So far, the Chicago White Sox have had a disappointing trip to the West Coast. Will their fortunes change as the team heads to San Francisco? The “Saber 8-Ball” says to “Ask again later.” Let’s break down the stats of these two teams, and figure out why we need to rely on good ole-fashioned luck to determine this series.
AT&T Field Park Factor
Let’s start with the park. Before the series against the Mariners, in which the Sox dropped 3 of 4, we talked about the park factor of Safeco Field. Park factor really breaks down a field, and answers the question of “Is this a hitter’s park or a pitcher’s park?” It’s a simple ratio of runs scored at a home field versus all runs scored on the road. Many things can affect a park factor, such as the distance of the walls from home plate, the height of the walls (The Green Monster, for instance), or even the shape of the outfield (not every park is a perfect diamond).
Who Has the Pitching Advantage?
The reason we bring up park factor again, is because AT&T Field has the 21st ranked ballpark, with a factor of .932, meaning this is a “Pitcher’s park.” This is better news for the Giants, as the Sox are already trotting out Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Sale is pitching another dominant season, and Quintana has, yet again, stepped up his game to the tune of a 3.04 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 7.84 K/9. To define, K/9 is strikeouts per 9 innings. It simply says “If this pitcher pitched a full game every time out, this is how many strikeouts he would average in that game.” Good stuff.
The Giants, however, are relying on Ryan Vogelsong (3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 7.34 K/9) and Jake Peavy (4.82 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 7.07 K/9) to hold back the White Sox offense. Jose Abreu continues to dominate, and Alexei Ramirez has turned in 12 RBIs over the last 15 games. Tyler Flowers also continues to impress with 3 dingers over the last 15 as well.
The Giants are hoping that Michael Morse and his infected ingrown toenail can make a quick recovery, while Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey make up for his contributions at the plate. All three of the aforementioned players seem to be as consistent as ever, each tallying 7 runs and 2 homers in the last 15 games.
Should Chicago Get Out the Brooms?
While all signs are pointing to the White Sox to sweep the Giants, the real kicker for these games will be the San Francisco bullpen. Over the lat 30 days, these guys are at a combined stat line of 2.21 ERA, 0.961 WHIP and 7.81 K/9. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see they’ve got the good guys bullpen beat.
What it all means: Sabermetrics are getting tossed out the window for this one. This series will be decided on wind factor and who’s feeling like they have something to prove. What did Sale eat before the game? Who got a better night’s rest? Anything can decide the outcome here, so don’t be surprised to see the Sox and Giants split the series.
Sources: ESPN, BaseballReference.com
Image Source: The Sports Post, Getty (Vishwanat)