Series Preview: Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago White Sox

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Just when we think we have the 2013 Cleveland Indians figured out, they go ahead and throw a monkey wrench into everything. When we think they’re one of the best teams in baseball and a legit contender they go and lose eight straight or put together a 2-4 road trip. Once we start thinking that the ship is about to sink they rattle off a handful of victories in a row against a team that many believed would compete for the AL pennant.

Needless to say, it’s a confusing time to be a fan of the Cleveland Indians. I don’t know whether to buy in or sell short on this team. They are a roller coaster of emotion that has befuddled me with each and every passing day.

That said, there is one thing I am sure of and that is I hate the Chicago White Sox. I always have and I always will. And even though the White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball from a wins and losses stand point, don’t be fooled. There is still a fair amount of talent on their roster. Enough talent, actually, that if the Indians aren’t careful they could end up in a situation where it is the White Sox who put the nail in the proverbial coffin that is the 2013 baseball season.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

For the White Sox, many of the faces have remained the same but the results have been anything but familiar. They can still sport a lineup that contains the classic villains we have come to despise, among them being Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Alexi Ramirez, and Alejandro “I’m the best player on the planet when I play the Indians” De Aza.

As I already said though, the results have been anything but familiar for the White Sox. A lineup that has consistently been among baseball’s best at scoring runs over the years has degraded into a shell of its former self. The Sox currently rank 29th in runs scored, 27th in on base percentage, and 18th in batting average. To make matters worse, they aren’t even hitting the ball with the same type of authority as they have in years past. They currently rank 23rd in slugging percentage and have only hit 95 home runs as a team. That’s good enough for 20th place in all of baseball.

However, despite the problems the White Sox have had scoring runs, they still sport one of the more formidable rotations in all of baseball. Chris Sale has had another ridiculous season on the mound as the White Sox ace. Despite his 6-10 record, he still has a 2.69 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 149. He’s been good enough to produce 5.3 wins above replacement. This confirms what we already know about Sale. That being, the guy is a stud. The only question is whether or not his small frame will hold up to the abuse of throwing well over 100 pitches in most of his starts.

Rounding out the rotation for the White Sox is the former flame thrower Jake Peavy, who leads the team in wins. He is joined by John Danks, Jose Quintana, and Hector Santiago. All of which can have their moments, but none of which jumps off the page and screams dominance. In a way, that is the running story for the 2013 White Sox. Nobody really wows you at this stage in their careers, with the exception of Chris Sale.

The White Sox are a flawed team in many ways. They were built to win and win big through a series of big signings and roll the dice in the heat of the moment trades. It has left them saddled with some enormous contracts to players who have either under-performed (I’m looking at you Alex Rios) or players who are simply headed for the tail end of their careers and no longer capable of putting a team on their back and carrying them for the long haul.

Of course, now that I have said all of this I fully expect Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko to revert back to younger versions of themselves and make me eat each and every word I just wrote, especially Konerko. He has made a career out of destroying the Indians. Would I put it past him to destroy our hopes and dreams yet again? No, not at all.

I’ll be so happy when Paul Konerko retires. You have no idea.

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Tags: Adam Dunn Alex Rios Chicago White Sox Chris Sale Cleveland Indians Paul Konerko