Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Juice

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09 

Personally On the Juice
Scott Takes On Society
Comedy 101
Kick Out the Jams (Music Pieces)
Even Baseball Stories Here
Link to Scott's NSFW Sports Site
Why It's Time to Consider the White Sox Playoff Bound
2008-06-07 11:48
by Scott Long

It has been a magical season in Chicago, if you are a baseball fan. Both the Cubs and Sox are up by 3.5 games, in their respective divisions. While the Cubs have the best record in baseball, the Sox might even be a better bet to win their division. Here is why the White Sox look to be the prohibitive favorites to win the AL Central.

  • At the beginning of the season, there were 2 AL bullpens which looked to be above all others, the Red Sox and Angels. The White Sox have joined these 2, as Kenny Williams did a masterful job of retooling what was the biggest reason the team was so dismal in 2007. Both Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel have refound velocity they haven't had in a couple of years. Add to this hard throwing Matt Thornton, Boone Logan, and Nick Massett and you have a very deep bullpen. They get the ball to one of the top 5 closers in baseball, Bobby Jenks.
  • The Indians and Tigers have serious problems in their bullpens.
  • The Tigers are 10.5 games behind the Sox and their starting pitching staff is in shambles.
  • The Indians are 6.5 games behind the Sox and have 2 starting pitchers on the DL.
  • The Twins are 3.5 games behind the Sox and have a starting pitching staff that is too young and inexperienced to count on for 162 games.
  • The White Sox lead MLB in quality starts (39) and have 3 pitchers (Vasquez, Buerhle, Contreras) with a track record of throwing 200+ innings.
  • Only Carlos Quentin and Joe Crede are hitting above their statistical expectations. So far, most of the hitters have been below expectations, with Thome, Konerko, and Swisher flirting with the Mendoza line all year.

Here is the biggest reason the AL Central crown looks so promising. In a year when home field has been such a huge advantage, the Sox have played less games at home (26) than any other team. The biggest surprise teams in the AL this season have played 8 or more than Chicago. (Tampa 34, Minnesota 35, Oakland 34) There are only 2 AL teams with non-losing records on the road, the Angels and the White Sox. While it is early in the year, the White Sox look to be the clear-cut favorites to win the AL Cental.

2008-06-07 13:06:37
1.   dianagramr
But will Ozzie Guillen be there at the end of the season?
2008-06-07 13:39:24
2.   Scott Long
Here is my take on Ozzie's latest. He was right about almost everything he said. The team has not hit well for the past year and a half. He said that he or the hitting coach should get canned if things didn't change. His comments that Williams needed to make a change was over the top, but everything else was fair. The only problem I have with Guillen is that he tries to sacrifice bunt too much. If you are the Angels or the Twins and have players who can get it done, fine, but the other teams in the AL are better off just trying to hit behind the runner. The White Sox especially fit this model, as every positional starter has homerun power. They are a 3-run homer type team, which works well in US Cellular.

Reinsdorf loves the guy and Guillen is beloved by the fans, as he led the team to a long-awaited world championship. Guillen is nuts and I'm sure his act has gotten old to some of the vets, but my guess is that many of these vets won't outlast him. (Crede, Thome, Konerko, Cabrera.)

2008-06-08 01:05:47
3.   Yu-Hsing Chen
we'll see, there's stiill a long way to go.

I have trouble seeing it though. but if Dotel / Linebrink can keep this up and the Tigers / Indians continue their suckage it's definately possible,

2008-06-09 09:17:07
4.   Scott Long
The White Sox have upped their lead to 5.5 games. Biggest in MLB. They are finally hitting now. Their lead over the Indians is 8.5 games. I think Cleveland is the only team that could catch them, but it is hard to see if Hafner and Bettancourt don't regain form.

With the emergence of Ramirez at second base, this team has no holes on their everyday lineup. It is time for some of the non-believers to start to recognize what I've written above. When I predicted them to win 83 games, I was seen as a homer. I thought their talent would give them 87 wins, but I knocked 4 games off as I knew I would be seen as a homer. They now look to be more like a 90 win team, especially considering how their division has fallen apart.

2008-06-10 07:23:50
5.   stevegoz
Right now the Sox are doing what they're supposed to do here in 2008: beating up on the bad and the mediocre after a tough-ish, road-heavy early-season schedule. This is a great month for them, with the Cubs posing the only real quality opposition they'll face -- they could well exit June 10+ games ahead of the Twins. July is also shaping up to be fairly easy -- I guess that's called life in the AL Central this year.

I don't feel all that confident about their chances in the playoffs (though, of course, pitching is what wins for ya in the post-season), but the first step is getting there, and there's no reason to expect that they won't.

2008-06-10 11:38:11
6.   Scott Long
According to Baseball Prospectus today.

"The Sox have become a legitimate contender for the division title, and now have the best shot of any team in baseball at making the playoffs, 89 percent."

2008-06-10 13:58:09
7.   Chuck R
Yeah, well, according to Baseball Prospectus the White Sox 2005 World Series was just luck, they'll be a third place team this season, and PECOTA sees them as finishing with about 76 wins, IIRC.

I'm still concerned that the hitting doldrums will continue to plague the Sox this season, though a week or two at the Cell with warm weather cures a lot of ills. And, as reliable as the rotation has been, they haven't yet lost a start to injuries (I think Masset's start was because of a double header), and I'm not convinced that they have anybody competent to step in when that inevitable DL stint comes up for a starter.

On the other hand, my pessimism about this being a 'one last chance' season has abated in no small part due to the performances of Quentin/Ramirez/Danks/Floyd, and the apparent frailty of the rest of the division.

2008-06-10 15:02:56
8.   Scott Long
They were actually seen as a 4th or 5th place team by some experts.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.