One thing Hawk Harrelson often states during a broadcast that he’s correct about is “it’s not about how good the team is, it’s about when you play them.” I would say that goes both for the White Sox and Tigers this season. If the Sox had gone into Detroit three weeks earlier chances are the Sox would have won the series, but that did not happen. The red hot Tigers embarrassed the Sox at Comerica Park this weekend leaving the Sox 1-1/2 games out of first.
The Tigers are playing some of the best baseball in the majors right now, just like the Sox were prior to the All-Star break. In fact, the first series the Sox lost in a month was to the Red Sox prior to getting swept by the Tigers. It doesn’t matter how well you pitch when your offense can’t score, which is the problem the White Sox are facing at the moment.
Things do not get any easier tonight when they square-off against the Minnesota Twins and Francisco Liriano. Liriano does notoriously well against the Sox, and if the Sox want to get back on track they will need to figure him out this evening to regain some momentum before they go on another road trip.
I’m not totally shocked by the Tigers sweeping the Sox as the Tigers had all the momentum going into the series, and how could a team with a decent amount of talent as the Tigers be as bad as they’ve played all year. Still, the Tigers have been in first for two days now, and the Sox had been in first for 62 days and there’s a reason for that; the Sox have played better all year.
This Tigers team reminds of the Sox team that went 25-5 a few years ago, but spent so much getting to that point they had nothing left in August and September.
The Tigers are built differently than that White Sox team, so I’m not expecting an extreme drop-off, but I’d rather be out of first now versus in September. A team can rebound from a July swoon, but you can’t rebound from a September swoon; just ask the ’69 Cubs.
If anyone expected the White Sox to runaway and hide in the AL Central they were dreaming, however they did their best to do that going into the All-Star break when they went 5-2 against the AL’s best, Yankees and Rangers, and 5-1 over the final week. Unfortunately, the Tigers went 5-2 over the final week, so the White Sox gained only 1/2 game going into the break.
This is how I saw it playing out, in fact, if the Tigers stay hot and the Sox get back to form we could get two teams out the AL Central in the playoffs. MLB was smart when they drew up the schedule this season with the Tigers and Sox playing seven times between August 31 and September 13. The four game series is at home for the Sox, so that could be huge as things should remain tight.
Again, I’m not surprised to see the Tigers in first, just annoyed by how poorly the White Sox offense performed against some pretty awful starting pitching after you get past Verlander. The other thing that has me fired up is all the Cubs’ fans coming out of the woodwork to root against the Sox this series. It’s unnecessary and frankly just pisses me off, but if that’s how it’s going to be then let the games begin!
I cheered for the Cubs in 2003 and they blew-it, not Bartman, the team blew-it because they were mentally weak. I would not expect the Cubs to win a World Series anytime soon despite whatever you believe Theo and company have planned. No one has taken into account what other teams in the division might be doing over the next four years. That just sounds funny even typing that. Cubs fans believe that they’ll automatically be playing for a World Series in four years, what a sad group of fans. What if the Cardinals, Brewers, and especially the Pirates have gotten all marginally better in four years. the Pirates have spent more on their farm system than any team in the majors. They are four years ahead of the Cubs in that department. Did anyone think of that, so before you guys start handing out trophies look at the big picture. Will the Cubs be better in four years? Yes they will. Will they be competing for a world championship? No one can say that right now, only dreamers.
Finally, I think the Sox will turn it around at home and have some mojo going on the next road trip, and Cubs fans if it makes you feel better to watch the White Sox lose then you are in need of more help then I thought. Oh yeah, stay out of White Sox business.