Change-UpAugust 19, 2008
White Hot
By Patrick Sullivan

In the American League the Tampa Bay Rays have been the surprise story of the 2008 campaign. The Los Angeles Angels' dominance thus far comes in second, then the Boston Red Sox (if for no other reason than that they are the Red Sox, in all their loony glory), then the disappointing Yankees, etc.

Somewhere down the list you might find the Chicago White Sox, who have the AL Central's best record and MLB's third best run differential. They're a terrific team, and in case you have your doubts, check out some of the forensics. Below are their AL ranks in a number of different categories.


Runs: 3
OPS: 3
OPS+: 4
AVG: 7
OBP: 7
SLG: 2
HR: 1 (31 more than the second highest total)


ERA: 4
OPS Against: 5
K/9: 3
K/BB: 1
FIP: 2
Bullpen ERA: 4


The White Sox do it all pretty well, and there are some excellent macro signs for the club as well. Alexei Ramirez, now the team's full-time second baseman, is slugging .515 and shows no signs of slowing down. With Ian Kinsler out for the remainder of the season, no AL team will trot out a better player at the position. Also coming around is Paul Konerko. He has battled injuries and horrendous BABIP luck all season long but he has reverted to form of late, posting a .293/.446/.561 line thus far in August. Oh and in case you haven't noticed, Carlos Quentin has outperformed Eric Byrnes this season (oops). The offense should continue to pound the ball.

There are those out there who believe that the pitching staff has been getting it done with smoke and mirrors. But they look about right to me. However lucky you think Gavin Floyd has been, and yes he has been lucky, take a look at Javier Vazquez. The man is second in the AL in strikeouts, his K/BB figure is in the top-10 as well and yet he sits with a 4.34 ERA. He has been lights out in August, though, so his higher profile stats should begin to come in line with his peripherals. John Danks continues to dazzle, Mark Buehrle is solid, and the bullpen, led by a resurgent Matt Thornton, is excellent as well.

It won't be easy for the Pale Hose from here on out. During the stretch run they will face the Rays, Angels, Red Sox, and then cap a ten game road trip with a critical three game set against the Twins in Minneapolis the final week of the season. Ten of their final thirteen games are on the road, and they also face their feisty division rivals, the Cleveland Indians, seven times. It won't be easy, but then, it's not easy for any team to get by the White Sox these days.


Boston will trot someone better than Alexei Ramirez out to 2nd base. Pedrioa's OBP is 37 points higher than Alexei's, with his slugging just 14 points lower.

Briks, I see that I misquoted his numbers above. I ran a search for his numbers as 2B without considering that he has played OF and SS as well (and fared much worse while playing those positions).

I still won't concede the point. Since becoming a full-timer on May 15, Ramirez is hitting .330/.348/.523. That's comfortably ahead of the sort of hitter that Pedroia is (although if Pedroia keeps up what he has been doing in August, all bets are off).

Couldn't you maybe make a case for Brian Roberts based on better fielding and speed?

You forgot, as most people tend to do, Jermaine Dye. All he does is pump homers and hit .300. He's a monster and nobody ever mentions him!

Is there a better set of 3-4-5 hitters in the league than Quentin, Dye, and Thome?

Are there better 6-7-8 hitters than Konerko Swisher and Ramirez?

Is there a better No. 9 hitter than Uribe......oh....nevermind.....