When Baseball Season Ends in June

Yankee fans that check in here can take quit reading, as this piece doesn’t relate to you. As a White Sox fan, I’ve been spoiled over the past couple of decades. Since 1990, the Sox have won at least 80 games every year, except for 1994 and 1995 (both strike-shortened) and 1999. It seems like new territory here, because I can’t remember a year where the team wasn’t still fighting it out for the divisional race in September.

 

Losing 21 out of 26 games is a miserable feeling. Considering that the White Sox have had the lead in most of these games is even more perplexing. I’ve been talking about the worst bullpen I’ve ever witnessed for the past month and now others are starting to discuss it as well. I’m pulling a couple of quotes from Baseball Prospectus.

First one comes from my former all-baseball.com alumnus Bryan Smith, who just happens to be one of my favorite writers on the game. Smith discusses a Sox stretch between May 27 and June 20. The piece discusses it more specifically, but here is the conclusion.

Ten losses, all games where the bullpen entered with the game tied or in favor of the White Sox. Chicago’s offense has been brutal this season, they aren’t playing good defense and Ozzie has the tendency to leave his starters in just one inning too long. But the Sox could be contenders right now if not for Matt Thornton, Mike MacDougal, Nick Masset, Ryan Bukvich and Bobby Jenks. Instead, South Side fans might be looking at yet another July fire sale in a few weeks.

The second is from Jay Jaffe, who explained his reasons why he thought this would be the year the White Sox were set to fall, just last month in the comment section at the Juice Blog. I disagreed. Score: Jaffe 1, Long 0.

The painful punchline is another late-inning debaclenotice a pattern?–this time via Bobby Jenks, one of the few otherwise innocent bystanders during the team’s 5-19 slide. Jenks has put up a 2.45 ERA in that span, while the rest of the relievers are at 8.70, with a WHIP of 2.28. Whips–now there’s something Ozzie might try…

While the hitting has been incredibly bad, especially considering the home park they take their cuts in, the starting pitching has still kept them in almost every game. Since I wrote this piece about the quality of the White Sox starting pitching has been even better, despite the bullpen giving up almost every inherited runner they faced.

Name June 16 June 25
Buerhle 3.45 3.39
Garland 3.59 3.51
Vasquez 4.15 4.15
Contreras 4.64 4.63
Danks 4.34 4.61

At this point of the year a lot of people start clamouring about how they wish footbal season would begin. These people fall under one of two categories.

  1. Those who don’t like baseball.
  2. Those who live in KC, Pittsburgh, or Tampa.

What am I saying? It is only June 28. I will wait until July 4th. If the White Sox are less than 15 games out of first, I will keep hope alive. Who says they can’t have a 1914 Boston Braves miracle? (Braves were 15 games behind the Giants, who had won the last 3 pennants. The Braves went 68-19 after this point to win the National League and then the World Series.)

Sure I know this is crazy, but when you are baseball fan and your team has sucked this badly, you need to hold on to anything. Now, if someone offers up the next Randy Johnson for Mark Buehrle, I can wait until next season. (see Mark Langston for Big Unit trade, 1989.)

10 thoughts on “When Baseball Season Ends in June

  1. 1.  Speaking of the Braves, Being a fan of ‘that Atlanta oufit’ (as Mike Shannon calls them) is kind of like living out the eternal dilemma of whether ’tis better to have loved and lost or never to have loved at all.’

    Every year the Braves flirt with you, show some flashes of—brilliance—, lead you on….

    Each season also concludes with them crushing your heart, demolishing fantasies of World Championships with an abruptness that leaves you speechless. “What do you mean we’re done?? God Damn Eric Gregg and his Bigfoot sized strikzone (RIP).”

    Recently the winters have been brutal as one by one old pals leave for pricier pastures. Raffy, really?? Dodgers?? Gary, you too? J.D. we hardly knew ya’. Tom, stop talking crazy, you can’t seriously be a MET can you?? I mean that’s ridiculous, like a fundamentalist preacher actually being gay (bad example).

    The Mets??

    Still pains me…

    I guess I’ll always have ’95.

  2. 2.  Hey Scott – I am a Yanks fan and I still read your piece here. I feel your pain. I actually like the White Sox (baseball fan first, Yankee fan second). My team has slid from 7 1/2 out back to 11 out. I too, am not giving up (there’s been talk of the 1978 Yanks team and their comeback over on the Bronx Banter). Just sad when you know a team/teams is better than what they’re showing. Frustrates the heck out of me!

  3. 3.  White Sox Fan: Wow, nobody saw this coming
    PECOTA: I did
    White Sox Fan: Shut the fuck up, PECOTA. Nobody asked you.

  4. 4.  Look at my last post on the subject, Greg. PECOTA seems to be getting the record right, but why they thought it would happen is pretty far off. See starting pitching.

  5. 5.  4 I know. I’ve just always wanted to construct a scene involving PECOTA as a living being.

    Childhood fantasy, I guess.

  6. 6.  Well in that case Greg, I take my hat off for using a talking PECOTA. Nate Silver needs to look into the merchandising rights on a talking PECOTA doll.

  7. 9.  10 games is usually my threshold of counting a team out at the All Star Break. The Astros have made some great second half runs in the last few years though so I guess its not impossible.

  8. 10.  I’m with you, but they have been in the NL.

    Let’s say that the Red Sox, Angels, and Indians win their respective divisions. Pretty hard to imagine the Tigers, A’s, Twins, Yankees, Mariners all fall behind the White Sox, when they are so far ahead of them currently.

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