Cubs, Sox, and Glory
I'm not really sure what to write about this rivalry that hasn't already been written; my only concern with this post was to not have the words "Crosstown Classic" anywhere in the title. So I already consider this post a success.
What I wanted to consider was the amazingly mediocre consistency that theyWhite Sox have shown on offense. Frankly, it is a thing of beauty.
A) The Sox have exactly one player with an OPS above .800 (A.J. Pierzynski) and just barely above at that.
B) The Sox have exactly one player with an OPS below .700 (Jermaine Dye) and, as you might have guessed, just barely below at that.
Just a shining example of mediocrity. But is it better to have 9 (Remember, fake baseball. The pitchers don't hit) average hitters or a mix of good and bad hitters throughout the lineup? That is the question for the day.
The Sox are riding their .726 team OPS to an average of 4.86 runs/game. The Cubs, however, despite having an OPS 41 points higher, are only averaging 4.5 runs/game. That is essential the difference this year between Manny Ramirez and Jeromy Burnitz (of course, in most years, that would be a much bolder statement). So why are the Sox scoring more runs than the Cubs this year? (*cough* goat curse *cough*).
One major difference between the Sox and the Cubs: The Cubs, while riding high on the coat-tails of Derrek "The Clutch God" Lee, have also been dragged down by Todd "the hitless one" Hollandsworth (and now DuBois is struggling after taking over. Maybe left field is cursed?). The Cubs have had both Neifi! and The Neifi, "Befouler of Lineups", take the field. There has been very little consistency amongst the lineup all year.
Is this lack of consistency costing the Cubs runs? Or rather, is the White Sox boring consistency garnering them undeserved runs? Or is Ozzie Guillen some sort of wonder-boy genius who is able to squeeze every ounce of production out of an otherwise ordinary team? (I'm going with no on that last one)
I don't have the answer to this question, but I have a feeling that luck might be a factor here, and eventually they might trend downward towards the Cubs' miserable depths. However, I can certainly see how a consistent offense could lead to more runs. You know, the old "string the hits together" deal that the Cubs can't quite manage.
I can be sure that it isn't an advantage in OBP, because both the Cubs and the Sox are in a dead heat at .326. Strikeouts might be the difference, however, as in 41 games the Sox have struck out only 227 times whereas the Cubs have struck out 239 times in 38 games. The Sox strike out nearly one less time per game than the Cubs, and it is possible that this lack of strikeouts are making up for the lack of slug-ability.
Time will tell if this is a luck factor or a real effect. I'm sure theories will abound as to why the Sox are scoring so well, but a more in-depth analysis will be required to figure out this little mystery.
Cubs v. Sox, 1:20 PM today. Go Cubs!