White Sox fandomís feeling of impending doom isnít based on much proof this season. I donít share it, but of late itís getting hard to shout down.
The Sox have been a better, more fundamentally sound team than Detroit all season long. The Tigers are one of the worst defensive bunches in recent memory. The numbers support that a bit, as Detroit has turned the fewest double plays in the American League, and allowed the second most unearned runs.
Beyond stats, trust your eyes. Austin Jackson is the only top caliber defender among their starters. Omar Infante was acquired to solidify the infield, and he has been awful, admittedly playing ďa little tight.Ē
Lately, though, the White Sox have had too many moments when they donít look much better at the basics.
They were ďRoyalsedĒ once again in Kansas City. You donít lose 12 of 18 games against a team like that without hurting your cause. This series alone saw horribly failed bunt attempts, missed cutoff men, and two horrendous baserunning mistakes at third in the same game.
Friday nightís opener in Anaheim brought a misplay in center field and a needless pirouette at shortstop, amid Jake Peavyís worst effort in a month.
So, why is this all happening now?
I donít believe theyíre a team finally succumbing to pressure. Most likely, itís the law of averages, with a certain amount of sloppiness catching up to a calmly efficient group at a horrible time.
In either event, it needs to stop, quickly.
As flawed as they are, the Tigers have a schedule that may allow them to win ugly these next two weeks.
If the Sox do make it, the perceived strength at the top of the rotation in Chris Sale and Peavy (assuming it can be lined up as desired) raises one bright red flag.
Friday nightís 8-hit, 2-walk outing brought Peavyís postseason history to mind. If you include game 163 in 2007, he has lost all 3 of his playoff starts, giving up 19 earned runs in 16 innings.
With two stinkers in his last four starts, doubt now storms into Jakeís positivity, even after what has been an excellent season.
The joy of hitting
Letís take a moment here (again) in praise of Anthony Rizzo.
His season has had its ups and downs, with the inherent adjustments by pitchers, then by Rizzo himself, and perhaps back and forth once again.
Through Friday, Rizzo had provided 10 hits, 11 RBI, and 5 runs scored in his last 7 games.
Itís been reassuring to see him not get figured out by the opposition, and sent back toward 2011ís brutal stretch in San Diego. He still looks capable of being the first baseman of the next decade at Wrigley.
Thatís one hole that thankfully doesnít need filling.
A can of worms
The weirdness and danger of Bud Seligís Melky Cabrera decision this week cannot be overstated. Cabrera asked for, and was granted, a reprieve from the possible ignominy of winning a batting title in a year in which he was suspended for an admitted substance abuse.
Itís a public relations move for Cabrera (a free agent to be), and the commish thought it would be good for the game too, even though he had said he would not bend the rules just one day earlier.
Why allow a one-time exception?
Thereís a simple, clear path here for MLB to take. If you test positive, youíre ineligible for all honors that season. You canít win a batting titles, play in any all-star games, or qualify for end of season awards.
Take the decision making away from the writers, Bud, and avoid inevitable contradictions and embarrassment.
ü Matt Spiegel co-hosts ďThe McNeil & Spiegel ShowĒ 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM, and The Scoreís ďHit and RunĒ at 9 a.m. Sundays with his Daily Herald colleague, Barry Rozner. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670 Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.