Here is a bold prediction for baseball fans to digest: The White Sox will win the World Series in 2021. Yes, the Chicago White Sox, who have played average baseball since the All-Star break, are going to figure things out and win the Fall Classic. Many fans may laugh off this prediction, but they do so at their own peril. Even with the charging Yankees, the steady Rays, and solid Astros waiting in the wings, the South Siders will find their stride in October and roll through the postseason.
Just How Will They Do This?
That is a great question considering that they have struggled to find consistency over the last month and a half. Sox fans can recite a list of things that the team has not done well recently. That list would include the overall work of the bullpen, even with two closers. The offense has been very inconsistent, as they have left far too many runners on base. Throw in the defense, which at times has been just poor. Don’t forget the constant complaints about the manager who (according to fans) makes poor lineups and can’t manage a bullpen. That doesn’t sound like a contender.
Four Reasons Why The White Sox Will Win
So, with all of the things that drive White Sox fans crazy, it may seem rather far-fetched that these guys would advance past even one round in October. The inconsistency this team can display is mind-numbing at times. Yet, they are still poised to do big things in the postseason, and here are four big reasons.
The White Sox have featured some of the best starting pitching in all of baseball this season. At this point, the Big Four are Lance Lynn, Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito, and Dylan Cease. These four have been so good that they may make veteran Dallas Keuchel a postseason afterthought. This would have been unthinkable as recently as a month ago, but it appears to be a distinct possibility. That is how good the starters have been this season.
Lynn is a favorite to win the American League Cy Young Award this year. He has been everything the White Sox could have expected and more, as he leads the AL in earned run average. Rodon, in a bounce-back year, is among the league leaders in strikeouts/per 9 innings. Giolito is also among the league leaders in strikeout rate, while Cease is near the top in whiffs. The Big Four has been a formidable group, for sure. They will set the tone for the Pale Hose in October.
The Re-invigorated Bullpen
This would appear laughable on the surface, as the Sox bullpen has been consistently inconsistent. Liam Hendriks leads the AL in both saves and blown saves. He is the poster child for inconsistency. Newly acquired closer Craig Kimbrel has struggled in adapting his new role as a setup man. Youngsters Michael Kopech and Garret Crochet have had their ups and downs, and both have spent time on the injured list. Aaron Bummer has been a major disappointment so far.
However, Crochet has been solid recently and figures to be solid as a lefty in the pen. Newly acquired Ryan Tepera has been outstanding with the Sox and should be a major asset in October. Both Hendriks and Kimbrel have had success in the postseason and should return to form. Having two closers will be huge for the Sox. Reynaldo Lopez has had a renaissance as a reliever and gets stronger with each appearance. If Kopech can find his groove, the White Sox bullpen will be a force to be reckoned with in October.
Yes, the Sox bats have been inconsistent for much of the season. While part of this is due to several injuries, they have at times displayed some outstanding firepower. Tim Anderson has been the spark plug for this team, and he has been swinging a hot bat of late. He has postseason experience where he hit the ball very well. Reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu is nearing 100 RBIs and is red-hot in August. Yoan Moncada is quietly putting up solid numbers and is a threat to break out with serious power.
Additionally, Eloy Jimenez, an MVP caliber hitter, returned from a serious injury and has been mashing the ball. Potential five-tool star Luis Robert also returned from an injury and has taken his offense to new heights. Finally, veteran catcher Yasmani Grandal is just making his return from the IL, and his playoff experience and power will be excellent additions to the Sox offense.
Putting all of these pieces together, and with occasional hitting from players such as Cesar Hernandez and rookie Andrew Vaughn, the Sox offense should be a handful for even the best pitchers they will face. This team is capable of eye-popping offense, and they should generate enough runs to go deep into the fall. It will be a major surprise if the Sox bats are silenced for a whole series, as they just have too much firepower.
And Last, But Not Least
How about the manager whose hiring was wildly unpopular when it was announced? That’s right – Tony La Russa has done an amazing job helping the Sox navigate the injuries and inconsistency of 2021. Yes, he has made some questionable moves and has infuriated Sox fans all throughout the season. However, there seems to be a method to his madness, and the results speak for themselves. Few, if any fans would expect the Sox to have a 9 or 10 game division lead with all of the injuries. Yet, here they are.
La Russa’s biggest advantage, however, is the experience he brings to the 2021 White Sox. As the season has progressed into late August, it is clear that he is managing for the long haul. Fans want to win every night, but La Russa has his eye on the big picture. He knows what it takes to win a World Series, and will certainly have his team rested and ready. All the goofy lineups and questionable bullpen moves make a little more sense when one looks at the big picture. La Russa will surely be a major asset to the Sox as they venture into the playoffs.
Ready To Roll On The South Sode
The bottom line is that the Chicago White Sox are ready to roll into October. La Russa has skillfully and strategically managed the roster so that the key players will be prepared for postseason success. The dominant starting pitching should give the Sox an edge over every team they play. A resurgent bullpen will hit its peak in October while the offense continues to terrorize opposing pitchers. They will play their best baseball of the season and will be crowned the champs of the baseball world in the crisp autumn air. Sox fans will have their day as their beloved team reaches the summit. Then they will party like it’s 2005. Go Sox!
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