Through 35 games, the White Sox have the worst record in baseball. Does that mean the team's playoff hopes are dashed, though?
"Let's say the Sox really are—or at least ought to be—a 90-win team. I'm just pulling that number out of my tuckus, but let's go with it. Say that's their true talent level: 90-72 (.556). If we assume that's the case, what should we expect from them after an 11-22 start? They'd have go 79-50 (.612) to get to 90 wins.
And that's the problem. If a squad ought to play .556 on the year and is wildly off that at a month, you shouldn't therefore assume they'll automatically make up for lost ground. For the Sox, that means— going with this arbitrarily-guesstimated .556 "true talent level," the Sox should go 72-57 the rest of the year, giving them a season record of 83-79. That's if they ought to be a 90-win team." --The Hardball Times
Beerleaguer: That's from Chris Jaffe's glass-half-empty argument. He presents an optimistic argument as well, noting the Sox's very difficult early-season schedule and the history of teams that experienced a stretch about as bad as the Sox's 4-18 mark (it's not a death sentence, basically).
But the glass-half-empty side isn't a guarantee the Sox will miss the playoffs. If the Sox's true talent level is 90 wins and they play to that .556 winning percentage the rest of the way, with just a little bit of variation the Sox could scrap together 86 wins. That's hardly a magic number for winning the division, but if Cleveland wilts, Detroit stays mediocre and the Twins continue to struggle, 86 wins could very well get the Sox to the postseason.
The Sox can't waste any time, though. They have to start winning games now. Not in a week, now. They did just that Saturday and Sunday in Seattle, and splitting the next six games with Los Angeles and Oakland could go a long way to getting this team back on track.
At this point, the Sox are at the mercy of Cleveland. If the Indians play .500 ball the rest of the way (let's say 65-64), they'll finish the season with 87 wins. But that's a big if at this point—there's no telling how Cleveland will handle the potential for sustained success. They could keep playing out of their minds, fall back into their 2008-2010 rut, or tread water. There's a wide spectrum of outcomes for Cleveland, but if they play just a few games over .500 from here on out, it could doom the White Sox.