Saturday, April 29, 2006

What was wood became alive

Question: When does a 15-7 record make you uneasy about a season?

Answer: When you don't get there the way you expected.

There's more than one quirky thing about statistics. Consider that the White Sox were expected to continue to play the way they did last year, but through the first 22 games, most of us fans are secretly worried about the team because they aren't. The starting pitching hasn't dominated the way we wanted it to, the team is not playing "Ozzieball" at all...

The truth is, the pitching is dominating. Two statistical trends are warping our perception of the data. First, run scoring is up across the board. The median number of runs scored in the AL already is 109, and the median team ERA is 4.75. Second, the White Sox have, through either coincidence or offical scoring decisions, allowed only one unearned run so far this season. This means the staff ERA (4.11) is virtually indisinguishable from the runs-allowed rate (4.16). This is the third lowest rate in the league, behind only the Tigers (3.64) and Yankees (4.11), both of whom play in more pitcher-friendly parks. The defense has contributed, of course. So far Brian Anderson's defensive statistics have been eye-popping, and Iguchi has looked a lot better (when it isn't raining).

The offense, however, is a different story. A wonderful story. Second only to the Indians in runs scored in the league, third in walks (walks!), third in homers, seventh in steals, and tied for ninth with the A's and Rangers in sac bunts. I doubt that there are a dozen people who, before the season, would have predicted this change in personality by the offense. The homers, sure, but the walks? Rest assured, it can't continue... or can it? Uribe, Podsednik, and Anderson have been pretty bad at the plate and the team has scored six runs a game anyway. Sure, Thome's starting to cool off, and Konerko and Dye can't keep it up forever. But this is a more balanced offensive team, and it's starting to look more like the 2004 team would have if not for the injuries, except with better defense and much better, deeper pitching.

1 comment:

-Peder said...

Love the title to this post. Let's hope we can keep a little 'solitude standing' at the top of the division.