The Chicago White Sox head into Tuesday's matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays with a record of 31-23. That’s right Sox fans, exactly one-third of the way through baseball’s regular season, the White Sox are eight games over .500 and two-and-a-half games in front of the second place Cleveland Indians.
More importantly, as head-to-head records against the division more often than not determine the champions, the White Sox lead the AL Central with a .577 winning percentage against division opponents.
In an effort to better understand the chances for the White Sox to make it to the postseason in a year in which expectations outside of the clubhouse were quite low, it is time to infuse some statistical analysis into the greater conversation of how the White Sox compare to the other teams in the AL Central.
Conversations around the water cooler at work, and comments from Tigers fans in past articles this column has written, seem to have the same theme: The Tigers are not playing up to their capabilities and the White Sox are far exceeding theirs.
Conventional baseball wisdom argues that a balanced lineup, solid fielding and quality pitching are surefire ways to win a division. The belief going into the season from nearly every prognosticator was that the Tigers had the most of all of these and should run away with the division crown.
Remember, Sports Illustrated picked the Tigers to win 93 games while predicting the Sox would win 67.
Jake Peavy thought that a bit incredulous.
With a new feeling permeating the clubhouse following the departure of Ozzie Guillen and several Sox players having career worst years last season, the only way for the franchise to go was up.
Position by position and pitcher by pitcher, the Sox match up very well against the reigning Central Division champions.