Cy Chen. Playing at home. And the Minnesota Twins.
The Sox went to Minnesota on a six-game losing streak and improbably swept the Twins -- their first sweep of the Twins in Minnesota since 2004. They then took three of four against an Orioles team that has pestered the Sox to losing records against them in the last few years.
And then, the Sox came back to Chicago and faced two of their newest nemesises (nemesi?) -- Bruce Chen and U.S. Cellular Field.
White Sox hitters have a .464 OPS against Chen in three games against the Panamanian this season. In 77 plate appearances, the Sox have one extra-base hit, a home run.
Hawk Harrelson has taken to calling the 34-year-old "Cy Chen" when he faces the Sox. If Chen was to extrapolate his success against the Sox out over 33 starts, he'd be a unanimous Cy Young winner, no doubt.
Do the players go into games with the same attitude as the fans and Hawk? Has "oh crap, Chen's starting" ever been muttered in the Sox clubhouse? Probably not. But when the fourth inning is reached and the Sox have left a slew of runners on base without scoring, it may not be easy to not have "here we go again" playing on loop in the back of a player's mind.
The same goes for games at U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox are 34-27 away from home, putting them in the same category as top teams like the Red Sox (36-22), Yankees (32-22), Rays (33-26), Phillies (36-22), Braves (35-27) and Diamondbacks (32-27).
But at home, the Sox are 24-33. Other teams in that zip code: Florida (24-37), Pittsburgh (26-32) and San Diego (23-36).
At home, the Sox have scored 211 runs while allowing 253, a -42 run differential. On the road, that split is 257-232, a +25 run differential.
Again, it's not like the Sox are going into games at home expecting to lose. But this isn't just a random home-road split. Maybe it's because the Sox play loose on the road where they don't have to deal with boos from disgruntled fans, or maybe it's something else.
But whatever it is, it should probably change soon if the Sox want to hold on to any hope of making the postseason.