A note for those of you reading: Mismatched Sox is a weekly blog hastily thrown together by Sox in the Basement Co-Host Ed Siebert and is written to present you with White Sox and baseball thoughts in a manner that, frankly, thinks it is funny in the way that it probably isn’t. While there will be facts here that will be factual, the opinions and other nonsense are neither reflective of anyone at Soxon35th.com nor believed or intended to cause any harm, but consult the voices deep within yourself and ask if this blog is right for you.
By the end of the June 2022 White Sox vs. Rangers series, it was June 12, 2022. There were calls for Tony to be fired. There were calls for his staff to be fired. There were calls for just a large fire to toss the whole mess into. There were calls for change. Change from top to bottom. If the 2022 Sox were a person, there were calls that would require everything from a haircut and dye, down to a pedicure and that foot shaving thing that people do. Frankly, in a top-to-bottom overhaul shaving comes into play more than one might suspect and in places that shan’t be named in polite company.
After 6 months it should be clear that this is not the space where polite company comes to not shave.
But massive overhauls to the body aside, change came in the form of a 6-3 stretch where the Tigers gave up half of that and the Astros were played competitively before the Blue Jays took a two-game birdbath on the Southside. Change! There was change in the air. Lance Lynn and TA were back. Hitters were hitting! Even those that weren’t hitting. Pitchers were pitching! Even the ones who weren’t pitching. The 2022 White Sox were back, baby!
Back, baby is a stretch, The Sox were…well…they looked good anyway. There’s nothing wrong with a superficial glam up even if there are still some underlying problems. People are shown to be more comfortable around attractive people, according to stats that may not exist but sound right. So why not just enjoy the comfort of how attractive Dylan Cease’s mustache is and how the team winning games looks sexy? Because under the Sox’ new clean clothes and the combed hair lies fungal toenails, shaggy back hair, and, disturbingly, a vestigial tail. With a feather. A very handsome feather, but still.
Hitting remains an issue, where the lineup relies on a few while the rest of the lineup struggles. For a short time, there was little but Jake Burger to rely on. Like all Burgers, eventually, he got a little cold. Jose Abreu appeared to heat up, but in reality, over the winning stretch, he was back to a sub-.200 average and a sub-.500 OPS. AJ Pollock went streaking, then was just caught with his pants down. Meanwhile, TA, Luis Robert, and Josh Harrison came around while Andrew Vaughn, very quietly the Sox’ best hitter all year, moved his game to another level. A great-looking shirt with the buttons askew.
Pitching-wise, the Sox still didn’t string together five straight good starts through that nine-game run. For as much as Johnny Cueto and Dylan Cease remained the best pitchers in the rotation, and Lance Lynn returned to debate meats and sides with Super Joe, Michael Kopech struggled, and Lucas Giolito developed an acute case of the “Kuechels” (a hopefully curable ailment). The bullpen had solid efforts that were followed by terrible results, as has been the case all season. Great looking pants with the fly open.
Also, injuries tooketh and gaveth. Returning Lance Lynn and TA was a great get, but the injury demons took Liam Hendriks, Yoan Moncada, and Aaron Bummer. Thursday saw three exits with leg injuries to Adam Engel, Danny Mendick, and Luis Robert. Two steps forward, a few steps back. Shoes on the wrong feet the whole way.
Pretty much every fan, media person, White Sox employee, and most of their pets agree that the end of June becomes a hugely pivotal moment in the season, where getting back to over .500 and passing either the Guardians or the Twins or both heading into the All-Star game is a key moment for the 2022 White Sox. There is one goldfish belonging to a ticket sales rep that still believes that they can win it with a hot September. But that fish also forgets the Spongebob house in its tank during each lap around the bowl, so grain of salt with Gubbles’ opinions.
A 6-3 run is nice, and stringing together a winning run over nine games is a nice change of pace. But championships require consistency, and having five or six hitters in a deep freeze while three or four guys trade off getting hot in the lineup and having three out of five starters perform each turn isn’t a recipe for sustained success. The Sox fed off a really bad Detroit team and that was followed by suffering a beatdown, giving one back, having a close game, coming out hot and then nearly coughing it up, a clean win, and another whacking suffered. That’s two bad losses in a week where the team was supposed to be turning the page. By comparison, the Guardians and Yankees have had only two losses of 5 runs or more each in the entire month of June.
The White Sox cleaned up a bit and showed up to the parties looking better recently, but they still need to shave some unmentionables, trim their nails, pluck the feather…well maybe leave the feather (it is quite handsome)…but most importantly find some way to be consistent in every game. That would be a real change. Maybe even folding money.
WHO HATH WIELDED THE STAFF OF CORK AND KERRY (this week)?
For the uninitiated, The Staff of Cork and Kerry refers not just to the people who work at the premiere place to pregame and post-game and otherwise celebrate Soxdom in the shadow of the ballpark and in Beverly, but it is also a mythical weapon that can smite thine enemies faster than they can say “yowee kazowee”.
So which White Sox was worthy enough to wield the Staff of Cork and Kerry and hand out a smiting or three? There’s little competition beyond Luis Robert, who looks more like the MVP candidate that was expected this year, and Andrew Vaughn who people are just now noticing is scalding hot. So, Robert’s .440 average with a 1.103 OPS? Vaughn’s .444 average with a 1.093 OPS? Roberts’ 12 RBIs are the deciding factor, because runs hurt the opposition.
La Pantera…you have successfully wielded this mighty weapon of lore.
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Featured Image: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports