Revisiting the Sox
...and the mysteries of their offense.
So far, in 71 games this season, the Sox have scored 11 more runs than the Cubs. When the Cubs last played the Sox, I wrote an entry discussing the odd fact that the Sox had scored more runs than the Cubs despite having a team OPS (reminder: that's On base Plus Slugging) 41 points lower than the Cubs. The conclusion of that article was something along the lines of: it's probably luck, these things even out.
Well, here we are a month later, and what do we find? The Cubs' lead in OPS has dropped to only 33 points (.783 vs .750) and the Sox have still scored more runs than the Cubs. Dude, what's up with these Sox?
The difference isn't found in having a superior On base percentage (which is always my first guess), because the Sox actually get on base less often than the Cubs (wait, someone gets on base less than the Cubs? I am shocked! Shocked, I say!). And the answer isn't in batting average, as the Cubs' team batting average is 12 points higher than the Sox. Everything (non goat-division) points to the Cubs as the superior run-scoring team.
Except reality (stupid reality).
So I guess this is the point where we re-visit the question raised last month: is the Sox consistency throughout the lineup a superior run-producing machine than the Cubs case, where a Derrek Lee is offset by a Corey Patterson? As it has been all year, nobody in the Sox lineup is having an amazing year and nobody is having a terrible year. Of course, we all know about a couple players on the Cubs who are having less than stellar season with the bat (read: hitting like ass), and couple players who are having very good seasons with the bat, and one who has been known to perform miracles (turning loses into wins, for one).
Once again, I don't have the answer. If I had to guess, I would go ahead and say that it never hurts to have a god-like player in the lineup, but it really helps to not have any rally-killing sink-holes in the lineup. This makes sense, I think, because the pitcher never gets a break throughout the lineup...everyone is a challenging out.
If this is not the case, if lineup consistency proves to not be an asset, then I will fall in line with the "Cubs are Cursed" camp.