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updated: 8/24/2014 11:29 PM

Rongey: Bad month aside, White Sox on right track

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  • The offensive resurgence of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who opened Sunday's game with a home run, has been a big plus for the White Sox this season.

      The offensive resurgence of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who opened Sunday's game with a home run, has been a big plus for the White Sox this season.
    Associated Press

 
 

August is stupid.

Unless the White Sox finish with a strong final week, this will be the worst month they've played in the nearly 5-month-old season. So far, it has been the least productive one in terms of batting average, on-base percentage, runs per game and ERA. They've gone from just a couple of games away from .500 to a team that's 12 under.

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Ultimately, the final record this year isn't going to mean a whole lot for next season except to affect the team's draft position in 2015, though an improvement in record from last year to this one gives the appearance that the organization is at least moving forward.

It would be nice for all of us to get to say that the Sox were X-amount of games better in 2014 than the miserable 99-loss season.

Which leads me to a question most of us have been asking since the season was under way: Are the White Sox better than they were in 2013?

At this point, I still think they are. I realize a 59-71 team doesn't exactly shout drastic upswing, but if we examine the foundation of a team that will remain mostly intact, there's plenty of reason to think we'll see some real advancement in 2015.

Why? Well, let's start with the offense. With the additions of Jose Abreu, Avi Garcia and Adam Eaton -- combined with the emergence of Conor Gillaspie and the return of Alexei Ramirez -- the lineup already has taken long strides forward.

The 2013 Sox were statistically one of the two worst hitting teams in the American League, maybe the worst. This year they've leaped to the middle of the pack in categories such as WAR, weighted on-base and OPS.

It's not a world-beating offense, but it's good enough to win, and it's not yet finished.

I can't imagine that getting better production from the two undecided positions (left field and second base) will be difficult. The Sox ranked third worst and worst, respectively, at those two positions in terms of offensive output.

Really, they can only get better. They cannot get any worse.

Pitching, though, is where the Sox will need real help. The top of the rotation is in good hands with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, so there isn't much to worry about there. John Danks posted a strong first and third month this season but has faltered in the other three.

Barring a trade, Danks will be back, which leaves two spots to fill. Hector Noesi probably has the inside track on one of those spots after making steady improvement since being introduced into the rotation. I believe the final starter in 2015, though, is not on the current roster.

The bullpen has gotten exponentially worse since the middle of the season, and it would be hard to believe that would continue next year.

Considering the fluctuating nature of relievers in general, and the fact it has been years since the Sox have allowed the bullpen to remain awful in consecutive seasons, there's a good chance this doesn't happen again.

At least I hope not.

There's no doubt general manager Rick Hahn and company have their work cut out for them, for sure, and there's plenty yet to be decided. However, I like the general direction the rebuild is heading. Like last year, this will be a fascinating off-season.

• 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 chrisrongey.com.

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