Four weeks to go in the regular season and the White Sox couldn’t be playing much better. And their competitors are faltering. In the last week, September 5 to September 11 the White Sox remain hot. Here is what the action looked like last week:
- The White Sox went 5-2.
- The Twins went 1-6.
- The Guardians went 5-1.
The White Sox took advantage of a lighter schedule and overtook the Twins for second place in the Division. Currently, the White Sox are 2.5 games behind the Guardians who had an equally great week with the Twins falling two games behind the White Sox and 4.5 behind the Guardians. Our Southsiders took two of three from Seattle and three of four from the A’s. Taking a couple from a very good Seattle team was impressive and beating teams that they need to beat like the A’s is crucial. The White Sox continue to have a lighter schedule with two games against Colorado and three against Detroit. Squashed in between those series, they have a makeup game against Cleveland which is an opportunity to help themselves.
While the White Sox were beating up on the A’s, the Twins had to play the Yankees and the Guardians. The Yankees did their job taking three of four from the Twins and the Guardians swept the Twins. Though Cleveland’s wins helped keep the distance from the White Sox, it still helps the White Sox keep the Twins in the rearview mirror and helped them leapfrog into second place. The Twins have only a slightly better week in that they get three against Kansas City, but then they must go back to Cleveland for four more games.
In addition to sweeping the Twins, Cleveland took two of three from Kansas City. The Guardians week gets a bit tougher moving forward as they play the Angels who are really clicking with Mike Trout back in the lineup. Then they have a division heavy schedule playing the Twins and the White Sox.
Assuming the White Sox continue to have a winning week, the best-case scenario would probably be the following:
- The White Sox beat Cleveland and win the series against Colorado and Detroit.
- The Twins beat Cleveland but lose to Kansas City.
- The Angels beat the Guardians.
With the right combination of White Sox wins and Guardian losses, the White Sox have a shot at first place by the end of the week.
What Went Right, What Went Wrong
The White Sox were a little streaky this week while hitting. They averaged an astounding 6.2 runs/game but that was heavily influenced by a 14 and 10 run game against Oakland and a nine-run game against Seattle. However, they were shutout against Seattle and had a three-run game in the last game against Oakland.
The main heroes continue to be the drivers for runs and RBI’s. Jose Abreu had 7 hits, two multi-hit games, and three RBI’s. Eloy Jimenez has been hot since August, and he was even hotter last week. Jimenez had 13 hits, six multi-hit games, two three-hit games, three home runs and 9 RBI’s. Not to be outdone, Elvis Andrus continues his hot streak with seven hits, two home runs, and seven RBI’s. Andrew Vaughn had a solid week with seven hits and four RBI’s and AJ Pollack had nine hits. Yoan Moncada contributed with a five-hit game, Romy Gonzalez had a four-hit game, and Josh Harrison had two multi-hit games.
The Chicago White Sox now lead the MLB in batting average at .262, a point ahead of the Blue Jays and the Dodgers. The White Sox also lead the league in hits with 1283, a solid 20 ahead of the Red Sox and 31 ahead of the Blue Jays. The White Sox also increased their OPS to .710, putting them in 13th (Cubs are in 14th).
The pitching for the White Sox was not as stingy as the week before with a 3.68 ERA over 61 innings, but still under their season average of 3.95 (16th in MLB). Cueto was virtually flawless against Seattle give up one earned in six but then had a rare off day against Oakland giving up five earned in 4.2 innings. His ERA is down to a phenomenal 3.09. Lance Lynn continues his resurgence with 0 earned in six innings. Lynn is peaking at exactly the right time as Michael Kopech tried to return from his knee injury, but gave up four runs in four innings and Lucas Giolito continues to give up runs, allowing three runs in six innings to go with his lofty 5.18 ERA on the year. That Dylan Cease guy isn’t getting worse, not allowing a run in six innings. His 2.06 ERA is second behind Justin Verlander’s 1.84 and ahead of Shane McClanahan’s 2.20.
What about the Wildcard
Though the White Sox had a fantastic week, and they beat the Mariners to help themselves out, they did not gain any ground in the Wild Card race. The White Sox are still seven games out of the Wild Card race. Tampa Bay and Seattle are a half game ahead of the Blue Jays and the Blue Jays are five games ahead of Baltimore:
- Toronto went 5-2. They do play Tampa Bay five times this week to make that interesting.
- Baltimore did not have a great week going 2-5 and they play Toronto three times this week.
- Tampa Bay went 4-2.
- Seattle went 3-3.
The Wild Card possibility seems to be almost out of reach at this point. To gain seven games against the three headed monster of Toronto/Tampa Bay/Seattle doesn’t seem possible. Because Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay all play each other this week, that could shake things up. But the best path to the playoffs is taking over the lead of the AL Central. The White Sox could use some very unusual help from the Twins this week if Minnesota could win a couple against Cleveland.