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Stranger in a Strange Series

What a strange series so far. Let’s review:

The White Sox entered the series having lost 10 of their last 12 games going back to April 12. In those dozen games, the hitters batted .196/.263/.292, while the pitchers put up a 5.23 RA. The White Sox were shut out three times, including the last two games before entering Yankee Stadium.

Casting the Bartolo Colon movie. (AP)

In the three games against the Yankees, the White Sox have continued to do a tremendous job of not-hitting, scoring a grand total of six runs while averaging .227/.299/.278 with one home run. Despite this, they are 2-1 due to excellent pitching. Chicago entered the series with a staff ERA of 4.42. Having held the Yankees to five runs in 26 innings, they are now down to 4.11.

Without taking too much credit away from Phil Humber, Gavin Floyd, and Mark Buehrle, the Yankees’ anxious hitting has greatly aided Chicago. Far from their usual patient approach, the Yankees have drawn just six walks and struck out 22 times in 87 at-bats. They have seen just 3.7 pitches per plate appearance, which is below average for the AL this year. Know that has limited value—the Mariners are looking at more pitches than anyone right now, and a lot of good that had done them. Again, you don’t want to take too much credit away from the pitchers, who have records of strong control.

It’s never wise to get too exercised over three games—that’s the very definition of a small sample—so don’t get too worked up over the fact that the Yankees have hit .149/.213/.253 in this series. Speaking of which, I’d like to hear why Joe Girardi is giving Jeter a night off in the series finale. The Captain is one of the few Yankees who is on something of a hot streak, going 8-for-20 in his last five games. It’s all singles and it probably won’t last, so best to ride it until it’s over.

As for the pitching, I’m still troubled. Rafael Soriano’s alibis about having trouble in the eighth inning are problematic, as are Girardi’s unwillingness to take a hint and try some other roles. The neat thing about innings is that they’re all important, and it doesn’t matter when Soriano pitches as much as it matters that whenever it is, he pitches well.

The Bartolo Colon story should be made into a movie. I like Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos for the lead. As for the rest of the pitching, good to see it do well, but given just how badly the White Sox have been slumping, we have a chicken/egg situation here—are the cold because the Yankees have kept them cold, or because their lineup is just not particularly well constructed, plus otherwise good hitters like Adam Dunn are getting over injuries (to his appendix)? That A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova were limited to all of five strikeouts makes me wonder if it’s the former.