View Full Version : Your Sox-Twins Essay Assignment

Procol Harum
06-26-2003, 09:49 AM
Currently the Minnesota Twins have a 5.5 game lead on our hapless South Side heroes. Leaving aside the titanic intellects and shrewd strategies of Jerry Manuel and Ron Gardenhire, what accounts for this 5.5 game lead?

On the one hand, some would point to the difference "up the middle"--the contrast between the Twins' Hunter, Guzman, Rivas and Pierszynski combo vs. the Sox dynamic quintette of Harris/Rowand, Jimenez, Valentin and Olivo. Here are some of the key stats for those in question:

Harris .203, 0 3 .965
Rowand .197 1 8 1.000
Jimenez .259 7 24 .979
Valentin .229 10 27 .967
Olivo .239 5 16 .986

Hunter .247 10 46 .981
Rivas .256 1 13 .973
Guzman .258 0 18 .974
Pierszynski .286 8 46 .990

Others would argue that the difference lies in the two teams' respective bullpens, pointing to the difference between the Sox quartette of Marte, Gordon, White, and Koch vs. the Twins' relief foursome of Rincon, Santana, Hawkins and Guardado. Here are some of the pertinent numbers:

W-L Holds Saves ERA
Marte 2-1 7 4 2.18
White 0-1 2 0 6.91
Gordon 4-5 6 1 3.55
Koch 2-4 1 11 4.91

Rincon 1-3 3 0 3.50
Santana 4-1 5 0 2.09
Hawkins 4-2 12 0 1.88
Guardado 1-2 0 19 2.84

Compare and contrast these two major factors in your discussion and determine which of these is the greatest factor in the White Sox continued lagging behind the Twins. Note: "General Suckage" will not qualify as a sufficient answer.

06-26-2003, 04:46 PM
how about the fact that 5 games does not separate a good team from a bad team but rather a team that won 5 more games from a team that won 5 less games?

Procol Harum
06-26-2003, 09:03 PM
I don't think "good" or "bad" was mentioned in the question--the directions explicitly asked you to weigh the two factors and account for the 5.5 game difference: C-.

06-26-2003, 09:10 PM
Our bullpen is unable to hold the lead. Just about everyone is liable to blow the games. If they were a reasonable bullpen, the sox would have won 5-10 more games, thus accounting for the difference. In addition, the minnesota bullpen is very good and doesnt make you worry about a Minnesota lead.

06-27-2003, 05:10 AM
The Twins had a very surprising 2001 before collapsing late in the season. Last year was pretty good and this year has been decent despite the last two weeks. A common element for three years and a difference I see between Twins and Sox is stability in the lineups. The only real changes for the Twins have been the RF platoon and DH. The Sox have had much more turnover and experimentation with lineups player positions. Certainly a team that has some success has less incentive to make changes. But playing together as a TEAM and getting used to each other can be worth more victories than simply collecting a number of players with the potential for putting up impressive individual numbers.
Also an emphasis on fundamentals is vital, which also has contributed to the margin thus far. In fact I have seen a slippage in same by the Twins and it is one reason they are behind last year's pace.

06-27-2003, 11:40 AM
Both probably are equally partially responsible, but not nearly as responsible as the Sox lack of hitting to their collective career numbers to date, especially Konerko, but also Lee and Maggs, and more recently, Jiminez's inability to replicate Durham's numbers. I also would cite not the defensive statistics, but the Sox lesser ability to get to balls. Sure, Rowand has a better fielding percentage (in limited duty) than Hunter. But who can argue with the impact Hunter has had with his ability to get to balls that most other CFs could not hope to reach. The is best exemplified by his over-and-above-the-wall catch of Lee's drive back in May that prevented the Sox from taking the lead and probably winning that game, which featured a great pitching performance by Garland. What is more demoralizing than being robbed of an otherwise sure home run? And didn't the Sox go on an extended slump after that game? That is the most dramatic example, but think of the number of balls that Hunter can get to that Rowand or Harris could not reach.