On August 16, I wrote on how I saw AL races breaking down, so I thought was time to do an update on the subject.
Here is why I think the Sox fans should calm down. It's not like they are competing with the Yankees, it's the Indians. Sure they are a better team than the White Sox at this point, but the Tribe are 4.5 games behind, their current roster has no more pennant race experience than Chicago, plus, they are the Indians, another historically cursed franchise who hasn't won a World Series since 1948.
If you have forgotten, all the way back last week, most of the experts were predicting the doom of the White Sox. Considering the combination of the Sox playing teams like the Twins and Tigers, who outside of the Santana game, are below average at this point and having a 4.5 GAME lead on their competition, it was a pretty easy calculation. Actually, I never understood how so many of my sabermetrically-inclined friends, with their Rain Man-esque brains, could get so far off on their analysis. I will get into specifics of all the teams, in my playoff breakdown this upcoming Monday, but one thing should be mentioned about the White Sox, which is quite interesting: Since April 14th, the White Sox have had the best record in the American League.
In this piece I wrote that the Yankees have one more finger on the bar, than the Indians and Red Sox, despite being a game and a half down, as their experience and improved pitching made them the best team down the stretch. Now a game up in the East and Wild Card races, who would have guessed at the beginning of 2005 that the Yankees most important pitcher wouldn't be the Big Unit, but instead Small,Wang. With the White Sox clinching so early, it seems like the Indians have a large advantage, so the Red Sox have their backs to the wall, but hey, it's not like they're down 3 nothing in the AL Championship.
My guess is the absences of Rich Harden in 2005, will cost the A's a playoff berth. Neither team looks to be a serious playoff contender this season, unless they meet the White Sox, who traditionally have problems with both squads.
Once again, right on the money. (Pausing while I reach over and pat myself on the back.) The Angels should consider, now that they have clinched a playoff berth that they should lose a few games, as they match-up best against the White Sox. So the Angels and White Sox have clinched, but it shouldn't take too much away from a great weekend of baseball, as the two powerhouses, Yankees and Red Sox meet up again.