The New York Yankees marched into the south side of Chicago and wiped the floor with the White Sox, taking three out of four games and outscoring their opponents 32-14.
Now, this very much is a tale of two different teams … but we’re supposed to believe the White Sox are a viable threat in the American League after their quick ousting in last year’s playoffs plus the dreadful start in 2022?
Chicago is missing Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Eloy Jimenez for the moment. But they’ve had Giolito for five starts this year and Jimenez for 11 games. They’re still 16-17 on the year. So to use injuries as an excuse for having the same record as the Cleveland Guardians holds no weight.
Plus, when are the Yankees allowed to ever use injuries as an excuse? Fans are called cry babies whenever there’s a mention of someone being absent from the lineup or starting rotation. If the White Sox were that good, then they wouldn’t need a fully healthy roster to meet expectations.
This isn’t exactly an unfair assessment, either. The Yankees dealt with injuries in the early going last year (and then down the stretch) and there was absolutely zero excuse for their uninspiring play. This is simply the standard so-called contenders are held to.
The White Sox, at 16-17 despite boasting a roster featuring Yasmani Grandal, Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech and Dallas Keuchel, have seemingly taken their awful ALDS performance against the Astros in 2021 and parlayed it with their 2022 start.
The Yankees proved the White Sox might be pretenders after this weekend
This team lost eight straight to the Rays, Guardians, Twins and Royals. Their series wins have come against the Tigers, Red Sox, Mariners, Rays and Cubs — with nothing outside of the Rays being “impressive.” Their offense ranks 27th in average (.227) and 26th in OPS (.636). Their fielding percentage (.978) is 29th in MLB, largely thanks to Anderson’s awful play at shortstop. On the pitching side of things, they’re 19th in ERA (3.83) and 27th in walks allowed (136).
The weekend series that just passed wasn’t simply the red-hot Yankees colliding with the hobbled White Sox. It was exactly what it appeared to be: a good team meeting expectations vs a solid team falling far below expectations.
Their lone victory against New York was nearly a choke job that was salvaged solely because Aroldis Chapman is no longer a lights out closer. Otherwise, the Yankees out-classed them in every possible way, and even witnessed the benefits of having a pest like Josh Donaldson on their side.
The White Sox certainly aren’t wrong to say that it’s “still early.” It is! And both of these teams can be singing different tunes come September. However, what’s to have us believe Chicago is a true threat on the path to a World Series? This franchise has made the playoffs three times since their championship 2005 season. They’ve failed to get past the ALDS in that span with an overall 3-8 postseason record. They’ve finished fourth or worst in the AL Central more than double the amount of times they’ve won the division over the last 17 seasons.
Even during the Yankees’ 2021 campaign, which many fans considered an embarrassment, they were 5-1 against the White Sox, who won their division for the first time since 2008.
Nobody’s knocking the White Sox. They have a really good roster and the ingredients to build a top-notch contender. But they’re not one of those teams that has the luxury of brushing off poor play and slow starts given their overall franchise history, especially in recent decades.
They’re a non-threat until proven otherwise because the Yankees, even at their worst in 2021, nearly out-performed them in both overall record and playoff showing — a year which was a wild “success” for Chicago.