After taking three out of four games from the Nationals, the Phillies are on a roll. With only a three game set against the last place Chicago White Sox remaining, the Phillies look to be in great shape to carry that momentum into the All-Star break.
Just because the White Sox are in last place, it doesn’t mean this will be an easy series for the Phillies. The Phillies haven’t always taken care of business against weaker teams, as evidenced by their struggles against the Mets and Brewers last month.
A Brief History of the Chicago White Sox
Since the “Black Sox” scandal of the 1919 World Series, the White Sox franchise has not experienced much success. Some Sox fans claim that their team was more “cursed” than the Red Sox and Cubs; they just didn’t whine about it as much.
While the team hasn’t been especially successful on the field, at least their merchandise sales have always been healthy. Their black hats became quite popular among the rapper crowd in the 90’s, spawning a generation of kids who owned White Sox gear, despite not being to name a single player on the team.
You might think that as the president’s favorite team, the Sox would have experienced more success, but the team hasn’t made the playoffs since Obama’s election in 2008.
A Quick Look at the 2013 White Sox
There’s a good chance that the president is going to have to go another year without seeing his team in the playoffs. The Sox are in last place in the American League Central thanks to their mediocre pitching (They rank 18th in the majors in team ERA) and weak hitting (29th in runs scored).
Phillies vs. White Sox: The Rivalry
There isn’t a lot of history between these two teams. For whatever reason, the schedule makers seem to go out of their way to prevent them playing each other.
The last time they matched up was in June 2007 when the Phillies swept a three game series. Believe it or not, the winning pitcher in one of those games was Adam Eaton who pitched seven strong innings in a 3-0 win.
White Sox Player Who Isn’t Horrible
At age 24, Chris Sale has emerged as an ace pitcher for the Sox. While his 6-8 record is a bit disappointing, his 2.85 ERA and 131 strikeouts are more indicative of how well he has pitched. For the second straight year, he has been selected to the American League All-Star team.
White Sox Player Who is Horrible
With a last place team, you’d expect a lot of horrible players. But despite their poor run total, none of the Sox’s regular hitters are especially bad; it’s just that none of them are especially good either.
I think starting pitcher Jake Peavy deserves some mention. Peavy used to be one of the best pitchers in the majors, as he twice recorded the National League’s lowest ERA. These days, he’s barely mediocre, with a 6-4 record and a 4.30 ERA.
With the first place Braves taking on a good Cincinnati team, the Phillies have a great opportunity to make up some ground in the division. If they can’t win at least two out of three games from the White Sox, it will be a huge disappointment.