Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Chicago White Sox Series Preview

In attempts to resurrected the week-long dorment bats, resident frat-boy Nick Swisher is being accused of placing two inflatable female dolls in provocative positions (and bats inserted into the dolls) while at the Rogers Centre clubhouse hoping to inspire the rest of the team into hitting better. Chicago Sun-Tribune's Carol Swezak, obviously disgusted by the gesture, wrote "can you imagine the Yankees or Red Sox building a similar shrine in their locker room, in full view of clubhouse visitors? Can you imagine Joe Girardi or Terry Francona allowing that to happen? I can't." This event follows manager Ozzie Guillen's profanity laced tirade in Toronto where Gullien said "'We won it a couple years ago, and we're horse[bleep],'' Guillen said. ''The Cubs haven't won in 120 years, and they're the [bleep]ing best. [Bleep] it, we're good. [Bleep] everybody. We're horse[bleep], and we're going to be horse[bleep] the rest of our lives, no matter how many World Series we win. We are the bitch of Chicago. We're the Chicago bitch. We have the worst owner -- the guy's got seven [bleep]ing rings, and he's the [bleep]ing horse[bleep] owner.''

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that these two franchises should be in reverse order than they current are situated in the American League Central. After all, Bill James' Pythagorean win-loss record shows the White Sox as a 17-13 team while the Twins should be two games below .500, not two games ahead in the division. Is it the hitting? Well, the White Sox are scoring 4.48 runs per game (6th) while the Twins are scoring only 4.13 (11th). The White Sox have slugged 38 home runs -tops in the league- to the Twins 16, tied for the Kansas City Royals for last in the American League. How about the pitching? There too the White Sox have outshone the Twins limiting opponents to 3.87 (3rd) runs allowed per game versus 4.33 runs per game (6th). Plus the Chicago staff has only allowed 17 home runs -the lowest in the league- to Minnesota's 32. Going into today's series the White Sox have hit 21 more home runs while the Twins have been out-homered by 16. The White Sox bullpen has been every bit as good as the Twins bullpen. In 79 innings, the White Sox relief staff has compiled a 3.28 era while the Twins secondary pitchers have throw 95 innings with a 3.22 era. Yet on the morning of May 6th, the Twins found themselves at 16-14 winning their past five games and the Sox, at 14-16, were coming off a six game losing streak. Look all you want but you won't find any glaringly obvious reasons why the Twins are two games ahead of the Sox. In spite of a low batting average than the Twins (.229 to .260) the Sox have had more success reaching base (.318 to .310) and slugged better as well too (.391 to .374) so far in 2008. Nevertheless, the two teams are like ships passing in the night on Lake Michigan: Since the six game skid began, White Sox have hit just .170/.224/.272 in 203 plate appearances meanwhile during the five game winning streak the Twins have torched the ball hitting .293/.346/.445 in their last 181 plate appearance.