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updated: 5/11/2014 10:29 PM

White Sox' issues not insurmountable

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  • Hector Noesi, who began the season in the bullpen, delivered a quality start Sunday against the Diamondbacks at U.S. Cellular Field.

    Hector Noesi, who began the season in the bullpen, delivered a quality start Sunday against the Diamondbacks at U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press


They call it the "Ol' Sixty-Game Mark" -- and we're two-thirds of the way there.

It's a baseball axiom suggesting you don't really know what kind of team you have until after about 60 games.

I'm not sure how accurate that really is, but I'm certain it doesn't apply equally to every team every year. The amount of early-season injuries, for example, might force a club to wait another 20 games before it can precisely make that determination.

The reason we even talk about those magical 60 games is so we can start to think about whether a given organization will be a seller, a buyer or do nothing before the July 31 trading deadline.

Still, we're not there yet, and it's far too early to start talking trades. But we can examine a few of the White Sox' needs at this point, and they're not necessarily about the acquisition of new personnel:

Starters must go deeper:

The White Sox are one of the bottom five teams in baseball in innings pitched per games started.

While the bullpen has improved dramatically since the initial couple of weeks -- they've actually been one of the best bullpens in baseball since the last week of April -- the burden of work they've been asked to handle can't be sustained for the entire campaign.

Even if the bullpen remains as strong as it has been these last 2½ weeks, the innings and appearances will take a toll and the relievers will be worn out by mid-August.

By the way, let me take this time to praise Hector Noesi, who started this season as a reliever and has been asked to stretch out to take a starter's innings. On Sunday, Noesi gave the White Sox 6 innings in a quality start.

They'll need much more of that from now on.

Baserunning mistakes:

Just last week, Sox runners were picked off four times, and on two separate occasions a runner at second has been thrown out at third on grounder to the shortstop (neither were force plays). A big-leaguer shouldn't have to be told to stay put at second on a groundball hit in front of him.

It hasn't cost the White Sox that often considering they've been able to cover the mistakes with a lot of runs, but it's a habit that eventually might kill them.

Relentless offense must continue:

Just in case the two items above don't improve, a healthy serving of runs every night wouldn't hurt.

I disagreed with a caller Saturday who said that the White Sox don't need Adam Dunn now because the rest of the lineup is doing so well.

No, they do. Because as good as Alexei Ramirez, Jose Abreu, Tyler Flowers and Dayan Viciedo have been hitting this year, it's unrealistic to expect them all to perform at the same level all season.

Get healthy and stay there:

Chris Sale might be back during the Yankees series at home, and Adam Eaton should return during this road trip. And like Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham, once they're back they need to stick around awhile.

• Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter@ChrisRongey and at

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