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The dreaded comparison has been unleashed: 2005 ChiSox=1969 Cubs. Do a google. It's everywhere. You can't blame the writers. This is Chicago. And as if you need a reminder, the '69 Cubs were up 9 1/2 on the Mets on August 13th. Mets won pennant; Mets won series. Moving on...

So what's ahead for the Sox, who fell apart again against the Royals today and lost 7-5? Cleveland is off today and the Sox lead has dwindled to just 4 1/2. Oh, and they are in the midst of playing 19 games in 19 days. A few more sad facts. The Royals were 50 games under .500 just days ago. And Wednesday was their first comback win since August 31, 2004. They are clearly the worst team in baseball. Yet in September they just took a series from the Sox. When they should be thinking of golfing, arbitration and new disguises for banned chemical substances--they won a series against the Sox. Unreal.

The Sox started September by ripping off 7 straight wins--allowing only 14 runs in those games. Since then they are 1-6. Swept by the Halos and now a dismal series loss to the (gulp) Royals. In these last 7 games they have allowed 47 runs. Here's what remains:

3- @ Minnesota
3- Cleveland
4- Minnesota
4- @ Detroit
3- @ Cleveland

And for the Indians:

3- K.C.
3- @ Chicago
4- @ K.C.
3- Tampa Bay
3- Chicago

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? I know--that schedule does not look favorable. But let's do some prognosticating. We'll assume that the Tribe will take 7 of 10 from K.C. and Tampa. And even take 4 of 6 against the Sox. That's 11-5, leaving them at 95-67.

We'll take that same 4-2 and flip it to 2-4 for the Tribe games. That leaves 11 games against Minnesota and Detroit. Even if the Sox went 6-5 in those games they would win the division by 1 game. If they went 5-6 they would be tied. And they would play a one-game playoff at Jacobs Field for the title. The Tribe won 3 toin cosses earlier this month and if they need a tiebreaker in any case it will be at Jacobs Field.

So what's it going to be? Simple. Just kick the stuffing out the Indians and save us the angst. The Sox have been in 1st place since April 8th. I want to declare that that will not change but I just can't. They've been somewhat pedestrian in the 2nd half at 31-28. But the Tribe have gone nuts. 37-21 since the ASB. Will they run out of juice? I hope so. Otherwise the '64 Phils will be champagne popping.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe they had a 15 game lead on Aug 1, and if they blow that, it would be the biggest blown lead of that many games, that late in the season.

This is so clearly a case of the "evening out process" that makes the baseball season so unique. At some point in 162 games, your weaknesses and true nature will be exposed. The Sox have been near the bottom of the league in OBP and BBs all year, as well as AVG. They were never a good hitting team, really, at any point. Garland was certainly pitching above any historical expectations. If I had the time to do some detailed statistical analysis, I'm confident I could uncover several things that would indicate the large extent to which the Sox were overachieving and/or lucky (statistically speaking) to have accumulated the record they did. Or even simply capitalizing on playing bad teams.

Of course, the counter will be, it's not all stats-- what of the intangibles and Smart Ball and timely hitting and defense and beating the teams you should. And I won't even argue with that. I would even say those things play a part in helping a team outperform where the stats and their true ability says they should be at.

But to what extent? Maybe 3-5 games, tops?

My contention is this: the Sox record was so far ahead of their true ability as a team, that this inevitable crash has been that much more severe--and may even continue. This inevitable evening out has been exacerbated by increasingly goofy lineup and pitching decisions by Ozzie.

It's a full on free-fall at this point.

I'm not saying they miss the playoffs, but they could, though most likely they're an easy first round exit. Do you have any confidence this team can hit the good pitching they'll see, and beat the good hitting without any power pitching?