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There wasn’t room on this week’s Sox Machine Podcast for two kinds of time constraints. For one, we had to carve out some room for Greg Nix’s moving masterpiece at the end of the show.
For another, I went to my first concert since 2019. Neko Case is always great live, especially since her band usually includes some great performers tagging along. This time she had two other the New Pornographers with her (Carl Newman and Joe Seiders). Thumbs up.
Anyway, here’s the first half of the mailbag. I’ll be posting the second half of them tomorrow in an exclusive post for Sox Machine supporters. If you haven’t yet signed up for our Patreon, here’s how to get involved.
Do we have to root for the Sox to do so badly this next month that it forces Jerry to make some changes? I don’t believe in hate watching and rooting for failure, but I don’t see any other way that thing a change in this organization.— Alec S.
The bad news: With how much the White Sox adore the status quo, whatever it may be, you can’t count on any outcome prompting significant change, which is why I’ve said it’s better for the White Sox to make the postseason than miss it, no matter how unsatisfying.
The good news: Where the White Sox currently stand, every outcome is some degree of embarrassing. If we’re approaching the part of the season where the Titanic cracks in half, obviously that’s an epic scale of tragedy. If they win 79 to 83 games while the Baltimore Orioles win a wild card spot, that’s also humiliating.
If they somehow eke out a division title at 85 wins against a Cleveland team that was content to punt the season, to summon Tom Hanks after counting a vote that determined The Guy Who Played Mr. Belvedere Fan Club would not murder Mr. Belvedere, “It shouldn’t have been that close!”
What did we all do in a previous life to deserve the utter disaster that is the Chicago White Sox?— Brian S.
I don’t know about me, but I’m guessing one of us had to have been Samuel Gompers.
Who is fired first?— Rodney S.
If Robin Ventura’s last month is any precedent, then Tony La Russa’s status will hover over the final week of the season, and there will be some kind of decision on him by Game 162, and that would put the rest of the coaching staff in flux. If La Russa decides to stick around, then I’ll say Frank Menechino.
Trade deadline is over, but waivers are still available if teams want to take on full freight if a contract. Assuming certain teams would be happy to let some pending free agents go to save a month’s worth of salary, any candidates out there to do so for a contending team to maybe add a depth piece?
Also: Put us back a few years and assume waiver trades still exist. What would the Sox be trying to do now?— Tim
In either case, I don’t think there would be much out there. I’m guessing the entire Marlins outfield could be had. Maybe Nelson Cruz? Mike Moustakas? Kole Calhoun? Calhoun is probably the best fit who could be had for free, but that’s because he’s hitting .135/.204/.269 since the start of July.
What would you say the White Sox wind-chill or heat-index adjusted record is?
This question is along the lines of “If you didn’t know what age you were, what age would you guess?”
There are certainly .500 teams that that feel like .600 teams because of exciting play and an upward pointing arrow, and there are .500 teams that feel like .400 for inverse reasons.
So, yeah, the White Sox are at 63-65, but to me it feels a lot more like the Diamondback’s record of 59-67.–Alister S.
You mean the RealFeel record? This is a good question, because while you have to adjust for the White Sox’s flaws generating a very boring style of play, you also have to account for the fact that a lot of teams would love to have had the White Sox’s starting rotation, at least up until Michael Kopech hit the IL. Or maybe you don’t have to, but I do.
I actually think they feel like a 63-65 team, or at least within a couple of games of it. I think if you dock them past five games under. 500 out of anger, you lose the grip on the pitching being rather competent. (This is subject to change if Johnny Cueto’s velocity loss sticks.)
What’s making the White Sox’s record feel warped is that they’re still in contention for the division despite their best efforts. Here’s where they could rank outside the AL Central:
- AL East: 15 GB
- AL West: 18½ GB
- NL East: 18½ GB
- NL Central: 10½ GB
- NL West: 26½ GB (lol)
Before I started looking at the other divisions, I thought the ReelFeel AccuStandings would say the White Sox deserve to be about a dozen games out of first place, and that looks about right.
Let’s have your level-headed (as you can be at the moment) opinion on where Rick Renteria would have this team at this very moment if he kept his job. I know these sort of “what ifs” are essentially useless, but the last month or so has me wondering if the TLR hire was the moment this turned or if it was inevitable with this roster, thanks!— Jonathan L.
I don’t think it’s a whole lot better, not because these specific problems were inevitable, but because Rick Renteria seemed like he was done with waiting for Carlos Rodón to be reliable, and Rodón was a big reason why the White Sox jumped out to the huge lead in the first half of the 2021 season. If the White Sox non-tendered Rodón, I’m skeptical he re-signs with the White Sox at less than his projected value, even if Renteria were paired with Ethan Katz.
As I wrote when the White Sox fired Renteria, it’s tough for a rebuilding manager to emerge on the other side of it unburdered by the baggage of so much losing. His dismissal was accompanied by claims that he needed to hold veterans more accountable, and that his team needed greater attention to detail. That sounds familiar right now, doesn’t it?
Based on how the White Sox responded to Robin Ventura in 2012 and Renteria in 2017, I think there’s a potential for surprising yields when replacing a manager who has run his course. The White Sox’s toughness and next-man-up abilities during the first half of the 2021 under La Russa might be that same sort of thing, which is why we can only hope the Sox remove La Russa from his current post by any means necessary.
If the Hawaiian Little League team played the rest of the White Sox schedule would they have a better record than this pitiful group?— Kyle N.
Of course not, but if they moved Guaranteed Rate Field’s fences to 225 feet all around, they might be able to hit opposite-field homers again, and that might be enough to get them back in it.