is where we’re going, the direction that we want to go,’’ said Renteria, whose team’s much-needed 5-3 victory Sunday against the Cubs to avoid a series sweep helped ease some frustrations, if only for a day or so. “Obviously, we’ve had situations that haven’t gone as well as we’ve wanted on both sides, the hitting or the pitching.’’
Patience is key, particularly now, Renteria said.
“That may bring no solace to the fan at this particular time,’’ Renteria said, ‘‘but I can’t lose focus on what we’re trying to do in terms of developing guys to become the players that we want them to be and the team that we want them to be. And I’ve got to remain positive. I’ve got to keep moving forward because if you allow it to take control of you, you can bury yourself in it, and it can be pretty tough to work through it.”
The Sox put together enough good pitching, defense and timely hitting on Mother’s Day to snap a seven-game losing streak and avoid being swept in a series for the sixth time this season.
While the farm system remains well-stocked with highly ranked prospects who figure to upgrade the roster substantially in the next season or two — a fact that elevated the mood at SoxFest to unprecedented offseason levels after a bad season on the field — the April and early May performance on the field was kind of killing the mood.
And the Sox won’t bring up their top two prospects — right-hander Michael Kopech and outfielder Eloy Jimenez — to rev it back up anytime soon.
“You can’t cross that line,’’ Renteria said. “You have to allow those guys that are in the system to continue to work through the things that they’re working through. I don’t think it would make sense to push something because of what’s occurring here at the particular moment.’’
As former manager Robin Ventura warned when things were going bad, things can always get worse. Renteria knows it, which is why he’s imploring his team to continue to grind.”
As right-hander Lucas Giolito (2-4), a key piece in one of the tear-down trades, did at Wrigley Field. He worked through seven walks but kept his composure and got through 5‰ innings of three-run ball.
“Grind is a key word,’’ Giolito said. “Obviously, I was not really in sync. Just trying to make pitches the best that I can. The one thing that was unwavering was my confidence in myself.’’
The Sox, as a whole, remain confident they’re on the right path. They’ll get Yoan Moncada back from his hamstring injury Tuesday and Avisail Garcia soon from his, but those are the only reinforcements on the way, at least for now.
“No one, neither as a staff nor as an organization, expected that we would be at this particular point right now,’’ Renteria said. “But it is what it is. We have to continue to move forward. I don’t see us jumping the gun and trying to infuse something to take away from what’s going on by having a young player come up right now. They still have to do some things down there before we get them here.”