White Sox learned from first half of season, prepare for second

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White Sox learned from first half of season, ready for second originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

It's no secret the White Sox haven't lived up to expectations in the first half of this season.

Not many people would have guessed the South siders are sitting in third place in one of the weakest divisions in baseball with a .500 record.

But, there's no time to fret about the past. All the clubhouse can do now is learn from their mistakes and take action on the field.

The players have denied any mishappenings or negativity in the clubhouse that have been reported during the season so far. They're just focused on using the momentum they struck in the last couple of series to get back to their winning ways.

“It was challenging," White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson said when asked about the first half. "Not being able to play the max of what your potential is. I know it definitely can be frustrating at times, but it's also part of the process of learning and growing. Now that the first half is over, we can go back to the drawing board, understand what we did wrong in the first half."

The White Sox are having trouble in most aspects of their game. Offensively, they've been average. They rank 15th in the MLB in runs (4.41 per game) and 24th in home runs -- a category that they rely on heavily as a power-hitting team.

No one is short of having their struggles at the plate this season. Abreu started the season off slowly, Yoán Moncada is still finding his groove and even Tim Anderson jokingly called for getting a baseball back after a three-game streak without a hit.

More alarmingly, the team has struggled defensively. They rank 23rd in opponent runs, giving up 4.57 per game. They also have created the third-most errors in the league this season.

Combine that with a shoddy starting pitching rotation, as we've seen Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech all struggle this season, and you've got a messy first half performance.

Outside of the numbers, All-Star closer Liam Hendriks believes there's a mental battle needed to be won here.

“At the start of the year, there wasn't that kind of urgency," Hendriks said "And that's something that I think is fantastic to have is the urgency going forward. We're always giving it our best. But, you can always find that little extra degree when your back’s against the wall. And that's kind of the situation we put ourselves into now. And hopefully we can rebound and use that as fire.

Injuries have also been a reoccuring theme this season too. Moncada started off the year on the injured-list, Eloy Jiménez suffered a lengthy rehab (and still is dealing with his hamstring) and the team is still awaiting Yasmani Grandal (expected to return after break) to return from a lower back injury.

The injury storyline has been a common one for the Sox, who suffered plenty of lengthy injuries last season too. But, Hendriks doesn't think that should be an excuse for the team's first half performance.

“You can blame injuries," Hendriks said. "You can bring injuries into it. But, the same thing happened last year. This year we just lost some guys and then we let that affect us.”

Nevertheless, the Sox ended the first half of the season with two crucial series against the Cleveland Guardians and the Minnesota Twins, the two teams that are in front of them in the division.

They came out with a 5-3 total record. The team delivered excellent pitching and offensive performances on each end, showing their true colors.

“That was definitely huge to finish out that way against a good ballclub," Anderson said. "I think you guys see what they did to us when they came to our place. Hopefully, we keep continuing to play that way and hopefully get back into this.”

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