The Chicago White Sox have the best record in baseball. They're 62-31, 11 Games ahead of the Twins. They're on pace to win 108 games. But, alot of that success is due to their beating up on the mediocre and bad teams in their own division. They're 10-3 against Cleveland, 8-3 against Detroit, 9-0 against Kansas City, and 4-1 against Minnesota. That's 31-7 (.816). Against the rest of baseball, they're 31-24 (.564) which is still pretty good, but nowhere near as good as they're overrall record. however, they were 12-6 in interleague play. They're interleague opponents were the mediocre Chicago Cubs 6 times, the Rockies, the Padres, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers. among those teams, only the Padres are any good. Against just the American League East and West, they are 19-18 (.514). They've only played one of the Big Three in the AL East (Baltimore, Boston, New York) and went 2-2 against the Orioles. Against the other top team in the AL, the Angels, they are 4-3. They are not as good as their record suggests.
GAME 1: Matt Clement vs. Mark Buerhle
#1 vs. #1. Could this game be a possible preview of Game 1 of an ALDS? Perhaps.
Buehrle is having a career year. He's always been a solid pitcher but this year he is an Ace. his 2.58 ERA and 1.08 WHIP are very indicative of a quality pitcher. He keeps his pitch count down during games and gets most of his outs off of contact. He is striking out around 6 batters per every 9 innings.
He has a low 90's fastball mixed in with a good changeup and an occasional cutter. He challenges hitters in hitters counts and US Cellular Field is somewhat hitter friendly. He's been able to keep the ball in the ballpark this year though. He is difficult to run on with a good pick-off move. He works very fast which helps keep hitters off balance. The Red Sox will probably take alot of time in between pitches to keep him from building a rhythym. He is a workhorse that can go deep into games.
The Red Sox have some decent numbers against him in the past, but he's never been this good in the past. Ortiz is 9 for 29 off him with 4 doubles. Manny is 7 for 13 with a double and 3 Homers. Varitek is 6 for 13. Some have struggled though. Damon is 6 for 31, Millar is 0 for 11, Olerud is 1 for 11, Nixon is 0 for 4.
Buehrle has struggled somewhat in his last 3 starts compared to the 16 before them. He has pitched 20.1 innings in those 3 starts going 1-2, allowing 23 hits, 14 runs, and 8 earned runs. Although he is 11-3, he is 4-3 against .500 teams.
Clement has a similar record with a higher ERA. He has benefited from the 4th best run support in the AL but he has pitched well enough to win his games.
As a whole, the White Sox have pretty good numbers off of him but most of that is due to a number of them having 3 for 5s against him. Of the few White Sox to have seen him with regulairty, only Scott Podsednik has good numbers. He's 6 for 17. Timo Perez is 3 for 11, and Frank Thomas is 1 for 7.
Clement has been off and on all season. His last start was pathetic. He went 3.2 allowing 6 runs. Before that though, he went 8.2 innings against the Rangers. Before that though, he allowed 8 against Toronto. Clement has failed to go 5 or more three times this season. The 2 times before his last start, he followed with a Quality Start. Let's hope the trend continues.
I think Clement will rebound in this game and I think Buerhle's past history for giving up the long ball will come back to haunt him. Manny and Ortiz should get some nice hits off him. If Damon and Renteria can get on base for them, we should win this game.
Rest of the preview tomorrow.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Wow. She's 51? Anyway, the Red Sox cruised to a 9-4 victory that was nowhere near as close as that score suggests. This game was over before the Sox recorded an out in the 1st. The Sox were able to give some guys a bit of a rest going into the Chicago series as well as some playing time. Every position player except for Varitek played. The Sox had RBIs from 6 different players. Six different players also scored runs.
The Man of the Game is David Wells who went 7 allowing 2 earned runs and scattering 6 hits. It was his second quality start in the past week and his 6th win of his last 7 decisions.
Big series with the White Sox this weekend.