Chicago White Sox: A big September is in store on the south side
At this time, the Chicago White Sox just finished taking 2 of 3 on the south side from the uptown rival Chicago Cubs. They now sit with an AL Central best 76-56 record. Though they got shut out in the second game of the series, the White Sox put up 30 runs between games one and three combined.
That is a very optimistic sign of things to come with this team. They are clicking on all cylinders. After just recently completing the most brutal part of their schedule, the Sox can look forward to a much easier stretch to close out the regular season.
It only bodes well that the Sox have only gotten healthier as time has gone on. Eloy Jimenez is knocking the cover off the baseball. Yasmani Grandal is back with a vengeance as he blasted three home runs while driving in 10 in the Crosstown Classic.
Luis Robert also is about as hot as it gets right now, slashing .344/.386/.552 and accumulating 2.0 WAR already in only 47 games played on the season. With the emergence of Dylan Cease as a formidable arm in the rotation, the Sox are loaded.
The Chicago White Sox are looking for a big September to get ready for the playoffs.
The full health of the team alone could be just enough to dominant the rest of this season but the better reason to expect great things in September is simply the strength of the schedule coming up. The Sox have 10 remaining opponents left in the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, and the Detroit Tigers again. For those keeping tabs, 7 of the next opponents have a currently even or below .500 record.
Depending on what the Cincinnati Reds do the rest of the way, that is only 3 playoff-caliber teams. It is the perfect time to pick up speed, get in a better rhythm with everybody that’s back, and get white-hot moving into October for the postseason.
To pinpoint a certain “tougher than most” stretch, the Sox will face the Oakland Athletics followed by the Boston Red Sox in back to back series as two of the three opponents remaining with a better than .500 record. Those two series will start on September 7th and September 10th.
It would be good to see this fully healthy team win both two-game sets and prove they can dominate just as easily against winning teams. That would further secure their reputation of being ready to make a deep run in the postseason.
At ten games up already, the Sox could play slightly above .500 ball in September and still clinch the division regardless of what Cleveland does. It would take a collapse of epic proportions now to not bring home the AL Central crown.
The main thing the Sox will need to focus on now is health. Losing a key member of the rotation now would be a crushing blow. If the Sox go up huge in a game, there’s no need to let a key starter go too deep unless they are throwing a no-hitter or something crazy warrants going after some sort of historic achievement.
The White Sox, with 30 games to play and 76 wins, do have an outside shot to reach the 100 wins total but it would take a remarkable hot streak. Luckily their schedule coming up is one of the easiest in baseball. You can’t, however, expect them to win every single game.
As you saw Saturday night, there will be clunkers in which the opposing pitcher is just on that night like you saw with Alec Mills during game two of the Crosstown Classic. Realistically, if the White Sox can finish out around 19-11, they will still hit the 95-mark for the first time since 2005 when they won it all.