The courageous nature of the White Sox’s 9-8 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday lends itself to overstatement, because all it takes is the Detroit Tigers rolling the Sox for three out of four like the Baltimore Orioles did to eradicate all the goodwill.
But when looking at Dan Szymborski’s midseason ZiPS update for the projected standings at FanGraphs, it’s hard to overestimate the potential impact of that two-game swing. As poorly as the White Sox have played, ZiPS still forecasts a dead heat by the end of 162 games, with the Sox and Twins finishing tied atop the AL Central at 85-77.
Despite the trials and tribulations, ZiPS still sees the White Sox as the most dangerous team in the AL Central and a potential postseason headache in the playoffs thanks to a rotation with a high front end. Also working in the team’s favor is that ZiPS projects the Sox to have the easiest schedule of any AL team remaining. These are significant advantages, but the Twins get a very slight edge in the overall divisional probability because of their big advantage: a 6.5-game lead that’s currently in the books. With the Pale Hose currently 0–5 against the Twins, Minnesota also gets the tiebreaker in the vast majority of tie situations. Contrast that with a game 163 — the superior tiebreak format for anyone who was raised with a modicum of taste and moral character — in which the White Sox project with a 64/36 edge in a Lucas Giolito/Dylan Cease versus Sonny Gray matchup.
You might’ve noticed from the head-to-head record Szymborski relayed that this post went live before Wednesday’s game. Taking a game directly from the division’s stiffest competition could loom large if the Sox manage to erase the remaining 5½ games of the deficit, and it would’ve been 7½ games had the Sox not managed to tie the game five times before finally leading it to end it.
- White Sox sorely need Eloy Jiménez at his best, and he’s prepared to deliver — The Athletic
- White Sox are getting healthier, but not in the home run department — The Athletic
Eloy Jiménez wasted no time making his impact felt by hitting the first of three homers by White Sox righties to the pull field, and it’s worth noting that Jiménez says, “I feel way different than last year.” But in the event that this outburst was just a blip, James Fegan wrote a good article about Frank Menechino and what had been the status quo.
- Carlos Rodón says Giants not playing with enough energy: ‘Something needs to change’ — KNBR
- The Giants’ defense: What happened between 2021 and 2022? — The Athletic
After the White Sox left San Francisco, the Giants’ losing streak stretched to six games before snapping it with a victory over Arizona Wednesday night. Frustration is mounting, in large part because the Giants are giving away games.
Speaking of unhappy former White Sox lefties, Chris Sale still requires adult supervision.
There isn’t much that Tony La Russa can say about this year’s team, because there’s no evidence that La Russa will be held accountable for any disastrous outcome. I’ll just say it’s weird that an MLB manager is name-dropping Gene Mauch and Jack Buck in 2022.
The Tigers likewise are trying to sustain a recent surge, having won four straight against Cleveland for the brighest spot yet in a dreadful season. There’s a lot of Detroit drama to cover, whether it’s AJ Hinch having an opt-out (Avila says he doesn’t), or the Tigers possibly voiding Eduardo Rodriguez’s contract (he’s on the restricted list with a marital issue).
- ‘It’s a dying breed. And it sucks’: The decline of the starting pitcher, and what it means for baseball — ESPN
Starting pitchers are carrying less of the load than ever before, and I think this is one of the ways the 2022 White Sox have failed to differentiate themselves. They’re around the league average in innings per start, and within a standard deviation of pitches, which is not what the Sox had in mind when they extended Lance Lynn for two years.