Everyone remembers Babe Ruth's called home run in the 1932 World Series. In the game Ruth supposedly pointed his bat to center field, indicating he would hit a home run. After the called shot, "The Bambino" did just that and jacked a homer to center field.
I am going to make my own "called" shot, and you as the reader can call me on it if it does or does not come true. I am going to predict the rest of this season and next season for the Chicago White Sox.
The 2009 White Sox have been the perfect depiction of a roller coaster. They have had ups, they have had downs, and there have been many twists and turns.
In 2009, some of the White Sox ups would be Mark Buehrle's perfect game, trading for Jake Peavy, having a seven-game win streak, having a stretch of 8-1-2 in series wins, losses, and splits (June 12-July 23), acquiring Alex Rios via waivers, and taking four series from the majors' best teams (4-2 against the Angels, 3-1 against the Yankees, and 2-1 against the Dodgers).
Some of the ChiSox downs would be poor performances from key players (Bobby Jenks—four blown saves in critical junctures this season, Jose Contreras—4-11 with a 5.40 ERA, setup man Scott Linebrink's 8.44 ERA since the All-Star break), an abysmal 25-28 record against divisional opponents, injuries to key players (Carlos Quentin, Jim Thome, and Chris Getz), and finally, a never-ending ability to play inconsistently all the time, which near September leaves the Sox two games above .500.
So what should one make of the above facts on the 2009 Chicago White Sox?
With a little over a month and a half to go in the season, I see the White Sox winning the division by the slimmest of all margins and getting put out in the ALDS like last year.
My reasons for this: 1) an all-around inconsistent team, 2) key injuries and slumps to players, and 3) too many question marks about the rotation and bullpen.
The Pale Hose will finish 87-79 after losing 3-1 in the 2009 ALDS against the Yankees.
A little too early to tell, you might say?
Possibly, but 120 games into the season, I am confident in the prediction. I hope I am wrong and the ChiSox season extends further than the ALDS. Hey, as J.P. from the movie Angels in the Outfield would say, "It could happen."
As far as the 2010 White Sox go, that's a different story.
With most players' statuses for next year somewhat clear, I see the White Sox being a dominant force not to be messed with, and let me tell you why.
In 2010, the White Sox will have the most dominant starting rotation in baseball (Buehrle, Peavy, John Danks, Gavin Floyd). As for the fifth starting spot, I look for Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams to either promote from within (Daniel Hudson, AAA and Carlos Torres, AAA) or sign a low-key but steady free agent.
The bullpen will be led by closer Jenks, setup man Matt Thornton, Linebrink, long reliever D.J. Carrasco, and likely some new faces brought in through promotion or free agency, which will most definitely shore up this already fierce bullpen.
As for the offense, I see an outfield starring Scott Podsednik, Rios, and Quentin, an infield led by Paul Konerko, Getz, Gordon Beckham, and Alexei Ramirez. And who can forget catcher A.J. Pierzynski?
With Rios rebounding, Beckham possessing a year under his belt, and a healthy Quentin, the 2010 Sox offense will be undoubtedly deadly.
I see GM Williams and manager Guillen making a few offseason moves to help the team. I believe, unfortunately, Jermaine Dye will be the odd man out and will not be re-signed. I see Thome being re-signed as DH and Scotty Pods being signed on as well.
If Williams decides not to sign Thome, he will probably exercise Dye's 2010 $12 million mutual option and sign him as a DH. I think Sox fans will also see new faces in the rotation and bullpen.
As for the big picture, the 2010 White Sox will be led by the league's best pitching and a league-leading offense. Look for the White Sox to make a deep 2010 postseason run ending in either an AL pennant or 2010 World Series title.
Quite a shot to call, in my opinion. Leave me comments on what you think.