The Sox played their way into October with two dramatic wins this week, while the Rays won their division with six dramatic months. Who holds the advantage?
Each year, the White Sox graciously host a University of Chicago alumni event, where Christina Kahrl and I speak to 150 or more nerds in the U.S. Cellular Conference & Learning Center. The group gets tickets to the game too-which usually means a contest against the Orioles or the Royals, or perhaps a thrilling interleague tilt against the Pirates; clubs that don't motivate many Chicagoans to give up an afternoon from their short summers to come out to the ballpark.
The White Sox seem to have decided to keep Mark Buehrle rather than deal him to a contender. Is this the right call?
It's an interesting decision. As a lefty having a good year, Buehrle would have brought a considerable return in a trade, with the only downside being that he's a half-season rental. The pitchers the White Sox will shop now, Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez, have been less effective than Buehrle, lack the southpaw bonus, but are signed beyond the end of this season. Kenny Williams should be able to move at least one of them, and with the pitching depth the White Sox have in the upper levels of their system, can do so without costing the Sox much in the short or long term.
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Nate takes a look at a player who PECOTA may be undervaluing.
We should keep in mind that baseball talent forms a pyramid or bell curve; the difference between the 30th-best player and the 70th-best player is probably less than the difference between the #1 player (Albert Pujols) and the #10 (Vladimir Guerrero). There is a lot of room for subjectivity in the back half of the list. That said, two particular names came up over and over again: Chase Utley and Mark Buehrle. Although the e-mails were often somewhere to the left of reasonable--one citizen of SportsNation compared me to Jay Mariotti--it is worth a re-examination to see whether there is anything to the wisdom of crowds.
It's a classic matchup between a team that scores a lot and one that stops the opposition from doing just that.
This is probably the most compelling matchup of the four opening series, and it'd be easy to pin a Moneyball versus "Ozzieball" label on the contest, but that doesn't entirely do it justice. Yes, the White Sox steal bases, and the Red Sox don't; the White Sox sacrifice, and the Red Sox don't; the Red Sox take pitches, and the White Sox don't. But what we really have here is a more classic matchup: a team superior at run prevention and average at run scoring against their alter ego.