Spare Parts: ZiPS still likes White Sox at season’s end

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.

Spare Parts

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.

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).

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.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Willardmarshall

TLR;DR

Root Cause

“…you are not going to ask fans to look for everything that goes on. They look at what the score is.”

Does that pretty much confirm that he thinks we still pay 25 cents for a newspaper to read yesterday’s score?

As Cirensica

Gene Mauch and Jack Buck did.

Joliet Orange Sox

I felt old realizing many posters may not remember newspapers costing less than 25 cents. Then I realized some posters don’t remember newspapers at all.

Trooper Galactus

I’m sure kids still go to the mall to get new spapers to replace their old spapers all the time.

shaggy65

“Nobody is ever going to tell me ‘You screwed up.’ “

Tony accidentally getting a little too honest in that interview…

Last edited 4 months ago by shaggy65
loch

Oof…Chris Sale 🙄

gibby32

There are two ways to interpret that Chris Sake video: (1) the guy has competitive fire that can motivate teammates and (2) the guy is a moron. I’m going with moron.

Trooper Galactus

Probably the safe bet on a guy who threw a temper tantrum at his team’s executive VP because he wouldn’t allow his buddy’s son to practice with the team.

King Joffrey

Just a fun fact about today’s starting pitchers carrying less of the load…
50 years ago, Wilbur Wood threw 376 innings for the Sox (with a 2.51 ERA).

Right Size Wrong Shape

Today that kind of production would earn him approximately eleventy billion dollars per year.

Joliet Orange Sox

Wood was great in 1972 (better in 1971 with a 1.91 ERA over 334 IP). 1972 was a wild year with the White Sox showing that a team could win 87 games with only 7 players (Wood, Allen, Bahnsen, Bradley, May, Forster, and Herrmann) really contributing a lot and only 3 others (Kelly, Lemonds, and Acosta) contributing much at all.

Bradley and Bahnsen also carried big pitching loads (over 250 IP) in 1972. Bradley was never the same after 1972 (his decline happened with the Giants after the Sox traded him for Henderson and Stone) while Bahnsen had a great year in 1973 throwing a lot of innings but was never the same after 1973. The Sox traded Bahnsen after the 1975 season for Chet Lemon.

Wood was just a unique player. I think those 40+ start seasons were something very few starters could do over any length of time even back in the day and certainly not today. I find it interesting that then Sox pitching coach Johnny Sain threw some great huge usage seasons in his career (3 of them) and then was never the same. I think it’s fine that today we only expect 180 IP even from a really good starter.

Papa Giorgio

This is what happens when you don’t have a clubhouse leader like Drake LaRoche around to rein him in.

soxygen

Re starting pitchers, it may be that they are carrying less and less of the load…but it is also true that the 12 teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today are all in the top 14 in terms of innings pitched by starters.

The Sox are 20th, FWIW, and the only legit playoff contender getting fewer innings from their starters is St. Louis at 24th.

It is still true that most teams that can’t get enough innings from their starters end up missing the playoffs.

a-t

Sale has always been an exemplifier of one of my favorite bits of old-timey baseball lingo: he’s a red-ass

dwjm3

He is white trash. He consistently comports himself like a meathead because he is low rent.

Nobody should be nostalgic about the destruction of property.

Last edited 4 months ago by dwjm3
a-t

i think we can describe Sale in perfectly adequate terms without resorting to weird classist descriptors

asinwreck

Yes. It’s a horrible term with a horrible history.

dwjm3

You we’re rationalizing his behavior. Maybe you should be a bit more circumspect about critiquing others language as you wax maudlin about poor behavior

Last edited 4 months ago by dwjm3
joewho112

I don’t most of those words mean what you think they mean

Willardmarshall

What, your maudlin doesn’t need waxing?

dwjm3

I suggest you reread the post then. They are quite easy to understand with a bit more thought.

Last edited 4 months ago by dwjm3
a-t

Rationalizing? What? How? I’m saying is that Sale is a prime example of a red-ass. Which in baseball parlance generally means a player whose competitive edge is strong and emotional self-control poor, such that they do ridiculous things (like cut up jerseys, destroy whiteboards, or batter bullpen phones) not infrequently when frustrated. It’s descriptive and in no way rationalizing.

DuckSnorting-CanofCorn

I knew Sale was going to be traded at the end of the year in 2016. I had one last chance to see him that Summer. Got to the ballpark, excited and sad knowing a long rebuild on the way. Looking forward to one last, hopefully, lights out performance.

What’s this? MATT ALBERS is starting!? I came out here for Matt Albers!?

Yep, the jersey slashing game. I’ll never forgive you Chris!

I’d like to think the thunderstorm that suspended that game was the baseball gods protesting Sale’s dumbassery.

I see he still really hasn’t learned.

As Cirensica

chipporter

Jim, are you trolling us with a picture of Leury or foretelling?

Joliet Orange Sox

Or foretrolling?

upnorthsox

I’ll go with that and also save it for future foretrolling.

Last edited 4 months ago by upnorthsox