Now that the Sox looked like the team that won nine games in a row last night can everyone exhale? When I say everyone, this includes sports radio, White Sox fans, and chesty Cubs’ fans that cherished their two wins against the Sox like World Series wins. I guess if you’re a Cubs’ fan you have to take what you can get until you maybe win in 2015, when Theo maybe puts a winning club on the field.
For two days plus I’ve had to endure Cubs’ fans trash talking and listen to Sox fans and sports radio turn into complete panic mode over a team that’s ½ game out of first place on June 21.
We just endured a horrendous run of games where we were 5-10 and still are only a ½ game out of first place. I think everyone needs to take that into consideration when looking at the White Sox and their chances of winning their division.
Let’s take for example that the White Sox are the only team in the AL Central with a +33 run differential, the Indians are -31 and the Tigers are -10. Based on remaining schedule and team performance ESPN still rates the Sox with a 69.1% chance to make the playoffs with Indians having a 20.9% and the Tigers a 20.7%. Why is that?
Well, the Sox have players all over the Top 5 stat lists for the AL. Adam Dunn leads the league in homers and is third on the list with 53 RBIs, Paul Konerko still leads the league in batting average at .354, and Alejandro De Aza is third on the list in runs scored with 47 and fourth on the list for stolen bases at 14. Some pretty key offensive stats that the White Sox hold. The only other AL Central player on a top 5 list is one of my favs, Miguel Cabrera with 55 RBIs for second.
When you get to pitching Chris Sale and Jake Peavy’s names pop-up a lot especially in a very key category, WHIP. Peavy is second with a 0.94 and Sale is fourth with a 1.00. Sale is third in ERA with a 2.46, while Peavy sits right outside the Top 5 behind Justin Verlander with a 2.57 ERA. Sale is tied for second in wins with 8 and near the bottom of the list in homeruns allowed with 4.
The reason I bring all this up is because this is hardly a team that should be in full sell mode despite their recent play, this a team that should look to add a third baseman or another starter.
Here’s the dilemma the Sox face going into the trade deadline, Peavy’s value is at an all-time as well as AJ Pierzynski’s value, so do you trade them and try to win a fairly weak division without them? That will remain the question for the next few weeks as the Sox prepare to make a run to take the lead and expand it before the All-Star break.
Kenny Williams will have to decide with his coaching staff if they feel they can still make a run at it without Peavy and Pierzynski or keep them and get nothing in return. I’m fine either way, because the Tigers and Indians do not have great pitching staffs, so the Sox should be able to compete without Peavy. Danks’ play this season and status also complicates things for the White Sox. There’s a very good chance he’s not back until August, so a trade of Peavy really thins out the rotation.
Gavin Floyd had his good stuff back yesterday, which I expected as I wrote about a few days ago. Floyd usually limits the bad starts five in a row, but he went one extra this time. I would expect the Sox to have four impressive starters going for the next month. This could very well get them on another run.
I’m also not a firm believer that you have to get something back for a player before their contract runs out via a trade. Why do people never consider that a healthy Jake Peavy may very well be leading the White Sox to the playoffs, to me that’s far more in return then a player that may or may not help the team. Still, I like a trade with Boston who needs pitching.
I know Kevin Youkilis is not tearing it up this year, but if the Sox are going to trade Peavy that seems like the best trade for them for third base, unless they have prospects to send to San Diego for Chase Headley. You can read all about in an earlier post, Early Sox Trade Speculation.
Now on to AJ, this is an interesting situation the Sox are in. Tyler Flowers is waiting in the wings to become the everyday catcher for the Sox, and AJ is preventing that from happening. AJ’s probably not back next year no matter what happens this season. Flowers has exhibited power and can handle the pitchers as well as throw out base runners consistently. I feel fairly confident that if he were our everyday catcher his offensive numbers would improve dramatically.
The bigger question is does moving AJ effect the team chemistry, which is always a factor when making trades mid-season. He’s a huge part of clubhouse environment and he obviously does a tremendous job handling the pitching staff.
I’m pretty comfortable however this plays out, because I’ll reiterate a point that I already made; the Sox can still win the division without Peavy and Pierzynski. Will it be harder? Of course it will, but it can be done.
Sox resume play tomorrow evening against the Milwaukee Brewers at beautiful US Cellular Field. Ladies watch out, Ryan “Herpes” Braun will be in-town. First pitch on Friday evening is at 7:10pm.