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Where did the offense go for the White Sox?

The White Sox finished in second place last year, but this year the offense vanished.

Adam Dunn strikes out in the first inning against the Orioles on September 8, 2013
Adam Dunn strikes out in the first inning against the Orioles on September 8, 2013
Rob Carr

Last year, White Sox fans were pleased with their team's performance.  Robin Ventura's rookie season as manager led to a second place finish.  Adam Dunn turned around his dismal 2011 season with 41 home runs.  Paul Konerko and A. J. Pierzynski continued to defy age; Konerko with a .298 / .371 / .486 triple-slash line, and Pierzynski with a slugging percentage over .500.   The always unpredictable Alex Rios had an excellent season.  The team scored 4.62 runs per game, fourth in the American League.  Hopes were high for 2013.

But this year the wheels have fallen off.  The White Sox were ten games out in June, and 18 games below .500 at the All Star break.  They currently sit in last place, and catching the Twins for fourth place will be a tall order.

The pitching, outside of Chris Sale, has been mediocre.  The Sox allow 4.35 runs per game, which is below average but a bit better than Baltimore.  But most of the blame for falling into the cellar lands squarely on the offense.

Avisail Garcia has the highest OPS+ on the team, and has only played in 27 games since being traded from Detroit.  Garcia may have to lose the Mini-Miggy moniker, as he is out with a bad tooth.  Cabrera was player of the month without being able to run, while Garcia sits with a toothache.

Among those who have spent most of the season in Chicago, Adam Dunn is the only above-average hitter.  His 31 home runs and 69 walks are the reason, not his .224 batting average.  Paul Konerko's power has vanished with injuries.  Alex Avila's output compares favorably with catcher Tyler Flowers' .195 / .247 / .355 line.  Second baseman Gordon Beckham is in his fifth year and continuing to contribute a little above replacement level.  Shortstop Alexi Ramirez does not walk and has no power.  Conor Gillaspie was given a chance at third base and hit 12 home runs, but contributed little else.

Dayan Viciedo does just enough in left field to make the Sox think that he could break out.  Alejandro De Aza in center field is nearly average.  Right field is now Garcia's since Alex Rios was traded.  Jeff Keppinger was acquired to be their Don Kelly, but with a .244 / .271 / .303 line he only dreams of hitting like Donnie.

The White Sox need to get younger, so in addition to Avisail Garcia they are trying out infielder Leury Garcia.  The 22-year-old was acquired from Texas for Alex Rios, but is hitting .173 / .243 / .200 for the season.  Also 22, Marcus Semien was just called up and offers hope with a .284 / .401 / .479 line between Double-A and Triple-A.

The total output is 3.74 runs per game, easily the worst in the American League.  The Marlins have the most anemic offense in the game, but the White Sox are worse than every other National League team even though they have the advantage of a designated hitter much more often.  Even the Astros are well ahead with 3.87 runs per game.

But they are a major league baseball team, and have scored in double figures four times this season.  This statement is important, in case you are superstitious.

The 1906 Chicago White Sox won the World Series over the Chicago Cubs.  They gave way to the Tigers in 1907, who won the pennant three straight years.  The 1906 White Sox were known as the "Hitless Wonders".  They scored 3.68 runs per game.  If the Tigers' rotation returns to form in this series, the Hitless Wonders will have competition.