Chicago White Sox: How Will the Sox Fare Against the Rest of the AL Central?

Steven KersteinContributor IFebruary 11, 2012

Chicago White Sox: How Will the Sox Fare Against the Rest of the AL Central?

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    The Chicago White Sox play in the weakest division in Major League Baseball. Over the past three seasons, the team's record against this feeble group is a mighty 102-114.  

    Needless to say, the Pale Hose aren't going to win many division titles if this trend continues in the future.

    The White Sox are like the Golden State Warriors of baseball—they play to their level of competition.  Bring in the Miami Heat on a Friday night, ESPN televised game and they'll probably pull it off. Play the Kings on a cold, Tuesday night and they'll lose by 17.

    During a three-game series last June, the White Sox made minced meat out of the Red Sox sweeping them at Fenway Park.

    That weekend looked like it could be a turning point in the season. Naturally, the Sox (White) returned to the Cell and lost a pivotal series against Detroit erasing any momentum.

    For the Sox to have any chance this year, they've got to play better against their division rivals.

    Here's my outlook on how the team will fare against each AL Central opponent.

Kansas City Royals

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    We'll start with the greatest smelling armpit of any division in baseball.  

    To put it quite simply, the Royals are stacked when it comes to offense. I'll take Hosmer, Butler, Moustakas, Gordon and Francoeur over Ramirez, Konerko, Dunn and Rios any day of the week.

    But when it comes to pitching, it's a completely different story. Unless your name is Bruce Chen and you're facing the White Sox.

    The White Sox have always had problems winning at Kauffman Stadium, going 3-6 last season against the division's perennial cellar dwellers. Too bad, the Sox couldn't beat them in Chicago either compiling a 7-11 overall record against the club in 2011.

    While the Sox continue to spend money to remain competitive, Kansas City's going about winning the right way: developing internal talent. They've done a very nice job of assembling a talented lineup and would probably be better off if they traded a hitter for a proven pitcher.

    Of the 18 times the two teams clash this season, I predict a 9-9 record for the White Sox.  

    If they decide to throw Chen at us every time, Kansas City: 18 White Sox: 0.

Minnesota Twins

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    Like most Sox fans, the demolition of the Metrodome will forever hold a special place in my heart.

    The Sox just found ways to lose games in that building. 

    Ironically enough, the Sox haven't had trouble competing at Target Field, holding a 9-9 record over the past two seasons.

    They just can't figure out how to beat those pesky piranhas at home, going just 5-13 since the start of the 2010 season. What's that about?

    For the majority of last season, the Twins played without Mauer and Morneau. So you're telling me that a team assembled around Carl Pavano, Jason Kubel, Danny Valencia and Matt Capps should be able to come in to U.S Cellular Field and play .667 baseball?

    Regardless of the payroll discrepancy between the two clubs, the Twins must feel like they own our White Sox. It's a mentality that needs to be erased.

    And this year will be the start. New Year's resolution: Beat the Twins!

    Of 2012's 18 meetings between the clubs, the Sox will capture 11 victories. Wishful thinking?  

    Adam Dunn getting a hit off a lefty is more like wishful thinking.

Cleveland Indians

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    Cleveland, what a beautiful city. A true Midwestern gem. Did I lose you?

    For some bizarre reason, the White Sox actually have moderate success against the Tribe. Since 2007, the White Sox have gone 48-42 against the Indians.  

    Six games over .500 is pretty pathetic for a team that spends way more money if you ask me.

    Anyways, Cleveland actually should be decent this year. They've got some nice young talent in Justin Masterson, Carlos Santana, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis to complement veterans like Travis Hafner, Carmona/Heredia (if he's ever allowed in the country) and Choo. If only Grady Sizemore could play like it was 2005.

    Personally, I believe that the Ubaldo Jimenez trade was out of desperation and will end up setting back the team in the long-run. The Tribe gave up some good, young arms in Alex White and Drew Pomeranz.

    At least they still have Wild Thing Rick Vaughn coming out of the bullpen.

    The Sox usually play them very well, especially in Cleveland (17-10 at Progressive Field since 2009). They play 18 times and they'll win an optimistic 11.  

    Nevermind, Matt Thornton will serve up a go-ahead homer to Santana in Cleveland on April 10th. Make that 10-8.

Detroit Tigers

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    While we're on the subject of Midwestern Gems, Detroit is praised for its booming automotive industry and just a place everyone wants to be.

    I'm an insensitive jerk. (Don't worry, I'm getting help.)

    While Detroiters might not live in the best place on Earth, their baseball club is looking like a legitimate World Series contender.

    If Fister and Scherzer pitch well, there's no reason why they can't compete with the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and Rangers.

    When Victor Martinez went down for the year, Sox fans thought that the team was getting their break. And $214 million later, many (including myself) are conceding the season.

    A mere nine seasons ago, the Tigers played more like felines, going 43-119. That team featured the likes of Bobby Higginson, Dmitri Young and Mike Maroth. A very intimidating litter of kittens.

    The 2012 Tigers look like a force on paper, boasting the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander, sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, youngsters Brennan Bosch and Austin Jackson and a very underrated backstop in Alex Avila.  

    They might score 1,000 runs.  

    The Sox used to have plenty of success against Motown. From 2005 to 2009, they bested Detroit 58-34 in head-to-head matchups. 

    For the past two seasons, the Tigers have mauled our White Sox winning 23 out of 36 games.

    Things probably will get a little bit worse before they get better. The South Siders will go 6-12 against the Tigers.

    Look at the bright side, we don't have to live in Detroit.

Overall AL Central Record

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    Let's do the math: 9-9 against KC, 11-7 against the Twins, 10-8 against the Tribe and 6-12 against the Tigers. That works out to an even 36-36 which will put the Sox in no place to contend. 

    If we can't play up to our competition and beat up on this feeble division, the organization will continue to sidestep. 

    The key to a winning team is consistency. Over the course of the last six seasons, the White Sox have only done one thing consistently: play inconsistently.  

    This team needs focus and drive more than anything. They've got the pieces to beat up on KC, Cleveland and Minnesota. The Tigers might be a different story.

    Hopefully Robin can shake things up and my predictions don't come true. If they do, I'll stop writing and become a fortune teller.