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  1. As a White Sox fan, this is certainly more fun. Sadly, the only way it is sustainable is if they get to continue playing the National League indefinitely. The last 5 teams they have played – Atlanta, Washington, Pittsburgh Cubs, Cleveland – have an aggregate winning percentage of .437. That includes the Braves, without them it’s a lot worse.

    Personally, I don’t see how any team that gets to play the Pirates or Nationals 18 times a year can manage to finish under .500.

    Comment by MikeS — June 24, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  2. They’ve had a number of players fall short of expectations during the season’s first two months, and those players have stepped up in the past two-plus weeks.

    I appreciate the balanced coverage of the ChiSox. They are behind because guys have been underperforming, with those perorming at expectations or over (Rios & Konerko namely) carrying the O.

    The perspective here of the Tigers and ChiSox is crappy. I really respect the Twins (except for the 87 team, they suck), but there’s too much “wish it were true” perspective regarding the margin btw MIN and DET & CWS. The teams are much more equal.

    It’s doubtful that they keep up their current pace,


    Well, you’re really going out on a limb by sating the ChiSox won’t win 14 out of every 16 games for the rest f the season. *grin* I kid, I kid. I know what you mean.

    but if they revert to expectations, rather than the poor performances they realized earlier in the season, perhaps the White Sox can finish the season with a respectable record.

    I’ve seen this kind of stuff with the ChiSox before. They’re too stupid to know that they “aren’t ths good”, and they may very well play really good the est of the year.

    Gordon Beckham hasn’t even contributed yet.

    At the very least, CWS and DET are going to force MIN into a very toughchoice in regards to Cliff Lee.

    It should be interesting. I’m a Cardinals fan in North Central, IL … so, I adopted the ChiSox as my “AL Team”, but still enjoy all 3 … MIN, CWS, and DET. MIN doesn’t always live up to their potential (past 1991 I mean), and CWS and DET rarely seem to play down to expectations.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 24, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  3. The Cubs can. The Pirates own them.

    You have to beat the bad teams.

    No team wins a division without owning the struggling teams. Kill the struggling teams + ~.500 against everyone else = playoff possibility.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — June 24, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

  4. “only one of their starters has an xFIP below 4.00.”


    It takes time to dig out of the miserable April they had.
    The White Sox staff is 1st in the AL in FIP and xFIP.
    Will the pitching regress? Of course. But it still likely the best overall pitching staff in the AL and any Sox run depends on it.

    The ridiculous BABIP luck they experienced early couldn’t last forever.

    Comment by Terry — June 24, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  5. Detroit was is also in that run. Folks continue to leave them out for some reason.

    Comment by Terry — June 24, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

  6. yes. nearly every position player underperformed the first two months. some are still. this article is kinda dumb. .206 babip says what’s happening now is part of the regression.

    Comment by balls — June 24, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  7. [i]Some of these guys are going to come down to earth. Floyd and Pierzynski seem the most obvious culprits. Neither is exactly bad, but nor are they as good as they have been in the past 18 days. [/i]

    Perhaps I’m reading something that not there, but it seems to me that there’s a negative stigma around Gavin Floyd that he’s just been lucky and isn’t all that good. In 2008 this was definitely the case — his ERA was a tidy 3.84, but his FIP was nearly a run higher than that. So his peripherals needed to improve quite a bit for him to maintain that low ERA. And guess what? In 2009 he did just that, improving his K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 all by substantial amounts. Consequently, his 2009 FIP was 3.77, a dramatic improvement on 2008.

    So we sit here in 2010 and he had a rough start from an ERA standpoint but again, not much has changed from 2009. His K-rate has actually improved and is close to eight-per-nine-IP. Most signs point to a guy who has been extremely unlucky for the first two months of the season, as his FIP-ERA of over 1.50 is absurdly high. Is it a shock that he’s regaining ground so fast? Certainly. Is it a shock that he’s ‘bouncing back’? Not at all.

    Wrapping this up — Floyd has produced (approx.) 9 WAR over the past two-and-a-half seasons. How many pitchers in all of baseball can boast similar numbers? It would shock me if it’s more than 30.

    Comment by Keith — June 24, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  8. Floyd is very much for real

    Comment by Stu — June 24, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

  9. Great point all around about their staff leading the league in xFIP and
    bad babip luck.

    Comment by madvillian — June 24, 2010 @ 11:49 pm


    Comment by macseries — June 25, 2010 @ 12:24 am

  11. “the Tigers are 38-32, though they have a nearly even run differential. ”

    “In the aggregate the White Sox are still pretty terrible. While the Tigers have a +1 run differential, Chicago’s still sits at -9.”

    Comment by macseries — June 25, 2010 @ 12:50 am

  12. In my capacity as an officer in the Redundant Department of Redundancy…

    One could make a colorable argument that Peavy-Buehrle-Danks-Floyd-Garcia is the best staff in baseball (SF is dominant, but they also pitch in a very pitcher friendly park. BOS, STL, TB, FLA, and NYY are solid, but not incredible). Save for Danks and Garcia they’ve all been unlucky thus far this year. Coupled with the backend of Santos-Putz-Thornton-Jenks, we’re looking at a top 5 staff here, Scott Linebrink notwithstanding.

    While I’ve all but given up hope on Beckham, it’s ludicrous to think that Alexei and Quentin are going to regress to the anemic output of their first 40 or so games. While the season doesn’t turn on Omar Vizquel, substantially-lower-than-expected offensive performances from competent players such as AJ and Kotsay can’t go on forever.

    I really don’t see any reason for asserting that MIN will run away with the Central. Sure, they’re outperforming their pythagorean and beating up on AAA NL teams, but they have all the makings of a contender. Given that the AL Central isn’t exactly dominant and that MIN and DET both have gaping holes in their 4 and 5 spots (Nick Blackburn?!?!?!), I don’t see any justification for the certain tenor of this article. Any slashlines will look unsustainable when plucked from a very lucky 14-2 sample size, but the Sox have a solid team that has been very unlucky thus far. Why are the Twinkies “too good” this year? And let’s not have another Delmon Young lovefest…

    Comment by Chris K — June 25, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  13. What we’re seeing now is simply the law of averages coming into affect.

    The Sox weren’t nearly as bad as they looked early on. They’re also not as good as they’re playing at the moment.

    Things just have a weird way of evening out.

    It seems odd to me, however, how this article seems to underplay their under-performance and overplay their over-performance.

    Comment by PG — June 25, 2010 @ 1:06 am

  14. Great post, Chris.

    Remember, this site was part of the clique of stats writers who decided the White Sox were the worst team ever, so any regression to the mean has to be explained away.

    It’s just curious that all these stats guys were oiling themselves up for a summer of Mariner-worship, started way back with undue fetishizing of Z and Waku as baseball gods who would reach a rare infinity team WAR, yet I detect an odd absense of “Boy do our formulas suck ass” stories in the wake of their total collapse.

    The funniest thing to ever witness, however, is the pretzel shapes stats guys bend themselves into when the actual players play actual games. Like, didn’t anyone tell Gavin Floyd that he’s supposed to pitch worse? Who does he think he is to not follow our infallible model?!?!?

    Comment by johng — June 25, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  15. Yeah I thought the same thing. If the White Sox are truly a “terrible” team at a -9 run differential, then the Tigers must be, too, as a difference of 10 runs roughly equates to only a single win. I think the term “terrible” and a -9 run differential don’t square up. Perhaps “mediocre” was what we were searching for.

    Comment by Jason B — June 25, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  16. Holy cow can we get off the writers’ alleged Mariners worship. Has anything been written along those lines in 2 months plus? We get it. They may have overrated the Mariners’ offseason moves, front office, and their prospects for 2010. Got it! It’s no longer original or creative in the least.

    Comment by Jason B — June 25, 2010 @ 10:54 am

  17. We had 5 months of all-out Mariners worship, and we’re just supposed to shut up. “LEAVE MY STATS GUYS/M’s WORSHIPPERS ALOOOONNNNNEEEEE!!!!” is kind of unoriginal and uncreative, also.

    When people like me suggest that maybe statistical models aren’t the most accurate thing in the world, we’re moronic White Sox fans. I eagerly await my online spanking from Dave Cameron.

    Why doesn’t FanGraphs have a PhotoGallery page, like other fetish sites? I’d love to see hot amature pix of regular Joes dressed up like stats guys.

    Comment by johng — June 25, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

  18. “Five months of all-out Mariners worship” – evidence please.

    At least if you’re going to flog these “stat guys” come up with an interesting, fresh, novel, or creative angle. That’s all I ask. I’m not here to defend Cameron or any other writer here.

    (And, FanGraphs is an odd place to frequent, for someone who gets so incensed at those ne’er-do-well stat-heads, no?)

    Comment by Jason B — June 25, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

  19. And the “why are you here” meme gets old, too. If people who disagree are unwelcome, make it a paysite.

    Really, you need evidence of rampant Mariner-lingus over the offseason? You doubt that the acquisition of Lee and Figgins didn’t initiate “best offseason evah” columns? I can’t help you, then. I will not provide data. The Google.

    You are focussing on 1 paragraph of my 3 paragraph post. The theme of this blogpost was that even though the White Sox were hot, they’ll come back down to the Earth they knew in April (I surmise to justify the overly-pessimistic coverage of said Wsox over the offseason because they didn’t throw money at the obscure VORP-mongers du-jour.)

    I apologize to be reminding you that for all of Seattle’s cuddly baseball lovableness, they are not what was anticipated, and we’re all strangely silent about it, whereas the White Sox are playing up to the level true baseball fans believed possible, and we’re being reminded that somebody’s regression model is going to seek Terminator-like vengence.

    As for creativity, you didn’t like my “hot amateur pix” line? Focus groups responded positively at a 78% rate.

    Comment by johng — June 25, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

  20. Full disclosure, I am a big White Sox fan.

    The conclusions of the article fall pretty short of logical. The Sox don’t need to keep up their current pace in order to make a run at the playoffs. At their current pace, they’d win like 115 games, right. For the first 2 months you had 3 starters and probably 6 position players underperforming, some enormously underperforming. The just need to play like you would expect them to.

    The Twins are not “just too good.” Please. Look at their rotation. Compare it to the Sox rotation. Come on. Carl Pavano will not end the season with a 3.64 ERA. 4.64 maybe.

    Comment by Paul — June 25, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  21. Put another way, the Sox are 15-6 in June by putting up a .762 OPS and a 3.65 ERA. Neither of those numbers are very off line with what you’d expect from the team. They just didn’t do it the first 2 months. They obviously won’t keep up the .714 winning percentage and win 102. They don’t need to.

    Comment by Paul — June 25, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  22. OH NO! The Mariners are failures. Why do the Padres and Jays keep not sucking? This website LIES!!!! I thought you could predict the future and explain away the past and present with your SUPERMATH! Why won’t the pain stop, and why can’t I predict exactly when every one of Ryan Howard’s 44.7 HR will occur? This site is useless, I can’t even use xFIP to predict when and where Ben Sheets next injury will occur.

    Comment by Marcus — June 25, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  23. Seriously though, the Mariners suck, people were wrong about them, it’s time to move on people. There’s still half a season left. Let it go.

    Comment by Marcus — June 25, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  24. Well I am in the 78% that responded positively to the hot amateur pix. I ALWAYS respond positively to those. Even of stat geeks. ESPECIALLY of stat geeks. JoePoz running along the beach, Bo Derek style? Anyone? Anyone?!? Bueller?

    And I know that there were several positive Mariner-related articles this offseason. But to conflate that to all-out Mariner worship is a leap, is all I’m sayin’. And, it’s easy to play results and pick out poor predictions after-the-fact (just as, on the flip side, it’s easy to try and hide from them, as you stated). If you had disagreed with their assessment of the M’s *before* the season, at the time the predictions were made, I’ll give you credit for some insight. It’s easy to point-n’-snicker at bad picks now.

    Too, if anyone had disagreed with the M’s assessment during the preseason, it may be due to some genuinely special insight on their part; automatic disagreement with Cameron, who tends to draw strong opinions for and against; or a lucky guess. People generally like to note their keen insight and astute powers of observations after-the-fact for correct picks, and ascribe their poor picks to the random vagaries of chance and luck. We like credit for the good ones, but take no personal blame for the bad. (Not saying that is any more or less true about the general readership or the authors, it’s just a trait of humankind in general, methinks.)

    Gee I’m rambling here; I’ve strayed rather far from home.

    Too, I enjoy beginning sentences with “too”, I’ve suddenly learned about myself tonight. +1 self-awareness.

    That is all.

    Comment by Jason B — June 25, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  25. I have to admit I came -this- close to giving up on the White Sox this year and they have sucked me back in with the last 3 weeks. While I totally understand that it is not sustainable at this crazy rate… I don’t really see any argument as to why they cannot continue to contend for the (admittedly) weak central division this year. It isn’t as if Minnesota or Detroit are playing that great.

    Comment by Jacob — June 27, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

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