The most dominant hitting team in baseball has been the Chicago White Sox in 2004, leading baseball in batting average, runs scored, runs batted in, and a slugging percentage 10 points higher than the second place team. The only major category they don’t lead in, OBP, they sit second behind the Cleveland Indians by just 2 points. (.359 to .357)
The first four starters for the White Sox have been far from dominant, but all of them have been solid, with ERA’s of 3.82, 4.07, 4.36, and 4.64. The top 3 current relievers have ERA’s of 1.08 (Takatsu), 2.74, and 2.79.
While not the best fielding team in the league, they have been solid at every position. So why is a team who has outscored their opposition by 58 runs (374 to 316) sitting 2 games behind in the standings the Twins, who have been outscored by their opponents by 4 runs (322 to 326)?
Without going into a detailed Pythagenport look at the teams, (me have little interest in math) I will just throw out why the White Sox sit where they do.
If you noticed when discussing the starting pitching, I just mentioned the top 4 starters. Well that would be because the 5th starter for the Sox this season has produced a 0-8 record with an 11.97 ERA in nine starts. Since last season the fifth spot is 3-19 with a 7.92 ERA. Yes, you did read that wright. (Danny Wright for the majority of those stats.)
Also, I mentioned current relievers, leaving out the abysmal Billy Koch who had an ERA of 5.40 and a WHIP of 1.71, before being traded. The ERA was very decieving as it seemed that every inherited runner he was given, scored by the time he left the mound. (I’m not a proponent of the inheritance tax, but if you can throw in a loophole making Koch pay for his inherited runners, I would have to reconsider my position.)
So a dominant offense with a solid pitching staff and defense have been undone by a 5th starter and their “closer”. Now that the Koch is gone, the 5th starter issue is at the forefront.