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infohawk
07-08-2004, 10:52 AM
sit back and strap it down. Things are not nearly as bleak as a five-game losing streak would lead us to believe. Take a look at the schedule. Not all games are truly equal.

Contrary to last year, we have played a tougher schedule than the Twins over the first half of the season. Case in point:

The Twins have played the Royals a total of 7 games more than the Sox have played KC. The Royals weren't that good to begin with, but have gone 1 and 12 since they traded Beltran.
The Twins have played Detroit a total of 9 games more than the Sox have played the Tigers, with the Twins winning 5 of those games.
The Twins have yet to face the Yankees, a team the Sox have played 7 times.
The Twins have yet to face the Rangers, a first-place team the Sox have played 3 times (winning 2 games).
The Twins have played Anaheim 3 times compared to 5 for the Sox. The Twins won one game for a winning percentage of .333 compared to the Sox 2 wins in the first 3 games for a winning percentage of .666. We have yet to see how the Twins do against the Angels during the final 3 games they will play. My assumption (and only an assumption) is they won't do significantly better then we are doing. The number of games the Twins win against the Angels could very well be comparable to what the Sox did.
The Sox have played Cleveland 9 times (winning 5) and the Twins have played the Indians 6 times (winning 4). The Sox winning percentage is .555 while the Twins is .666. These are somewhat comparable numbers. I don't believe, however, that Cleveland is an "easy" team to beat. They aren't world-beaters, but they are an improving ball club.
The Twins have played +16 games against the Royals and Tigers, and -10 games against the Yankees and Rangers (two first-place teams). Also keep in mind that the Twins got to play the Mets and the Diamondbacks during interleague play while we had to play 6 against the Cubs and 3 against the Marlins. All of a sudden their 2.5 game lead looks very insignificant. In my estimation, the Twins needed to build a somewhat sizable cushion during the first half, just to keep it close by the end of the second half. Meanwhile, the Sox have played a tougher first half and managed to stay above .500 and right with the Twins. The Sox also seem to have the Twins number head-to-head for the first time in 3 years.

The reason the Twins went on a run during the second half of the season last year was because they had wiped most of the tough games off their schedule in the first half. Shannon Stewart, contrary to some opinions, was not the difference-maker. The schedule was in their favor during the second half. The Sox played extremely well during the second half against tough teams, but had essentially lost the season after underperforming against some pretty weak teams during the first half.

All this said, the Sox will probably enter the break behind the Twins. Hopefully the Sox win today and take at least 2 against Seattle. Keep in mind, however, that the Twins finish the half against Detroit. Detroit has gotten better, but I would still expect that the Twins should be able to handle them and keep their lead, if only for just a few more days.

BigEdWalsh
07-08-2004, 11:00 AM
OK. So this is all good news for the Sox finishing ahead of the Twins. :D:
Then what? Do you think this team is good enough to get past the 1st round of the playoffs? Currently, I don't think so.

TomParrish79
07-08-2004, 11:08 AM
Hey you got me convinced.

Gumshoe
07-08-2004, 11:19 AM
Good points, infohawk:

Outside of schedule strength, though, let's look at why the 2004 Chicago White Sox will win the division. Entertain the following questions:

1) From top to bottom, whose starting pitching staff is superior?
2) From top to bottom, whose lineup is better?
3) Is there as large of a "chemistry" disparity this year as compared to last year between the two teams?
4) Can the Twins defy the logic of Runs Scored vs. Runs Allowed yet again?(this year they are even negative!)

In summary, you have
1.Sox
2.Sox
3.no
4.no

With Ozzie as the manager, things have changed greatly. Barring tremendous injury, the Sox win the AL Central.

I'm not liking what I see lately, but does it change the fact that the Sox, in every way, are better than the Twins? NO.

Now what to do about Willie and Timo ... argh

Gumshoe

Flight #24
07-08-2004, 11:24 AM
Now what to do about Willie and Timo ... argh


Simple. Platoon Willie & Uribe @ 2B & ARow & Timo @ CF once Maggs comes back. Having 3 of the 4 in the lineup AND not having Maggs is a kiler. Then factor in not having Frank......:o:

infohawk
07-08-2004, 11:26 AM
As far as the playoffs are concerned, good question. It's hard to say for two reasons. First, Kenny may not be done making trades. Second, I'm convinced that a certain degree of luck is involved in winning playoff series. Not to minimize the obvious need for a highly-skilled team, but if a good team gets hot at the right time, anything can happen. I wasn't overly impressed with the Cubs last year, but they got hot a couple of weeks into September and it carried them to within 5 outs of a World Series. Look at the Marlins and the Angels over the last two years. Two teams who were hot at the right time. Conversely, look at the 2001 Mariners. They won 116 games and what did it get them?

Terminated
07-08-2004, 11:37 AM
Yes, a 5 game losing streak is pretty frustrating for us Sox fans, but we still have more than 60 games to play this year. Our offense has been dead for days now. They need to be awaken. Our pitching hasnít been 100% excellence, so that has to improve as well. I say we get two reliable arms for our bullpen (another SP?) and we are ready to go.

Gumshoe
07-08-2004, 11:46 AM
There is truth in what you say, for sure, infohawk. But if you look at the Angels and the Marlins, those teams turned it on around the 1/3 to halfway point of the season and didn't look back. Right after the Marlins got McKeon, they blew up (and that was relatively early in the season, considering all things). It's not luck, really, but it is right timing. There is a difference. There's also something to be said about playing well in pressure series, although there is great confusion on this topic. Well, at the very least we would like to be in a relative race with Minny so we stay sharp. I think that will happen.

As long as we win the division, i'm ecstatic. Bring on the Yanks. All that said, I say the Sox win ~92 and take the division by 6 games.

Gumshoe

soxtalker
07-08-2004, 11:49 AM
Good analysis infohawk. On the other hand, during the Twins series last week, a Minneapolis writer or broadcaster (IIRC) pointed out that the Twins were thinking themselves in pretty good shape for the second half, as they'd had a lot of injuries in the first half.

Paulwny
07-08-2004, 12:01 PM
The biggest problem is the no's 1,2,8 and 9 hitters. If they don't get on base who do Frank,Maggs, etc drive in. When those hitters don't get on it looks like corpse ball. I'm not feeling optimistic.

Kilroy
07-08-2004, 12:23 PM
OK. So this is all good news for the Sox finishing ahead of the Twins. :D:
Then what? Do you think this team is good enough to get past the 1st round of the playoffs? Currently, I don't think so.
Worry about getting there first. Once they get there, then we can worry about whether they can advance or not...

hawkjt
07-08-2004, 12:48 PM
I just hope the Sox can get to the last 2 weeks of the season even with the Twins cuz the twins have 7 vs sox and 3 vs their krptonite,yankees in that stretch. If we can not beat them head to head for the title we are not worthy. The tigers do worry me tho.

Lip Man 1
07-08-2004, 12:56 PM
The theme of this thread is entirely correct however you have to face the fact that if the Sox are five or six games out come September 1st, the difference in the schedules may not matter. All the Twins would have to do is to avoid a long losing streak and their chances of winning the division are pretty good.

Personally I'm all for playing an easy early schedule, building up a big lead and let people catch you, rather then trying to catch the leader after the All Star break, but that's just me.

I think it's unwise to rely on having other teams having to help you out by beating the leader.

And let's remember that this club has only swept two opponents in the entire first half of the season, that's 27 series.

What makes anybody think the Sox are going to be able to start sweeping teams in September? Even bad teams???

Just something to consider.

Lip

OzzieBall2004
07-08-2004, 06:39 PM
Is anyone else worried about Detroit??? I know its premature, but I caught those games against the Yanks the past couple days and they hit the ball well, couple that with the way our pitchers have been throwing lately and we could be in some trouble. However, we got by with quality run support early on and is havnt been there of late (except today). None of the past few games would have been winnable even if our pitching staff held them to 3,4, or 5 runs.

BigEdWalsh
07-08-2004, 10:06 PM
Worry about getting there first. Once they get there, then we can worry about whether they can advance or not...
Don't think I'm not worried. I'm not one of those saying, relax everything is fine. Everything is not fine. :D:
Getting there is not a sure thing.

Dan H
07-09-2004, 10:46 AM
Right now the Twins are 10 games over .500. If I am not mistaken, the Sox have never reached that mark this season. The Sox are no cinch to win anything yet. It's time to see some consistency.

Kadafi311
07-09-2004, 10:49 AM
Regardless of the validity or whether or not I agree with the post... I appreciate the info and the taking of time to draw that up.

Here's to you! :gulp: