These Sox Just Plain Stink
August 31, 2007
With a family and in-laws consisting of White Sox and Cubs fans, baseball bickering is a national pastime at family barbecues. Recently, a Cubs fan/in-law brought to my attention that a White Sox fan/in-law suggested that the White Sox would be in first place if they played in the NL Central. The Cubs fan laughed and asked my opinion.
Much as I would like to point out the mediocrity of the National League, the fact is that the White Sox are so far below mediocre, it wouldn't matter what division accepted this also ran of a team in 2007. The results would be the same: complete and utter disappointment.
Let's look at the facts. The most glaring objection to any potential White Sox success in the National League this year is the dismal 4-14 interleague record. The White Sox finished 1-5 against the Cubs at a time when the Cubs weren't playing as well as they are now. In fact, the South Siders failed to win a single series against the National League despite playing several punchless clubs. The rundown: 0-3 vs. Philly, 1-2 vs. Pittsburgh, 1-2 vs. Houston, and 1-2 vs. Florida. The White Sox avoided the competitive NL West but still couldn't amass a winning streak of any kind.
Examining the rest of the year for the White Sox, there is nothing indicating Chicago would have fared better elsewhere. Their poor record (57-77) is actually 5 games better than their Pythagorean W-L record, suggesting they have actually been a little LUCKY this year based on the amount of runs given up vs. runs scored this year. Winning the close game has been difficult this year (13-22 in 1-run games), but winning a blowout has been even trickier (a sickly 5-23 in games decided by 5+ runs), indicating the White Sox are not simply losing because their competition is a little better than the next guy's competition. When a team is 18 games under .500 in blowout contests, it's safe to assume that they are far below mediocre and would not be contending in any division.
Taking a closer look at the White Sox's success against each team thus far, it seems they only have a winning record against the lowly Royals and Devil Rays and a surprising 8-4 mark against the Tigers. That means the White Sox are a horrific 35-69 against teams not from Detroit, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay. I don't think anyone would try to argue that Chicago is better than Detroit this year, so the best a White Sox fan can claim at this point is that they may POSSIBLY be better than Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Of course, Royals fans would argue that you need to look no further than the AL Central standings to prove that theory wrong, but we'll give the White Sox the benefit of the doubt if it means less unprofessional, foul-mouthed swearing from skipper Ozzie Guillen.
With one month to go, South Side fans best keep a low profile. The Cubs have proven many times in the past ('69, '84, '03, etc.) that they don't need anyone else's help to turn what appears to be a hopeful season into one of misery and dismay.