The White Sox tipped their halfway-mark record over .500 with a victory over Houston on Saturday. At 41-40, they're on pace for an 82-season, which is strange considering the team hasn't spent much of the season looking like a .500ish club.
Here were their various paces at each fortnight of the season:
April 15: 130-32
May 1: 112-50
May 15: 102-60
June 1: 87-75
- June 15: 81-81
A sweep at the hands of the Indians briefly sank the White Sox to a 77-win pace, but three consecutive series victories -- and a chance for a fourth today -- have stabilized the ship for the time being.
I predicted an 84-win season for the Sox, so the Sox are right in that neighborhood. They just picked a helluva route. They must've used Mapquest, or Lycos maps, or something.
At any rate, the halfway point also makes it much easier to visualize what kind of individual seasons are in the works. Players seldom post matching halves, but three months is out of "small sample size" territory for a single year. Doubling the numbers magnifies the oddities and adds some gravity to them ("Probably not, but if he has another half like the one he just had...").
So let's go ahead and do that. I've limited myself to pointing out 10 things that jump out to me so I don't take up all the oxygen in the room.
(Note: I'll adjust OPS+ and ERA+ when Baseball-Reference does so in the morning.)
No. 1: Mark Reynolds holds the ignominious mark for most homers with a guy who failed to hit .200 (32 and .198 in 2010). The record for fewest doubles in a 40-homer season is 11 (Harmon Killebrew, who hit 49 in 1964). These are two things to keep in mind with Todd Frazier, who won't hit much higher than .204 if strikeouts and pop-ups comprise half his plate appearances.
No. 2: I didn't expect Brett Lawrie to have a similar power profile to Jose Abreu. I did kinda expect him to strike out at that clip, which would give him the second-highest K total in White Sox history behind Adam Dunn's 222 in 2012.
No. 3: Adam Eaton is having such a good season in right field that he's on pace for a 7 WAR season with that line, which is a little bit disappointing by his standards. (Note there are four players with an OPS between .750 and .760, and three different ways of getting there.)
No. 4: Tyler Flowers' line across his last two seasons with the White Sox: .240/.296/.378. Dioner Navarro is going to need more games like Saturday.
No. 5: Assuming each player gets a fair amount of playing time in the second half, which one finishes with a higher OPS: Avisail Garcia or J.B. Shuck?
No. 1: Since Denny McLain won 31 in 1968, Bob Welch and Steve Carlton have come the closest with 27.
No. 2: Lost in Poor Jose Quintana's bad luck, Carlos Rodon is only on pace for four wins. There are only five pitchers in MLB history with four wins during a 30-start season:
- Jack Nabors in 1916: 1-20, 3.47 ERA, 212.2 IP, 82 ERA+
- Jerry Koosman in 1978: 3-15, 3.75 ERA, 235.1 IP, 93 ERA+
- Tanyon Sturtze in 2002: 4-18, 5.18 ERA, 224 IP, 85 ERA+
- Ryan Franklin in 2004: 4-16, 4.90 ERA, 200.1 IP, 92 ERA+
- Kevin Millwood in 2010: 4-16, 5.10 ERA, 190.2 IP, 81 ERA+
No. 3: Nate Jones has really been difficult to hit. Only two White Sox pitchers have posted a lower WHIP over 70 innings, and they're both Hall of Famers (Ed Walsh and Hoyt Wilhelm).
No. 4: Matt Albers has that ERA with that start and an above-average amount of unearned runs.
No. 5: Zach Duke, who just missed out on the above list above by going 5-14 over 31 starts with the Pirates in 2008, is having a nice bounce-back season. He's on pace to become the fourth White Sox pitcher to make 80 appearances (Kelly Wunsch, Wilbur Wood, Eddie Fisher).