Have the Chicago White Sox pulled even with the Tigers?
By Brian Draus
Sep 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (49) warms up before the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Given this is all on paper, and no one wins games in January, I had to ask this question … Have the Chicago White Sox fully closed the gap between themselves and the Detroit Tigers?
Let’s look at the teams as they currently stand, first with the starting rotations, as all stats are from the 2014 season via ESPN.com.
Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) pitches in the first inning during game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
For the Tigers, their current projected rotation looks like this:
1. David Price (15-12, 3.26 ERA)
2. Justin Verlander (15-12, 4.54 ERA)
3. Anibal Sanchez (8-5, 3.43 ERA)
4. Shane Greene (5-4, 3.78 ERA)
5. Alfredo Simon (15-10, 3.44 ERA)
And for the White Sox, their current projected starting five is:
1. Chris Sale (12-4, 2.17 ERA)
2. Jeff Samardzija (7-13, 2.99 ERA)
3. Jose Quintana (9-11, 3.32 ERA)
4. Hector Noesi (8-11, 4.39 ERA)
5. John Danks (11-11, 4.74 ERA)
Now for the bullpens:
The Tigers bullpen consists of:
Closer: Joe Nathan, RHP (4.81, 35 saves, seven blown saves)
Setup men: Joakim Soria, RHP (4.91 ERA); Al Alburquerque, RHP (2.51 ERA) and Ian Krol, LHP (4.96 ERA)
In comparison, the White Sox bullpen looks like the following:
Closer: David Robertson, RHP (3.03, 39 saves, five blown saves)
Setup men: Zach Duke, RHP (2.45 ERA), Jake Petricka, RHP (2.96 ERA) and Zach Putnam, RHP (1.98 ERA).
Next: David Robertson brings peace of mind to White Sox bullpen
This is just a quick snapshot of each pitching staff, but from what I can see, the Tigers rotation is stronger and the White Sox bullpen is better.
Now, there is one huge wild card in all of this, that being Max Scherzer.
Oct 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (37) pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in game one of the 2014 American League divisional series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
If he returns to Detroit, the Tigers should win the division again. However, if he goes elsewhere, it becomes anyone’s ballgame.
The White Sox bullpen was awful last year, which is why they signed Robertson and Duke in the offseason, which should improve their bullpen tremendously.
Having someone (Robertson) in the ninth who can close games out for the White Sox is huge, due to the fact that they struggled mightily in that inning last year.
The Tigers’ bullpen was almost as bad, and surprisingly, they did nothing about it in the offseason.
What should be interesting is the addition of Samardzija to the White Sox rotation. He adds an elite No. 2 starter, which will give them a much better rotation in 2015.