18 Apr

hard times befallen

Expectations were not great for the Chicago White Sox heading into this season. Marcus Thames, the Louisville native and ex-East Central Community College star hired as the club’s new hitting coach in the off-season, surely knew this. But just as surely, he did not expect the times to be this hard. The White Sox can’t hit. They split a doubleheader against visiting Kansas City on Wednesday despite scoring just four runs on 11 hits and going 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The team ranks last in MLB in runs, home runs and OPS and 29th in batting. They are 3-15. Injuries to some key players are partly to blame for the ice-cold start, but not solely. “We have guys who are capable of being better,” Thames said in a recent mlb.com story. The ChiSox won just 61 games in a tumultuous 2023 season. Manager Pedro Grifol’s staff changes included the hiring of Thames as the team’s third hitting coach in three years. The former big league slugger has earned a strong reputation as a coach after stops in New York (Yankees), Miami and Los Angeles (Angels). But his skills are being tested with a club projected by USA Today to win just 69 games. “This game is tough,” he told mlb.com, “but at the same time we have to battle and compete.” P.S. Thames’ alma mater, No. 4-ranked East Central CC, took a pair from No. 2 Pearl River CC, 3-1 and 7-2, in the big juco showdown in Poplarville. PRCC’s 29-game win streak was halted. The Wildcats are 42-7, 22-2 in the MACCC. ECCC, which was No. 1 in NJCAA Division II at one point, is 42-4, 18-4. The Warriors rode the bat of Mo Little and the arms of Marbin Lezcano and Luke Cooley to the impressive sweep.

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