So it’s all come down to this. A matchup in the final series of the season that will decide the AL Central. Truly a battle of fantastic teams, the Cleveland Indians hosting the Chicago White Sox and it couldn’t be a better time to be a baseball fan in Cleveland.
Wait, no, never mind. Everything is terrible. The Indians collapsed like a paper tiger on a house of cards and now the White Sox, after leading the division since June, have faded hard as the Detroit Tigers finally stopped disappointing. Detroit’s magic number is one going into Monday, so if the Tribe can down the White Sox Monday night, hopes on the South Side will be crushed and even if it was a horrid season, a Pyrrhic victory is better than none.
Last week in Chicago, the Indians took two of three from the White Sox, expediting the slide that continued with the Rays over the weekend. The Sox are 3-9 over their last 12 games, pretty much ending their season. As any sabermetricist will tell you, they quantitatively didn’t “want it” enough. And that’s too bad, because this was a fun team to watch all season even if they were the ones winning what the Tribe couldn’t. In that 12-game stretch they averaged less than three runs per game despite hitting 12 homers in that same span. It’s a team lacking in athleticism and speed despite Alejandro De Aza and Alex Rios, and it leads to clogged base paths and less runs.
In that same 12-game span the Indians are averaging 5.6 runs per game and ever since Sandy Alomar took control they’ve been crushing the ball. Twenty-nine runs against the Royals, 15-run games on consecutive Sundays, it’s been a good late September for the Indians. Everyone is contributing and outside of Jason Kipnis’ continued lack of power production this is the team I hoped to see this year. Heck, we did see it for a couple months, they just took a sweet August vacation. Can’t blame them—it’s so humid by the lake.
Like with the last series, there’s not much more I can mine out of this that we don’t already know. The Sox are going to hit a couple homers, they will hit into some double plays and the Indians will be stymied by a left hander. At this point in the season the teams are who we think they are. In this case, ugly and not very good. But I love them, they’re like a smelly old dog. Especially the White Sox, they smell like stockyards.