The All-Star break isn’t really the halfway point of the season, but it serves as a decent chance to evaluate a team. Asked to do that before the White Sox’ 10-1 victory Sunday against the Royals, manager Rick Renteria gave his team a mixed review.
‘‘I think right now we’re at a D,’’ he said. ‘‘There are things that we continue to need to improve upon. That goes without saying. I would say effort level is probably a B-plus to an A. That would be fair to say, I believe.
‘‘I also think that it would be fair to say that we will continue to try to improve upon all those aspects of the game we need to improve on, fundamentally speaking, beyond the skill sets. Aspects of running the bases, fielding in certain situations, situational hitting, all those things. They all need to continue to improve.’’
The Sox are 33-62 after going through some of the ugly moments expected from a rebuild. Inexperience and youth have taken a toll, and players expected to be key parts of the next contending team have improved in fits and starts.
Second baseman Yoan Moncada is one example of that, with his defense and approach at the plate having drawn some raised eyebrows. On Sunday, however, Moncada finished a triple short of the cycle and scored three times. His home run in the fifth inning was his first as a right-handed hitter this season.
‘‘I think it will give me a little bit more confidence,’’ Moncada said through a translator.
There were positives beyond Moncada. Right-hander Lucas Giolito pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings to continue the progress he showed when he allowed two runs in a career-high 7 1/3 innings against the Astros in his previous start.
Giolito needed 30 pitches to get out of the first and only escaped it unscathed because the Royals’ Jorge Bonifacio was thrown out at home — left fielder Daniel Palka to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez to catcher Kevan Smith — on single to left by Salvador Perez.
After that, Giolito looked like the pitcher he has been for much of the latter part of the first half.
‘‘I would take the first half and put it into two halves for him,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘The first half, it seemed like he was really grinding through and getting through six innings and handling a lot of traffic. Now he might be working a difficult first — maybe one-plus innings — and then he settles down and is really good. There is a difference between the first half of the half for him and the second half.’’
Giolito agreed with that.
‘‘First quarter of the season, you could say I was kind of searching for things,’’ said Giolito, who lowered his ERA to 6.18. ‘‘I wasn’t really throwing strikes, especially with my off-speed pitches. I was going out there throwing pretty much all heaters, whereas now I can find that rhythm. And if I do misfire a couple of pitches in the same at-bat, I make the adjustment a lot better now. It’s just overall a lot better experience.’’
Given that assessments were being handed out, Renteria was asked how he would grade himself. He didn’t seem too interested in discussing the subject.
‘‘I wouldn’t give myself a good grade,’’ he said. ‘‘To ask me to grade myself, I’m not going to talk about myself. That’s for all of you and everybody else.’’