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Thoughts on the White Sox

The White Sox have played like two different teams in and out of the division.

Record v. AL Central: 31-7
Record v. Others: 33-26

I dug deeper and tested a hypothesis of mine:

RS/Game v. AL Central: 4.76
RS/Game v. Others: 4.81

RA/Game v. AL Central: 3.24
RA/Game v. Others: 4.39

There is very little difference between the runs scored between divisional matchups, but the pitching is completely different, completely average, in non-divisional games.

I think it's a fairly safe bet to put the White Sox in the playoffs at this point, but hold off on the World Series tickets. A lot of their great pitching is the product of a very weak offensive division, with 3 of the 4 lowest-scoring teams in the AL as frequent opponents (the Royals, Twins, and Indians haven't been too great offensively, and the Tigers are in the middle of the pack). And their offense has taken a step back from last year; 97 games into the season last year, the Sox had scored 526 runs. Currently, they have 465. Part of that is because it seems that offensive numbers as a whole in the AL are a bit down, but that's not the whole story and that doesn't account for a loss of 61 runs so far and a projected loss of 88 runs for the full season.

Offensively, the White Sox are merely average, thus far, averaging close to 4.8 R/G, in total, which is near the American League average.

A few other things:

- One of the reasons for their success is how well they've done against the Indians... they're 10-3, even after having only outscored the Indians by 10 runs in those 13 games. If you were to flip that record around (say the White Sox went 3-10 in those games), you'd see major differences in the standings.

                W    L    GB
Cleveland      58   41    -- 
Chicago        57   40    --
Minnesota      53   45   4.5
Detroit        49   49   8.5
Kansas City    36   62  21.5
Unbalanced schedule at work.
  • The Sox have only played 5 games against the Twins, meaning that there's plenty of time for a pennant race. So far, the White Sox have the upper hand and the Twins can't hit. But it should make for an interesting pennant race.
  • Clutch? So far, so good for the White Sox.
                TOTAL           RISP
    White Sox  .261/.322/.421   .264/.337/.419
    Opponents  .248/.313/.393   .225/.318/.350
  • Finally, a look at run distribution, as per Dave Studeman over at The Hardball Times.
Based on their run distribution now, the White Sox are projected to have won 63 games (assuming I've done the math correctly). Their standard Pythagorean projection is at 58 wins, and 1st-order Pythagenport has them at 57 wins. So run distribution maintains that the White Sox have done much better than the average, especially in games in which they score or allow 1 run (they've been held to 1 run 2 fewer times than expected and have given up only 1 run 5 more times than expected), and in games which they score or allow 5 runs.

Run distribution values have the caveat that I haven't quite perfected the "Above Average" methodology I'm using...