This is from Jayson Stark's May 26 chat on ESPN.com:
When asked whether the Sox are for real, here's what he had to say:
I wrote about this in Rumblings this week. Only one of the last 20 teams to start 32-14 failed to make the playoffs (the '72 Mets). Yet people around baseball continue to express doubts about the White Sox. Remember, they've scored fewer runs than the Devil Rays. And that 15-6 record in one-run games is very tough to sustain. So it will all come down to pitching. If their six starting pitchers (counting El Duque and Brandon McCarthy) start 150-155 games, I think they'll make the playoffs. If they have more injury problems and have to use eight, nine, 10 starters to get through the last four months, they'll have a hard time holding off the Twins.
When asked a similar questions about the Orioles, this was his response:
Given the strides that Eric Bedard and Daniel Cabrera have made, I think the Orioles have a real chance to contend all year. They have money to spend at the deadline. And their lineup is as good as it gets. This is no slam dunk for the Yankees or Red Sox.
Okay, first of all, all but 6 teams in Major League Baseball have scored fewer runs than the Devil Rays, including the unstoppable force that is the Minnesota Twins (who have 206 to the Sox's 211). It's nothing to be ashamed of. Second, the Sox have only allowed 159 runs, easily best in the AL and second only to the Marlins. But, of course, this pitching (and defense) couldn't possible hold up because El Duque's minor (and predictable) injury portends a bizarre, Cubs-like spate of injuries forcing the Sox to use four more different starting pitchers this year. Meaning, at some point, the entire starting 5 will be on the DL and McCarthy will be leading a staff of Sean Tracey, Felix Diaz, Arnie Munoz, and Robert Person, I guess.
But in Baltimore, there are no such worries about Bedard and Cabrera, much less their dependance on Bruce Chen, Rodrigo Lopez, and Sidney Ponson. And I'm sure they have not just one Brandon McCarthy caliber pitcher waiting in the wings, but 5. And, I mean, their incomparable lineup is fifth in the majors in runs scored. That's two whole spots in front of those pathetic Devil Rays the White Sox can't outscore. Of course, no mention is made of the fact that the Orioles play in a division with 3 of the 5 worst pitching teams (by RA, BAA, and OPS-against) in the AL, or that the Sox play in a division with 3 of the 5 best pitching teams (by the same stats) in the AL (not including themselves, of course).
And no mention is made of Frank Thomas coming back to help the offense. Or the fact that Boston and New York have the deepest pockets in baseball to help them overtake the Orioles, while the Twins actually have fewer resources than the White Sox. Gosh, why think about it for two seconds when you can just blather on inanely in support of your preseason predictions or current fancy?