The White Sox take the lead

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the White Sox’s surge to first. A little more than a month ago, on June 8, the Sox were 24-33, nine wins under .500 and 9.5 games out of first place. As of the All-Star break, they now stand alone atop the AL Central (albeit by one-half game) with a 49-38 record.

The difference is 25-5, the Sox’s record since June 8. During that time, they have scored 5.2 runs a game and allowed a mere 2.6. The second-best won/loss record during that time was the Yankees’ 20-10. Their run scored average was the fourth-best in the majors, which is pretty darn good. But their runs allowed/game average was a full run better than the second-best team (the Braves). That’s extremely impressive.

You may think that their offense hasn’t gotten the attention it should, and that’s what I thought at first too. But then I looked at the team’s Win Probability Added (WPA) breakout during their 25-5 run. Here it is:

Offense: -0.5 games
Defense: 10.5 games

If you look at their performance on a contextual basis, which is what WPA does, their pitching and fielding actually made up for a below-average contribution from the bats.

Here are their WPA leaders during the heady time in question, led by starters Floyd, Peavy, Danks and Buehrle and relievers Putz and Thornton:

First   Last           WPA/LI   WPA
Gavin   Floyd           1.77    1.80
J.J.    Putz            0.88    1.45
Jake    Peavy           0.92    1.28
Matt    Thornton        0.29    1.19
Carlos  Quentin         1.72    1.17
John    Danks           1.30    1.16
Mark    Buehrle         0.68    1.06
Paul    Konerko         0.51    0.90
Bobby   Jenks           0.41    0.88
Alex    Rios           -0.10    0.56
Freddy  Garcia          0.35    0.36
Ramon   Castro          0.27    0.35
Brent   Lillibridge     0.20    0.32
Mark    Kotsay          0.03    0.26
Sergio  Santos          0.04    0.13
Tony    Pena           -0.25    0.12
Scott   Linebrink      -0.03    0.04
Erick   Threets         0.08    0.00
Jeffrey Marquez         0.00    0.00
Randy   Williams       -0.09   -0.02
John    Danks          -0.08   -0.02
Gavin   Floyd           0.00   -0.03
Juan    Pierre         -0.30   -0.11
Andruw  Jones          -0.07   -0.11
Jake    Peavy          -0.12   -0.11
Daniel  Hudson         -0.23   -0.12
Mark    Buehrle        -0.14   -0.12
Jayson  Nix            -0.13   -0.16
Alexei  Ramirez        -0.10   -0.24
Omar    Vizquel         0.00   -0.26
Freddy  Garcia         -0.20   -0.30
Dayan   Viciedo         0.26   -0.35
Gordon  Beckham        -0.30   -0.44
A.J.    Pierzynski     -0.11   -0.66

According to David Pinto’s day-by-day database, Floyd was third in ERA in the majors during the past thirty games, Peavy was fifth, Buehrle was 11th and Danks was 23rd. That’s some mighty fine pitchin’.

To cap things off, here is a look at the AL Central Division race in graphical form. Note the rise of that black line over the past month:

image

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Comments

  1. MikeS said...

    I was wondering if you guys can help me out.

    I went into a coma 6/1/10. Don’t worry, I woke up today and I feel great.

    First thing I did was check the standings to see where my beloved White Sox are. Obviously, I’m feeling pretty good that they’re in first. I see Daniel Hudson and Dayan Viciedo are with the big league club now and Mark Teahan is nowhere to be found.

    So what I want to know, is it 2013 now or did it take longer to turn that awful 2010 squad around?

  2. GerryBlue said...

    What you are seeing here is the power of have 3-4 closer types in the bullpen.  Like that deer in the headlights from Atlanta said “the White Sox can effectively shorten the game to 6 innings”. Now you see the statistical truth to that!!!  BTW>>> watch them win the world series this year.

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