Thursday, September 29, 2005

AL Central Champs

After nearly blowing a 15 game division lead I feel more a sense of relief than excitement. It looked like the players felt the same way as they took the field to celebrate. I'm sure I'll feel more excited when I get home and pop open the champagne (of beers, that is).

Anyways, the Sox have already won 96 games and deserve congratulations on a great 2005 regular season. I thought 3rd place in the divisiom was a real possibility (I never thought fo a second that they would finish 4th as some predicted)and they eserve a lot of credit for not only winning the division, but also for most likely finishing with the best record in the AL.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Did Gardenhire Hold Back Santana To Pitch Against Sox?

A couple of weeks back I looked through the schedule and was relieved to see that the Sox were scheduled to face Johan Santana only once in the home and away series the Sox and Twins began this past weekend. But then the series came and to my shock (and horror) realized that we would have to face him twice.

The funny thing is that he was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but Gardenhire started rookie Francisco Liriano instead. And Friday, Gardenhire opened the Sox series with Scott Baker. So he starts on Saturday, shuts down the Sox, and is scheduled to open up against the Sox in the series that starts Thursday at the Cell. Is this just coincidence or is Gardenhire trying to help out the Indians? If he starts either Wednesday or Friday, he pitches only once in the 7 games.

But I think the Sox may have a surprise ready for the Twins on Thursday when Brandon McCarthy takes the hill against the hapless Twins hitters.

Sox Wild Card Magic Number Is Actually 9

A couple of weeks ago as the Sox pushed their lead back up to 9.5 games I took a shot at those who seemed ready to jump off the bandwagon. But 10 games later, with the lead down to 3.5 games, I might be the one to end up looking foolish. The Sox need to at least split the six remaining games with Cleveland to hold on the division. Winning only two might not be enough as Cleveland gets to play TB and KC seven times down the stretch.

Of course even if they end up losing the division they should have no problem holding on to the Wild Card. In fact, for the Sox to lose the WC, they would need Cleveland, Boston, and the Yankees to pass them in the standings.

Top three make playoffs:

Team GB
CHW 90-58 -
CLE 87-62 3.5
BOS 87-62 3.5
NYY 85-63 5.0

It has been said that the Sox magic number for the WC is 10, but in reality it is only 9. If the Sox get to 99-63 there is no way both NY and Boston can pass the White Sox as NY/BOS have play each other three times. For example if the Yankees went 14-0, to match the White Sox at 99-63, the Red Sox would have to at least lose 3 games to the Yankees and their best potential record would be 97-65.

Best Possible Records for NY/BOS:

Red Sox Sweep: BOS 100-62, NYY 96-66
Red Sox take 2 of 3: BOS 99-63, NYY 97-65
Yanks Take 2 of 3: BOS 98-64, NYY 98-64
Yankis sweep: BOS 97-65, NYY 99-63

This is why the Sox still have a 97% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prosepctus.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Oh Really

Funny reading this on Andrew Sullivan's blog: "One thing I keep thinking: there's still so much we don't know about what really went on in New Orleans."

That sure doesn't stop him from commenting on it(er, placing blame)!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pitching Comes Through

I'm not going to say I wasn't a little bit worried as the Sox stumbled through August. But many Sox fans were actually expecting the Sox to blow their division lead. The fact that the Indians never got closer than 7 games back and the Sox are back on track to reach 100 wins makes these people look pretty foolish. I just don't think many people have faith in this team.

It's easy to understand. Offense always seems to impress people and the Sox are barely adequate in that department. But this is the best pitching staff the Sox have put together in my lifetime and pitching is what is needed in the playoffs.

If they can pitch in October the way they have pitched in September, the Sox have a great chance of bringing a World Series title to Chicage for the first time in 88 years. Here is what the staff has done so far in September:

1.57 ERA
.189 opponents batting average
.84 WHIP
58 K
10 BB (5 last night)