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White Sox vs. Indians -- Garland vs. Elarton

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Only post today, so I'll make it a lengthy game intro.

The reports of the White Sox demise have been greatly exaggerated.

  • Fading down the stretch? -- Try 11-8 in September, good for a .579 winning percentage.
  • Offensively challenged? -- The Sox OPS ranks 4th in baseball for the month of September.
  • They're just not pitching like they did in the first half? -- Sox ERA for September is 3.95, up from their amazing first half, but still good enough for 4th in the AL. They also rank 2nd in K/BB ratio and tied for 3rd in BAA.

Even more encouraging than those stats is they way the Sox have fought back from deficits in the last two games. It did appear as if the team was in collapse when they were giving away games vs. the Royals, and maybe even when they were scoring just 4 runs in 3 games against the Twins, but this team has picked up their play in the last two games. They've risen to the challenge.

Jon Garland gets the tough task of trying to keep the Indians bats in check tonight. He has ridden his newfound control to the ranks of pitching elite. Yes, his K/9 ratio is at it's lowest in his career, but he's facing fewer batters per inning because of his walk rate. When you take a look at the rate stats when expressed as a percentage of batters faced, (example H%= Hits/total batters faced) the only rate that has changed significantly is the BB%.

H% BB% K% 2000 25.3% 11.7% 13.0% 2001 24.1% 10.8% 12.0% 2002 22.7% 10.0% 13.5% 2003 23.1% 9.1% 13.3% 2004 24.2% 8.2% 12.2% 2005 23.7% 4.8% 12.3%

Scott Elarton, who was claimed off of the scrap heap last season, will head to the hill for the Wahoo!s. Even though he is easily the Indians least feared starting pitcher, he has been dominant in September (3-0, 1.23 ERA).

We need to ride the momentum from last night's victory to another 'W' tonight, because we have an almost guaranteed loss on the schedule tomorrow in Johan Santana.